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[icon] Printing is such sweet sorrow - Patti
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Subject:Printing is such sweet sorrow
Time:02:31 am
Getting really good color prints is bloody hard work!

On Saturday, I printed a batch of proofs at Costco in San Francisco. Normally I avoid Costco like the plague, but they do a mighty fine job of online prints with a couple-hour turnaround, and at dirt cheap prices. My home printer does a trivially better job, but costs significantly more. The guys at the SF photo center used to know me so well that they would occasionally call me and say things like, "You have autocorrection set on this batch. You don't usually do that... is that what you want?"

The first batch of flower photos sucked. Flower pictures are highly color-sensitive, and I hadn't used the printer's custom color profiles.

I invested a couple of hours in color-correcting the images to match the printer's profile, and picked up the set yesterday. The orchid in the top right made me happy, but the rest weren't quite right. P is much better at this than I am, so last night I handed him the images and asked him what he would change.

This morning, I re-re-edited several of them and sent them off to the SF Costco for printing. Well, I tried... they were temporarily unavailable. A quick call let me know that they'd lost power, and should be back online by late afternoon or tomorrow morning. Late afternoon came and went with no status change, so I called again. "We blew up a transformer. It'll be a week or two before we're back." SHIT! All that work.

In desperation, I sent the order to the San Leandro Costco. The color profiles wouldn't be the same since they're unique for every printer, but I hoped they'd be close enough since they were the same model and the same paper.

Of the six in the photo from yesterday, I'm pretty happy with five of them. The pink calla lily needs a lot of help, but the other five are either ready to go or need very minor adjustment. Happy Patti. Soon I will have my first batch of flower porn for sale. I'm still fumbling a lot with Photoshop, and there's a ton of trial and error and tweaking and playing involved in getting the colors where I want them to be, but at least now it doesn't feel impossible.
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scottro
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Time:2007-06-01 01:39 am (UTC)
i like em. Do you have individuals?

Still trying to get the extreme close up thing down (I'm shooting coins, and they almost always come out blurry). The macro thing seems to help though. I think I need to put more effort into it.

Keep up the good work.

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whipartist
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Time:2007-06-01 07:44 am (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by individuals.

Macro is hard. Hand-held macro is nearly impossible.
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scottro
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Time:2007-06-01 02:34 pm (UTC)
Do you have each flower as a separate piece? Individually shot?

Poker is hard too, but I'm kinda getting the hang of it.

Oh, and BARGE looks like a go for sure now. Yay!

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whipartist
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Time:2007-06-01 03:21 pm (UTC)
That's the only way I have them-- check my flower porn set on Flickr.
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scottro
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Time:2007-06-01 03:33 pm (UTC)
ah, perfect!

I have new desktop material now! Yay spring!

Great stuff there.

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whitebird
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Time:2007-06-01 02:39 am (UTC)
1) Make sure your monitor is color calibrated and profiled. A cheap and yet good-reviewed profiler device is the Huey Pro, and $100ish. (Calibration is setting the monitor to specific physical traits. Profiling is creating a translation table of values so what you want your document to look like your color synching software will translate from working space to display profile.)

2) Pick a working color space and ensure all your documents are set to that profile. (Adobe RGB and sRGB are the two most common color spaces in which to work.)

3) Soft-proof with the printer profile.

The color synching technology of your OS should do all the necessary conversions. (Colorsync for Mac, ICM for Windows.) And the printer will take your document with your working space profile tag and convert it to their printer profile space during the printing process.

Not sure if I've mentioned it to you, but a good general color management book is Eddie Tapp's Practical Color Management.
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whitebird
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Time:2007-06-01 02:43 am (UTC)
Ps: Ignore me if the above is what you're doing, but from your description it didn't quite sound that way. I'm perfectly willing to be wrong, though. :)
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whipartist
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Time:2007-06-01 07:47 am (UTC)
My monitor is calibrated. (I have a Gretag Macbeth Eye-One Match... I'm a little lazy about regular calibration, but it happens every couple of months.) My work space is consistent. I'm soft-proofing with the printer profile.

That's where things get interesting. Once I soft proof, I find out the image looks entirely craptacular on the printer, so I have to jump through many hoops to get the colors right.
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[icon] Printing is such sweet sorrow - Patti
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