Yet another "prints-darker-than-screen" but with a twist...!

Started Feb 11, 2013 | Discussions
OP Gilgames New Member • Posts: 17
Re: My Dell IPS is set to 80 cd/m2

Phil Hill wrote:

At 85 cd/m2 I can very faintly see the edges of number 1 if I switch off the room light. I think.

With my usual room light on, number 2 is the first I can make out. Barely.

Thanks for trying it out!

Hmm, I'm on the same situation but at ~120 cd/m2 ... If I lower brightness any further through Catalyst, I "lose" the first 4, I can only distinguish from 5 and after. Maybe even 4, but barely. That is probably not very good - and also why I need a calibrator.

There is one thing I don't get though: If I lower the brightness a bit through Catalyst, my prints are printed pretty much as I expect them and match my monitor almost spot-on, even in brightness. In that case, what improvement can I expect with a calibrator as far as monitor-to-printer goes? I mean, if my printer (when used with OEM profiles and with Lightroom managed color) is supposed to print a picture the same way (when not edited), regardless of the monitor's settings, what difference (for the better) will a calibrator make, if my monitor already matches my printer (when brightness is lowered)?

This is a concept I find hard to grasp and I feel like running around in circles!

Phil Hill Senior Member • Posts: 2,757
Re: My Dell IPS is set to 80 cd/m2

If your display already matches your prints to your satisfaction, then you’re done.  It doesn’t matter how you got there, in my opinion.

There are only two possibilities that I can imagine.  The first is that for your display and work area you’ve managed to nail everything.  Congrats.

Or, your expectations are lower than those of a more meticulous person, so even if your calibration isn’t perfect, it’s working for you.

Either way, I think you’re done until/unless you decide that you want to take the next step and precisely calibrate against an indudstry standard.  Just my opinion, but don't obsess over this stuff and instead start enjoying your printer.

rodbam Veteran Member • Posts: 9,046
I can see all the squares

It's midday so I have just the window light in the room & all the squares were quite visible. Even though where I sit at my monitor I consider light enough to read etc but it would be considered not light enough for reading a book with comfort.

My monitor brightness is set to zero & to get down to 80 I had to reduce the contrast down to 30 from it's default of 50. The monitor was overly bright out of the box which might suit gamers etc but terrible for printing even though these monitors came with a calibration certificate.

At night the 3m x 3m room is lit by a single 60watt tungsten bulb
Regards Rod

jtoolman
jtoolman Veteran Member • Posts: 6,756
Re: Yet another "prints-darker-than-screen" but with a twist...!

Gilgames wrote:

jtoolman wrote:

Did you do any density and or color correction to your images inside darkroom?

If you monitor is too bright, you likely darkened them and if the color os a bit off, then you likely also adjusted that. So even though you seem that used the correct method of printing with an ICC profile, the condition of the image sent to the printer was based on having been edited on an uncalibrated monitor. Thick of it like a diagnostic intrument. If it is not calibrated to a know standard, how could you rely on the results reported by the instrument?

Well, when I was letting the printer manage the colors pretty much all pictures, whether I had edited them or not, tended to be a little darker and just "harsher" when printed. When I used ICC profile for my paper (which, by the way, I did exactly the same way as in your very informative video ) pictures came out far better, just a tad darker which I pretty much expected, as the monitor is a little brighter. Don't get me wrong, when using a profile pictures don't come out off-color or worse or even unpleasantly dark, they are just a bit darker when compared with what I see on screen.

Well since you never did mention you print out of lightroom, I did not know so I made my tutorial through Photoshop.

Here is a vid I did on printing out of lightroom to the R2880.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huZ6BlXQqew

The instructions should apply to R2000.

In the new vid I also calibrate the monitor with the color munki so you can see the process.

I will send you the link tonight.

I'm really sorry for not mentioning Lightroom - my mistake! The process you show in your video is exactly the same one I follow when printing with my R2000.

So the question remains: Is it really wrong to slightly reduce brightness through Catalyst? At least until I get my hands on a calibrator?

No problem.

technoid Senior Member • Posts: 2,111
Re: Yet another "prints-darker-than-screen" but with a twist...!

