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Thread: Printing: print colours don't match screen

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    Printing: print colours don't match screen

    I rarely ever print photos (or anything else) on my photo printer, but today decided to print some of my seascape images in order to hang on one of the walls.

    Unfortunately, the colours in the prints look very different to the colours on the screen.

    I understand it's a common problem, but I honestly don't know how to get around it, or at least get within the ballpark.

    Some basic details:


    • I'm printing from Photoshop CS4.
    • Computer is a MacBook Pro.
    • Printer is an Epson Stylus Photo R210 (old but good).
    • I don't have a calibration tool.


    In the 'Color Handling' section of the print dialogue:


    1. When I choose 'Photoshop Manages Colors', the print looks great, but the colours are noticeably different what's on the screen.
    2. When I choose 'Printer Manges Colors', I get the same result as above.
    3. When I choose 'No Color Management', the print is excessively dark and the colours are different, but still wrong.


    When I send my images to my print lab, the prints look like what I see on my screen.

    What am I missing?

    I understand that a printer will never 100% replicate what a screen can display, but how can I get my prints 'close enough' to what I see on my screen?

    What is my print lab doing that I'm not doing, when given the same digital image?
    Last edited by Xenedis; 02-01-2012 at 1:56pm.

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    Is it a mismatch of colour profiles ? Maybe on your computor you process in Adobe RGB, And the printer is printing in sRGB , Just a thought
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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    Is it a mismatch of colour profiles ? Maybe on your computor you process in Adobe RGB, And the printer is printing in sRGB , Just a thought
    The images are in sRGB mode.

    There's nothing anywhere in the printer settings about colour space.

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    Could very likely be the paper you're using too.

    as an example, say you're using Canon Pro Photo Glossy paper in your Epson printer, what you may need is a printer profile from Canon for that paper, for this printer.

    I doubt that it exists tho .. unless Epson themselves have a profile for that combination.

    This is one of the reasons that when you print, via the printer's software, the paper you choose loads a profile to suit that paper stock.

    If calibration doesn't help, try looking for an updated driver for the printer for your OS .. hopefully in that driver/software, there will be a new profile for more paper types too.

    I would print from the printers own software interface for this reason.

    Many many moons ago, I once or twice tried printing on a cheapie Canon ip4000 series printer, and used some aftermarket photo paper, instead of the supplied pack of papers that came with the printer itself. Had the same problem, where the colours didn't match the screen.
    Plus the fact that before I even knew about the fact that you could even calibrate a screen, my screen was obviously brighter than the print and the prints were dark. That was easily fixed, but this aftermarket paper type (4x6's) still printed colours strangely, less vivid and slightly more yellowy.
    I think at the time I had some Glossy Photo paper plus, or something like that .. and without any other settings changes, I printed two more images using the Canon paper, and voila! .. prints were close enough to what was on screen.
    Slight variations in tones(mainly lost shadows), but this is to be expected and as they were only fun prints, was not a concern.

    Just another aspect to think about before chasing your tail trying to fix things that may not necessarily be broke!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenedis View Post
    I rarely ever print photos (or anything else) on my photo printer, .....
    Do the ink cartridges need a shake to get the colors printing correctly. Just another thought.

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    Are you using genuine inks? Some of the generic ones do not have the same colour qualities of the originals and result in less than acceptable prints
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    I have an Epson R1800 and experience the same problems, despite having calibrated both the monitor and printer.

    My problems weren't limited to innacuracy, getting consistent results was a major problem.
    Settings on one particular session that gave acceptable prints would often give whacky results the next time. A friend with the same printer had identical problems.

    I found the only way to get consistent results was to let the Epson driver manage colours and stay away from any Adobe printer adjustment parameters.

    The Epson driver should have adjustments and the ability to save a profile that can be saved and recalled to get consistent results.

    Interestingly, Canons DPP does quite a good job of printing to my printer, the only adjustment needed is to lighten the image slightly, which would seem to indicate it's an Adobe problem rather than a printer issue.

    The first thing I'd check is that all nozzles are working correctly, do a nozzle check and make sure all colours are printing correctly.

