Epson P800, tweaking gamma or curves to make the image brighter?

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
graybalanced Veteran Member • Posts: 6,536
Re: Epson P800, tweaking gamma or curves to make the image brighter?

I hate to say this but there are a number of places where you may be taking a wrong turn. Biggest problem is, the printer driver is the last place where you should be making image adjustments. The serious disadvantage of it is that printer settings edits are the least repeatable of all. If you later buy a newer printer, either a different brand or model, or they change how the driver works in an update, or you are on a different computer not set up the same way, you'll never be able to replicate the print without more testing and wasted paper.

Check that these are done properly (some will repeat other good answers in this thread):

At least profile your monitor, if possible.

Set the monitor to a print-appropriate brightness around 80-100 cdm^2. If you do not have a profiling device to measure this with, at least try editing with the monitor at half brightness since maximum is too bright for printing on many monitors.

You have not said what your histogram looks like. Are the highlights close to the right end of the histogram? I've seen beginners who think the picture looks bright, but 1) the right 25% of their histogram is empty (the lightest tone is actually visibly gray), and 2) they don't notice because their monitor is set too high and 3) they're viewing it on a black background.

So check your image on screen on a white background, which is more like paper. Black background makes midtones look lighter than they are on a white background (visual perception).

Because if you are using the printer driver to fix fundamental errors at the editing and viewing stage in your photo application, the image you saved is basically broken and won't print correctly anywhere without emergency intervention at the printing stage. That's not how it should be. The image should be corrected to the point that it is ready to print as is.

Learn how to use profiles and soft-proof. This gives you a simulation of the lower contrast and brightness of paper, on screen. The paper profile tells the program how to simulate the paper. Good photo editors also let you store multiple print settings with a master image so you can always recall the last setup that worked for each different printer. (Print proof virtual copies in Lightroom, adjustment layer groups in Photoshop).

Combined with knowledge of profiles, if you practice and master these areas, no adjustments in the printer driver should be necessary except those to match up the driver with the type of paper in use. Because you would have gained the ability to preview the printer's behavior on screen to compensate in your photo editor itself. And this would also give you the knowledge to bring a photo that printed perfectly on one printer, go to a completely different computer and printer, and be able to make a print that looks as close as possible to the first printer, in as little time as possible.

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