NewsyL wrote:

Taurus43 wrote:

NewsyL wrote:

Have you tried the "paper" test for brightness as yet? It's a good way to get close to your ideal brightness.

Paper Eyeball Technique
A rough method of setting brightness is to grab a sheaf of white printer paper (several pages thick) and hold it up next to your monitor while it is displaying a white screen (full screen Notepad works well) and while the room has its' typical lighting used while you edit. If the paper looks brighter than your monitor, then your monitor is too dark. If the paper is darker, then the monitor is too bright or perhaps you need to increase the ambient lighting of the room.

While I agree with the concept her I am not at all sure about the method. It's true that the "brightness" of the paper should match the brightness of the screen, but the brightness of the paper should be checked under viewing conditions, not under editing conditions. If your editing environment is at the recommended level of about 50 lux the paper will never look as bright as the monitor. To achieve equal brightness the print needs to be viewed with an illuminance of about 500 lux - the kind of level you find in a supermarket.

Better to use a more objective method to compare the monitor to the paper. You can do it with your camera using the method described here. It also gives you a pretty good idea of the luminance of your monitor in cd/m2

.

In a 10x12 office with a single 800 lumen bulb, the light level in the room should be between 90-120 cd/m2 in which case the paper method would get into the ballpark. Like I said... a rough method, quick and easy.

Yes, the camera method is more accurate in low light and all around.

That said, I don't understand why anyone would edit in a room that is so dark that the monitor has to be below 80 cd/m2 much less 100 cd/m2.

.

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Newsy http://newsy.smugmug.com
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It is remarkably hard to achieve light levels encountered in monitors.

An 800 lumen bulb is approximately the light output of a 60 watt incandescent. At a distance of 3 feet from the bulb, assuming it is a typical frosted non-directional bulb, the light intensity in lux is approximately 1/10th of the source in lumens, or about 80 lux.  A piece of white paper will reflect that 80 lux of illumination with an intensity of about 25 cd/m^2. However, the actual brightness will be somewhat higher depending on how the room is painted because some of the light will be reflected, and even re-reflected. However, it would be unusual for this multiplier effect to even double the net illumination. The numbers above only refer to the direct illumination from the bulb.

NewsyL
NewsyL Veteran Member • Posts: 5,735
Re: Yet another "prints-darker-than-screen" but with a twist...!

technoid wrote:

NewsyL wrote:

Taurus43 wrote:

NewsyL wrote:

Have you tried the "paper" test for brightness as yet? It's a good way to get close to your ideal brightness.

Paper Eyeball Technique
A rough method of setting brightness is to grab a sheaf of white printer paper (several pages thick) and hold it up next to your monitor while it is displaying a white screen (full screen Notepad works well) and while the room has its' typical lighting used while you edit. If the paper looks brighter than your monitor, then your monitor is too dark. If the paper is darker, then the monitor is too bright or perhaps you need to increase the ambient lighting of the room.

While I agree with the concept her I am not at all sure about the method. It's true that the "brightness" of the paper should match the brightness of the screen, but the brightness of the paper should be checked under viewing conditions, not under editing conditions. If your editing environment is at the recommended level of about 50 lux the paper will never look as bright as the monitor. To achieve equal brightness the print needs to be viewed with an illuminance of about 500 lux - the kind of level you find in a supermarket.

Better to use a more objective method to compare the monitor to the paper. You can do it with your camera using the method described here. It also gives you a pretty good idea of the luminance of your monitor in cd/m2

.

In a 10x12 office with a single 800 lumen bulb, the light level in the room should be between 90-120 cd/m2 in which case the paper method would get into the ballpark. Like I said... a rough method, quick and easy.

Yes, the camera method is more accurate in low light and all around.

That said, I don't understand why anyone would edit in a room that is so dark that the monitor has to be below 80 cd/m2 much less 100 cd/m2.

.

-- hide signature --

________________________
Newsy http://newsy.smugmug.com
.

It is remarkably hard to achieve light levels encountered in monitors.

