Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Is What You See What You Get?

If what you see on your monitor is not what you get from your printer, here are a few possibilities:
- Your monitor is not fully warmed up. May take 1/2 hour.
- Your monitor is not calibrated.
- You have not calibrated your monitor for a month.
- Your printer is not calibrated.
- You are not using the correct printer profile.
- You are not using the paper for the profile you are using.
- The lighting in your workspace is not consistent.
- You are working on your images with a screen background that is distracting you with strong color. Best to use gray.
- Print head is out of alignment or nozzles are clogged.

Even if you do all that stuff, your prints can be a little off – even if you have a large monitor. Monitor color and brightness are not exactly the same from side to side and top to bottom. Also, colors and brightness will look different the more you look to the sides. Knowing this, after you calibrate your monitor with your calibration device placed in the center of the monitor, work on the most important part your image there.

What's more, a print reflects light, while your monitor projects light. So the quality of the images is different.

Still more: Prints take a while to fully dry. Colors and brightness can change after a few hours.

Finally, we see colors differently at different times of day. We also see colors differently after drinking cola and coffee.

Well, I gotta go - and get my first Diet Coke of the day.

See the light (and color),
P.S. My guess is that age might also have something to do with it, especially if one has cataracts. Is there a doctor in the house who could comment?


Tim Linden said...

Nice tips. Reminds me I need to calibrate again..

Anonymous said...

Yes, age matters.

Eye lenses yellow with age. I'm 53 years old and have had one lens replaced due to cataracts in that eye. Colors in the eye with the prosthetic lens are substantially brighter.

Bob said...

Hey, Rick,

Anonymous is right. I had cataract surgery about two years ago. The change was miraculous, but the next day I thought my eye was bleeding because there was a magenta cast to everything when I looked through the just-repaired eye. It wasn't bleeding. I suspect that what happened was that I had gotten used to the yellow cast of a damaged lens over the years and the real color looked too red. I've had both eyes done and can testify that the colors now are more vivid and accurate than they were for years before.

Frank Thompson, KE #3128 said...

Lots of good, usable information in this posting, Rick, some of it very surprising. I'm in the middle of a triple, skinny latte and I read it's going to change my color vision. Who'da thunk it?

Jim said...

I love the miniture 1D with white glass under your monitor. I have one too. Use it for Macro photography. :-)

Carol Cohen (fstopcarol) said...

I am 73 and had cataract surgery in 1998. Both before and after the surgery one eye saw things much more warmly than the other. And this still remains to this day. I suspect the cones or rods in one eye just have a cooler or warmer cast to them!