How to get optimum results from Frontier machines?

Discussion in 'Photoshop' started by OT, Jan 3, 2004.

  1. OT

    OT Guest

    I've never been especially happy with prints done at Costco or Sams,
    they always seem to lack the snap that I achieve without difficulty
    when printing at home. I suspect that it's the limited sRGB
    colorspace that these Frontier printers use. It's not hard to dig up
    the proper ICC profile for these ( but what is the
    best workflow to use? I'm starting with untagged TIF images that have
    been adjusted to appear correct on a calibrated monitor.

    Do I first convert these images to the Frontier machine's ICC profile,
    then adjust them afterward with Photoshop's preview function so they
    look right? Simply converting to ICC profile doesn't seem to do the

    Thanks for any help!

    OT, Jan 3, 2004
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  2. Normal proceedure (as if anything to do with photography could be normal) is
    to edit your images with colour management turned off. When you are
    satisfied with the results... Apply the profile of your output devise. You
    might see some colour shift in the applied image but it will reverse itself
    on the output devise. This is the colsest to a 'tutorial' I can offer.

    Techno Aussie, Jan 4, 2004
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  3. OT

    OT Guest

    Thanks--but can I assume that this means that Adobe Gamma is turned
    off, also?
    OT, Jan 4, 2004
  4. OT

    Buster Guest

    OK, then what you're telling us is that you start with a calibrated
    monitor with no other color management used (such as Abobe Gamma),
    then you turn Color Management (in Photoshop Color Settings) off, then
    Convert to Profile, choosing the ICC profile of the Frontier. Is any
    tweaking possible after converting to profile--should the View/Proof
    Colors be used, or does it serve any purpose for this?
    Buster, Jan 4, 2004
  5. OT

    Flycaster Guest

    Gee, I've bought this great $650 image manipulation program that offers the
    best color management of any software on the planet, and here's a "tutorial"
    telling me that *everyone* just "turns it off." What am I going to do now?
    Guess I'll just have to chuck all my profiles, soft-proofing,
    conversion-on-the-fly using monitor compensation, etc., etc., etc., and go
    back to PS 4.0.

    Flycaster, Jan 4, 2004
  6. Techno Aussie, Jan 4, 2004
  7. OT

    Buster Guest

    Well, maybe that's the problem...with too many options to the workflow
    dillema we often wind up stacking at least two "profiles" on the poor
    image and get overcompensated results to match. I suppose with
    experience we each come up with various methods that arrive at decent
    prints, but this whole thing should be a straightforward methodology.
    I'm addled by all this controversy-- next thing I'm getting an X-Rite
    reflective photometer, cal target and reference prints. Maybe THEN I
    can see the light.

    One thing that's always bothered me is that a "calibrated" monitor
    differs so much from one that's adjusted in accordance with Adobe
    Gamma. Mine seems rather "warm" or "tannish" in hue, rather than
    having a visually neutral tone. Why is that? So what's wrong with
    Adobe Gamma that makes it unsuited to use with Photoshop CS?
    Buster, Jan 4, 2004
  8. OT

    Flycaster Guest

    It IS fairly straightforward. Calibrate and profile your monitor, use a RGB
    working space that approximates your output device (for inkjet and CMYK,
    that'd be AdobeRGB98; for commercial photoprinters it's ususally sRGB),
    soft-proof using the output the profile to make your final image
    adjustments, and then designate Document for Source and the output profile
    in Print Space under Print Preview. This is, BTW, covered in the manual.
    Nothing. If it has a hue, then why don't you re-run Adobe Gamma, separate
    the color sliders, and balance the RGB VLUT gains independently. If you can
    see the hue, for chrissakes get rid of it! Again, this is covered in the
    manual as well as in almost every PS book there is.

    The fact that Adobe Gamma is not as *accurate* as a puck based
    calibration/profiling system is obvious. Nonetheless, many, many people use
    it exclusively and get very good monitor-print matches, provided they have a
    decent new monitor and they use Adobe Gamma correctly.

    Oh, and don't "turn off color management." That is just about the dumbest
    thing I've read here, in a long, long time. Do yourself a favor and buy
    "Real World Photoshop" by Blatner/Fraser. It's a great "PS bible", and it
    will certainly open your eyes to the truths, and nonsense, you read here.
    Flycaster, Jan 4, 2004
  9. ------------------
    That all depends, Flycaster.
    If you get 200~300 prints a month made by a lab and you've tried every lab
    in the country and got back unacceptably variable work and you then started
    getting consistent results with these instructions. Why wouldn't you follow
    them? The major difference between PS 5 and PS CS is not in how it handles
    colour but in other functionality.

