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  1. #1

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    Color of large prints

    I have an Epson 9880 and have some profiles I made for it for various papers. It's usually fairly accurate with its colors, but today I made a 48x32 print and the colors were very different from an identical, smaller 8x12 print I made both earlier and later. The image is the same image. The color profiles are the same, same paper, same printer, same file (just resized), done through the same computer using all of the same settings and software.

    I printed the smaller file first to test it and liked what saw, so I blew it up and reprinted it and the turquoise sky came out magenta, the blacks came out darker, and yellows more intense. Then I took that enlarged file and shrank it back down, and got the colors I liked again, without making any other changes other than the size. Has anyone else experienced this issue, or have any ideas as to what could be causing it? I'm stumped.

  2. #2

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    Re: Color of large prints

    Did you agitate your ink cartridges before starting up the printer ? Ink settles over time and if you haven't made any prints recently you may get rather different results.

    Perhaps one of your nozzles is clogged: a cleaning cycle/head adjustment is always a good idea before wasting paper.

  3. #3
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Color of large prints

    Perhaps different lots of paper in the different sizes can cause some shift in colors.

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    Re: Color of large prints

    I thought that sort of thing only happened in a REAL darkroom. Just one more reason -- for ME -- not to go down the digital/non-darkroom route, since it won't solve THAT problem.

  5. #5

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    Re: Color of large prints

    Thanks for the suggestions, but I've been printing a bunch this week, including several before and after that one and all of the others came out fine. I also ran a nozzle check before (because I hate to waste ink on such a large print) and after (because I had problems) and both showed up fine. Plus I usually see banding, especially in the blacks when there's a nozzle clog. Also, I've been printing on the same roll of paper. So the prints that came out fine were printed on the same roll.

    I printed these from Photoshop and selected "Printer manages colors" and made sure the proper profile was selected in the Windows 10 settings. Is it possible that due to the large size of the file that the profile wasn't applied? I did have an issue with it dropping out on larger prints without giving any error messages in the past and had to turn off "Enable Advanced Printing Features" in the Windows 10 printer settings. But after turning that option off, it printed without issue, and the colors came out fine (and still do at smaller sizes).

    I'm using 42" roll paper, and usually print 4-5 8x10's at a time, lined up next to each other to conserve paper. I usually just open up a blank 42x13" file in Photoshop and place 4-5 photos along the artboard and print them all at once. It's never given me issues that way. But this time it started off printing in the wrong colors and continued throughout, suggesting that it wasn't a print head overheating issue or something physical like that. Rather, I'm really thinking it's a profile not being applied issue, due to the fact that the colors look shifted in multiple directions and not just one (like lack of yellow everywhere), but I could be mistaken. I guess I should print this photo without a profile and see what I get.

  6. #6

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    Re: Color of large prints

    Subtle differences I sort of expect and do a mag test, but large shifts would indicate an issue with calibration or profile I would think. Usually calibration on my HP 3200.

  7. #7
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Color of large prints

    Quote Originally Posted by jim10219 View Post
    I printed the smaller file first to test it and liked what saw, so I blew it up and reprinted it and the turquoise sky came out magenta, the blacks came out darker, and yellows more intense. Then I took that enlarged file and shrank it back down, and got the colors I liked again, without making any other changes other than the size.
    Could just be a perception problem. It's well known that small areas of a color look different than large areas of the same color. People find that out all the time when they paint rooms in houses.

    For this reason I was taught to make at least one full size proof print. Because the perceptions of the colors, their relationships to each other, saturation, and contrast all are influenced by size.

    This would explain your blacks getting darker and your yellows becoming more intense. But it may not explain a color shift like your turquoise sky that came out magenta.

    Just to be clear, everything was the same except print size? Small and large print came out of the same roll of paper? Printed on the same day?

    One other thing -- did you dry the prints? Inkjet prints are susceptible to changes as they dry (out gas). I started getting much more reliable results when I started drying prints with a hand held hair dryer. Low heat, high fan. The hand supporting the back of the print can feel the change from cool to warm indicating you've driven off most of the water / glycols.

    Drying prints visually (and measurably) changes Dmax and contrast on most papers in my experience.

    Bruce Watson

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    Re: Color of large prints

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
    Could just be a perception problem. It's well known that small areas of a color look different than large areas of the same color. People find that out all the time when they paint rooms in houses.

    For this reason I was taught to make at least one full size proof print. Because the perceptions of the colors, their relationships to each other, saturation, and contrast all are influenced by size.

    This would explain your blacks getting darker and your yellows becoming more intense. But it may not explain a color shift like your turquoise sky that came out magenta.

    Just to be clear, everything was the same except print size? Small and large print came out of the same roll of paper? Printed on the same day?

    One other thing -- did you dry the prints? Inkjet prints are susceptible to changes as they dry (out gas). I started getting much more reliable results when I started drying prints with a hand held hair dryer. Low heat, high fan. The hand supporting the back of the print can feel the change from cool to warm indicating you've driven off most of the water / glycols.

    Drying prints visually (and measurably) changes Dmax and contrast on most papers in my experience.
    It's definitely not just a perception issue. It's far more dramatic than that. And yes, I literally took that exact same file, resized it using Photoshop, and printed it will all of the same settings. I didn't even reload PS in between. Same roll. One print right after another. Same day, maybe 15 minutes apart. Now, while I didn't dry the prints, I did have one smaller one before and one smaller one after the large print and they both looked nearly identical to each other, so I don't believe it was a drying issue. Obviously the larger image will take longer to dry and colors will shift as they dry. But it shouldn't shift colors to that degree no matter how long it needed to dry.

    Thank you all for your help so far. I'll keep messing around with it trying to see if I can narrow down the problem. I'll be sure to post my final results back here when I'm done because I've looked all over the web for an answer to this, and it appears I'm the only one who's run into it. At least every other problem I can find similar to this one has the answer "use an ICC profile".

  9. #9

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    Re: Color of large prints

    I would try a section test using the "Photoshop manages colors" selection, applying your correct profile.
    r.j. phil
    www.rjphil.com
    N.E. Large Format Photography Collective

  10. #10

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    Re: Color of large prints

    Quote Originally Posted by rjphil View Post
    I would try a section test using the "Photoshop manages colors" selection, applying your correct profile.
    That's my next troubleshooting step. The only reason why I don't do that regularly is because I couldn't figure out how to keep Windows from applying profiles to the print jobs anyway. So what I had was Photoshop applying one profile, and then Windows applying the same profile over that one, giving me all kinds of funky colors. So if I go back to trying that route, I'll have to figure out a way to keep Windows from doing that. But first I'll try it without any profiles, probably by going through the "Adobe Color Printer Utility" like I do when making these profiles, since Photoshop won't let me print without some kind of profile (on command anyway).

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