Help! Colors blown-out when printed

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  • #55346
    Blessings Captured
    Participant

    About two months ago I had a couple samples calendars printed. The color on a pink flower looked a little blown-out and so I went through all the steps in LR and PS to fix it like shown in this printing video. All the color on the other pictures printed fine. Some of the pictures seemed a little soft so I went through and sharped the pictures in PS like shown in the same video. I also went though and used a levels layer to pull the blacks in by 10 and the whites by 5.

    But here’s the problem, on the calendars I got printed this week most of the oranges, reds, and yellows look Horrible. (see attachments) (The pink flower that I had changed in PS AND LR looks fine now.) But here’s the puzzle, there was one page that I didn’t do anything to (a picture collage that looked fine in the sample) and now the yellow’s look just as blown out on that page too.

    What should I do? My printer said he’s not very experienced on the particular CMYK printer we’re using and he doesn’t know what’s causing the problem. He also said that he doesn’t normally have problems with red’s, yellow’s or orange’s.

    If how I wrote all that is too confusing here’s a summery:

    Pink flower-blown out in sample -bring into gamut in LR- In PS Assign Profile to CMYK, sharpen using the High Pass filter, and set the white/black points – save as tiff- Looks fine in last printing.

    Pictures that are green, blue, black, brown,and some red ones– look fine in sample but some are a little soft- in PS sharpen using the High Pass filter, and set the white/black points- Looks fine in last printing.

    Pictures that are Orange,Yellow and some reds– look fine in sample but some are a little soft- in PS sharpen using the High Pass filter, and set the white/black points- Very blown-out in last printing.

    Small pictures on the back that are copies of inside pictures-look fine in sample-copies of inside, so same edits on them as on ones inside- All of them look fine in last printing.

    Collage picture that has all colors– looks fine in sample-do nothing-oranges, yellows, some reds and greens look very blown-out in last printing.

    I’m new to printing and am still trying to figure everything out!

    Attachments:
    #55359
    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    Before getting into the nitty gritty details, let me clarify: the Collage Page looked good when it was printed as a sample, and now the Collage Page looks bad in the real printing, and you did absolutely nothing to the picture in between?

    If so, this is obviously on the printers side.

    Did the printer use the exact same machine for both the sample and the real printing?

    If so, how often does the printer calibrate the machine?

    #55360
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    Yeah, I agree with @jamesstaddon. If there are pictures that didn’t change at all between this printing and the last sample, then the problem is in the printer’s ballpark.
    (That is, unless you changed something in your export settings or color space settings between now and then…)

    #55362
    Blessings Captured
    Participant

    the Collage Page looked good when it was printed as a sample, and now the Collage Page looks bad in the real printing, and you did absolutely nothing to the picture in between?

    Correct. I’m almost positive that I didn’t do anything to the collage page.

    Did the printer use the exact same machine for both the sample and the real printing?
    If so, how often does the printer calibrate the machine?

    I asked him if he had changed anything with his printer and he said no. He mentioned that the last time he had checked the toners it was fine.

    (That is, unless you changed something in your export settings or color space settings between now and then…)

    I don’t know if I did or not. Is there any way to look at the file to find out? I do know that the sample was printed from a 150dpi file(I had to downsize it because I forgot that I could use Dropbox to email large files) The last printing (the one that had the problem) was 300dpi.

    #55380
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    I don’t know if I did or not. Is there any way to look at the file to find out? I do know that the sample was printed from a 150dpi file(I had to downsize it because I forgot that I could use Dropbox to email large files) The last printing (the one that had the problem) was 300dpi.

    Hmm… I don’t know. I’m sure there is software that could tell you if you knew what to look for… Is it possible to send me the sample AND the final file, so I can take a look? It would be a lot easier for me to do it myself, than to try to tell someone else how to look. 🙂 Scaling from 300 to 150 dpi won’t affect colors any, but if you selected a different preset (such as “web”) for getting a smaller file size, then it’s entirely possible that it did change some color settings somewhere.

    #55382
    Blessings Captured
    Participant

    I used this online pdf resizer.

    #55391
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    I used this online pdf resizer.

    Oh dear… 🙁 It very likely messed with the color space to something else during the “resizing”. I just did a test on a PDF file of my own, and it definitely changes colors. 🙁 My original PDF was in CMYK, and the resulting looks like it got converted to RGB. (That’s just a guess, because I’m not sure how to actually check.) See here for a comparison and a bit of an explanation.

    So unfortunately, it looks like your “sample” print was made from a “polluted” source, and therefore was not a good reference point for the actual final results.

