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Why can't printers print what is on the screen ?


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Guest flatfour

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You'd have thought that with all the clever technology in cameras, printers, and monitors that someone would have worked out an automatic linking of the screen picture to the printer output. No one I know get's an aceptable everytime correct print. It seems to depend on so many variables which the boffins seem incapable of solving. My 50 year old Periflex Kodak transparencies print on my HP B9180 exactly as they appear. My M6 Colour negatives - none more than fifteen years old - and my Digilux 2 files are never, but never, right, without hours of guessing and adjusting to produce an acceptable set. Yet cheap digital plug and print machines do get it right - mostly. There's room here for a bright spark to make a fortune.

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You'd have thought that with all the clever technology in cameras, printers, and monitors that someone would have worked out an automatic linking of the screen picture to the printer output. No one I know get's an aceptable everytime correct print. It seems to depend on so many variables which the boffins seem incapable of solving. My 50 year old Periflex Kodak transparencies print on my HP B9180 exactly as they appear. My M6 Colour negatives - none more than fifteen years old - and my Digilux 2 files are never, but never, right, without hours of guessing and adjusting to produce an acceptable set. Yet cheap digital plug and print machines do get it right - mostly. There's room here for a bright spark to make a fortune.

 

From your post I don't know what you are or aren't doing when you print but my camera, workspace and print output are perfect every time. I shoot digital (Leica) in RGB, use RGB as a color workspace choice in PS, have my screen calibrated to RGB, have the proper paper profiles loaded and use preview with soft proofing in the print box. No problem!

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Guest flatfour

Offshore - can you please take me through that description of yours, item by item, because I am clearly doing something wrong with my B9180. I have PS 7.0 and an Acer AL1715 monitor with an HP computer running Windows XP. My paper is HP Premium Plus

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Going back to flatfour's original post: I agree. Remember the early days of PCs? Nothing was compatible, often you'd buy components and they wouldn't work together. You had to be an expert to get a printer working. Then along came plug and play. Why can't we have a similar 'plug and play' for printing?

 

Don't give me all that crap about all the different environments and their affect on printing. I bet that for 95% of all prints a few simple rules would suffice, its just that to date none of the printer manufacturers seems to want to make things simpler and Adobe sure as heck doesn't want help either.

 

LouisB

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Tony,

 

I suspect that it's to do with additive and subtractive primary colours. Your screen uses additive primary colours (red, green and blue) but I think printing devices, as do painters, use subtractive primary colours (red, yellow and blue). It is probably fiendishly difficult to translate a screen-displayed colour into a printed colour because of the different basic elements and the range of colours that are available in the various gamuts.

 

Just my tuppence-ha'pennyworth and I might be way off target. :rolleyes:

 

Pete.

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once you have calibrate screen and have a correct printer profile you ought to be able to reproduce your prints. It is more that people have no alligned workflows or do not bother about profiles that will result into troubles.

 

Your slide actually has a profile which is hidden in the emulsion. A profile describes how the receiptors responds to light. The same happens with digital camera's. If you look at consumer models you will see that the output is very acceptable and can printed directly with good quality. The same happens as with slides, the SW will compress the data to the amout of levels that can be processed easily. A neg and digital RAW file contain much more detailed information and you have to filter the correct information from it and tranfer it to the capabillities of the screen and printer. For a slide and a jpg that has been done for you by either the limitations of the slide emulsion or the camera SW.

 

Filtering the required you do with processing the data in PS or the like and the use of profiles which tell the behavior of your devices.

 

Actually my epson 2880 is so good that the profiles we make for it show almost a flat line, hardly any correction is required based on the sRGB picture on a calibrated screen. If I print a b&w test chart for profile making and compare them with a 7600, the 2880 outclasses the 7600, more detail and better real black (the 7600 prints green without colormanagement).

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ff--

The term you're looking for seems to be "color management."

 

First calibrate your monitor so you have repeatable output.

