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

Matte vs Glossy

View Poll Results: Matte or Glossy?
Matte 43 32.58%
Glossy 23 17.42%
It depends 66 50.00%
Voters: 132. You may not vote on this poll

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  #11  
Old 09-27-2002, 06:00 PM
DJ Dubovsky's Avatar
DJ Dubovsky DJ Dubovsky is offline
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Why is that anyway? When I think in terms of matte I think dull with no shine as in paint but in photo prints matte means shiny but on a bumpy surface to lesson it a bit. The old photos from years back were printed on matte paper that was true matte paper. Most printer can't even come close to that these days.
DJ
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  #12  
Old 09-27-2002, 06:28 PM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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I've been on a mini mission to find a good matte print.
From some online information I've read, I think what
I'm looking for is an "N" surface print. Does that sound right?

The paper I want is like Epson Heavyweight Matte, but I don't want an inkjet - just the same type of finish.
If anyone knows of an online place, or national chain, I would love to know.
Vikki
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  #13  
Old 09-27-2002, 10:20 PM
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DJ Dubovsky DJ Dubovsky is offline
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Back when I was using an outside printer and needed that old fashioned matte look, I got matte finishing spray for art and photos and sprayed the glossy photo. It worked great. It was the closest thing to an old fashion print I'd seen minus the thickness of the old time photo paper. Still would like to know a place as well but when I enquired I was told they don't make that kind of paper. Good luck on your quest Vikki and do let us know if you make any headway.
DJ
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  #14  
Old 09-28-2002, 04:16 AM
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Jakaleena Jakaleena is offline
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N surface is a soft matte (Luster or Satin)
E surface is a hard matte with deeper texture (which may be what Charles was referring to)
F surface is glossy

(N surface is the type they use at Wal-Mart - at least it is at my local one so I'm guessing they all do...)

That all applies to color paper. With black & white paper, the surfaces with the same letter indications are a bit different in texture type. A good camera shop that sells darkroom supplies should have a sample book so that you can see actual prints made on each of the types of surfaces they sell. If they don't have one available, they should be able to get one. I know Kodak has sample books that they provide to resellers (you may even be able to contact Kodak yourself and get a paper sample book - not sure if they give those out to just anyone or what one would cost, but maybe a local camera store can even order one for you). I think Ilford provides sample books too, but that's BW paper. Even if you don't intend to buy photo paper and process images yourself, that should help you to be able to tell the lab you're using what paper it is that you want...

Art spray is a good option. I've used it myself and really like the look. But it's delicate and can be easily damaged when used on RC paper, which is something that clients should probably be told about so that they're careful when handling the prints. It should also be matted and never put directly against the glass when framing.

Modern color papers are virtually all RC, so I don't know of any that have that old fashioned, dull, truly matte look that was common in BW. The only way to get that look is to have a BW fibre print made and actually hand color it the old fashioned way...

Last edited by Jakaleena; 09-28-2002 at 04:22 AM.
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  #15  
Old 09-28-2002, 12:09 PM
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Bob Walden Bob Walden is offline
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Hi all!

Maybe I can help a little. As Jakaleena was saying almost all papers used by labs are RC, meaning resin coated. In other words a plastic coating. When DJ was referring to the old fashion look that would be a fiber based paper. It had more depth to it. Also it allowed for many types of toning that the RC's can't absorb. Beautiful colors were available such as selenium, copper, gold and even sepia was done with toner. On the plus side this gave the prints almost a three dimensional effect. Really beautiful and long lasting. On the minus side (cough cough) VERY toxic. Most of us stopped using toners years ago. Also MATTE SPRAYS which can be toxic if inhaled.

Bob
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  #16  
Old 09-28-2002, 06:42 PM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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Thank you all so much for the information!
I'm going to give the spray a try on something I can part with, just to see what happens.
I'll also give Walmart a try.
Jak, how do you get matte prints from Walmart? I don't see that option at their online photo center.
Thanks again
Vikki
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  #17  
Old 09-29-2002, 06:54 AM
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Jakaleena Jakaleena is offline
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Vikki,

I don't use the Wal-Mart online photo center - it's the local Wal-Mart in town that has matte prints in their one hour photo center.
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  #18  
Old 09-29-2002, 11:31 AM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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Thanks Jak.
But now I have another question.
Whenever I've spoken with someone at Walmart's photo center, they are clueless regarding digital, and even the online process.
So, my question is, what exactly do you say to the salesperson, and what media do you use, so that you can get a matte print.
Thanks again
Vikki
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  #19  
Old 09-29-2002, 01:36 PM
cinderella cinderella is offline
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The Wal Mart I use gives me no choice about the paper they print on. They have a FujiFrontier and print on FujiCrystal matte (with a lot of texture). It is so inexpensive that printing one or two would be a good way for you to try.

My daughter can get prints made at her grocery super store in Austin that has a Noritsu digi printer. The Kodak paper they use can be glossy or matte. Their matte is a satin version. Again inexpensive . So printing one or two would be a good way to go.

I bring a CD .In the WalMart store , leave it .At the other store one loads the CD oneself ,makes selections and then comes back later for the prints.

