SUCCESSFUL PRINTING – #2 PREPARATION
My previous BLOG was titled “Successful Printing – Introduction”. I presented basic information regarding printing photographs at home: Background, Printed versus Display visual differences, and Color Theory. This discussion will continue with a review of these individual PRINTING SYSTEM ELEMENTS:
· Camera Setup
· Viewer Biases and Training
· Print Viewing Conditions
· Display Viewing Conditions
CAMERA SETUP – PHOTO SHOOTING MENU (NIKON)
· IMAGE AREA: For a full frame camera, using the largest size FX, is recommended. The physical dimensions are 36 mm X 24 mm.
· IMAGE QUALITY: The basic choices are JPG, RAW, or combinations of both. JPG files are compressed resulting in lost pixels and digital information. The main advantage of this format is the small file size (12.1 MB for a 45 MP camera) and therefore ease of processing and publishing. For small images sizes such as those used on websites, the degradation in quality is not noticeable If file storage is not an issue, RAW is the best choice. Although the file sizes are large (54 MB for a 45 MP camera) all the pixels are available for processing. Files can be exported as JPG for smaller images.
The comparison of colors available is dramatic. An 8-bit JPG image has”2 to the 8th power” or 256 shades for each RGB (Red, Green, Blue) color. The total RGB combinations are 256 X 256 X 256 = 16 million colors. A RAW 16-bit image has “2 to the 16th power” or 63,356 shades for each RGB color combination. The total RGB combinations are 65,356 X 65,356 X 65,356 = 284 TRILLION colors. Additionally ,there is much more digital information available for processing in dark and bright areas in a RAW file
· NEF (RAW) RECORDING: Select “Lossless Compression, 14-bit
· PICTURE CONTROLS: Select “Vivid” or “Monochrome” for an approximation of a processed image.
· COLOR SPACE: Select “sRGB”. Only affects the JPG preview, not image file.
VIEWER BIASES AND TRAINING
· Viewing an image, on a display or on a print, is a highly subjective process.
· A knowledge of color theory and typical defects is helpful. Also, knowledge of image evaluation can be very useful.
The most typical issues are: too dark, color cast, and color banding. Most of these issues can be mitigated by careful preparation and precise attention to detail and settings. These factors will be covered in following topical discussions.
PRINT VIEWING CONDITIONS
· A controlled light box is an ideal method for viewing prints.
· Light temperatures of 3,500 degrees Kelvin will simulate most gallery conditions.
· There should be no visual distractions nearby or in your field of view.
· Be consistent in the conditions for viewing and comparing prints.
· Use genuine manufactures ink. It is costly but worthwhile to achieve consistent results.
· Download and install the latest printer drivers on a regular basis.
· This action will automatically install Printer/Paper Profiles (Canon).
· Profiles: Educates Lightroom and Photoshop
· Communicates how color and brightness are reproduced.
· Communicates paper color, blackest black, CMYK absorbed colors, ink combinations.
· Printer Calibration – My Experience
· X-Rite and Data Color sell kits
· The process is tedious, frustrating, not effective.
· Printer Maintenance
· Use the Printer Utility App: Clogged nozzles, cleaning, etc.
· If your results are inconsistent, contact tech support. Canon support is excellent.
· If repair is required, replacement is usually a more economical decision. Printer sales are common with big discounts.
· Advantages in using manufacturers paper: good quality, accurate profiles.
· Many other excellent choices: Canson, Hahnemule, Ilford Gallery Prestige, Inova, Moab, Museo, Red River.
· Download and install the ICC (International Color Consortium) profiles for all non-printer branded paper used:
· Mac: HD/LibraryColorSync/Profiles
· Windows: Right click on file and select “Install.”
· Practice and experiment
· Paper and ink are expensive.
· Make 4” X 6” sizes from your commonly used papers for evaluation.
· Thick/Heavy Papers: i.e. Red River Palo Duro Soft Gloss Rag.
· Download printer color profile and instructions from manufacturer.
· Enable “Prevent Paper Abrasion”. (Workflow displayed in subsequent blog)
· Use “Manual” Feeder”
DISPLAY VIEWING CONDITIONS
· Ambient lighting should be soft and subdued.
· No direct sunlight on display
· Monitor hood is recommended.
· Keep direct sunlight out of room.
· Use window shades if possible.
· Remove any bright or distracting objects from field of view.
· A calibrated display is ESSENTIAL, resolves 90% of printing challenge.
· Most displays are too bright.
· IF YOUR PRINTS ARE T OO DARK, YOUR DISPLAY IS TOO BRIGHT
· Re-calibrate at regular intervals and before each print job.
· Display calibration tool providers are: X-Rite, Data Color
· Calibration is a fairly simple and straight forward process.
· Suggested reading.
· “Perfect Prints” by Glyn Dewis.
· “Setting up Your Monitor” by Daniel J. Gregory.
· Primary Settings
· Luminance: 80 – 100 CD/Sq Meter (Brightness in Candelas}
· White Point: D65
· Gamma: 2.2
PREPARATION FOR PRINTING
· Download and install latest printer driver.
· Re-install Printer on your computer.
· In Mac menu bar: Apple Icon/System Preferences/Printers and Scanners
· Verify that printer is turned on.
· (-) Delete Canon Printer
· (+) Add Canon Printer, Select “IJ Network” (Not “Bonjour)
· These actions ensure that all Canon Paper Profiles are available in Menus.
· NOTE: YOU MUST REPEAT AFTER EVERY MAC OS UPDATE
· Download “Canon Print Studio Pro” from Canon website
· Suggest Technical Support for install – a bit tricky.
· Very easy print interface to use.
· A helpful “User Guide” is always available.
· A “Workflow” will be presented in a subsequent blog.
In my third installment of this series, the printing “Workflow” in Lightroom will be presented.
Member: 'Art Attack