    Whatever I said about colour and how to get a photo back that is very close
    to the one you see on the screen, relates to photographic output. Inkjet
    printers output very different colour but by following the same advise, you
    can apply the inkjet profile at the end of the edit session and have nearly
    identical prints or photographs.

    Image manipulation programs like the "great $650" one you have all need
    training to consistently output what you see on the screen as what you get
    in a photograph. The information I have provided in this thread is intended
    to help those (obviously less proficient than yourself) people who are
    experiencing problems getting their digital photos printed by a chemical

    From the customers I have that use Photoshop 6, 7, 7.1, CS and Essentials 2,
    I can say with some certainty that the biggest problem facing digital
    Photographers who use Photoshop up to about intermediate proficiency is the
    variation between what they see on the screen and what their inkjet or photo
    lab printer produces. The information I provide here is not meant for
    advanced people like yourself but for photographers who use Photoshop to
    produce and enhance their photographs.

    Techno Aussie, Jan 4, 2004
  10. OT

    Mike Russell Guest

    Anything but.
    For CMYK work, I would advocate that photographers use CMYK to give a higher
    level of control to the final result, rather than trusting someone
    downstream in the workflow to correctly convert their images.

    I wouldn't recommend Adobe RGB particularly for inkjet printer work, or any
    other fine work for that matter. The difference is really rather subtle as
    far as image appearance goes, but sRGB will do the job.

    Importantly, sRGB will avoid the risk that someone will get hold of your
    stuff on a web page, or print it on a Fujy Frontier, ignoring the embedded
    profile, and think to themselves "gee - I thought so and so had more of a
    Velvia look than that, oh well", and move on the the next photographer's
    I suspect the hue is due to setting the color temperature to 6500 or lower,
    rather than an explicit mismatch of the RGB sliders.
    Nothing obvious about it. A lot of people invest in these colorimeters, and
    end up with results that are inferior to careful use of the Adobe Gamma
    I have a copy, and I found it to contain valuable information, but off the
    mark in several respects, and rather weak in many of the example images,
    which often fail to illustrate the point they are making. The strengths of
    CMYK correction are completely omitted from that book as well, and hibit is
    promoted with very little justification other than histogram combing. I
    also disagree with the rather endemic premise of the Fraser book that
    profiles will solve your color correction problems.

    I would suggest Dan Margulis's Professional Photoshop book instead. The
    opening chapters are directed at beginners, and the remainder of the book
    will keep you going for a good long time.
    I agree there's plenty of nonsense in this group. I'm hopeful that the two
    of us are not contributing a significan fraction of it. :)
    Mike Russell, Jan 4, 2004
  11. OT

    Flycaster Guest

    If I had tried "every lab in the country and got back unacceptably variable
    work", it would've occured to me that, just possibly, I didn't know what I
    was doing! Seriously, this is simple hyperbole, no?
    True, but we're now 4 iterations down the road. The major difference
    between PS 5 and PS 6 (skipping 5.5 for now) most certainly WAS in how it
    handled colour, not other functionality.
    Applying (you *do* mean "convert to", yes?) "the inkjet profile at the end
    of the edit session" negates any benefit of final image control via
    soft-proofing, which to me is a waste of one of the greatest PS features.
    Irrespective, why the advice to "turn off color management?" With no DUMC,
    you'll never get a screen-printer match using the profile. How can you
    since the monitor profile is *ignored* and all color information is directly
    mapped with no adjustments? This is, from a PS point of view, pre-historic
    And I think all that is very commendable, but for goodness sake stop telling
    people to "turn off color management." I, too, worked with the "old"
    Photoshop (had it since Ver. 2.5), and found working without color managment
    and display compensation is a complete PITA. It used to take me sometimes 5
    , 6, or even more contract proofs to get "close" - nowadays, I get what I
    want in 1, 2 max. Not to mention, my inkjet printers are true WYSIWYG
    relative to my screen (no, they are not "perfect" and probably never will
    be), and what I send to photofinishers is what I get back becuase I am
    working in a screen rendition of *their* device's color space. So, again,
    why advise people to dumb PS down?