For me the big problem has been getting back prints that have similar color to what I see on my monitor. The forum has been a great help with that and there is some discussion on the InputOutput thread as well as on this topic about that.
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  #20  
Old 09-29-2002, 11:04 PM
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Jakaleena Jakaleena is offline
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Quote:
Whenever I've spoken with someone at Walmart's photo center, they are clueless regarding digital, and even the online process.
Unfortunately, I think you find that problem in a lot of consumer labs that have gone digital. Either the people that work there are knowledgeable about photo printing but haven't made the knowledge leap into the new world of digital, or the people that work there are just minimum wage workers with no real photo knowledge in the first place.

Fortunately, it's not a global truth. There are labs to be found out there where the people are both knowledgeable and helpful. But they are rare gems and seem to be getting rarer as technology advances.

For the most part, the way things are currently, the consumer needs to know enough to educate the lab employee if necessary. I know it shouldn't be that way, but that's what things seem to have come down to.

Now I'll fess up.

I am currently working at my local Wal-Mart so I end up making my own prints. The Frontier is a wonderful piece of equipment. I've been working in labs for about 20 years now (mostly pro labs & capture labs but they do often have minilab equipment in them for making machine prints), and the Frontier is by far the best thing I've seen yet for the type of work it does. But (and this is a big "but" here) the machine is only as good as its operator.

Even before I started working there, I was a big fan of the Wal-Mart photo centers in my area (there were 3 that I used prior to getting a job there). The people there were great, they bent over backwards to do my stuff for me, and the prints they made were just beautiful. Maybe I just got lucky and maybe not all Wal-Mart stores are as good, but the quality of the work and helpfulness of the employees was one of the reasons I accepted the job offer...

The thing I've found most often that's the problem when a print off of my Frontier doesn't match what I was expecting is that my monitor is out of calibration.

One way to get good prints from a lab is to find a lab you like and will stick with, have a few prints made from your digital files and then go home and calibrate your monitor until what you see on the screen is a good overall match to what you got from the lab. You'll need to repeat this calibration as often as you would any regular calibration. NOTE: this will not work for you if you switch regularly between several different labs since you are in effect calibrating your monitor to specifically match a particular lab's equipment! (This is how we've calibrated our lab monitors internally at labs I've worked for previously).

I personally have never had to match my own monitor to the prints at the lab. I just do a normal monitor calibration and (for me) the prints match fine as long as I keep my monitor properly calibrated using the Adobe Gamma utility.

Another thing to remember is that a print (reflected light) will never match a computer screen (transmitted light) perfectly. It is the modern equivalent dilemma of trying to get a print from a slide to match the actual transparency. It can come close, and the print can have its own beautiful qualities, but they can never truly exactly match because they are apples and oranges. If you keep in mind as you're working on your computer that your end result will be paper, and not a mass of glowing pixels, you can get good results. You can know that your colors may look slightly different in print than they do on your monitor (photo paper has a hard time interpreting bright primary colors, especially red). You can also know in advance that the subtle difference between 00000 (black) and 1A1919 (almost black) that you can readily see on your computer screen is not going to be "seen" by the emulsion on photo paper and can adjust as necessary to get a good print.

There seems to be this huge quest for the perfect ICC profile among people who work with Photoshop. I see discussions about it on Usenet all the time, and I've had several conversations about it with members here. From my point of view, as someone who's never done anything except work in photo labs, it is a search for a holy grail that doesn't exist. I work strictly in sRGB. I've never used a color profile. I don't even know how to use them. And even before I started working at my present job, the prints I got there from my files were wonderful. Yes, there were a few "clinkers" along the way, but I took them back, explained what I didn't like and what I wanted instead, and the communication between myself and the lab eventually resulted in them being able to make an excellent educated guess about what kinds of corrections to make on their end to give me exactly what I was looking for on mine. The biggest issue for me was that they were happy to go out of their way to work with me to be sure they gave me what I wanted. If you can find a lab with that attitude, any other problems that exist can usually be surmounted through good communication.

Getting good prints means building a working relationship with a lab. Relationships take work, even that kind. What customers are looking for is so widely varied and subjective that you have to have quite a few "dates" before you even get to know one another well. And as you get to know one another, you get to know each other's limitations and strong points, likes and dislikes. But giving up on a lab before that relationship can form just builds frustrations on both sides - you don't stay long enough to get a good print, and the lab loses you as a customer before they have a chance to get a "feel" for what your particular likes and dislikes are.

Give the lab manager the address for RP and ask them to check it out. This would be a good place for lab employees to visit, even if they don't do retouching or restoration themselves. It would put them in touch with a slice of their potential client base and allow them to learn some things that may make them better able to give you the kind of service you want.

Quote:
They have a FujiFrontier and print on FujiCrystal matte (with a lot of texture).
The Fuji Crystal Archive Lustre paper is actually an N surface finish. Much less texture than an E surface paper. It does have more texture than an N surface in some other brands though. If you can find an Agfa lab nearby, you might like Agfa's lustre paper better if the Fuji has too much texture for your taste, since the Agfa has a bit less texture to it. I personally don't like the colors produced by Agfa paper as well though...

Last edited by Jakaleena; 09-30-2002 at 03:06 PM.
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