 

Then calibrate the printer to the monitor. Although the HP 9180 accepts profiles, the LFI review a couple issues back implies that you may not need one for it.

 

You might want to search on the forum and on Google for "color management."

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I too use a HP B9180.

First off the paper you are using is the WRONG paper for this printer. HP Premium paper is for DYE ink printers. You are using a Pigment ink printer. You need to use HP Advanced paper or the like from other manufacturers.

Second I have NEVER gotten good prints, IE correct colors, from this printer when I use Photoshop Managed Color no matter what settings or profiles or papers. But I get GREAT prints if I use Printer Managed Color and just select the paper type in the printer properties at the time of print. The colors always match my screen, or so close that I can't tell the difference.

There has been a long discussion about thisa over at the YahooGroups HP B9180 forum.

I have tried all the suggestions and still don't get good prints when using PS managed color. So I have given up on it and now don't even think about using anything other then Printer Managed Color.

I use aRGB as my import CS into PS and have the printer set to aRGB. Works for me.

 

Offshore - can you please take me through that description of yours, item by item, because I am clearly doing something wrong with my B9180. I have PS 7.0 and an Acer AL1715 monitor with an HP computer running Windows XP. My paper is HP Premium Plus
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Why can't printers print what is on the screen ? because the media is different and a screen is backlit the rest is human error:)

 

Very true, but if you have a good monitor profile and a good (custom) printer/paper profile and use a colour managed workflow as provided by Photoshop or other software you can get acceptably close. You also need to view your monitor and print under controlled lighting.

 

Jeff

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Sorry dont understand this comment if you have printer manages colours?

 

Jeff

Simple.

When I open a DNG in ACR and then open it in PS CS4 I have it set to assign the aRGB color space to that image.

In the Printer Properties I there are 3 choices, sRGB (ColorSmart), AdobeRGB and Application Managed.

I have it set to aRGB which is the color space this printer can deliver.

 

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

 

In the Print window of PS I have it set to Printer Managed Color.

 

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

 

Every Print I get matches my screen. And in the end that is all that counts.

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Ed,

 

when you have the printer manages colours is the printer profile box greyed out or can you actually change that setting?

 

I cant but I use a Canon printer.

 

Jeff

No I can't change that. Yes it is greyed out and non-selectable. Just like the screen shot looks.

I go into the properties of the printer to change the paper type, size and tray, if I need to.

I print mostly on satin papers, both HP and Red River, but I also print on some matte and gloss papers, HP, RR and Epson. And I do 99% of my printing using the Special Media Tray. I just like the way the paper feeds using the SMT. Using the normal tray the paper has to make a 90° turn. I do use that for HP Advanced Glossy paper just because I always has that loaded in the normal tray.

I haven't gotten into the fine art papers and doubt I ever will.

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Offshore - can you please take me through that description of yours, item by item, because I am clearly doing something wrong with my B9180. I have PS 7.0 and an Acer AL1715 monitor with an HP computer running Windows XP. My paper is HP Premium Plus

Flatfour go to your camera's menu and check the color space it is exposing in. Unfortunately most digital cameras come from the factory set on sRGB which is fine for web work but does not produce as broad of color gamut as RGB so change it in the menu. Next open your CS program and open preferences, go to color management and select RGB, Adobe RGB, or RGB 1998 however it's listed, as they are the same, as your workspace color management, that way all your images shot in RGB will now open in the same color space so you can work on them. Next calibrate your monitor, I use the Huey Pro because it stays plugged in and changes your monitors brightness as the light changes in the room. Once your image is ready to print select set up from the drop down file box in CS and select your printer, paper and orientation. Next select print or print with preview and open that box. Select relative colormetric and let photoshop determine colors in the drop down boxes. Select preview and open up the image as it will appear when printed. Check the soft proof box in the lower left corner this has the effect of changing your screen to resemble a white sheet of paper and if the image changes from your original in PS then you need to cancel the print go back to PS and make the adjustments so the print appears in the print with preview box soft proof the same as it does in PS. It sounds like a lot of work but it isn't especially when you consider the price of the art papers. I do most of my printing on Hahnemuhle photo rag and museum etching papers. I know this will cause a howl here but if you aren't using a Mac get one it will make life a lot easier as they come with a built in color management program called colorsync that matches the ICC profiles used in the printing industry. My printing life got so much easier once I switched. Good luck printing!