    I'm *not* trying to bust your chops here, rather letting you know that there
    are plenty of "tutorials" available on the net that tell folks *exactly* how
    to do this using full color management, with profiles, soft-proofing, the
    whole shebang. Ian Lyons web-site is chock full of this stuff, and is
    recommended by people here every single day. To top it off, he's a great
    guy, he frequents the Adobe forums, and will (along with Bruce Fraser)
    actually reply to messages and e-mails.
    (Just FYI, about 95% of what I do is covered in your last sentence here...)
    Irrespective, do you know the reason *why* most digital photographers have
    this problem? It is not because they are stupid, nor is it due to the
    information not being readily available; rather, it's because the majority
    of the digital photographers who buy Photoshop are too *lazy* to RTFM. They
    plunk down a grand or more for a great inkjet and high end imaging program,
    and then complain about the fact that it actually takes some set-up, not to
    mention some time to learn about how it all works. I mean, how many times
    have you seen the post here, "How do I calibrate my monitor?" For
    chrissakes, it's in Chapter 1!

    You want to hear a GOOD one? I (god's truth) had a phone call last week
    from a client for whom I built a digital system about 6 months ago. He told
    me that he couldn't figure out how to use PS -I supplied him with copies of
    RWP, along with PS Classroom, both of which he *refuses* to look at- and
    that a friend of his who "knows a lot about this stuff" had recommended that
    he dump his new system and buy a Mac instead...and that "that would solve
    all his problems." (No shit, amigo, those were his exact words, and the guy
    has a PhD to boot.)
    Flycaster, Jan 5, 2004
  12. OT

    Hecate Guest

    Hi Doug,

    Well, I have to agree with Flycaster. If you're talking about
    photographers who use Photoshop then the best thing they can do is get
    hold of a copy of Martin Evening's Photoshop for Photographers and
    follow his lucid and intelligent instructions for getting excellent
    results. Notably, he uses Photoshop's Colour Management to do this.
    Anyone with the intelligence to operate a modern camera should be able
    to follow Martin's advice and get ver7y good results from their
    printing. Of course, I'm only talking about the quality of the output,
    not the quality of the image :)
    Hecate, Jan 5, 2004
  13. OT

    Flycaster Guest

    Mike, you always have taken a fairly contrarian point of view, especially
    with respect to the promotion of the sRGB working space, and CMYK
    adjustments for RGB print output. While I have seen some of the positive
    aspects of the latter, if I even mention sRGB to either of my service
    bureaus they'll cut me off. ;)

    Adobe Gamma builds no color ramp information in the profile, rather it
    simply balances a single grey-point, which PS then linearly extrapolates
    from there. The puck based profilers, otoh, do measure ramp swatches, thus
    they are more "accurate" in their color ramp predictions. That many (most?)
    people don't use either correctly was not what I was referring to, rather
    what they are *capable* of..

    Margulis' book is helpful, but I personally find his curves obsession to be
    a bit pedantic. While all of these authors "toot their own horns", Margulis
    seems to be a little more strident in this regard, especially in his disdain
    for competing theories and practices. I dunno...maybe it's a style thing
    for me.
    Flycaster, Jan 5, 2004
  14. The schools of thought we have differ, Flycaster.
    I know absolutely that people (not professionals) who buy DSLRs and
    Photoshop just expect it all to work for them. My solution is not to fight
    the flow but to go along with it. I don't have a problem with Photoshop
    knowledge or how it's acquired. I have a big problem in trying to 'train'
    customers (many of whom make a heap more money than I do) into learning and
    more importantly retaining the knowledge of complex software.

    My free time is spent learning computer languages and writing magazine
    articles. I don't have the time to discover how my car's GPS actually works.
    Whenever I need it, I just switch it on and press a button or two. I know a
    fellow who really does know how it works and he has a problem with my
    insistence that it's a piece of crap because I don't have the time or
    inclination to delve into the manual and even when I do, can't remember what
    I learn because the bloody car is just an irrelevant but essential part of
    my life.

    In the context of what I've said, I have great success in breaking down
    complex procedures into (relatively) simple instruction that produce the end
    results that my customers can live with. On the odd occasion I come across
    someone who really does have the desire and time to master Photoshop, I pass
    them on to a friend who really does know how to use it. Incidentally his
    wife does the Photography because he couldn't take a good picture if his
    life depended on it! Great team too.

