Saturday, 26 March 2011


I sometimes do and sometimes don't. To be completely honest most of my images are electronically stored and hardly ever printed unless specifically for a portfolio, a gift or because I want to change what I have on my wall.

Part of the issue really is down to cost. When using film photographs were kept to a minimum and I'd wince over a bad shot, not only because it was bad but because I had paid someone good money to produce rubbish! There is much debate about printing and the physical form being the end result and I do agree. There is nothing better than holding a great image or seeing it displayed on a wall, but I haven't got the room for mountains of photos and at the moment I can't afford the ink and paper for catching up with a back log. This is why I quite like the fact this course can be completed electronically if you wish. Having said that I am contemplating printing off my final set when sending off my work for assessment. The form has been sent off and it's receipt am awaiting feedback so any necessary amendments can be made, then organising can be sorted and the long wait until July......

Discussing this with Peter he said prints would only be of benefit if they were of good quality reminding me that it is good practice to use the same paper/inks as your printer manufacturer and the correct profiles...a handy point but one I always follow when not draft printing. I've submitted two portfolios previously using my Epson printer and had good results. Recently I noted slight gaps :o/ Have cleaned the print heads so think it might need holding my prints, hate getting them right ;o) One of the issues I occasionally have is the prints appearing a little darker than expected so I was quite pleased to discover that this can be a common issue, and at first even more happy to discover a tutorial about it Why Are My Prints Too Dark on, but having read it its possibly a little be clearer as to why there is a problem but not quite sure I know how to cure it :o/ *big shrugs* Previously I'd use a pre-set curves layer but this would sometimes throw out the lighter areas whilst correcting the dark.....I'm going to have to re-read this article and hope some of it sinks in...I need an idiots guide 'open this menu, click this tab, move this slider....' fiddle with luminance or rather the candela per metre squared (cd/m2) hmmmmmmmm second paragraph in and it's gone whooshy already....
"The correct value for luminance is one that produces a visual match. You can start at the so-called “recommended” value, which is often in the neighborhood of 120-140cd/m2. That value may need to be lower or higher. You will need to adjust the display luminance until you get that visual match."

Very interesting but where abouts would I find where it tells me this luminance figure? On my monitor I have brightness and contrast etc but only given as a percentage? I don't think on my monitor there would be this reading so rummaging about, as you do I came across this...."Brightness" and "Contrast" controls which may be useful...

"Step 1: Set CONTRAST to minimum

The first step in monitor adjustment is to set CONTRAST to its minimum setting. Some so-called "smart" television sets have automatic black level circuits that alter black level as a function of picture content. These circuits should be defeated if possible, both for monitor adjustment and for high-quality viewing.

Step 2: Display black

Display an image that is predominantly or totally black, perhaps by using a screen-saver. (In a well designed monitor, setting CONTRAST to its minimum will cause the visible raster to disappear.)

Television stations and networks fade to black between commercials. If you are adjusting a television receiver, you can use this "black" to set black level. Make it quick, though ! A television station never transmits black for more than a fraction of a second. If you find a colorbar test signal, its lower right corner contains true black. Black level should not vary from station to station.

Step 3: Adjust BRIGHTNESS

The third step in monitor adjustment is to adjust the BRIGHTNESS control to a balance point or threshold, low enough that a black area of the picture emits no light, but high enough that setting the control any higher would cause the area to become a dark gray.

Computer monitors are generally under scanned: the extreme margins of the screen have no picture content. A rough setting for black level can be found by making the under scanned margins as black as possible. However if your frame buffer has nonzero setup (or EIA-343-A levels) then this method is inaccurate. Using black picture content, instead of the margins, always assures an accurate setting.

When you set BRIGHTNESS to its minimum, your monitor may display a shade of dark gray instead of black. This indicates an internal maladjustment: Ask a service technician to make the necessary internal adjustment. When your monitor's BRIGHTNESS is set near its threshold, your monitor may display a dark color instead of a dark gray. This indicates that your monitor is mistracking: The internal screen or cutoff calibration of one or two of its guns is set incorrectly. Ask a service technician to repair this problem.

Step 4: Adjust CONTRAST

Once black level is set correctly, CONTRAST can be adjusted so that a white signal produces the appropriate level of luminance. In a television studio environment there are standards for absolute luminance. Outside that environment there is no "proper" setting of this control; it depends entirely upon your preference.
Resist the temptation to set your monitor too bright. Excessive brightness has a number of disadvantages. First, your sensitivity to flicker increases as brightness increases, so setting your monitor too bright is likely to increase your perception of flicker. Second, a number of phenomena act to scatter light onto the face of the screen, and the higher the brightness of bright areas of the picture, the more light is scattered into the dark areas. This scattered light reduces the contrast ratio - hence the perceived quality - of the picture. Third, operation at high brightness tends to defocus the electron beam of the CRT, resulting in poor sharpness.

Some poorly designed monitors exhibit variation in black level upon adjustment of CONTRAST. If your monitor suffers from interaction, after adjusting CONTRAST you may have to go back and tweak BRIGHTNESS. It may even be necessary to iterate between the two controls a few times in order to set the combination that both reproduces black correctly and reproduces white at the brightness you desire."

I've also downloaded a test image which I shall play with once my stock of paper and ink arrives. If you hear much screaming deriving from Kent you know I've screwed my settings and wasted the lot ;o)

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