An 800 lumen bulb is approximately the light output of a 60 watt incandescent. At a distance of 3 feet from the bulb, assuming it is a typical frosted non-directional bulb, the light intensity in lux is approximately 1/10th of the source in lumens, or about 80 lux. A piece of white paper will reflect that 80 lux of illumination with an intensity of about 25 cd/m^2. However, the actual brightness will be somewhat higher depending on how the room is painted because some of the light will be reflected, and even re-reflected. However, it would be unusual for this multiplier effect to even double the net illumination. The numbers above only refer to the direct illumination from the bulb.

Ah! brain fardles!

In a 10x12 office with a single 800 lumen bulb, the light level in the room on the monitor should be between 90-120 cd/m2 in which case the paper method would get into the ballpark.

... I said it would be rough!

(edit) I base that 90-120 on what I have seen using hardware calibrators that sample the room lighting and then make a recommendation for the luminance level of the monitor screen.  Of course the rooms I used those in may be completely different from yours, white walls vs dark red walls, light coloured blinds vs dark curtains, etc etc etc.

The ultimate test is to print an edited image and compare to a print of the original where you have an original with a histogram indicating a reasonablly well exposed image.

.

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OP Gilgames New Member • Posts: 17
Re: I can see all the squares

rodbam wrote:

It's midday so I have just the window light in the room & all the squares were quite visible. Even though where I sit at my monitor I consider light enough to read etc but it would be considered not light enough for reading a book with comfort.

My monitor brightness is set to zero & to get down to 80 I had to reduce the contrast down to 30 from it's default of 50. The monitor was overly bright out of the box which might suit gamers etc but terrible for printing even though these monitors came with a calibration certificate.

At night the 3m x 3m room is lit by a single 60watt tungsten bulb
Regards Rod

Do you have the same monitor, an LG IPS237L?

This monitor was also bright out of the box, and I needed to get set it to zero brightness too. If you have the same, have you calibrated it?

technoid Senior Member • Posts: 2,111
Re: Yet another "prints-darker-than-screen" but with a twist...!

NewsyL wrote:

technoid wrote:

NewsyL wrote:

Taurus43 wrote:

NewsyL wrote:

Have you tried the "paper" test for brightness as yet? It's a good way to get close to your ideal brightness.

Paper Eyeball Technique
A rough method of setting brightness is to grab a sheaf of white printer paper (several pages thick) and hold it up next to your monitor while it is displaying a white screen (full screen Notepad works well) and while the room has its' typical lighting used while you edit. If the paper looks brighter than your monitor, then your monitor is too dark. If the paper is darker, then the monitor is too bright or perhaps you need to increase the ambient lighting of the room.

While I agree with the concept her I am not at all sure about the method. It's true that the "brightness" of the paper should match the brightness of the screen, but the brightness of the paper should be checked under viewing conditions, not under editing conditions. If your editing environment is at the recommended level of about 50 lux the paper will never look as bright as the monitor. To achieve equal brightness the print needs to be viewed with an illuminance of about 500 lux - the kind of level you find in a supermarket.

Better to use a more objective method to compare the monitor to the paper. You can do it with your camera using the method described here. It also gives you a pretty good idea of the luminance of your monitor in cd/m2

.

In a 10x12 office with a single 800 lumen bulb, the light level in the room should be between 90-120 cd/m2 in which case the paper method would get into the ballpark. Like I said... a rough method, quick and easy.

Yes, the camera method is more accurate in low light and all around.

That said, I don't understand why anyone would edit in a room that is so dark that the monitor has to be below 80 cd/m2 much less 100 cd/m2.

.

-- hide signature --

________________________
Newsy http://newsy.smugmug.com
.

It is remarkably hard to achieve light levels encountered in monitors.

An 800 lumen bulb is approximately the light output of a 60 watt incandescent. At a distance of 3 feet from the bulb, assuming it is a typical frosted non-directional bulb, the light intensity in lux is approximately 1/10th of the source in lumens, or about 80 lux. A piece of white paper will reflect that 80 lux of illumination with an intensity of about 25 cd/m^2. However, the actual brightness will be somewhat higher depending on how the room is painted because some of the light will be reflected, and even re-reflected. However, it would be unusual for this multiplier effect to even double the net illumination. The numbers above only refer to the direct illumination from the bulb.

Ah! brain fardles!

