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

OOOOH, so excited hubby says get new monitor HELP!

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  #1  
Old 12-27-2007, 12:52 PM
Marni48 Marni48 is offline
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OOOOH, so excited hubby says get new monitor HELP!

Hello

My hubby is buying me a monitor for Christmas and I need suggestions. I am sooooooooooooooooooo excited to dump my Dell which is awful. I will purchase a callibration system also.

Could you all give me some suggestions? I can't spend much over 300$ for the monitor as I am just retouching family photos and not a pro. Also, what is your suggestions on the calibation system?
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  #2  
Old 12-27-2007, 02:03 PM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: OOOOH, so excited hubby says get new monitor H

the cheapest calibrator you'll be able to afford is the Huey Pro, you can read a review here:

http://www.applelinks.com/index.php/...ration_review/
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Old 12-27-2007, 03:06 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: OOOOH, so excited hubby says get new monitor H

Marni,
I suggest you investigate the VP series of Viewsonic displays. The VP series is very affordable and is suited for image editing. Contrast is really great, colors are excellent, and the viewing angle is + and - 178 degrees.
The VP series also comes with a Software calibrating tool call Perfect Suite and it does an excellent job of callibrating the Viewsonic monitor. I have used it and also a hardware calibrator. The resulkts are not noticeably different. I am not saying that the s/w should replace the H/W calibrator for all types of work, but for your situation it may be more than adequate.
Once again, I would like to point out the importance of your Color Settings in Photoshop. If they are improperly set of used, it will have a much greater negative impact on what you see on your display than if the display was poorly calibrated and your color management was correct.

If the Viewsonic displays do not appeal to you, choose a brand that has a high contrast ratio (like 1000:1) and a wide viewing angle. The biggest problem with Laptop and other LCDs that do not have a wide viewing angle is that as you move your head or tilt the display to the sides, there is a large color or brightness shift. This agian will render any color management or monitor calibration useless.
Finally, be very careful - some LCDs can not be calibrated. They may be lacking a Contrast Control or may be locked on a specific Color Temperature. You should inquire before you purchase.

Regards,
Murray
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Old 12-27-2007, 09:53 PM
Marni48 Marni48 is offline
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Re: OOOOH, so excited hubby says get new monitor H

Thanks Murray

I am going to check into the view sonics. My Dell does have some adjustments but I don't think enough. It's so frustrating to work and correct and then the prints do not look good. Even when I have printed them by a outside source they don't match the monitor at all, especially the flesh tones. They look great on the monitor and print purplish.
marni
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Old 12-27-2007, 11:54 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: OOOOH, so excited hubby says get new monitor H

Marni, you might want to download one of the test images at this link below.
The images contain swatches of all of the primary colors (pure R,G,B,C,M,Y) as well as black & white scale which starts at 0 and progresses thru to 255 in about 20 steps. It has skin tones and many more test swatches.
When you open the image, look at the black/white /gray strip. If they appear gray on your monitor, then that is a good sign. If they have a color tint then your monitor is not calibrated correctly or at all. Numbers never lie. If you move your mouse over a patch of gray or blk or white and if the values of the R,G,&B channels are all equal, then you should be seeing black, white or some shade of gray on your display.
If these test images look correct on your monitor and the numbers look right but you are not getting the right colors when you print or when you send images out to be printed, then the problem is most likely improper color management.
The answer lies in how you are saving that file to be sent for printing. Virtually none of the photo labs (like Walmart, Costco, etc) manage color. They ignore ICC profiles which are embeeded in the files. For the most part, these print systems do a good job if the files they are fed have been converted to sRGB profile. If you have prepared an file in AdobeRGB or your Epson profile and you did not convert it to sRGB or the custom profile used by the destination print system, there colors will look different, in some cases radicallly (like blacks which are purple or green tinted).
When you are finished editing an image destined to be printed at an external print lab, save a copy of that image and converted the profile to either sRGB or the printer's custom profile. Where do you get the printer's custom profile? Well most of the print labs have a web site where you can download custom profiles which are exact for the print machines they use. They offer these profiles for free and all you need to do is drop them into the PS folder that contains all of the other ICC profiles that PS uses.
Here is the link to the test images if you wish to play with them or print them.
http://www.inkjetart.com/custom/
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Old 12-28-2007, 11:18 AM
Marni48 Marni48 is offline
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Re: OOOOH, so excited hubby says get new monitor H

Hi Murray

You are so knowledgable about all of this, I appreciate all the help you have given me and also to so many others, which brings up a question.

I see tutorials on this site, but would it be possible to do ones on color management, how to set up printers, scanners and other elements of obtaining good prints? I am talking REALLY basic stuff like what to choose as a color space, What the heck is a color space???? What printer settings should be used.? What exactly is ICC? Should you use automatic settings on scanners or correct first?

