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Input/Output/Workflow Scanning, printing, color management, and discussing best practices for control and repeatability

Color Management Question

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  #1  
Old 04-11-2006, 08:43 AM
kcole321 kcole321 is offline
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Color Management Question

Hope you can help me understand what I am doing wrong. Color management is a murky subject for me, at best!! I've been able to get the colors on my monitors (both a CRT and a laptop) to pretty closely match what I print on my HP inkjet printer. However, when I take my pictures to be printed (at the local drugstore), some of the colors are not the same. The two pictures I'm working on both have mattes (sp?) that I included in the scans. It's the matte colors that are a problem. The images themselves are B&W. I had to 'clean up' the mattes in both photos quite a bit and then I colored them to a more pleasing shade. Or so I thought. One of them is more beige than the light brown that I wanted. And the other came out with kind of a rusty looking color. I'm using the sRGB color profile in Photoshop. And the drugstore is using a Kodak machine.

Can anyone help to understand what might be happening and how to fix it?

Thanks for your help.

Kathy
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Old 04-11-2006, 08:55 AM
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ferdberfel ferdberfel is offline
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You probably want to change printers...after working at an Eckerds photo lab for 2 years, I know that their machines CANNOT handle color management profiles. Therefor, your srgb (we'll talk about that in a minute) is useless. You cannot expect Color to match at a drugstore photo lab...sorry, I hate it too.
Okay, next. unless you're saving images specifically for the web, you'll want to assign the AdobeRGB colorspace to work in. Now, if you are printing at home, don't change it, since you've already tweaked your system around it. But if you're sending out to print, it should be in AdobeRGB, unless the printer says otherwise. To assign Adobe RGB, go to the Edit drop down menu, then all the way down to 'assign profile', and select it.
Adobe RGB has a much more even 'gamut' when dealing with colors, and is pretty universal among printers.
Now, if you change printers and go to someone who can tell you what profile to convert to (sometimes they'll send it to you in an email, or just convert it themselves most of the time). Mostly, just stick with working in the Adobe RGB colorspace.
Any more info is going to be overkill, but if you still have questions about anything involving this, let me know.
jenn
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Old 04-11-2006, 11:29 AM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Kathy, my experiences have been fully opposite to that of Ferdberfel. Almost all of the 1hr "big box" photo processors do not use any color management and the machines are calibrated assuming the images are closest to sRGB. You can experiment by giving them a batch of duplicate files to print, with each photo having one file tagged in sRGB and the other in Adobe RGB. It will only cost you 25 cents more to do the comparison. Make sure when you are saving the file you do a "File>save as" instead of just "File>Save" in order to ensure that the check box for the profile tag is actually checked! Your default preference may be set to OFF, meaning that even though your image has an ICC profile, that profile is not actually saved with the file.
Regards, Murray
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Old 04-11-2006, 01:47 PM
cspringer cspringer is offline
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perhaps the drugstore can tell you where to download an ICC profile for their printer.

Can you post the picture? I'll see if the matte print matches my monitor. I use to have the same problem with some of my mattes and my Epson 1280. I now use sRGB with the correct ink/paper profiles and they are fine.

Also, check the color in sunlight (vs. inside lighting). You might see a huge color shift.
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Old 04-12-2006, 08:36 AM
kcole321 kcole321 is offline
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Color Management Question Attachments

Thanks to all for your responses. I'm attaching copies of the 2 files as requested. Will be glad to get your feedback.

Kathy
Attached Images
File Type: jpg ltgreybrown.jpg (94.5 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg greybrown.jpg (98.6 KB, 17 views)
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Old 04-12-2006, 09:58 AM
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ferdberfel ferdberfel is offline
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Actually, that's EXACTLY what i was saying...they don't have a built in color management system. They usually are NOT calibrated regularly (in Eckerd's case, never), and any profile attached is not even read by their system.
What I was saying was that if you go to an actual commercial printer, their prefs. are usually that you work in Adobe RGB, and either let them convert to profile when they get it, or send you the profile and have you convert and tag the image with their profile. Companies such as Walgreens, Eckerds, Walmart, etc. DO NOT handle color management, and their machines are not made for commercial printing. They are made for snapshots, pure and simple. Ask them what their workflow is, and they'll look at you dumbfounded. None of them even know what a profile is. Like I said, I was a lab manager for 2 years for one of these 'big box' labs (1 hour type), and they are not set up to handle any color management.
I pay .42 per print at a small town commercial printer, but it's worth the extra for the color management.
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Old 04-12-2006, 10:25 AM
kcole321 kcole321 is offline
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Color Management Question

What I would like to be able to do is get an inexpensive print from a local store just to do a final check on the picture and then send get the final copies from somewhere else. I was going to try Mpix, but hate to go through that process if the matte colors are going to be awful.

After reading all your comments, I guess that's not going to be an option!!

Kathy
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Old 04-12-2006, 10:52 AM
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ferdberfel ferdberfel is offline
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mpix will handle profiles...call them and get their printing specs, but they are a commercial printer and have handled things with profiles. They have (or at least they did when i used them last year) a terrific color management system in place, i think they use Gretag-Macbeth. I'd try one, but like i aid, sRGB is a really bad choice for working space.
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Old 04-13-2006, 04:54 AM
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curvemeister curvemeister is offline
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Gettng a pleasant matte color

Keep it simple. There is no need, IMHO, to get caught up in calibration and profiles if you rely as much as possible on what you can see and control yourself. Deliver your images in sRGB, and you can be systematic in achieving your desired matte color.

Start by creating a test image where you divide the matte into sections, and vary the lightness and darkness of the matte. For example, you may want to use combinations of different hue, saturation and brightness. Keep careful notes, or better yet type your settings right on each section of the matte.

Print the resulting image as a 4x6 and pick your favorite color for the matte, which you will then apply, using a mask, to your final image.

BTW - I thought your sample images could use a bit of curves, and I've enclosed modified versions. It may be that part of the problem is that the images themselves don't stand out clearly enough from the matte. This can also have consequences if the operator decides to modify your images, and may make the matte compete visually with the image.

Mike Russell
Attached Images
File Type: jpg ltgreybrown-curved.jpg (58.0 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg greybrown-curved.jpg (96.2 KB, 8 views)
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  #10  
Old 04-13-2006, 08:21 AM
kcole321 kcole321 is offline
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Thanks, Mike.

You're right. Your adjustment in curves really did a nice job on both of these pictures. And I appreciate the help!!

I'm going to follow your suggestion on the matte colors also. Maybe as I do more of these, I'll begin to get a better handle on color.

Thanks,

Kathy
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