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..... clever technology in cameras, printers, and monitors that someone would have worked out an automatic linking of the screen picture to the printer output........

 

Whilst Colour Management can quickly become complicated, the WYSIWYG wishful thinking is usually a conceit when it comes to screen-to-print work-flows; it often isn't an appropriate way of thinking.

 

The file contains our image's data in a Colour Space which most likely cannot be fully represented on a monitor screen, the monitor most likely interprets the file in the smallest practical Colour Space and may well be clipping colours that exist in the file but will not show on screen, The screen displays 'projected' colours, the print shows 'reflective' colours; they are different media.

 

The print is a representation of the file within the Colour Management limitations of the printing set-up, it is affected substantially by the choice of printer, printer ink, and paper media. Each paper/ink combination tried needs it's own [custom, preferably] colour profile as each has it's own, unique Colour Gamut. At best, the print is always a compromised representation of the file, and many possible variables in the Colour Management chain can affect the print's appearance.

 

A minimal amount of reading on Colour Management should show that good print production isn't easy because there is a formidable number of variables at work in the print flow. What is seen on screen is not necessarily a good standard by which we judge a print. It might be better to shift the paradigm underpinning the OP's opening question, and reconsider the file, monitor screen, and print, as related but individually separate entities. WYSIWYG will then cease to be relevant, though needing at least a little understanding of the Colour Management chain won't.

 

... the media is different and a screen is backlit the rest is human error:)

 

................. Chris

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My screen is colour corrected (ColorEyes Display Pro), for my printer I use a Rip (ColorBurst), including the correct paper profiles for which I have the tools to build them myself, and last but not least i use the Rip to print through and not photoshop or lightroom.

Prints are bang on each and every time.

yes, it did cost more in the beginning to get all this, but it saves me now nerves, time and expensive paper / ink that doesn't get wasted.

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There are a lot of different color management points in making a good inkjet print.

 

1. Monitor - you need to have it calibrated with the proper white level set.

 

2. Room lighting - you need at least 8-12 fc illumination in the room where you are working. The lighting should be color calibrated and the walls a neutral color. Otherwise your eyes' color response and sensitivity get changed, which results in you perceiving colors differently.

 

3. You have two color management points in PS. The first is the image color profile, the second is the paper profile.

 

4. If you let PS manage colors, the workflow goes like this: PS manages the color of the image (Adobe 1998 for example); and the printer applies the paper profile to the image profile for best reproduction on the chosen paper.

 

5. If you're not using paper profiles, that can be a real problem. Paper profiles correct the color reproduction to account for the paper + ink interaction. This includes making grey scale reproduction more linear, correcting for paper base color, and applying some ink limits to certain colors to color correct them.

 

In use, you want to let PS manage colors (apply the Adobe 1998 profile to the image) and then let the printer apply the correct paper profile. Earlier, you got advice to use "relative colormetric" as the rendering intent, my advice would be to also try "perceptual" with black point compensation turned "on." With some paper + ink combinations, you'll find one will work somewhat better than the other.

 

If you're using an Epson printer, the type of paper selected in the printer control (Enhanced Matte, Watercolor, etc.) determines the amount of ink applied. If you are using a "canned" paper manufacturer's profile, you need to follow their directions as to paper selection. Setting the wrong paper will cause the profile to not reproduce colors correctly as the ink level will not be correct.

 

Now, if you're scanning film - that's a whole other point at which color management can be applied....the scanner profile and film choice from the application software can affect the color in the scanned image.

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