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

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Pomo Senior Member • Posts: 1,117
Epson P800, tweaking gamma or curves to make the image brighter?

Hello guys!

I've got an issue printing in Epson SC P800. Some images look really good at monitor, but they are going to be darker on paper. The shadows are too dark, the whites are too grey.

So, I found there is tree ways to fix it:

1) set brightness in printer settings to +3

2) set gamma in printer settings from 1.8 to 2.2

3) manually tweak curves of the image, raising shadows up a bit.

The problem is: when I change the gamma, and then pick color profile of the paper (ICC), the gamma resets to default. The same is going with brightness in printer settings.

So, what do you usually tweak to print the image "a bit brighter"? Thank you for advices.

Charles2
Charles2 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,869
Re: Epson P800, tweaking gamma or curves to make the image brighter?
3

Pomo wrote:

.. three ways to fix it:

1) set brightness in printer settings to +3

2) set gamma in printer settings from 1.8 to 2.2

3) manually tweak curves of the image, raising shadows up a bit.

First, make sure you have calibrated your monitor and done so at a proper brightness.

Your 1) and 2) only add snarls to the print process. For 3) see this 7-minute video by Tim Grey: https://youtu.be/tb-ugPMUFhs

OP Pomo Senior Member • Posts: 1,117
Re: Epson P800, tweaking gamma or curves to make the image brighter?

Thanks for your feedback, Charles.

I did almost the same the guy did on this video with curves. So, I'll make preset and will use it on some photos, that appear to be dark on paper.

ColourPhil
ColourPhil Regular Member • Posts: 199
Re: Epson P800, tweaking gamma or curves to make the image brighter?
2

Pomo wrote:

Hello guys!

I've got an issue printing in Epson SC P800. Some images look really good at monitor, but they are going to be darker on paper. The shadows are too dark, the whites are too grey.

So, I found there is tree ways to fix it:

1) set brightness in printer settings to +3

2) set gamma in printer settings from 1.8 to 2.2

3) manually tweak curves of the image, raising shadows up a bit.

The problem is: when I change the gamma, and then pick color profile of the paper (ICC), the gamma resets to default. The same is going with brightness in printer settings.

So, what do you usually tweak to print the image "a bit brighter"? Thank you for advices.

Sorry, but it's very likely that your monitor is still TOO BRIGHT!

It's probably one of the most common 'problems' on this and every other photo forum.

Also use Soft Proofing to the Printer Profile, ideally with Show Paper White set.

https://www.colourphil.co.uk/monitor-calibration.shtml

Cheers,

Phil

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jrkliny
jrkliny Veteran Member • Posts: 3,990
Re: Epson P800, tweaking gamma or curves to make the image brighter?
2

As mentioned, start with a calibrated monitor with the brightness set at about 80 cd/m2.  You may still have an issue with prints that are too dark.  Dark areas may also print totally black when they should be a dark grey.

If you are still having issues, you need to do your post processing to avoid overly dark prints and prints with too much black.  I use levels for the final adjustments.  Obviously you need to pay attention to the black and white point settings.  You might want to take the bottom black slider and move it to the right to a setting of about 12-18.  That should eliminate the areas that print overly black.  Next move the center brightness slider to the left to a setting of about 1.30.  If your image starts to look a bit washed out, you have overdone it.

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Adam2 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,743
Re: Epson P800, tweaking gamma or curves to make the image brighter?
2

As others have indicated a properly calibrated system is vital to successful output.  Apart from calibrating your monitor with a luminance of 80 cd/m2 it is important to soft proof your image.  Then create an adjustment layer or another version for printing where you adjust the image for optimal output (curves, shapening, etc.).

OP Pomo Senior Member • Posts: 1,117
Re: Epson P800, tweaking gamma or curves to make the image brighter?

Thank you for advices, guys!

Now I use curves before printing some photos. It solved my problem with dark prints.

graybalanced Veteran Member • Posts: 6,534
Re: Epson P800, tweaking gamma or curves to make the image brighter?
2

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.

OP Pomo Senior Member • Posts: 1,117
Re: Epson P800, tweaking gamma or curves to make the image brighter?

Thank you for the feedback! I hope it will help.

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