ICC profiles

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Ben
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#1
I want to make sure that I’m right in thinking that ICC profiles just work for colour?
I had a test print come back today and the colours are spot on but the photos too dark. The details on the shadows are lost and the highlights aren’t bright enough. It’s not massively off but I wouldn’t use it as is.
That’s not something that an ICC profile would show is it? Its not an characteristic of the paper?
 
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droj
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#2
Colour is one consideration and tone is another. I'd say that for general purposes colour is probably more likely to be right 'out of the box'.

If you soft-proof you might often find that some papers need the image brightness / contrast to be boosted to match your intention.

This is irrespective of whether the lab requires you to embed the print profile or not.

In this case it sounds to me as if your monitor might be too bright. What's it set to?
 
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Ian
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#3
Paper brightness is a factor, and IME makes a difference when you use an ICC profile. Gloss papers are much "brighter" than silk/lustre/satin/whatever and I'd expect the ICC to reflect that (pun intended!)
Some companies do do black & white ICC profiles which would mean that tone is a factor. It's nowhere near as common though.
Make sure you're using your printers "black & white" mode if it has one.

"too dark" is a common complaint that's unlikely to be related to the ICC profile though and is more likely that your monitor is too bright. All monitors rely on light coming from behind, whilst paper relies on natural light coming from the front (and reflecting). iMonitors are particularly bad at this. Calibration will deal with it to a certain extent. Again, IME, I still needed to tone down my monitor brightness to get the majority of papers I use delivering prints that were like-screen.

However, even though my monitor is calibrated, I still get prints that are "too dark" on one paper type (only that one!). In that instance, I up the Brightness in the Print Module in LR by +50 and that does the job. I have 2 templates saved for each paper type (1 colour and 1 B&W) which automatically applies these adjustments which makes it a pain to set up but once it's done, it's done.
 
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Ben johns
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Ben
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#4
Colour is one consideration and tone is another. I'd say that for general purposes colour is probably more likely to be right 'out of the box'.

If you soft-proof you might often find that some papers need the image brightness / contrast to be boosted to match your intention.

This is irrespective of whether the lab requires you to embed the print profile or not.

In this case it sounds to me as if your monitor might be too bright. What's it set to?
Im at my monitor at the moment so I can’t check. I have just realised though that I’m pretty sure this is the first thing I’ve printed since getting a new monitor. It’s a gaming monitor so I imagine it’s set to being fairly bright.
 
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Ben johns
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Ben
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#5
Paper brightness is a factor, and IME makes a difference when you use an ICC profile. Gloss papers are much "brighter" than silk/lustre/satin/whatever and I'd expect the ICC to reflect that (pun intended!)
Some companies do do black & white ICC profiles which would mean that tone is a factor. It's nowhere near as common though.
Make sure you're using your printers "black & white" mode if it has one.

"too dark" is a common complaint that's unlikely to be related to the ICC profile though and is more likely that your monitor is too bright. All monitors rely on light coming from behind, whilst paper relies on natural light coming from the front (and reflecting). iMonitors are particularly bad at this. Calibration will deal with it to a certain extent. Again, IME, I still needed to tone down my monitor brightness to get the majority of papers I use delivering prints that were like-screen.

However, even though my monitor is calibrated, I still get prints that are "too dark" on one paper type (only that one!). In that instance, I up the Brightness in the Print Module in LR by +50 and that does the job. I have 2 templates saved for each paper type (1 colour and 1 B&W) which automatically applies these adjustments which makes it a pain to set up but once it's done, it's done.
As a quick fix would lowering the brightness of the monitor till it matches the print then adjusting the photo correct it? Or is that a bit hit a miss?
It’s odd as I don’t think it’s brighter than my last monitor. Maybe it doesn’t have to be much brighter to really throw it off
 
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Ben johns
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Ben
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#6
Colour is one consideration and tone is another. I'd say that for general purposes colour is probably more likely to be right 'out of the box'.

If you soft-proof you might often find that some papers need the image brightness / contrast to be boosted to match your intention.

This is irrespective of whether the lab requires you to embed the print profile or not.

In this case it sounds to me as if your monitor might be too bright. What's it set to?
I just checked and the brightness was 40/100, doesn’t seem overly high.
 
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droj
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#7
It's not quite right to match monitor brightness to a print that you produced from a previous setting, but you've got the general idea. About 45 - 50% might be a good starting point.

Our eyes aren't always very good calibrators!
 
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Ben johns
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Ben
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#9
No the contrast is at 50%. Just lowered the brightness to 30% and the print is still way off.
Shame I got the test from whitewall. Can’t get some tests done quickly
 
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Ben johns
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Ben
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#10
Thinking about it i also unchecked the auto optimisation for exposure and printing box and it was the first time (as far as I remember) that I unchecked it. Maybe my monitors were always too bright.
 
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droj
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#11
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Ben johns
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Ben
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#12
That’s what I thought, that’s why I unchecked it. I’m not sure how they can adjust it without knowing how you want it to look but there you go.
Nice one! I’ll have a look at those a bit later
 
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Nightmare
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#13
Post the picture, or else the talk too hypothetical.

It is very easy to end up with dark prints because image is too dark. I've been saying this for years but everyone loves deep darkness until they try to print.

ICC profiles have little to do with it, although a major paper type mismatch can affect the amount of ink deposited. A matt canvas or textured paper will obviously need more ink than glossy paper.
 
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Ben johns
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Ben
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#16
That’s the digital photo, I didn’t think to take a photo of the print. I’ll do that when I’m home
 
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David
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#17
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3,472
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droj
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#20
To me that's not a dark print - it's just a print. Chiaroscuro isn't bad. But again, it depends on your intention ...

Back to the chase though - you have the stated problem of reconciling print and display. Welcome to the minefield! But it needs sorting.
 
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3,795
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Ian
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#21
Looks dark to me. The shadow detail in the lower right corner is gone compared to the Flickr image (in which you can see the skirting board). It's actually a pretty good image for test printing because of the high dynamic range. You probably wouldn't notice it on a "landscape-with-rocks-in-the-foreground-shadow-slider-up" type image.

I've had this before on some papers where the shadow detail just turns to black mush, but if you've got it on two separate papers that's a tell tale sign it's "up your end" as my old boss would say. Try upping the exposure by 2 stops in your processing software and reprinting.

A printer friend of mine swears by calibrating his screen to the print with his eyes. If it's good enough for someone who's run a successful company for 30 years, it's good enough for me*. The "small" difference here could easily be screen brightness IMO.

* Edit to add: I use print vs screen comparisons for brightness but rely on calibration for colour.
 
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