    My instructions to turn off colour management and add the printer profile at
    the end of an edit session, have overcome some major differences in output.
    If you follow my advise you will be able to create two different files, one
    for a photolab and one for your inkjet which will produce fairly constant

    These instructions are not meant for people who "know how Photoshop works"
    but for those thousands of other people who buy it expecting it to work
    logically (which it has never done) or just work. I respect your in-depth
    knowledge, Flycaster but I also recognise that just taking a horse to water
    does not necessarily mean it won't die of thirst. To gain the knowledge you
    have means you have dedicated the time to learn... Not everyone has that

    P.S. In answer to the question below... If you created an image and sent
    that image to 10 labs claiming to have the same digilab, and the photo's all
    came back looking different, Seriously, is that simple hyperbole?
    Techno Aussie, Jan 5, 2004
  15. From a strictly personal and hypothetical view, Hecate... I agree entirely
    with you and Flycaster. Just don't try to tell someone with 15 years
    photography behind them, who has spent $15,000 on gear to shoot 1000 frames
    a day that they don't know what they are doing... Even if they don't!

    I take the line of least resistance and get them at least in the ballpark
    before anything else. Anyone who asks what they need to do to send a file to
    a digilab (The OP), clearly does not understand very much about the things
    you take for granted. If they at least get a picture close to what they
    expect, they won't give up... That's all, not rocket science, just human

    Soft proof 600 pictures of school kids? Nah, just make a droplet and drag
    the bloody lot into it! They'll all come out cropped to 5x7 at 250 DPI with
    close enough colour... The Frontierer will love 'em. That's professional
    Photography, digital style. Or do you think Professional photography is
    selling a single photo as a work of art? Hmmm?

    Techno Aussie, Jan 5, 2004
  16. OT

    Flycaster Guest


    I can't speak to that, but we do certainly differ in other areas. Your
    recommendation that folks "turn off color managment" not only flies in the
    face of what PS is all about, it is unecessarily *complicated* and
    *confusing* advice. Here is what you said, in your first reply to the post,
    in which the poster appears somewhat comfortable with the concepts of
    profiles, converting, and soft-proofing:

    " Normal proceedure (as if anything to do with photography could be normal)
    to edit your images with colour management turned off. When you are
    satisfied with the results... Apply the profile of your output devise. You
    might see some colour shift in the applied image but it will reverse itself
    on the output devise. This is the colsest to a 'tutorial' I can offer."

    The simple, and correct answer to the post is, " Soft-proof using the
    profile to make your final edits, and then convert a copy of the file to
    sRGB and send that copy to the Frontier lab." I realize this takes into
    account more PS knowledge than you are comfortable with, but this is the way
    it has been done for the past 5 or so years.

    Your response, otoh, blows off his existing knowledge and takes him back to
    the PS dark ages. Not only that, but your advice will get him into even
    more trouble since his question was for a FRONTIER, and your response (as
    well as recommnded the web-site) was for a LAMBDA: Frontiers are not
    colormanaged and you cannot "pre-profile" files, rather they will only
    accept *sRGB* files, and if you pre-convert as you would for a Lambda you
    will get disastrous results.

    For someone who appears to be at least conversant with PS, you are the
    *only* person I have ever seen that recommended turning color management
    off. I have no problem whatsoever with your suggesting this old methodology
    as an alterantive for someone who is hopelessly confused by all aspects of
    color management. Furthermore, I do not doubt that your personal work-flow
    based on the non-color managed technology of 8 years ago still provides you
    with acceptable results. But for you to insist that this method is, today,
    "normal" is just...absurd.
    Flycaster, Jan 5, 2004
  17. OT

    Mike Russell Guest

    Flycaster wrote: [speaking to "Techno Aussie"]
    I'll chime in here and say that techno aussie is not alone. I have made
    this recommendation many times, particularly when v5 first came out.
    Furthermore I have seen nothing here to convince me otherwise - quite the

    At that time folks were going through the nightmare of having their work
    unexpectedly "converted", Procrustean-style, to sRGB so as to "fit" the new
    system .

    Though I did recommend turning off CM repeatedly when v5 first came out and
    people's work was going down the sRGB drain, this seldom my first
    recommendation. I do still recommend turning color management off for
    people who require PS to exactly match their other applications, and who
    have no desire to export profiled images to others.

