Scanning and printing very saturated/contrasty transparencies

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by hassy_user, Sep 9, 2004.

  1. hassy_user

    hassy_user Guest

    I've just begun giving digital printing a try, and I'm very impressed
    with the results I've gotten from my Epson 2200 on matte paper
    combined with a Nikon LS8000. That is, for some negs/slides. I
    shoots fashion and will often have very saturated, low key, contrasty,
    etc originals which seem to degrade quite a bit in the digtal process.
    The end results on paper are not as close to the orignals as I would
    like, and certainly not even close to the quality I would get from an
    Ilfochrome. One particularly frustrating example involves a bright
    orange bacground with some subtle red and yellow variations. It
    prints very murky. With heavy manipulation, I can get it a bit
    closer, but it's more effort than printing my own Ciba in the
    bathroom! I must be doing something wrong.

    What is the best strategy for getting these images onto paper while
    maintaining as much of the original tonal information and color
    quality as possible? I am using the Matte Heavyweight paper (since it
    comes in 11x14) but have gotten similar results on the Premium Luster
    and Glossy papers as well (all Epson). Is there a better paper I
    could be using that holds more information?

    I am using PS 7.0 with a Sony Vaio laptop (PCG-FRV31), lcd calibrated
    with Gretag Eye-One, Epson's paper profiles, and color management
    settings correct (after much struggle). I made the same print on my
    friend's Mac G4/2200/much better monitor setup and got similar
    results.
     
    hassy_user, Sep 9, 2004
    #1
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  2. hassy_user

    bmoag Guest

    In general control of contrast and saturation is infinitely more flexible
    with digital processes than with traditional photo processes. In particular
    Photoshop allows regional manipulation of these parameters over different
    parts of the image that is simply not possible with chemical photo printing
    processes. However there is a learning curve to getting the results you
    want.

    For one thing you need to plug a CRT into your portable. The LCD screen of
    your laptop will never reliably reproduce color, contrast and saturation
    required for high quality printing. It can be difficult to translate gamuts
    correctly going from a Windows to a Mac system because of the different
    color management protocols: this is not a Mac vs Windows problem but one of
    internal consistency in methods.

    It is not clear how adept you are at Photoshop. Understanding basic color
    management is a big step toward matching print to monitor colors but is not
    the only issue involved. Depending on your particular aesthetic often it
    takes experimentation with different types of images and papers to find the
    settings that more reliably yield a first print that is near what you have
    in mind.

    If you have access to a high speed internet connection Epson offers an
    online course called the Epson Print Academy with extensive demonstrations
    on using Photoshop and Epson printers, specifically the 2200. Seeing how it
    is done by Adobe experts can really jump start one's understanding of the
    process.
     
    bmoag, Sep 9, 2004
    #2
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  3. hassy_user

    hassy_user Guest

    Thanks. I have a cheap Dell CRT that I intend to plug-in once I get
    access to the calibrator again, and at least until I can afford a
    really good CRT. In fact, I may buy a basic P4 tower to dedicate just
    to running Photoshop. I've been using PS since version 4, but, being
    somewhat of a purist, I don't often do heavy manipulations - just
    basic color and levels corrections, maybe heal a stray hair or pimple.
    I'm fairly new to color management and soft-proofing, but so far my
    experience is leading me to think that all of the subtle or extreme
    colors I want to retain disappear once I hit that CTRL-Y!

    I think the root of my question relates to the tonal range of the
    paper compared to regular RA4 or Ciba paper. I know PS allows more
    control than a darkroom, but does the available paper *require* the
    use of that control? How much tonal shrinkage is occuring in the
    digtal process versus the chemical (which is my only frame of
    reference), and is it possible to retain those delicate colors?

    I will look into the Epson training. I assume it's not free...?
     
    hassy_user, Sep 9, 2004
    #3
  4. hassy_user

    Alan Justice Guest

    I just got a 2200 (and a slide scanner, PS, and a new computer to run it
    all). The Print Academy online sounds like a good thing (I just checked:
    It's US$29.95 for a 12-week course, hosted by Graham Nash!). But I tried
    the first (free) lesson, and I couldn't get it to run well with a 56k modem.

    Is there something else you would recommend to learn to make great prints?
    I'm going through "PS for the Brain-dead" or something. I know color
    management is important, but I am as-yet clueless as to how to accomplish
    it. Do I really need to get a hardware-based device?
     
    Alan Justice, Sep 10, 2004
    #4
  5. hassy_user

    DSphotog Guest

    Why are you converting to CMYK when the printer you're using expects a RGB
    file??
     
    DSphotog, Sep 10, 2004
    #5
  6. hassy_user

    hassy_user Guest

    I'm not. ?
     
    hassy_user, Sep 11, 2004
    #6
  7. hassy_user

    hassy_user Guest


    Color management is very tricky. You do need a hardware-calibrated
    monitor. Do a few Google Group searches, and also download the Epson
    PDF called "Color managed workflow" (or something like that). The
    important thing that tripped me up at first was setting the correct
    source and output color spaces in the Print with Preview screen. I
    eventually set both of mine to the paper profile and things improved
    quite a bit. You can download profiles form Epson's site.
     
    hassy_user, Sep 11, 2004
    #7
  8. hassy_user

    AK Guest

    I am a bit confused by your message and the answers, but it looks like you
    are shooting on film or slides and scanning them somehow into your computer.

    If that's correct, that's likely to be the weak link in your process.

    You need a good scanner - at least 2880 dpi - and, unfortunately, you need
    to forget about scanning them automatically. In my experience, for best
    results, every neg/slide must be tweaked for levels, brightness and contrast
    in the scan, otherwise the quality of the digital image will be too poor to
    manipulate successful afterwards in PS on your computer. My Minolta DiMage
    does allow me to store profiles that can cut down the fiddling around a bit
    once I get it right for one batch (I'm gradually converting old negs and
    slides to digital.


    Alan
     
    AK, Sep 12, 2004
    #8
  9. hassy_user

    hassy_user Guest

    Hi Alan. I am using a Nikon LS8000, usually at 3000dpi/14-bit from
    6x6 slides or negs, and usually at least 4 passes. As a general
    strategy to capture more info, should I be lowering contrast in the
    scanner software, or making separate scans for shadows and highlights
    to be sandwiched together? Or neither/both? I also am considering
    pull processing all of my slide film as an alternative to switching
    back to neg film. Comments and suggestions?

    Chris
     
    hassy_user, Sep 13, 2004
    #9
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