    I am rather surprised to see such a drastic difference though; I’ve never seen results like that from a printer. Did you edit/push the photos pretty heavily in post processing?

    #55392
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    Thanks for sending me the files. Here’s a screenshot that shows the 2 side by side:

    Can you clarify to me which one was the sample, and which was to be the “final” print? I’m guessing the one that says “RESIZED” was the sample print, correct? You can clearly see a difference in colors and quality even in the screenshot.

    Attachments:
    #55394
    Blessings Captured
    Participant

    I never guessed that would be the problem. Thank so much for helping me!

    I’m guessing the one that says “RESIZED” was the sample print, correct?

    Correct!

    Did you edit/push the photos pretty heavily in post processing?

    No, on the picture of the pumpkins (which was the worst) I did +.61 exposure,-33 highlights, whites +18, blacks -30, and clarity +16. The chick which was the second worse I did whites +18, blacks -18, clarity + 5, and vibrance +5.

    So from here, should I start again from the raw file and go through the prosses outlined in Photoshop Workflow (for higher end printing) then do a sample print?

    #55395
    Blessings Captured
    Participant

    The “Photoshop Workflow(for higher end printing)” is the prosses I followed for the pink flower that printed correctly last printing.

    #55407
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    So from here, should I start again from the raw file and go through the prosses outlined in Photoshop Workflow (for higher end printing) then do a sample print?

    Yes, I’m afraid so. 😐 That will be the best way to make sure that there aren’t any lingering color issues. I’m rather surprised that the colors on the good/final file are getting “blown out” though. I would never have guessed that that file would have caused such issues. I would ask the printer if he has to do any conversion on his end before printing.

    #55414
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    The more I think about it, the stranger it seems… There is no good reason that a normal photo with normal edits should print out so badly. I wonder if there is something going on at the printer’s end too.

    I’ve printed hundreds of photos, and several calendars, and never had such drastic color issues. Most of the time they need some exposure tweaks after seeing a sample, but nothing close to these wild color issues.

    #55416
    Blessings Captured
    Participant

    I don’t mind going through all the pictures again. It’s an inconvenience to but I sure am learning a lot about printing. I’m just so thankful that the rest of my calendars don’t have to look so bad!

    I wonder if there is something going on at the printer’s end too

    The printer said he had to adjust some of the layout to make everything lined up correctly. I’m assuming that he saved it after that. At one point I was in his office and I asked him how I should save my files. He told me to use the Indesign preset “High Quality print” as is. But I remember seeing something in his preset about CMYK. In the my preset “High Quality print” I can’t find anything about CMYK. Could he be using an older version of Indesign that saves things differently? (I have the currant version)

    He also is using a Mac and I’m using a PC. Would that make a difference? In the PS tiff saving setting I notices it has a option for Mac or PC.

    Attachments:
    #55533
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    I don’t mind going through all the pictures again. It’s an inconvenience to but I sure am learning a lot about printing. I’m just so thankful that the rest of my calendars don’t have to look so bad!

    Ya, well this is definitely a good learning experience, if nothing else! 🙂

    The printer said he had to adjust some of the layout to make everything lined up correctly. I’m assuming that he saved it after that.

    Wow, too many variables here… 🙁 If it was me, I’d ask him what he had to adjust, and then do it yourself, so that he doesn’t have to adjust and “re-save” your file. That will eliminate one more potential problem point.

    But I remember seeing something in his preset about CMYK. In the my preset “High Quality print” I can’t find anything about CMYK. Could he be using an older version of Indesign that saves things differently? (I have the currant version)

    It’s entirely possible that he’s using an old version of InDesign. I doubt that the color space options would change between versions though. Again, it’s something that you’ll have to ask your printer about. It’s so hard to troubleshoot from a distance! 🙁 You probably do want to save in the CMYK color space, but it’s also possible, according to this thread, that his print software (not necessarily InDesign, but the other software he uses for actually “sending” the job to print) is so outdated that it can’t handle the proper color space options. I’d recommend reading through that thread, cause it has some helpful info in it about export presets, etc.

    He also is using a Mac and I’m using a PC. Would that make a difference? In the PS tiff saving setting I notices it has a option for Mac or PC.

    I can’t guarantee it, but I don’t think that should make any difference. With regards to “Byte Order”, you don’t have to worry about that. Details here, if you’re interested. 🙂

    #55534
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    Something you could try is to ask him to print one of your files straight from your export. Don’t worry about adjusting margins, or whatever he needed to adjust. Just print it straight through, and see if the colors are better. That would eliminate the worry that his “resaving” is causing any issues.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 24 total)

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