    Flycaster also said:
    No. For many, probably the majority of customers, color management is simply
    a background support function. It is in no way, shape, or form, "what
    Photoshp is all about", nor is it confusing or complex to turn off.

    Curves, info palette, layers, masks, compositing, and the other tools are
    indeed "what photoshop is all about". CM, though it may loom large for
    those who make their living from it, is only a supporting function.

    Remember, through PS version 4, people were turning out excellent prints
    without a profile in sight. At that time there was, quite simply, no hue
    and cry from the masses for CM's implementation. Though important, and even
    crucial for a large shop, CM was not, and is not today, very exciting or
    even functional for a one person operation.
    Mike Russell, Jan 5, 2004
  18. OT

    Hecate Guest

    The trouble with taking the line of least resistance is that you
    usually end up with crap. I come at PS from the photography side and
    decided that, when I was going to change to a digital darkroom I was
    going to learn to do it properly. Not doing it properly means you
    don't get the best results.......
    .....and not getting the best results means that you're already behind
    in the competition for work whether it's you're a school photographer,
    a wedding photographer or, yes, an art photographer who is looking for
    the perfect single image. As it happens, my work has always been in
    the nature/landscape arena (mainly - I have done other stuff as well)
    and I can tell you quite categorically that the best image not printed
    (either to film or paper) will *always* lose to a good image that#'s
    been properly handled. The people in this arena that get the sales are
    the people who are obsessive about quality, not those who are know for
    being "good enough". Like photography in most other fields, it's
    highly competitive and everyone and their uncle thinks they can take a
    better image than you as soon as they've bought their first camera.

    "Good enough" may be fine for press work - for anything else it isn't.
    Hecate, Jan 6, 2004
  19. OT

    Flycaster Guest

    You were certainly not the only voice speaking out against the CM policies
    of Ver 5.0; they were half-baked and horribly confusing. Nonetheless, that
    was (digitally speaking) a long time ago, my friend, and even you will admit
    that much has changed since then. (BTW, that's one of the few times I've
    ever seen "procrustean" used correctly. Good fit. ;)
    Funny, but I infer that you are actually agreeing with me here. This is
    also the first time I've ever seen you write a negative word about sRGB.
    I'm speechless.
    Of course you do, though there is a also very simple color managed way to do
    this, as you well know.
    Mike, I said the *advice* was confusing, not the act of turning it off.
    Juheesus, disagree with me all you want, but at least pay attention to what
    I wrote and not accuse me of being a dimwit!
    Tell that to someone who owns PSP. It, too, has all the tools and gadgets
    PS does (and some other cool ones as well), costs a helluva lot less, yet it
    falls on its face when it runs into color managed workflows.
    That you, and I, as well as others got good results using PS 4.0 (and
    before) is not the point. Frankly, I also got great results long before
    digital *anything* - I've been at the high-end print game probably for as
    long as anybody in here. Does that mean we should all eschew the benefits
    of working digitally altogether and dig out the enlargers and old bottles of
    heavy metals? Boy, I hope not.
    Of course not. The "masses" never hue and cry for anything about which they
    are totally ignorant. CM did not *exist* prior to Ver. 4.0, except in the
    gleam of certain engineers' minds.
    While I also strongly disagree with you regarding the applicability of CMS
    to a single person workflow, it's clear you haven't been paying much
    attention to this thread: take a look at the post header. Going to an
    outside printer is, by definition, no longer a "one person operation"

    In closing, many of us (arguably the vast majority) have embraced CMS for
    two simple reasons: it works pretty darned well in almost every situation,
    it's far better than the alternative because of that, and (though you would
    disagree) it *is* easier. Like you, I've worked in non color managed
    workflows. If you and our Australian friend want to stand pat by rejecting
    this new technology some or all of the time, so be it: go in peace. As for
    me, "Been there, done that, got the t-shirt", and I'm not going back.

    That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.
    Flycaster, Jan 6, 2004
  20. OT

    Buster Guest

    That's been my recent experience-the Frontier machines evidently
    convert customer's images to their own internal profiles, and don't
    need any help. Using Photoshop to convert and image to a Frontier
    profile will result in severe color shift, including brownish
    blacks/greys. It seems that all the Frontiers I have in my locality
    are set up to produce accurate results from sRGB inputs only. BTW, is
    that the "e-sRGB" that appears in Photoshop's conversion menu?
    Buster, Jan 6, 2004
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