lack of knowledge about printing

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Beach Bum, Jan 13, 2006.

  1. Beach Bum

    Beach Bum Guest

    I'm preparing to enter my first art show by the end of the year and I want
    to be able to sell fine art prints and also smaller flip-matted prints. The
    problem is I know very little about making prints from digital. I'm very
    familiar with making prints from film and have my own dark room, but it's
    been almost a year since I used it. Since purchasing the 20D my 35mm SLR
    gets little to no attention. :)

    I'll be using a professional shop I've used in the past to do my big prints,
    but I don't even want to approach them without some basic knowledge of
    digital printing techniques.

    Normally I'd Google first, but honestly I don't even know enough to make an
    intelligent search.

    Suggested reading, links, or basic explanations of some common techniques
    would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
     
    Beach Bum, Jan 13, 2006
    #1
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  2. Beach Bum

    C J Southern Guest

    I went through this process a few months ago ... and after shelling out just
    over $10,000 New Zealand dollars for an Epson 7800 and a few rolls of paper
    and spares, I'm now "in the business".

    To be honest, I think many print shops have cultivated the myth that digital
    printing is some kind of "black art" (no pun intended!) to try and "protect
    their turf" - where in reality you stick the paper that you want to use in
    the printer - tell the print driver what kind of paper it is - and "hit the
    print button" - it really is about that simple.

    Obviously a few things to learn along the way - there is a minimum
    resolution that can you can print at, and still have the image look good
    (about 150 dpi) - in reality I've found you can take an 8mp frame from a 20D
    and print it easily up to a 12 * 18, and even bigger. I've done 20 * 30 on
    canvas without any problems.

    Sometimes I find that certain combinations print slightly differently that
    appears on my (uncalibrated) monitor - but it's a simple task to make a
    quick brightness/levels adjustment.

    Happy to answer any questions - but all you really need to do is save a copy
    of your image as an 8 bit TIFF using RGB colourspace onto a CD - take it to
    your favourite lab and tell em what size you'd like it printed - on what
    kind of paper - and how many copies. Nothing to it.

    Out of interest, I've found that, on average, my printing and paper costs
    work out to be about ONE QUARTER of what I used to pay the lab - so if
    anyone is getting a lot of printing done, have a think about getting your
    own printer like the Epson 7800 (it's a very professional & well-made
    printer - and stunning results). The added bonus is that you can then print
    stuff for others if you wish - saving them a bit of money - helping you pay
    for your printer - and presenting an opportunity to have a great chat. (and
    the bragging rights are great! :)

    Hope this helps!

    Cheers,

    Colin
     
    C J Southern, Jan 13, 2006
    #2
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  3. Beach Bum

    Stacey Guest

    Color confidence by Tim Grey. $10 used at amazon and explains digital color
    management fairly well for people who know NOTHING about it. Explains human
    color vision etc. I got me on the right track and I now understand this
    well enough to make very nice prints with no surprises.
     
    Stacey, Jan 14, 2006
    #3
  4. I wish!

    I've been struggling with printer profiles for the past couple of
    weeks. I have a Spyder2 for calibrating my LCD monitor, and it works
    automatically, with great simplicity. Getting a print that matches what
    I see on screen is a nightmare.

    I'm using an Epson Photo RX500. I read all over the place about the ICC
    profiles that Epson supplies on their web site, but those no longer
    appear to be there. I've tried dozens of profile variations, with no
    luck. I'm not even getting close.

    I've given serious thought to having a professional outfit build a
    profile for me. I know it would cost a hundred bucks or so, but I've
    already spent more than that in ink and paper.
     
    Eric Schreiber, Jan 14, 2006
    #4
  5. Beach Bum

    Sonrise Guest

    "Mastering Digital Printing," 2nd ed., by Harald Johnson is an excellent
    primer. Order through Amazon.com for 30% off the $39.99 retail price.

    If you're thinking of printing and selling small monochrome prints (i.e. <=
    8x10), and you're looking for low start-up costs, I've read that the Epson
    R220 with carbon inks can't be beat. I plan to purchase one soon. Google for
    Paul Roarke's website for specifics.

    HTH

    Sonrise
     
    Sonrise, Jan 14, 2006
    #5
  6. Beach Bum

    C J Southern Guest

    I guess I'm lucky in that respect - my printer comes with all the profiles
    :)

    One change we did make is to use Kodak paper instead of Epson brand - and we
    were advised that we'd need to make a small tweak to the profile, but I just
    printed it out anyway and the results appeared to be very good.

    Honestly, I was expecting a really steep learning curve - and perhaps I just
    got lucky - but I've got great results right from the word go. Since then
    I'm doing all the work for one other photographer, with yet another
    hopefully coming on board soon.

    The other day someone was good enough to recommend Real World Color
    Management, Second Edition By Bruce Fraser - I've got my copy coming from
    Amazon, but according to the books description it includes info on writing
    your own ICC profiles - perhaps this might be of help to you?

    Cheers,
    Colin
     
    C J Southern, Jan 14, 2006
    #6
  7. Truth be told, the defaults of my printer gave pretty decent results.
    It was only when I started trying to have Photoshop control the color
    management of the printer that I began to run into trouble.
    It might if I didn't have a low frustration threshold. I like things to
    work pretty quickly, and I don't enjoy tinkering if I'm not making
    positive progress on each step.

    I've been trying to build a custom ICC using ProfilerPlus from
    Colorvision (came with my Spyder2). The plug-in is pretty easy to use,
    but it suffers from one serious flaw - the sample it prints has to be
    scanned, and of course without a 'standard' or a decent profile, my
    scanner is an unknown element as well.

    Professional profiling sounds very tempting, if it actually works.
    Download the test image, print it per clear, easy to follow
    instructions, mail it to the service, and receive a custom ICC by email
    a week later. Great theory, but I have to research more before I'm
    ready to plunk down a hundred bucks.
     
    Eric Schreiber, Jan 15, 2006
    #7
  8. Beach Bum

    jonathan.jmg Guest

     
    jonathan.jmg, Jan 15, 2006
    #8
  9. Beach Bum

    jonathan.jmg Guest

    Professional printer profiling really does work, there are a few guys
    doing it for less than 30 pounds on the web now, I've used one of them
    and it's just getting a brand new printer.
     
    jonathan.jmg, Jan 15, 2006
    #9
  10. Beach Bum

    Beach Bum Guest

    Thanks for the good sources. I'll check them out this week. :)
     
    Beach Bum, Jan 16, 2006
    #10
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