Epson 2880 prints dark... Help sought
OK, after talking back and forth with the tech support experts, time to appeal to the ones who really know... (aka Nikonians...)
Mac OS X 10.6.7
ColorMunki Photo gadget
Printing from Lightroom usually
After calibrating the monitor and the printer a few times (last time was under supervision and walk-through of the ColorMunki guy, to make sure I do it right), I created an icc printer profile. The print comes out dark (about 1-1.5 stop darker, I'm guessing).
I called Epson.
We made sure I run Epson's "latest and greatest" drivers that are Snow-Leopard compatible. The guy then sent me a test jpg image, asking me to print it straight from "Preview", without applying any profiles or adjustments -- make sure the printer manages colors. Still came out dark. In the "Print" dialog, under "print Settings" -> "Advanced Color Settings" the Epson person instructed me to change Gamma to 1.8 (was 2.2) and set brightness to 10 (was 0).
The printout came brighter/lighter now, but now the whole color profile is out of the equation! The colors seem to be correct, but I don't know that they are. Why did I bother getting ColorMunki then? the Epson person tells me that "they do not support the creation of icc profiles, he advises that Epson should manage the colors, because with the icc profile it is Photoshop (or Lightroom) that manages colors." In other words, and in lay-man's term: not his problem...
So I called ColorMunki again.
The guy (who, I should note, was very patient with my frustrated personality at that time), waled me through monitor calibration again (we really knocked down the brightness to about 120 I think). Since Lightroom does not have soft proofing, we opened the image in CS5, and looked at the soft-proof output in CS5, using the icc profile we created before.
On the screen, the image and the soft proof look the same. In fact, even without applying the icc profile -- the soft proof is very close.
At this point the ColorMunki guy tells me what I dread hearing: that since the soft proof shows what the printer output should be -- but the printer does not print the same output -- I need to talk to Epson.
Now I know what he feels like...
As usual, your advise and input will be highly appreciated! (before I run out of ink and paper...)
#1. "RE: Epson 2880 prints dark... Help sought" | In response to Reply # 0esantos Nikonian since 10th Nov 2002Sat 30-Jul-11 12:52 AM | edited Sat 30-Jul-11 12:53 AM by esantos
I know you've been through the long haul here but I think if you just reduce the brightness on your monitor to a target brightness between 85-100 cd/m2 you should see a big improvement. 120 cd/m2 is usually too bright for LCD monitors in spite of what X-Rite tells you. When I calibrate my monitors I set the brightness to 85 cd/m2 and I get prefect matches between monitor and print every time.
Run a new monitor calibration and profile with your target brightness at 95 for starters and see what happens. You also want to set the Gamma setting on your monitor at the mid point and then set the target Gamma on the ColorMunki software at 2.2. Once this is done run a test print letting Lightroom or Photoshop manage colors, applying the correct paper profile (try the Epson profile for this test first), and turning off color management in the Epson driver. Photoshop soft proof does not do a good job of showing when your monitor is overly bright, I have found. It is designed more to show color gamut shifts and loss of detail in lower and higher ranges of the image than overall brightness.
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#2. "RE: Epson 2880 prints dark... Help sought" | In response to Reply # 1Zevi Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008Sat 30-Jul-11 01:51 AM
Thank you for the input! I'm going to follow your outlined steps, but just to make sure first:
>... reduce the brightness on your monitor to a target
>brightness between 85-100 cd/m2
Really?? Wow, my brightness slider is already at about 25-30% of its full range! 85 will probably put me at about 15% or so -- I may need a flashlight to see what's on the monitor.... And to think I originally had the brightness at 220 (!) (according to the ColorMunki reading...)
>Run a new monitor calibration and profile with your target
>brightness at 95 for starters and see what happens.
With the ColorMunky tech support, when we worked to tune my brightness down, we did only that part of the calibration up to the point where the device read and reported the brightness; I then adjusted the brightness, and ran that part of the calibration again, and repeated until it read 120. Do I really need a new monitor profile each time when I reduce brightness?
>... set the Gamma setting on your monitor at the mid point
>and then set the target Gamma on the ColorMunki software at
I'm not sure I understand that: doesn't ColorMunki "take over" the calibration, including gamma setting? How do I adjust this gamma of my monitor "at the mid point"?
>... applying the correct paper profile
>(try the Epson profile for this test first),
Again, not sure I follow: "applying the correct paper profile," according to my understanding, involves one thing: picking the correct media from the pull-down menu in the "print settings" part of the "Print" dialog box. (e.g., "Premium Photo Paper Glossy"). Are we talking about the same "Epson profile" here?
>... and turning off color management in the Epson driver.
Actually, all current instructions that involve printing with icc profiles, say that in the application from which I'm printing (Photoshop, LR, etc.), I need to set "<application> manages colors," and in the "Print" dialog, under "Print settings" (which is the Epson driver component of the print dialog), set "no color management," or basically turning off the color management of the printer. However, in fact, that part of the print dialog is grayed out (disabled) anyway. So, when you set "<application> manages colors," you cannot select color management by Epson in the print dialog. Even if I wanted to have "double management of the color," Epson protects me from my stupidity...
Again, thanks for the help!
#3. "RE: Epson 2880 prints dark... Help sought" | In response to Reply # 2esantos Nikonian since 10th Nov 2002Sun 31-Jul-11 05:02 PM
yes, set your monitor brightness to the levels I recommended to you. It will take a few trials until you find the right brightness amount. Don't worry about how low it registers on the monitor brightness settings. My main monitor is typically set almost to zero.
Every time you change the hard settings of your monitor you should run the profile generation part of the calibration program as well. Changes in brightness affect the color patch series used to read the color capabilities of your monitor thus affecting the generated monitor profile.
If your monitor does not have the capability to set the Gamma then don't worry about it. The software will set the Gamma to the target you choose. I recommend using a target setting of 2.2.
When printing there are two settings you need to make for each type of paper you are printing on. In the print command of your editing program (Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.) you select the ICC paper profile specific to the paper you are printing to. These have different names so I can't tell you definitively which to use you'll have refer to the manual of your printer or the Epson website for specifics. But generally they have names that indicate the paper name albeit in sometimes cryptic abbreviations. The second setting is the Media Type setting. This is a different sort of profile. It does not manage the colors in the image file, instead it contains base instructions for the printer screening algorithms on how much ink to lay down and at what density based on the surface and opacity of the paper you are using.
Here are screen shots in Photoshop CS5 showing where to choose the paper profile and in the Epson printer driver showing where to select the Media Type.
Attachment#1 (jpg file)
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