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06-03-2020, 05:13 PM   #1
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Printing for beginners - dark prints

I received a Canon Pixma iX6820 this past weekend.

Background: I do not have my monitors calibrated most of my display is on a nix digital frame. I typically like the look on the frame better than the computer so I have been happy.

While doing some test prints the color seems fine. Not exact but good enough. But the prints are dark.

With the lighting at my desk I notice that if I turn the brightness down to 30% or so the monitor matches the print. Alternatively it appears that the printer has a setting for light, normal and dark. I have not played with this. I will try in the morning

What is the rule of thumb
- process 2x once for digital displays and once for prints?
- setting the printer to light should come close enough to monitor brightness
- some where in the middle set the monitor to 50% ish and printer to bright
-something else?

I don't need 100% match

06-03-2020, 05:57 PM   #2
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I had the 6820 for a few years, and mine would print dark as well. I ending up increasing the brightness of the image that I intended to print.
I have the 7220 now after the 6820 stopped working, and had to re-learn the printing process with the new printer. Although, the 7220 is a closer match to my monitor (that is calibrated).

Then again, I use cheap ink in my canon ( 5 packs of color cartridges for $8.50). For picture I frame, send them out for printing.
06-03-2020, 06:17 PM   #3
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What are you printing from? Lightroom (for example) allows you to change brightness of the print at print time to adjust for your printer.

The 'correct' way to print is to start with a calibrated monitor and then use the printer profiles to set the print output to match the monitor. Some software allows 'soft proofing' which adjusts the monitor to match the expected print per the installed printer profiles. It can take a lot of work to get everything working together. I expect I spent at least a full day getting my system calibrated so monitor and print matched consistently. And you need to do that for each type of paper you use as the paper will change the print output. Whether your needs require that effort is of course up to you.

Some people make a 'print' version of the file and adjust it so the print brightness and sharpening are correct for the print rather than the monitor. That is a somewhat simpler method though it depends on the software you are using. Lightroom makes that relatively easy but I'm sure other programs have similar features.
06-03-2020, 11:44 PM   #4
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With the iX68xx series you should be able to calibrate the printer driver

06-04-2020, 07:24 AM   #5
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I found the setting within the printer. Looking better, but will be a work in progress
06-04-2020, 08:40 AM   #6
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We regularly create a print file and a monitor file for printed images. The print file will be 10%-20% brighter. Anything we send out for printing will be at least 10% brighter and we may further adjust the print file for more brightness after we've seen the print results. The files on my PP software are unaffected. They are for computer monitor and 4k TV viewing.

I don't think there's a one size fits all solution for this issue. Every print is custom.
06-04-2020, 12:44 PM   #7
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Dark prints is the most common complaint. Usually because the computer screen is calibrated too bright.
06-04-2020, 01:57 PM   #8
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^^This most likely scenario for prints darker than monitor, but....

How are you judging them?

Do you illuminate the prints correctly if comparing next to screen?

Are they really too dark? How do they look when viewed in another room, outside, or ideally as they will be most often seen.

06-04-2020, 03:36 PM   #9
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I would just reduce the monitor brightness, adjust the image to what looks good, and print. If still too dark, reduce monitor more. This should get you most of the way/good enough. For example my MacBook Pro, is very bright, and I set the brightness down quite bit. About 4 stops or 6%.
06-04-2020, 08:50 PM   #10
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The basic thing to remember:
Prints do not produce their own light. (Hint: no brightness adjustment)
Prints reflect light. (Hint: totally dependent on the light reflected in the environment you are in) Also the color of the light will effect how you see the colors.
06-05-2020, 06:41 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
The print file will be 10%-20% brighter.
What if the histogram is already bordering the left limit?

QuoteOriginally posted by PDL Quote
Prints do not produce their own light. (Hint: no brightness adjustment)Prints reflect light. (Hint: totally dependent on the light reflected in the environment you are in) Also the color of the light will effect how you see the colors.
Yes. To me, that is the most important to understand. A photograph with normally centered histogram, without clipping, will look great on print when lit with neutral while reflector (~5000K) at a 30 degree angle relative to print plane, assuming the viewing axis is perpendicular to the print. Noting the effect of inverse square law of projected light, a 3:2 print in landscape orientation will preferably be lit by two reflectors, while a single reflector will be do well to illuminate a square print, and a three or four reflectors configuration will optimize lighting for a long panoramic print.
06-05-2020, 07:54 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by PDL Quote
The basic thing to remember:
Prints do not produce their own light. (Hint: no brightness adjustment)
Prints reflect light. (Hint: totally dependent on the light reflected in the environment you are in) Also the color of the light will effect how you see the colors.
While true, that prints are seen from reflected light, "Hint: no brightness adjustment" is IMO at best confusing.

One still needs to view by transmitted light on the monitor. And adjusting brightness (exposure) for the screen image needs to correlate with the look of the print. Lowering monitor brightness makes one increase image brightness as part of processing it--and thus a lighter print.
06-05-2020, 10:07 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
While true, that prints are seen from reflected light, "Hint: no brightness adjustment" is IMO at best confusing.

One still needs to view by transmitted light on the monitor. And adjusting brightness (exposure) for the screen image needs to correlate with the look of the print. Lowering monitor brightness makes one increase image brightness as part of processing it--and thus a lighter print.
IF the cause of dark prints is due to incorrect monitor brightness as opposed to poor viewing conditions of the print (i.e. print not illuminated) then one needs to lower the monitor brightness to achieve a match print to screen, if that is your requirement.

Too bright a monitor setting will actually lead you to see your image data much lighter than it actually is therefore the tendency would be to actually lower image brightness in processing
06-05-2020, 03:33 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
-snip- "Hint: no brightness adjustment" is IMO at best confusing. -snip-
Not confusing at all - paper does not have a brightness adjustment, why is this so hard to comprehend?
06-05-2020, 10:40 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by PDL Quote
Not confusing at all - paper does not have a brightness adjustment, why is this so hard to comprehend?
I guess adjusting image brightness when viewing it on a monitor is what people can do because it's a natural action (without thinking), although the right thing to do is to adjust monitor brightness based on ambient light with basic monitor calibration scheme, and adjust image brightness based on histogram. When the image is adjusted based on its histogram, dark looking prints may then only come from printer issues or lack of proper illumination of the print itself.
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