The Internet has alot of info, but most of it is complex and uses terms that most of us (I think) don't understand. It makes a huge assumption that ones knows how to perform a task. You had written the following:

"They offer these profiles for free and all you need to do is drop them into the Photoshop folder that contains all of the other ICC profiles that Photoshop uses."

I am a complete idiot LOL LOL. Where is this photoshop folder LOL LOL??????

I guess it's little things that so many don't understand and we sure would like to!!!!!!! A lot of it you can get in books and plow your way through it, but the basics are what is the most important, IMHO.

I have read my scanner handbook till I am blue in the face. I have tried to use correction there first during the scan, I have tried letting it do it's thing automatically, I have printed samples and gone through photo paper like water, but in the end, it's still confusing so maybe a spot on this site for the REALLY basic steps could be a help to all of us out there who want to learn, have read and tried stuff but are still struggling with it.

You all are a wealth of knowledge and wonderful people to take your precious time to help all of us. I hope that I can return the favor in some capacity in the future, at least by being a patron of this site which I intend on doing. I really appreciate your help, you are an angel!!
Thanks
Marni
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Old 12-28-2007, 12:43 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: OOOOH, so excited hubby says get new monitor H

Marni, I have thought on a number of occasions to put together a tutorial Color Management and will perhaps do so when I get a block of time to do it properly. In the meantime let me try to briefly take some of the mystique out of what is really a pretty simple concept. Unfortunately a lot of the articles & tutorials out there overcomplicate the subject with technical jargon that makes it even more confusing.

Every device (a printer, a scanner, a LCD display, a CRT Monitor) has a range of colors which it can work with or output. Depending on the technology, each device will be different from another in its range. Let's just focus on RGB images for the moment. Each pixel is made up of 3 colors, a Red, a Green,and a Blue value. These values can be from 0 to 255 with 0 being the darkest possible and 255 being the brightest possible. Combinations of these 3 bytes of data per pixel provides your printer of monitor with the info it needs to create or display a color. For example R=255, G=0, B=0 representsthe redest possible red. R=255, G=255, B=0 represents the highest amount of red and the highest amount of Gren and no Blue. Since Red+Green=Yellow, the color displayed would be the yellowest of yellows. Since there are 256 values in each channel, the total number of colors possible are 256x256x256 = approx 16 Million - a lot of colors.

Unfortunately most hardware devices are not able to accurately display 16 million colors. For example a good monitor will be able to display more colors than an inkjet printer can print. The other problem here is that the brightest red on your monitor may not be the same as the brightest red on your printer and different still from your scanner and your digital camera.

So the standards bodies got together and defined a number of color spaces, like sRGB, AdobeRGB, CMYK, etc. These color spaces describe the range of colors and their digital values that form a color space. sRGB is a generic color space whose gamut of colors can be displayed on the average monitor. AdobeRGB is a wider gamut color space. If you poke around on the internet you will find some 3 dimensional graphs with show the relative range of the individual color spaces.

So lets say you are editing images in AdobeRGB and I am editing images in sRGB and I want to send you a image to look at. Enter the idea of ICC Profiles. An ICC profile is nothing more than a binary lookup table for the color space in which my image has been edited. The table contains the digital values that produce pure red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, yellow, black, white, gray, etc for my color space. When you try to open my image in PS, if I have embedded the profile in my file when I saved the file, PS on your computer will see the profile and it will translate the digital values so that they look the same on your monitor as they do on my monitor.

Color management is really all about having these ICC profiles /look up tables embedded in the files so that other devices which manage color can be able to translate the colors in your image to the equivalent colors which it can reproduce. These profiles do not always need to be embedded in the files either. For example if you send files to someone whom you know does not use color management (browsers and most external print shops) you can convert the image to the color space of the recipient using Image>Convert to Profile. When they open the image it will already have been converted by you and should look the same on their device as it did on yours regardless of what color space you used to work in.

Hope this helps as a starter.
Regards, Murray
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Old 12-28-2007, 01:29 PM
Marni48 Marni48 is offline
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Re: OOOOH, so excited hubby says get new monitor H

Hi Murray

That is the most I have ever gotten out of any explanation, you are amazing!
I think I am beginning to understand it!!!!

Hopefully you can do the tutorial when you get time, it will be of such great value to all of us. You are so right, the jargon is so complicated, your brain just shuts off LOL LOL. I am going to try a few of the suggestions you have given me and I will be back in touch LOL LOL, a friendly pain in the ^&% hoping to pick your brain if you have the time to answer.

Thanks again!!
Marni
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