    Might also be worth trying adjusting the printers Gamma setting if the colours are wrong.
    Last edited by phild; 02-01-2012 at 9:53pm.
    Phil

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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    Could very likely be the paper you're using too.

    as an example, say you're using Canon Pro Photo Glossy paper in your Epson printer, what you may need is a printer profile from Canon for that paper, for this printer.
    I was running some Kodak premium glossy paper through it. I'm not sure if you can get profiles for such a dated printer (I bought it new in 2003 or so) at tho stage, and to be honest, my knowledge of printers and printing issues is right up there with my expertise on quantum physics.

    I doubt that it exists tho .. unless Epson themselves have a profile for that combination.

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    If calibration doesn't help, try looking for an updated driver for the printer for your OS .. hopefully in that driver/software, there will be a new profile for more paper types too.
    I might look around and see if there is a newer version, but I doubt the issue is that of an outdated driver.

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    I would print from the printers own software interface for this reason.
    I'm not sure how to do that or if you can. It's a Mac, and from CS4 I enter the print dialogue.

    Many many moons ago, I once or twice tried printing on a cheapie Canon ip4000 series printer, and used some aftermarket photo paper, instead of the supplied pack of papers that came with the printer itself. Had the same problem, where the colours didn't match the screen.[/quote]

    I've never run Epson paper through it (I so rarely print anything), but perhaps I should duck over to Officeworks and grab some Epson-branded premium glossy photo paper and see if that makes a difference with all other variables remaining consistent with today's efforts.

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    Plus the fact that before I even knew about the fact that you could even calibrate a screen, my screen was obviously brighter than the print and the prints were dark. That was easily fixed
    I've always found prints (even from a lab) to be darker, so to compensate, I add a lightening curve.

    It's a bit silly that I should even need to do that, but it seems to be effective enough using the lightening curve preset in CS4.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark L View Post
    Do the ink cartridges need a shake to get the colors printing correctly. Just another thought.
    Nah; five of the six cartridges are new; I only installed them last week or so.

    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    Are you using genuine inks? Some of the generic ones do not have the same colour qualities of the originals and result in less than acceptable prints
    These are genuine cartridges. I've never used third-party offerings or refills (assuming these can be refilled). They cost around $20 each.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phild View Post
    I have an Epson R1800 and experience the same problems, despite having calibrated both the monitor and printer.
    It's good to hear that simply using a calibration tool isn't a silver bullet. I've never owned a calibration tool and I'm not convinced they're the answer.

    My MacBook Pro's monitor is uncalibrated, but to be honest, I haven't seen any reason to calibrate it. My images look consistent on my Mac, my iPhone, my iPad, and even various monitors in the office.

    Quote Originally Posted by phild View Post
    My problems weren't limited to innacuracy, getting consistent results was a major problem.
    That's even worse. :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by phild View Post
    I found the only way to get consistent results was to let the Epson driver manage colours and stay away from any Adobe printer adjustment parameters.
    I tried allowing the printer to manage colours based on something I read, but the results were significantly dreadful: the image was so dark that important details were lost.

    Quote Originally Posted by phild View Post
    The Epson driver should have adjustments and the ability to save a profile that can be saved and recalled to get consistent results.
    I'm not sure. The driver interface is fairly simple, and I'm not sure what I need to look at...

    Quote Originally Posted by phild View Post
    The first thing I'd check is that all nozzles are working correctly, do a nozzle check and make sure all colours are printing correctly.
    They're all new cartridges (apart from the black), but the printer rarely gets any use, and I'm not convinced there's a problem with the printer or print heads.

    Quote Originally Posted by phild View Post
    Might also be worth trying adjusting the printers Gamma setting if the colours are wrong.
    I wouldn't have a clue how to do that, or if it's possible.

    I'm clueless about printers; I rarely use them and therefore my knowledge and experience is exceedingly lacking.

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    From what I've seen in your images, I don't think you have any monitor issues.
    They look good on my screen too, and as I'd image them to be printed.
    Strange that your prints come out darker than the monitor though .. is this by much?

    Ambient lighting conditions?

    What type of interior lighting are you using?

    I switched to a very white 6500K CFL which gives me pretty good colour accuracy between screen and print.

    Many CFL globes are known to produce colour casts that the eye subsequently compensates for.

    How white is your Kodak paper say compared to a page of laser pure white copy paper?

    maybe it's an ambient viewing issue mixed in with a few other small issues. Add up all the small issues and you can get yourself a large issue.

    I have a pack of A4 Kodak Premium Photo paper of a satin finish. Looks quite nice(tho I don't have a printer to use it for).

