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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Why does it all look like crap?
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10/29/2005 03:32:49 AM · #1
I've spent about $70.00 on prints from 2 different companies and all my prints look like crap. Ordered from dpprints and mpix. All the photos have either color casts or jpeg artifacts. Do all prints have these? Am I being to critical? These are for sale and a possible gallery showing. Please help!!!! beforeigoinsane......
10/29/2005 03:35:25 AM · #2
Is your monitor calibrated? Which method of calibration?

Message edited by author 2005-10-29 03:37:37.
10/29/2005 03:36:53 AM · #3
Which prints/sizes?
10/29/2005 03:39:15 AM · #4
Is side with Faidoi, could be your monitor that needs to be calibrated.
10/29/2005 03:40:01 AM · #5
Yeah. You might want to calibrate your monitor. I used Adobe Gamma to calibrate my CRT, and when using proper ICC profiles, I get pretty much what i see on the monitor
10/29/2005 04:04:31 AM · #6
Until you get experienced at processing for printing, it can be absolutely shocking what junk shows up in your prints that you didn't see on your monitor. It's impossible to speculate here on just what gremlins are plaguing you, as there are so many ways it can get messed up. This is why I make my own prints, incidentally; it gives me direct feedback in real-time. If I need to make a print larger than the max my printer can produce (13x19) I will have already made at least one print myself before sending it out to be done in a larger size, so I will have caught any flaws and corrected them.

I strongly recommend you get a decent, low-end photo printer (they can be had in the 100-dollar range) that will produce 8.5x11 images; these will suffice for revealing most problems you may encounter, as far as color cast and artifacts go.

It's a fact of life that if you edit color significantly in the computer, it's really easy to produce artifacts that cannot be easily seen when viewing the full image on your screen. You can detect most of them by blowing the image up to "view actual pixels" in PS. A common source of problems, incidentally, is oversharpening, especially of you use a CRT screen; the LCD screens are much crisper (even unrealistically so) and will not encourage as much sharpening. In any case, it's common to make print files with MUCH less sharpening than the files intended for web viewing. And as a loose rule of thumb, the larger the print is going to be the less you need to sharpen it.

If you're working from JPG originals and your camera is set to "normal" sharpening, you usually won't need to do ANY sharpening in PS to get a crisp print, assuming the image was in focus to begin with. If you're working with RAW, of course, you'll need to apply some sharpening since the "RAW negative" has none.

Your color issues may be related to the color space in which you are working, but are more likely derivative of a poorly-calibrated monitor. Again, if you have your own printer for proofing you can use feedback from the print to adjust your monitor. If you shoot a JPG image of a standard, outdoor, full-sunlight scene in "normal everything" mode (Auto WB, normal sharpening, saturation, contrast) and then print this image with no post-processing whatever, that's a decent benchmark. You can then adjust the monitor so the image in PS "looks like" the print, and you'll be pretty close to the mark.

There are, of course, more sophisticated ways to calibrate, both software and hardware solutions.

Another variation that many overlook is differences in perceived results in different types of ambient light, both when viewing the print and when viewing the monitor. The prints will look different if you view them in, say, diffuse daylight and under tungsten illumination. Your monitor will look different in a dim room at night than it does in a bright room in full daylight. Indeed, this is so significant that serious digital-darkroom people either work in a windowless room with controlled, unchanging ambient light or have different color profiles they load up depending on the time of day (or night) they are processing, or restrict their sewrious processing to after-dark hours when they can control the ambient illumination.

In short, it's a complicated process and one that's difficult to nail down. Best approach, by far, is to have at least a decent small color printer for proofing your images.

Robt.


10/29/2005 01:35:34 PM · #7
My moniter is calibrated. The color casts are only in certain areas of the photos. A small strip in a leaf for example. The rest of the photo seems fine. The color casts are always on another color in the photo also. Almost like bleeding but sometimes nowhere near the corresponding color. I use spyder to calibrate on a lcd moniter. If anything my photos tend to be a little soft and could use some more sharpening. I printed a very early photo that was oversharpened and I can tell the difference between what I have now and a sharpening problem. I love the idea of a small photo printer at home to check for flaws. By the way all the photos are 8x12 on fuji and kodak paper. Thanks for all the help. I'll keep trying.
10/29/2005 01:41:29 PM · #8
I put my money on Out of Gamut pixels. They can easily cause artifact and pixelation. It's easy enough to test. Click View>Out of gamut on a picture which had the problems and see if the gray shows up in the same places. We get really used to supersaturation of electronic media...
10/29/2005 01:47:32 PM · #9
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

I put my money on Out of Gamut pixels. They can easily cause artifact and pixelation. It's easy enough to test. Click View>Out of gamut on a picture which had the problems and see if the gray shows up in the same places. We get really used to supersaturation of electronic media...


And "out of gamut", of course, is related to the color space in which you are working, and the color space that the printer accepts.

R.
10/29/2005 01:50:40 PM · #10
What color profile are you using? sRGB? Abobe 1998? And remember not to "assign" the profile, ALWAYS convert to the profile.
10/29/2005 03:11:05 PM · #11
That's odd.. I got some prints done at dpcprints and they turned out amazing. I did minimal editing, and no cropping, all from 3000x2000 (shot in .jpg mode) images printed 16x24's beautifully. Very sharp, very accurate no artifacts at all. I also printed a 20x30 which I increased the image size to 3600x2400 and did some sharpening.. and did a bunch of editing to clone somethings out, there is one artifact from doing that, otherwise the image is "nice" not as clear as the 16x24's but still "nice" and it's a long exposure waterfall so the softness works for it. However on the 16x24's I was able to pick out the lens each photo was taken with, the 50mm F/1.8 II is amazingly sharp, the kit lens not so sharp but still nice results. So I would say that everything plays a part in the final result, the glass in your camera, the camera itself, the mode you take the picture in (raw/jpg/fine/normal) the amount and type of editing, and where you get it printed..
10/29/2005 07:53:24 PM · #12
RGB. I never assign the profile. It's the default for my camera and haven't had problems till now.

As for out of gamut. I'm using photo cs and the only option there is gamut warning and nothing happens when I click it. Just checked to show it's on.
10/29/2005 08:11:41 PM · #13
ok. I got the out of gamut pixels to show up and it's huge chunks on one. How does one go about fixing such a problem? They're on the unmodified original even worse than the edited version.
10/29/2005 10:13:42 PM · #14
Originally posted by danderson107:

How does one go about fixing such a problem?


Try using the sponge tool to slightly desaturate the affected areas.
10/30/2005 01:54:09 AM · #15
to get the color right you need a profile fom the photolab as well. Then you can proof your photo (view/proof setup/custom, and then select their profile) and see if the colors are out of gamut. And finally you convert your photos to their profile before sending them off. The colors might look bad after you convert them but will be right in the lab.
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