Printing to an Epson R2880. Theory and practice

The “5-95%” rule

In a thread on a while ago, someone mentioned reading some advise to set black and white point to 5% and 95% respectively. That’s approximately RGB values (12,12,12) and (242,242,242). Otherwise, shadow and highlight detail would be lost in print.
My first thought was “no way”. After all, white is 255, right? I’d say that’s what printing colormanaged and .icc profiles are for.
I’d accept a bit of a loss, but not thàt much…

So I started to search the web.


One source of the advise was at Prepress Essentials by Taz Tally.
He was talking about offset printing. There was also an example about Newsprint. According to that, for a (hypothetical) example where the newspaper press could print a minimum white highlight dot of 20% and a maximum shadow below 80%. The tutorial proceeded to adjust output levels similar to this:
According to the tutorial, you’d be preserving highlight and shadow detail as much as possible for those particular presses.
Yeah, right. What highlights and shadows? They all became midtones…
Read the rest of this entry »

Sharpening in Lightroom 2

How does it work?

Lightroom 2 has two kinds of sharpening: Capture sharpening and output sharpening. Capture sharpening is used to neutralize the blurring caused by the Anti Aliasing filter in your camera.
Output sharpening is dependent on output (print or screen, what size) and meant to overcome the softening caused by resizing or happening when printing.


Output sharpening in Lightroom is simple: You get 4 options when you export the image: Off, low, standard or high. All else is taken care of by Lightroom. Ease of use for sure. Drawback is that you cannot preview it, so you’ll need to experiment a bit. After that, it’s “set and forget”.
Capture sharpening on the other hand, requires a bit more user interaction. The settings will depend on camera used, subject and personal preference. You can preview it, but only at 100% or higher magnification. So you either need to zoom in, or you can view sharpening in the microscopic small “preview window” Lightroom 2 has for this purpose.
(There is off course the workaround I mentioned in an earlier blog post)

The “Detail” Tab

…in Lightroom is where it’s at: You get 4 sliders for sharpening: Amount, Radius, Detail and Masking.
Some of these are quite self-explanatory if you know a bit about digital imaging, the others might be new to you. Read the rest of this entry »

Clipping Warnings in Lightroom

And why they deceive you

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, like many other Raw converters, has a clipping warning.
The purpose of it is to give you a visual warning (apart from the histogram) of what parts of an image might be clipping.

What is clipping?

A pixel is clipping when it reaches a value of 0 or 255 in one or more channels, and “should have gone further”. Since it cannot go lower then 0 or go higher then 255, it remains at those values: Detail is lost if one or two color channels clip, part of the image is solid black or white if all 3 channels clip.

The effect of color space

As with anything in digital imaging, the color space used has a big influence: A wide gamut color space (such as ProPhotoRGB) will have lower values for the same color then for instance sRGB. So a color that is clipping in sRGB, need not be clipping in ProPhotoRGB! Read the rest of this entry »


How to see what you’ll get

for a web gallery.
Normally, Lightroom will only let you preview sharpening and noise reduction at 100% view. This is a good thing™ in my opinion, since it is capture sharpening, meant to negate the effects of an anti-aliasing filter in front of the sensor. You’d get all kinds of moiré without an AA filter, as can be seen in the hilarious story Eamon Hickey wrote about the NC2000.
Since the AA filter softens the image a bit, you need to sharpen it. This is input sharpening. So it should be judged at 100%. Unlike output sharpening, which is better judged at reduced size, at least: For print. For web view at 100% and WYSIWYG.
Or is it?

A workaround

I recently was processing a few ISO 6400 images, which had severe noise in them. Here I ran into the problem that the NR isn’t shown at “fit window” view. So I had no way to judge what the images would look like online. Read the rest of this entry »

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