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In this course, photographer and author Ben Long explores the art and the craft of creating beautiful, archival-quality inkjet prints. The course looks at the anatomy of a print job: how a printer works, how to adjust and prepare your image to get the best results, and what happens to your photo in its journey from pixels to paper.
After a discussion of how to choose a printer, the course covers the process of preparing both black and white and color images using Adobe Photoshop. Ben describes how to take images from looking good onscreen to being properly adjusted for best results on paper, covering details such as sizing, sharpening, and color management.
With photographer and master framer Konrad Eek, Ben explores the creative decisions that photographers should address before printing. What size print? How does print size relate to the message of the photo and to the space where the photo will be displayed? What kinds of paper choices do you have, and how does your photo's content relate to the paper you choose?
The course also describes how to properly evaluate a print and how to handle common challenges that crop up during the printing process.
So the Spyder is done. It's taken all of its measurements. It's created an ICC profile, and it went ahead saved it for me, it's actually showing me where it saved it. It's saving it in the ColorSync folder which is where ICC profiles go on the Mac. On Windows they have a particular location that they go into, but again the software is going to take care of that for you. Another thing that it did earlier was ask me how often would I like to be reminded about re-profiling, and it suggested an interval of two weeks. You may think, wow, profiling every two weeks. Really your monitor can change that quickly.
If you're going to be critical about color, it's not a bad idea to go through this profiling process very regularly and most profiling software can be set up to give you a reminder that it's time to do it again. So what we've got here is a chance to see kind of a before and after thing. This is what it looks like using the new profile, that's what it looked like before. So it's mighty subtle but what I'm seeing here is an overall change in contrast. This is a little grayer, the blacks are stronger in my profiled view.
And if you've watched the rest of this course you should know by now that I am really excited about that. That's making some very subtle changes in color saturation. So my monitor was doing pretty well before even without the profile. Bear in mind this monitor came out of the box about a week ago, so it's pretty much brand-new, hasn't had a lot of wear and tear, so that's why it's not way off. Still that extra little bit may be critical for getting good color. I've also got an option here to manually tune the profile. I can alter the white point, both, blue and red, purple and green.
I can alter the Gamma and the Brightness, you typically won't do this if you're working with a single monitor. This is about trying to get a bunch of different monitors to match. First, you'd profile them and then you've got these manual controls for going in and trying to skew these different parameters around to get them to match. If you work with more than one monitor that's a reason that the Spyder is a good choice, it gives you that extra capability. So I'm going to keep going through here. It's giving me some other stuff, it's showing me how my monitor compares to some other standards. I can see that I have 100% of the sRGB color space, meaning I can show the whole thing.
I've gotten 95% of Adobe RGB. Ooh! I'm supposed to have 100% of Adobe RGB, and I've got 88% of NTSC, that's a standard definition color space. I don't care about sRGB or NTSC, I want that Adobe RGB color space. Why do I only have 95%? Because the profiling process is not perfect, I could go back right now, put the Spyder back on, do another profile, and I might get a different result. I might get 96%, I might get 93%, I might get 100%.
Very often you're going to need to re-profile a few times, save each profile and then take the one that's the best. I can't give you an explanation for why it's so variable. My personal feeling is that it has to do with ambient light, leaking into the profiler, might also have to do with maybe the monitor has warmed up in someway or another that makes one profile better than another. If you are finding variability between your profiles, don't worry, that's normal. What I've started to do lately is to say I'm going to profile it three times and take the best one.
If they keep getting worse then maybe I'll keep going and hope they get better again. One nice thing about the Spyder is it has some other tools for assessing the quality of the profile. There's a software I can run, that will allow me to put the profiler back on, and it will basically shine tests through its profile to measure the quality of the profile. I can also measure it across the screen so I can see if there is color differential in the corners or from the top to bottom. These are great tools that make the Spyder well worth it for a monitor calibrator because they allow you to assess the quality of your profile.
And if you're finding it's lacking then you know that maybe it's time to go in and profile again. So now that I've got my profile done and installed you may think, well, great. Now I can open up images and they're going to look just like they do on paper, and that's not actually true. Having a profile installed doesn't mean that the color that's being displayed on your computer monitor is already adjusted for a particular piece of paper. That is a complex process all on itself called soft proofing, wherein I tell Photoshop what kind of paper I'm using it uses that paper profile in conjunction with my monitor profile to generate a more accurate view on screen.
We can't do that yet though because we need to think about paper profiles, and that's what we're going to discuss in the next movie.
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