In a 10x12 office with a single 800 lumen bulb, the light level in the room on the monitor should be between 90-120 cd/m2 in which case the paper method would get into the ballpark.

... I said it would be rough!

(edit) I base that 90-120 on what I have seen using hardware calibrators that sample the room lighting and then make a recommendation for the luminance level of the monitor screen. Of course the rooms I used those in may be completely different from yours, white walls vs dark red walls, light coloured blinds vs dark curtains, etc etc etc.

The ultimate test is to print an edited image and compare to a print of the original where you have an original with a histogram indicating a reasonablly well exposed image.

.

-- hide signature --

________________________
Newsy http://newsy.smugmug.com
.

I use a monitor at 100cd/m^2 and D50*. This allows me to edit with the same brightness as viewing a matte print illuminated with approx 350 lux, 5000K light. When viewing a glossy, I use 2, 250 lux sources at 45 degrees to reduce glare. These techniques produce matching images.

However, My background illuminant when editing is around 50 lux which would produce about 20cd/m^2, lightlevels on your proposed "paper eyeball" test so would not be usable for me. Ambient illumination is recommended at levels far lower than what a monitor white produces.

NewsyL
NewsyL Veteran Member • Posts: 5,735
Re: Yet another "prints-darker-than-screen" but with a twist...!

technoid wrote:

I use a monitor at 100cd/m^2 and D50*. This allows me to edit with the same brightness as viewing a matte print illuminated with approx 350 lux, 5000K light. When viewing a glossy, I use 2, 250 lux sources at 45 degrees to reduce glare. These techniques produce matching images.

However, My background illuminant when editing is around 50 lux which would produce about 20cd/m^2, lightlevels on your proposed "paper eyeball" test so would not be usable for me. Ambient illumination is recommended at levels far lower than what a monitor white produces.

ffs...

.

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Adrian Van Contributing Member • Posts: 684
Re: Yet another "prints-darker-than-screen" but with a twist...!

I have Spyder Elite Pro 3 at $299. however I used to use the Express version earlier version of software at around $99 which is still on one of my 3 computers and the balance seems about the same as pro version. 100 lumens is best for CRT monitors for those that still have them, and LED monitors now have recommended 120 lumens settings or 120cd/m2.

I prefer the setting of 95 to 100 lumens to keep all my highlights with monitor connected to Epson printer which is a CRT LaCie monitor (large older monitors). Most outside services I use work well with my 100 lumens settings which are local printing digital book houses and also professional photo labs I use for sRGB prints. Even the large company www.pictage.com uses 100 lumens settings recommended, which has 11,000 or more photographer as members for this online professional printing service. Spyder has a image file with grey charts and Magrath chart on it which is handy.

Once the file is ready I do some final tweaks on printing with colour management settings and I have a saved Epson custom profile I have as Epson Lustre paper is my most often used for wedding portraits.

One other point, consider lightening up the midtones a bit on printing with highlight/shadow adjustment in Photoshop to open up shadows.

Michael Reichman on Luminous Landscape has excellent tutorials on his site for printing and calibration.

Look into these recommendations. Best of luck.

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dperez Regular Member • Posts: 300
Re: Yet another "prints-darker-than-screen" but with a twist...!

I've read through this topic with interest - I"m in the process of calibrating and creating paper profiles for my 3880 with a ColorMunki...

Can one of y'all explain the relationship between room brightness and monitor brightness?  When I measured ambient light I got between 12 and 15 lux.  The CM said my monitor should be at a brightness of 80.

Just for fun I measured and adjusted the monitor to a brightness of 120, as I believe the OP had his set...  Boy is that BRIGHT...

So, how MUCH ambient light SHOULD I have in the room?  My normal lighting is under-cabinet lighting on the desk to my right, about 4 feet to the side of my primary monitor, and another under-cabinet over the color printer at least 6 feet from the monitor and again, about 4 feet to the side.  The other lighting in the room, a 3-bulb overhead light, is off unless I'm doing something where I need it.  The room doesn't feel dark for what I"m doing, and when I examine prints I use an 1100 lumen, 5000K balanced light...

So, how bright SHOULD the room be?  How does room brightness impact monitor brightness if I'm trying to match what I see on the monitor to what prints?

