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Old 09/02/13, 15:42   #1 (permalink)
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Default monitor brightness - print brightness problem

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My computer screen has been calibrated using Spyder3. My Epson 4900 has been calibrated using SpyderPrinter. My images look great on the monitor but when I print them they are extremely dark. I am printing from LR3.

Is it common practice to get your images looking great on the screen and then doubling the brightness in LR3 From 0 to 50 or 80 percent to get them to print properly or am I missing something huge?

PS, I have profiled my matte paper correctly.

Thanks for any insight.

Ray......
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Old 09/02/13, 16:50   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: monitor brightness - print brightness problem

If you haven't already, you may want to set your screen brightness at about 85 cd/m2. This is a common problem (search forum and web), and often attributed to screen brightness, which is typically too bright at default settings.

I recommend you switch to LR 4, for a variety of reasons, including the fact that it has a simple brightness (and contrast) adjustment in the print module that allows print tweaks without destroying your screen intensity.

Keep in mind, though, that screen shots are not prints, and that different illumination methods will produce different results. The idea is to get close and to achieve consistent and predictable results. Soft proofing, which LR 4 also offers, can be key in this regard.

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Old 09/02/13, 17:01   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: monitor brightness - print brightness problem

I've experienced the same. Not an expert on calibration, but my experience is that monitor calibration is very effective in achieving the accurate display of colors, but getting screen brightness correct can be problematic. If your screen is overly bright your images will print dark despite proper monitor and printer profiles. I had to significantly reduce monitor brightness in order to get a good match.

Also the light in which you view your prints is important. I believe printer calibration assumes prints will be viewed in lighting similar to daylight. So if I am printing at night and hold a print next to my monitor for comparison it will usually look too dark due to room illumination, but in sunlight the next day it is fine. Also, in my experience inkjet prints will lighten to a noticeable degree after fully drying.
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Old 09/02/13, 17:11   #4 (permalink)
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Default

I had a similar problem and along with using a color-managed workflow it was suggested that I stabilize the lighting in my work area. I use some lights on stands to illuminate my work area. It may help you as we'll.
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Old 09/02/13, 18:06   #5 (permalink)
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Default AW: monitor brightness - print brightness problem

Thank you very much guys, I appreciate your help. I was wondering about our digital darkrooms because I work in a fairly dark environment. I will do as suggested and go to LR4 as that brightness feature sounds very promising.

When SpyderPrint had me set the screen brightness level to the middle of their slider I thought it was going to be too bright and it was. I'll try going to a different brightness level. I like rich shadows in all my work so I tend to develop for the dark side and that may also play a role in my printed results. Thanks again everyone.

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Old 09/02/13, 21:29   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: AW: monitor brightness - print brightness problem

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I will do as suggested and go to LR4 as that brightness feature sounds very promising.
There are many more significant reasons that you'll be glad you did, some of which are discussed here.

And these free videos by Julieanne Kost might prove useful as well (as will the reference books from S.Kelby or M.Evening, that provide lots of useful tips).

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Old 11/02/13, 14:38   #7 (permalink)
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Default AW: monitor brightness - print brightness problem

Thank you Jeff, a lot of great videos on her site. I will be making use of it and also getting LR4. Thanks for all your help.

Ray.....
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Old 11/02/13, 17:31   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: monitor brightness - print brightness problem

This problem bothers me, as well. I wish it were not a "component" of the printing process.

The innate brightness and contrast of the lcd monitor is fun for viewing even tho it causes the problem.

I find that my colors are ok and that it's only the brightness (exposure) that needs to be tamed.

Because dimming the monitor makes it difficult to judge the image, I prefer to do all the work, then reduce the exposure in the sw by .5 before printing. This usually gets the print brightness the first time.

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Old 11/02/13, 19:06   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: monitor brightness - print brightness problem

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I prefer to do all the work, then reduce the exposure in the sw by .5 before printing.
One needs to be careful using this approach with LR4, as the exposure slider controls mid-tones and not the whole tonal scale. I much prefer to adjust the screen brightness so that everything is on a level field. Or, there is the brightness adjustment in the print module as I referenced above.

Even with all that, however, my experience is that different papers and paper profiles may require slightly different tweaks. At the end of the day, a screen shot and a print are two different things, so I never expect them to be identical; for me, it's the print that counts unless I'm displaying an online file for some other purpose.

But each person will have his/her own methodology....whatever works.