    I look at it, and compared to a copy of Reflex white laser copy paper, it looks a lot more yellow(read warm). If I take it into the living room where the light colour is a 'warmer' 5500K, the difference between the laser paper and the Kodak appears to be more exaggerated, where the Kodak photo paper looks even warmer.

    If I look at the Kodak paper on it's own, or against any other white stuff, eg, envelopes, my t-shirt, a hdd docking station etc ... which all look very white, the Kodak paper appears to be pure white. But against the more white laser paper, it seems to be warmer toned.

    Anyhow:

    I'd look into the Kodak paper profile site HERE to see if Kodak themselves have a profile made up for your printer.

    That is, what usually happens, is that these profiles will add a new paper type into the printers printing software interface, and my guess is that you might find the specific Kodak paper you're currently using, in the new dialogue box, where you choose the paper type.

    Hopefully this helps somewhat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    From what I've seen in your images, I don't think you have any monitor issues.
    That was my feeling, too. I'm loathe to invest in a calibration tool if it's not going to provide any practical benefit.

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    Strange that your prints come out darker than the monitor though .. is this by much?
    Other than today's effort, it's been a while since I've printed; but it can be noticeable. Certainly with colour management disabled, the print was excessively dark and important detail was lost. The print was unacceptable, so it got binned.

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    Ambient lighting conditions?

    What type of interior lighting are you using?
    Normal domestic globes. It's not a lighting issue, as I also took the prints to a window and used natural light to inspect them.

    I'm 100% confident that the ambient artificial lighting was not affecting what I was seeing; it was just easier to see the prints in better, natural light; but the colour was clearly not close to what appeared on the screen.

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    How white is your Kodak paper say compared to a page of laser pure white copy paper?
    Pretty much identical.

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    maybe it's an ambient viewing issue mixed in with a few other small issues. Add up all the small issues and you can get yourself a large issue.
    I can appreciate that, but I'm fairly certain it's not a case of lighting causing colour interpretation confusion, especially when I know the image very well, and it's on the cover of a magazine. :-)

    I have a pack of A4 Kodak Premium Photo paper of a satin finish. Looks quite nice(tho I don't have a printer to use it for).

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    I'd look into the Kodak paper profile site HERE to see if Kodak themselves have a profile made up for your printer.
    I just had a look, and my printer is sufficiently old that it's not even considered old, according to that site.

    In other words, no profile available.

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    Hopefully this helps somewhat.
    I'm still behind the eight-ball here, but I'm really wondering if the paper plays a more significant role. Maybe some printers really are fussy about the paper they're fed, much like how guns like some ammo but not other loads.

    What I do know is that of the three colour management settings in the print dialogue in CS4, two of them produced consistent results (which were wrong); but the third produced an even less-desirable, wrong result.

    It might be worthwhile running some Epson-branded paper through it and keeping all other factors equal to what I dialled in today. If the image appears closer to what I see on the screen, then it may simply be a paper issue.

    What really has me curious is why the labs can get it right. My monitor is not calibrated, but what I get back from my lab is close if not identical to what I see. I don't have a print handy, so I cannot compare side-by-side; but if the prints were significantly different (as indeed were my own prints today), I'd have noticed it.

    Similarly, [i]Australian Photography[]i magazine has printed a number of my images with only the supplied JPGs, and those too appeared consistent with what my monitor displays.

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    one of the first problems I see is the use of your Macbook Pro monitor to do the editing. They are 8 bit TN panel style (if I remember correctly) monitors so they were never great for accurate colour representation and white balance before and after calibration with the right tools. I have once edited and printed purely from using the MBP screen - and the results have always been different to the print, now I am currently hooking it up to 2 calibrated monitors for much much better results.

    regarding print labs getting your print or my print right even when I dont calibrate it, is because they tend to use their own custom print profiles, and re-checked every week using expensive software and hardware such as certain Gretag Macbeth calibration products which most ppl would not use at home.

    the type of printing paper plays a role in exposure and colours too unfortunately. My experience working in a print lab taught me that certain paper types can tend to underexpose up to half a stop, and reduce the contrast and 'punchiness' of the colours applied by the user.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    one of the first problems I see is the use of your Macbook Pro monitor to do the editing. They are 8 bit TN panel style (if I remember correctly) monitors so they were never great for accurate colour representation and white balance before and after calibration with the right tools. I have once edited and printed purely from using the MBP screen - and the results have always been different to the print, now I am currently hooking it up to 2 calibrated monitors for much much better results.
    What confuses me there is that when I look at my images on other people's non-Mac LCD monitors, they look the same as they do on mine.