OP Gilgames New Member • Posts: 17
Re: Yet another "prints-darker-than-screen" but with a twist...!

Adrian Van wrote:

I have Spyder Elite Pro 3 at $299. however I used to use the Express version earlier version of software at around $99 which is still on one of my 3 computers and the balance seems about the same as pro version. 100 lumens is best for CRT monitors for those that still have them, and LED monitors now have recommended 120 lumens settings or 120cd/m2.

I prefer the setting of 95 to 100 lumens to keep all my highlights with monitor connected to Epson printer which is a CRT LaCie monitor (large older monitors). Most outside services I use work well with my 100 lumens settings which are local printing digital book houses and also professional photo labs I use for sRGB prints. Even the large company www.pictage.com uses 100 lumens settings recommended, which has 11,000 or more photographer as members for this online professional printing service. Spyder has a image file with grey charts and Magrath chart on it which is handy.

Once the file is ready I do some final tweaks on printing with colour management settings and I have a saved Epson custom profile I have as Epson Lustre paper is my most often used for wedding portraits.

One other point, consider lightening up the midtones a bit on printing with highlight/shadow adjustment in Photoshop to open up shadows.

Michael Reichman on Luminous Landscape has excellent tutorials on his site for printing and calibration.

Look into these recommendations. Best of luck.

Thank you very much for all your recommendations, I will definitely look into them! I will also check Luminous Landscape's tutorials!

rpenmanparker Contributing Member • Posts: 648
Re: Yet another "prints-darker-than-screen" but with a twist...!

Sorry to bother you with this, but what is Catalyst?

Robert

Adrian Van Contributing Member • Posts: 684
Re: Yet another "prints-darker-than-screen" but with a twist...!

When I originally owned a Spyder Express version software (it was actually called Color Plus before rebranding later to Express I think) and before buying the Spyder Elite Pro, the first software tutorial I had mentioned calibration between 85 to 95 lumens was acceptable for accurate calibration with software on a CRT large old style monitor, if that monitor was not able to get any brighter. In those days, I would add 8 per cent brightness in the Epson Pro 4800 custom colour profile I created as my default to compensate for dark prints and this worked well. Also in the Printer colour management when printing, I reduced the contrast setting to -6 contrast (this lightened the deep blacks of a contrasty monitor)  with brightness in printer software set to +8 or +9. This works well for my sRGB files on a monitor at 85 to 90 lumens setting. If you have a higher lumens setting, say 95 to 100 or more, then the printer setting would be less for brightness to compensate. I have a guard around monitor and brightness of room I do not find a factor of much importance, at least to me. Todays LED monitors are bright and contrasty and turning down brightness certainly helps.

Manipulating the default Printer colour management settings a bit with brightness and contrast in printer software and saving new default, can solve many printing problems or issues with monitors. Doing many prints from many jobs, and after awhile the estimate of adjustment on a print becomes second nature after hundreds of prints. I have made prints from more than a hundred weddings over 9 years.

Hope this helps.

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rodbam Veteran Member • Posts: 9,046
Dell 2010

Gilgames wrote:

Do you have the same monitor, an LG IPS237L?

This monitor was also bright out of the box, and I needed to get set it to zero brightness too. If you have the same, have you calibrated it?

No I have a 24" Dell 2010 & the manufacturers will normally have the monitor set up for Computing & gaming not really for photography. Yes I calibrated the monitor & profiled my printer with my Colormunki which is very easy to use & gives great results.

Your LG being an IPS panel should look very much the same as mine when calibrated.
Regards Rod

OP Gilgames New Member • Posts: 17
Re: Dell 2010

I certainly hope so!

Yes, manufacturers do seem to have a preference to gaming settings!