Jeff

Last edited by Jeff S; 11/02/13 at 19:18.
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Old 11/02/13, 23:16   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: monitor brightness - print brightness problem

Jeff said it nicer, but I'll say it bluntly:

Having to mess with the actual values within a picture (Lightroom or Photoshop adjustments) in order to get it to print right, means there is a serious flaw somewhere else in your technique or equipment.

Which needs to be addressed directly and fixed, not covered up by screwing with tonality.

It's like pulling a print out of the developer at 60 seconds instead of the normal 3 minutes to keep it from getting too dark - it isn't "whatever works," it means you $&%@ed up the enlarger exposure in the first place (i.e. were non-competent in operating the equipment).

Getting screen brightness and work-environment brightness correct is a part of being competent at digital photography.

Put a sheet of your paper up next to your screen while viewing something "white." If your paper looks like a black wall next to the screen - that's how much darker it will print (white = white). Increase room brightness and/or decrease screen brightness until the paper white (viewed by room light) and the screen white (lit internally) are pretty much in balance.

I have a studio photoflood reflector with a 200-watt bulb in my "lightroom," that I turn on when I need to get a picture adjusted correctly for printing (even in daytime). That's what it takes to get paper brightness to match screen brightness (even with a monitor profiled, and set to 90 cd/m2)

Getting a good profile for the paper is also a part of using the equipment right. Epson's profiles always print too dark (not surprising, considering their income is based on how much ink you lay down.) I recently started using Moab's Glossy Photo profile for any "photo" paper (gloss, luster, pearl, fiber-gloss) and that profile has obviously been "adjusted by eye" to produce a good, bright print, on top of whatever electro-mathematical profile was created. I.E. it is based on real-world viewing rather than just hitting some numbers.
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Old 12/02/13, 04:00   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: monitor brightness - print brightness problem

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And even when you've done all that, displaying prints under glass, or when changing display conditions (say for an exhibit with different lighting than at home), may require tweaks to brightness levels...just as in the darkroom days. There is no perfect, one-size-fits-all, approach.

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Old 12/02/13, 14:52   #12 (permalink)
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Default AW: Re: monitor brightness - print brightness problem

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................................................ (not surprising, considering their income is based on how much ink you lay down.).........................
ROFLMAO!! You're right, I got gallons of pricey ink laid down to get where I am at so far!! I have my room quite dark but will try making it much brighter to see where that leaves me. I understand the tweaks that Jeff just spoke of, my problem is, to use an old American phrase, I am way out in left field on mine, barely recognizable accept for the highlights and all shadows go to black with no detail. I think the brighter room and turning down the screen brightness may be an answer I can live with and save money with !!

Thank you gentlemen,
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Old 18/02/13, 02:32   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: monitor brightness - print brightness problem

Ray, what kind of monitor are you calibrating? I found the Spyder could not deal with LED monitors like iMac. I used ColorMunki with good results, including brightness. Now I am using the NEC software and calibration device that came with my NEC monitor. On all the software I have used there is a brightness control. The better calibrators will also compensate for ambient light levels and color temperature. I also found out the hard way that it is important to lock the settings so that some inadvertent key combination doesn't change brightness.
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Old 18/02/13, 03:27   #14 (permalink)
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Default AW: monitor brightness - print brightness problem

I am using a new led ASUS monitor and the Spyder. It works great in all respects except that in a darkened room my screen doesn't have enough brightness to make the center mark on the slider presented on screen that they want. Maybe I should try it again only in a brigter work environment?
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Old 19/02/13, 00:22   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: monitor brightness - print brightness problem

Having really struggled with profiling a non epson paper for B&W using the ABW driver with an epson 3880 I did use the LR4 print contrast and brightness adjustments to good effect and boosted both to get a more representative grey scale.

Not that I am suggesting these settings but I found brightness at 26 contrast at 34 by way of example helped significantly. My monitor is calibrated to 100 cd and I now see what I print on screen using the ABW driver.

I found the northern light images very helpful Printer test image for black and white printing
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Old 24/03/13, 14:35   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: monitor brightness - print brightness problem

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Originally Posted by adan View Post
Jeff said it nicer, but I'll say it bluntly:

Having to mess with the actual values within a picture (Lightroom or Photoshop adjustments) in order to get it to print right, means there is a serious flaw somewhere else in your technique or equipment.

Which needs to be addressed directly and fixed, not covered up by screwing with tonality.

