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Stupid things we do.


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  • #16
    Q for Jeaniesa

    I used your shadow stepwedge and the whole thing printed out absolute black but it looks OK on screen. Please explain how I should correct this.
    I use an Epson 890.
    Many thanks


    • #17
      Please accept my sincere apology for taking so long to reply. I've been swamped lately and seemingly unable to keep up with everything on my plate.

      To answer your question (if it's not too late at this point)...

      Since your monitor appears to display the file I provided correctly and the printer prints it all as pure black, that seems to indicate that your monitor is calibrated OK, but you need to adjust what you see on your screen to have it print correctly.

      First, we need to determine at what point your printer differentiates shadow. I've attached another file which shows shadows from 0-19% gray. (I created this file because I had the opposite problem that you do - my monitor was not differentiating between any shadows darker than about 12%, but my printer showed everything in the shadows (including all of the defects) that I couldn't see on my monitor.) Print this file and hopefully you'll notice a differentiation between pure black and one of the bars in the 10-19% range.

      Once you determine which bar that is, here's what I would do if I were in your shoes (which may or may not be the "right" way to do this, but it should work. I should preface everything I say by stating that I am not an expert in color management, but I've read enough to get my own system working to my satisfaction - and it was very far off to begin with!)

      I would edit my image to the point where I was happy with it and ready to print (and save it to the hard disk!) Then, I would run Edit-Adjust-Threshold and set a color sampler point on the darkest part of the image. (If you're not familiar with this, simply slide the slider in the Threshold dialog box to the left until you can see just a little black in the image. This will be the darkest part of the image. Move the cursor over to that area and hold down the shift key while you click on the black spot. This will place a color sample point. Then, cancel out of the Threshold dialog box. The point should remain. If it doesn't, click on the eyedropper tool and it should appear.) If you already use this technique and set your shadow/highlight points earlier in your editing process, you don't need to set another point.

      Now, add a Levels adjustment layer. Double click on the black eyedropper in the Levels dialog box and set the brightness (which is most likely set to 0%) to one less than the percentage you found a differentiation in the printed bar sample. (I.e., if you found that you could see a difference between pure black and 12% gray, then set the eyedropper color to 11%.) Be sure that each of the RGB values is equal, i.e. you are working on a grayscale and not introducing any color into the shadow. Click OK to set the color.

      Now, with the black eyedropper selected, click on the color sample point that you set for the darkest part of the image. If that point was pure black (or anything darker than the 11% we used in the example above), you should see the image become lighter and less contrasty. It may even looked washed out. Don't worry. If you've used an adjustment layer, you won't be changing your underlying image - just adjusting it so that the printer can display all of the shadow detail. If you had a color cast in the shadows in the photo, you may notice a slight color shift as well. If you don't like this, then go back and edit the black eyedropper color and adjust the RGB values to add back in a bit of the color you want.

      Once you're happy with the color, click OK to commit the adjustment layer. THen try printing your image the way you normally do and hopefully you'll be able to see the detail in your shadows.

      There may be a way to make this adjustment in your printer setup, but I'm not familiar with your printer, so I can't advise you on that.

      Please let me know if this makes sense and what you discover after trying it. I'll try to be a little more responsive this time!