OP Gilgames New Member • Posts: 17
Re: Yet another "prints-darker-than-screen" but with a twist...!
1

Adrian Van wrote:

When I originally owned a Spyder Express version software (it was actually called Color Plus before rebranding later to Express I think) and before buying the Spyder Elite Pro, the first software tutorial I had mentioned calibration between 85 to 95 lumens was acceptable for accurate calibration with software on a CRT large old style monitor, if that monitor was not able to get any brighter. In those days, I would add 8 per cent brightness in the Epson Pro 4800 custom colour profile I created as my default to compensate for dark prints and this worked well. Also in the Printer colour management when printing, I reduced the contrast setting to -6 contrast (this lightened the deep blacks of a contrasty monitor) with brightness in printer software set to +8 or +9. This works well for my sRGB files on a monitor at 85 to 90 lumens setting. If you have a higher lumens setting, say 95 to 100 or more, then the printer setting would be less for brightness to compensate. I have a guard around monitor and brightness of room I do not find a factor of much importance, at least to me. Todays LED monitors are bright and contrasty and turning down brightness certainly helps.

Manipulating the default Printer colour management settings a bit with brightness and contrast in printer software and saving new default, can solve many printing problems or issues with monitors. Doing many prints from many jobs, and after awhile the estimate of adjustment on a print becomes second nature after hundreds of prints. I have made prints from more than a hundred weddings over 9 years.

Hope this helps.

Thank you very much for your reply, every little bit of advice helps a lot!

I was indeed thinking of tinkering with the printer's software brightness+contrast, but I'm not sure if that would be a solution, much less a universal one. On the other hand, if the printer tends to be a little darker in pretty much every print (compared with the monitor), following that certain pattern, changing the driver's settings might be a good solution after all. I'll try it with a couple of small test prints, and see how it goes!

OP Gilgames New Member • Posts: 17
Re: Yet another "prints-darker-than-screen" but with a twist...!

rpenmanparker wrote:

Sorry to bother you with this, but what is Catalyst?

Robert

No bother at all!

Catalyst is the name of the driver package (driver + control panel) of the AMD/ATI graphics card. It's the utility from which you can change a number of settings about your display, such as resolution, color etc.

Adrian Van Contributing Member • Posts: 684
Re: Yet another "prints-darker-than-screen" but with a twist...!

Setting a new default setting with brightness and contrast adjustment works well for me. I started with the printer default first and then calibration and then set the other two after testing prints in my initial trails and reset default. This can also vary from camera to camera based on camera settings and saturation settings in camera. Canon and Nikon and Fuji have different densities in their files I found as I used all 3 DSLRs. What I also like, is I can take any file indoors or outdoors with different environments like sunny or cloudy, and then adjust printers brightness software setting, one point up or down for small gains in image brightness or density while printing. Best way to work printing one print to next and doing many prints and not having to go back always to Photoshop.

Of course getting the monitor close to default with calibration is the ideal solution, if you have monitor capable of this. Dell has a new monitor online at $599 Ultrasharp which is LED 24 inch that can be set between 350 to 50 lumens (therefore 100 lumens is possible) and this may be my next purchase for my windows computer. I plan to add XPS8500 special edition CPU with i7 64bit and AMD Radeon in my next update.

Good luck.

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probert500 Senior Member • Posts: 1,370
Re: My Dell IPS is set to 80 cd/m2

Gilgames wrote:

Gilgames wrote:

rodbam wrote:

I've calibrated with the Colormunki Yet I still add a small curves adjustment to brighten the print a tad to match my prints.

I suppose we have to increase the room lighting if we want a brighter monitor.
Regards Rod

So what you are saying is that even with 80 cd/m2 brightness, you still sometimes need to brighten your pictures to print?

Could I ask about the lighting conditions in your workspace? Just to be able to compare with mine.

Well true, if everything else fails (that is, if I can't set my monitor lower than 120 cd/m2) I suppose strategically increasing my room's lighting would be beneficial!

Also, since you have your screen calibrated for 80 cd/m2, could you please visit http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/black.php and tell me if you can distinguish all of the squares in the first row, and if not, which ones are indistinguishable? I would like to have an idea of if/how much a darker screen "crushes" shadows even when calibrated. Thank you very much in advance.

Not to be harsh but:

What you are interested in is a good print - not seeing squares.  You've read the prior posts and know you have to calibrate your monitor to a lower white point.  If 85 is too low try 90 or 100.  Also try a temp of d50 or d55. Try a gamma of 2.2 or 1.8 or 2.  You need a calibrator and you have the info. Go to town.

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