It's like pulling a print out of the developer at 60 seconds instead of the normal 3 minutes to keep it from getting too dark - it isn't "whatever works," it means you $&%@ed up the enlarger exposure in the first place (i.e. were non-competent in operating the equipment).

Getting screen brightness and work-environment brightness correct is a part of being competent at digital photography.

Put a sheet of your paper up next to your screen while viewing something "white." If your paper looks like a black wall next to the screen - that's how much darker it will print (white = white). Increase room brightness and/or decrease screen brightness until the paper white (viewed by room light) and the screen white (lit internally) are pretty much in balance.

I have a studio photoflood reflector with a 200-watt bulb in my "lightroom," that I turn on when I need to get a picture adjusted correctly for printing (even in daytime). That's what it takes to get paper brightness to match screen brightness (even with a monitor profiled, and set to 90 cd/m2)

Getting a good profile for the paper is also a part of using the equipment right. Epson's profiles always print too dark (not surprising, considering their income is based on how much ink you lay down.) I recently started using Moab's Glossy Photo profile for any "photo" paper (gloss, luster, pearl, fiber-gloss) and that profile has obviously been "adjusted by eye" to produce a good, bright print, on top of whatever electro-mathematical profile was created. I.E. it is based on real-world viewing rather than just hitting some numbers.
Absolutely ++++

Screen needs to be color corrected and brightness corrected to 90 candles. If screen is too bright, prints will be dark if you are judging print density by eye which I find unreliable unless all else is correct already.

Baring that , use the histogram to have proper black and white points. Establish with threshold function. Black is 000. Keep the whites to 245 unless they are specular highlights.
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Old 24/03/13, 14:58   #17 (permalink)
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Default AW: monitor brightness - print brightness problem

If I read what you are saying, a back lite image on a computer screen should have the same brilliance and saturation as an ambient lit sheet of photo paper? I am not buying it. There has to be a reduction in monitor brightness accounted for to make the two vastly different mediums appear as the same. We are talking apples and oranges here.

For the moment, I have darkend my screen about 20%...AND.....my eyes have adjusted to the difference and things are going better for me. The eyes introduce a huge variable into all of this.

I have both monitor and printer calibrating tools and my screen would not get as bright as the calibration software wanted and still the dark values of my images looked like mud>

Do you know that the new LightRoom 4 makes provisions for this?

Thanks for trying to help.
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Old 24/03/13, 17:09   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: AW: monitor brightness - print brightness problem

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If I read what you are saying, a back lite image on a computer screen should have the same brilliance and saturation as an ambient lit sheet of photo paper? I am not buying it. There has to be a reduction in monitor brightness accounted for to make the two vastly different mediums appear as the same. We are talking apples and oranges here.

For the moment, I have darkend my screen about 20%...AND.....my eyes have adjusted to the difference and things are going better for me. The eyes introduce a huge variable into all of this.

I have both monitor and printer calibrating tools and my screen would not get as bright as the calibration software wanted and still the dark values of my images looked like mud>

Do you know that the new LightRoom 4 makes provisions for this?

Thanks for trying to help.
There are two factors which lead to prints appearing much darker than the monitor screen.
1. the monitor is too bright. lMac's are notorious. I use x-rite i1pro and i1profiler software and calibrate my screen to a luminance of 75cd/m2, which this software achieves without having to use sliders but by directly setting the hardware.
2. The paper profile also affects the color and brightness. This is easily apparent in LR4 when softproofing using the paper profile and checking the Simulate Paper and Ink box
Creating a proof copy and adjusting it so that it matches the original file will allow it to print with a good approximation of the original file.
The same priniple can be applied in CS6 as well as in Capture One or in any program which allows you to create a (virtual) copy and view it with the paper profile.

My prints from my Epson 3880 on any of my papers match the screen extremely closely,
of course taking into account that the paper print will always be somewhat duller than the image on the monitor.
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Old 28/07/13, 02:51   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: monitor brightness - print brightness problem

Ray, Christopher Schneiter's LuLa article at Beyond Calibration 2 also relates to the issue you speak of.
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Last edited by ho_co; 28/07/13 at 02:53.
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Old 28/07/13, 06:19   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: monitor brightness - print brightness problem

Proper calibration is important, but before you drive yourself crazy, you might consider checking whether your heads are clogged and then do a deep (or whatever Epson calls it) head clean. I've learned that when I start to get prints that don't match the monitor, the cause is often due to clogged nozzles.

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