Posted tagged ‘printing’

Do You Color Outside The Lines?

November 7, 2009
IMG_3003
New York skyline, approaching storm.

Profiles.  They can be good or bad, your left side or right side, or what you write about yourself on Facebook.  But in digital printing,   profiles are part of the the glue that connects the colors your digital camera captures to the colors in your digital print.

A printer profile is a bit of software, called an ICC file,  that describes  how a particular combination of printer, inkset, and printing paper reproduce colors at a specific printing  resolution. For example,  the ICC profile SP7898 PLPP260 PK 2880.icc describes how an Epson 7800 printer using the K3 inkset with Photo Black ink printing on Epson Premium Lustre 260 paper at a printing resolution of 2880 dpi reproduces color.

Profiles are useful because they let Adobe Photoshop  accurately  preview what your image will look like when it’s printed, and  to control your digital printer’s output so it matches that preview. (or, at least, as close as ink on paper can look to pixels on a monitor).

Once the appropriate profiles are installed, Photoshop  uses them in the View>Proof Setup command on the top menu to preview images,  and in the Print dialogue to control your printer. Voila, an accurate print.

Or maybe not.

Along with ICC profiles, colorspace helps to determine what colors your camera records, that Photoshop displays and  your print or digital file reproduce. A device colorspace defines the range of colors, or gamut, that a device, such as a camera or printer, can reproduce. An editing colorspace is device-independent, but determines the color range you can work in with, for, example, Adobe Photoshop software.

The main colorspaces photographers work in are Adobe RGB (1998), the traditional editing space for, naturally, Adobe Photoshop;  sRGB,  which is primarily used for  images posted on the web; and, more recently ProPhoto.

sRGB  has a smaller gamut than Adobe 1998, which has a smaller gamut than ProPhoto. Why is this important?  Because to know how the beautiful colors in your digital image will look in a print, your devices need to be using the same colorspace, your monitor needs to be calibrated accurately to the same colorspace, and your editing software needs to display the same color space.

See what I meant by insanity?  BTW, for you people working with Adobe Lightroom, it uses the ProPhoto color space.

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The More Things Change…..

September 15, 2008

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” I’m thinking of rewriting it to say,  “the more things change, the more only ONE thing stays the same.”  I’ve made photographs for a living for 35 years, and photography has changed more in the last 5 years than in the last 50. Picture styles flare up and die out in the blink of an eye and old markets fade as new ones are born. Those of us who practice this craft are scrambling to keep up. Sometimes I wonder why I got into this business.

The upside is that you get to create neat images and you get to play with cool stuff. Cameras and lenses and lights and computers and so many other toys! Since the digital photography revolution began, almost everything is different; pixels have replaced grain, cameras have gotten smaller and smarter, pictures now live on computers instead of in dusty albums, and film is fast going the way of the dodo bird.

In the midst of all that has changed, for me one thing has stayed the same; I get up in the morning thinking about new pictures to create, even if I now work with a computer instead of in the darkroom.

In this blog, I’m going to talk about photography, its tools and techniques, theory and practice, history and future, for all who love to make pictures.

I welcome your comments and I hope you will share your experiences.