    My lab-generated prints, and indeed the prints Australian Photography magazine made and published from my JPGs, also looked on paper close to how they look on my screen.

    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    regarding print labs getting your print or my print right even when I dont calibrate it, is because they tend to use their own custom print profiles, and re-checked every week using expensive software and hardware such as certain Gretag Macbeth calibration products which most ppl would not use at home.
    My issue could be a sub-optimal profile, but unfortunately I have no idea how to deal with that.

    Using expensive calibrators isn't something I'll consider doing; it's much cheaper to print at the lab.

    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    the type of printing paper plays a role in exposure and colours too unfortunately. My experience working in a print lab taught me that certain paper types can tend to underexpose up to half a stop, and reduce the contrast and 'punchiness' of the colours applied by the user.
    I wonder if using only Epson paper would yield better results.

    It's surely worth a try.

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    I was going to reply back saying that I think it's just a paper issue.
    And that for the same reasons, you highlighted, I think the screen's calibration is a non issue, other than possibly an adjustment of brightness to match the lab prints.
    But the problem issue with a laptop of any sort is that the screen brightness is generally going to be a variable that may need to be dealt with through different lighting conditions, if the laptop is used as it was intended too, and that's as a mobile device.
    Different ambient conditions require various screen calibration settings, as the screen will appear to be different from one set of circumstances, to the next.
    There's nothing you can do about this other than to have multiple calibration setting points and choose the appropriate one for the conditions.

    as an example, a screen viewed in a totally dark room with no ambient light at all, is going to have a different overall appearance than the same screen setup viewed under bright midday sun .. or bright evening sunset.

    I'd be inclined to check with the printers software setup, which high quality paper stocks it has listed in it's options for paper types(almost certain to be only Epson types!! ) and get a few sheets of this paper type to see the difference.


    I'm expecting that sometime this year, I'll be acquiring a proper photo quality printer for myself, as I only have a colour laser printer used for office printing, and it's photo quality is sub optimal, so I'm interested in what's what in terms of overall quality and user friendliness.

    So far the newest incarnations of the high end Epsons look to have a bit of an advantage, and I do have a supply of A4 photo papers I'd like to get rid of before I start looking at the various other options available.

    As I don't currently have any photo quality printer to work with(and hence the printing software to go with it), are there options for using 'non genuine' papers, or are the paper types given by a manufacturer limited to their own brand?
    That is, in the options menu, are there any options to use brand X paper on your Epson printer? .. or is it only Epson branded stuff?

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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    I was going to reply back saying that I think it's just a paper issue.
    I hope so.

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    But the problem issue with a laptop of any sort is that the screen brightness is generally going to be a variable that may need to be dealt with through different lighting conditions, if the laptop is used as it was intended too, and that's as a mobile device.
    I've been using laptops as desktop replacements since 2006.

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    Different ambient conditions require various screen calibration settings, as the screen will appear to be different from one set of circumstances, to the next.
    I cannot say I've observed differences in the screen's output based on the ambient light, although I generally prefer to work in a darkened room, as indeed I'm doing now.

    The visual experience is really not all that different to any other LCD screen, except that the Mac's screen is more crisp.

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    I'd be inclined to check with the printers software setup, which high quality paper stocks it has listed in it's options for paper types(almost certain to be only Epson types!! ) and get a few sheets of this paper type to see the difference.
    This is what's available:

    Epson R210 Paper Dialogue.png

    (I chose 'Photo Paper'.)

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    are there options for using 'non genuine' papers, or are the paper types given by a manufacturer limited to their own brand?
    That is, in the options menu, are there any options to use brand X paper on your Epson printer? .. or is it only Epson branded stuff?
    Mostly only Epson paper, but there are some generic options. As above, I tried only the 'Photo Paper' option; but maybe I should buy some Epson Premium Glossy and try that, or try my Kodak premium paper with that setting.

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    Xenedis trying running some test strips out using the different print settings to help identify if changing the paper profile will affect the quality. I assume it will. At least you won't waste as much paper this way.

    Maybe even pick up some Epson paper, could be a little more compatiable.

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    Hi John, Found this artical , Thought it may help you - Bill

    http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/a...to_screen.html

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