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How To Get Monitor and Print to Match

Steve Johnston , May 04, 2011; 03:42 p.m.

In plain language, 8th grade grammer appreciated, how do I get the print out of an Epson 3800 to match the Dell LCD monitor all hooked up to a Dell pc using PSE 6.0 on XP Pro OS? Many thanks in advance!


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Matt Laur , May 04, 2011; 03:48 p.m.

Plain language: buy and use a display calibration device. That will get your display "honest," and if you're then also using the correct printer profile (associated with the paper you're choosing to use), things should line up quite well.

What are you feeling is the problem, right now? Colors off? Are the prints too dark? For a lot of people, they're close enough for a lot of results on the color, and they've simply got their display brightness up too high, which means that they're editing while looking at a picture that's being shown as much brigher than it really is (which is why the prints come out looking dark). But if you're having color issues, you need to calibrate your display. And that's a hardware/software combo deal. There are low-budget, and better mid-budget devices for that available ... and many, many threads here discussing the pros and cons (at different price points) for each.

Francisco Disilvestro , May 04, 2011; 04:19 p.m.

Recomended reading: Why my prints are too dark? by color expert and forum contributor Andrew Rodney

There is basically all the information you need to match print to display

Ellis Vener , May 04, 2011; 04:31 p.m.

When you calibrate and generate a profile for your display ( modest price tool recommendation: X-rite i1 Display 2 ($199.00 at Amazon) at the calibration stage you need to set the luminance level to around 90 or 80 and not 120.
If you are interested in creating your profiles for the specific printer, ink and paper combinations you want to use as wel las your display , the best value for your money is the X-rite ColorMunki. (about $450.00) this toolset lets you create really , really good profiles for the display and your printer and also projectors. It is also very easy to use. The ColorMunki system uses a photospectrometer and not a colorimeter.
I have no ties to Xrite, their distributors or any dealer, but have used both these tools and the comparable (in features, but not in my experience results) Spyder 3 products.

Patrick Lavoie , May 04, 2011; 04:34 p.m.

Tomek Gooseberry , May 04, 2011; 08:05 p.m.

This discussion...
...may also prove informative!

JDM von Weinberg , May 04, 2011; 11:26 p.m.

A common error in printing that results in "muddy" looking results, is to have color management turned on in both the application being used and in the printer software...

Steve Johnston , May 05, 2011; 07:28 a.m.

Thanks very much everyone! You have given me much to work on.

Emil Ems , May 05, 2011; 09:39 a.m.

I am just now in the process of adapting a lot pictures for print in a book, so I am fighting the same battle as you are, even if the profile I am using (Fogra CMYK), is a bit different from the profiles that come with your Epson.

I have done the necessary mechanics: monitor calibration and monitor at 90 luminance. However, there still remains the HUGE DIFFERENCE between the picture's appearance (in all its glory) on the screen and the comparatively poor representation you will get in print, due to the different manners of illumination (direct vs. indirect).

I have found the following steps to be useful in getting the print as close as possible to my vision, as exhibited on the screen.

1 After finalizing the picture to your full satisfaction, turn on the Photoshop function View/Proof Setup/Custom. Once there, put in the profile for your printer and paper. Thereafter, check option "Black point compensation". Additionally, and THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT, check the option "Simulate Paper Color". The last named option makes Photoshop diminish the contrast of the screen so that i equalizes, more or less, the contrast range of your printing paper, as printed upon by your Epson printer.

2 Now pushing buttons Command+Y (on the Mac) will toggle the proofing view on and off. Do this several times and you will be amazed by the difference between the two views. With the proofing view on, the print in general appears (1) darker, (2) less contrasty and (3) less saturated in specific colors, mostly saturated red and blue (sky for instance).

3 Now change the file so that the proofing version gets as close as possible to the original version. I found that this usually takes two simple operations (could be combined in one). (a) Choose adjustment layer "Curves" and check option "Lighter". Apply this option at 25% Opacity; (b) Choose again adjustment layer "Curves" and check option "Linear Contrast". Apply this option at 100% Opacity. These two adjustments put you very close to the best possible adaption.

4 Adjust minor details in picture as you find necessary. This could involve, for instance, adjusting colors out of printing range (tint or saturation) and increasing local contrast in deep shadows, which sometimes looks "washy" even with the adjustments in step 3.

Andrew Rodney has done us an excellent service with his article "Why are my prints to dark". However, he does not go into detail on what I am talking about here. That you have to force yourself to make the file a bit lighter and contrasty to get it closer, in print, to what you perceive on the screen.
I hope this helps!

Patrick Lavoie , May 06, 2011; 09:01 a.m.

I have done the necessary mechanics: monitor calibration and monitor at 90 luminance. However, there still remains the HUGE DIFFERENCE between the picture's appearance (in all its glory) on the screen and the comparatively poor representation you will get in print, due to the different manners of illumination (direct vs. indirect).

Emil, CMYK printing is a very different beast vs a epson print.. 1rst, a LCD as low as 90cdm2 could give some strange effect to your image, banding is one of those things. A good LCD monitor cant be put really lower than 110 or so.. you are best to crank the luminosity of your surronding area instead to be able to be close to this number. 90cdm2 was good for a CRT type of monitor.

Secondly, if your monitor is correctly calibrated, and that you know how to print, the result between your monitor vs print shouldn't be a poor representation.. it should be a close to perfect match... it is for me and for many user anyway. The setting you refer to are probably good for CMYK printing (depend of where and on what you print) but you shouldn't need all this acrobatic thing to get your print done on a Epson; get your monitor calibrated (mine is 110cdm2, 6500, 2,2) i print using mainly Epson Luster, so i need to tell Photoshop the good ICC profile, turn off color management in the epson driver itself .. and voila. I also, use a curve set to ink and put a dot in the middle tone, i then enter 50 as the input and 45 as the output.. that give me roughly a -3-5% density overall to compensate for the paper light reflective vs transmissive. no soft proofing, not complicated.

As for the washy shadow and out of gammut color, again, those are something you see more on a CMYK device.. since the epson can represent something close to Pro Photo (or Pro Photo correctly i think) you are far from out of gammut color than a CMYK have.

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