Prints come out darker than screen

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  1. #1
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    Prints come out darker than screen

    Hi everyone!

    I was hoping you could help me with a problem I'm having. I'm sure this has been brought up before, but here goes. Whenever I print something I made in Photoshop it comes out darker than whats on screen. I'm a digital artist so I was taught to work in RGB for digital reasons. But I also want to print the stuff too. Do you guys know any tricks to get around that problem? Or should I do CMYK mode for things that are just for print? Thanks!

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  3. #2
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    I was always told to work in CMYK to help resolve that problem--though prints will rarely ever look exactly as they do on screen. Having a monitor that is color calibrated properly will help you as well. For RGB files that I wanted to print, I had to go back and manually lighten and adjust the contrasts upon the final image files to ensure they didn't come out -too- dark in the final product. I've found that the type of product/paper you're printing on allows some variation in saturation and darkness as well.

    Though I am still fairly new to printing myself, these are just some tiny tips in my current learning experience. Hope they help.

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    The other thing to do is check the brightness of your monitor--mac screen are notorious for being eye-searingly bright when compared to their pc brothers, which creates a big disparity between what's on the screen and what's on the paper, but even for pcs (especially ones with lcd monitors) the screen brightness is way brighter than you need it to be. I've got mine turned down to 20% right now, and it's helped me a lot so far. Paper types can also change things, as Avenier mentioned. Personally, I like to print on matte paper because it reaffirms my connection to an art historical context (blah blah blah, I'm in a program with a bunch of Painter's Painters right now, sorry), but glossy or luster papers will echo what's on your screen more reliably. If you're getting them professionally printed at a shop near you, have them do a proof for you (sometimes free, sometimes not) and then ask for adjustments if it's not exactly what you want (or do it yourself if they don't do adjustments.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparksel View Post
    The other thing to do is check the brightness of your monitor--mac screen are notorious for being eye-searingly bright when compared to their pc brothers
    ugh it's called led backlighting and last time I checked any pc targeted brand used it too, mostly because it allows going extra bright and it's really energy efficient.
    macbook screens come with pretty horrid color calibration by some reason, but it has nothing to do with brightness.

    @ Gammastar7
    you need to calibrate your screen.
    depending on your screen's vendor, it might come with good (like hi-end dell screens), okay (any consumer level screen) or bad (most laptops, apple included) default settings, and calibration will help with making accurate color decisions.
    (which will benefit your prints too)

    second, hardware calibrators can measure and tweak your screen's luminance - and proper luminance is the thing you're missing, thus the dark prints;
    typical recommended values for doing print work are around 80 cd/m2, while on-screen digital only content is better done with 130 - 140 cd/m2
    (this might sound a bit unclear, but calibrating software gets it sorted quite quickly; what you need to know is that 140 cd/m2 is about 75 % max brightness on a current apple display; 80-90 cd/m2 is roughly half of max possible brightness.
    things like led backlighting allow much higher maximum brightness than older screen models have done - which is what sparksel probably refers to - but printing has not really changed in that regard for like 20 years or so.)

    and you don't need to mess around with cmyk unless you're working with a printing company and they can send you their own printing profiles for some diy color proofing.
    it's not anything accurate, and home printers are actually supposed to print directly off rgb.

    Last edited by ikken; February 26th, 2013 at 08:47 PM.
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  6. #5
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    Calibrate your monitor and learn about color management/profiles. If you're printing on an ink jet printer, working in/converting your file to CMYK is unnecessary, they're made to deal with RGB files natively.
    Mac default gamma used to be 1.8, which is lighter than the PC standard of 2.2, but that hasn't been the case in years.


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    Quote Originally Posted by ikken View Post
    ugh it's called led backlighting and last time I checked any pc targeted brand used it too, mostly because it allows going extra bright and it's really energy efficient.
    macbook screens come with pretty horrid color calibration by some reason, but it has nothing to do with brightness.
    yep, you're right, it is led--I've been researching projectors recently, so the sequence of letters got stuck in my head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Mac default gamma used to be 1.8, which is lighter than the PC standard of 2.2, but that hasn't been the case in years.
    current macbook/macbook pro screens have their own shitty over-saturated blue-tinted default presets... which is something I can't really understand because their external screens are very finely factory calibrated,
    and plugging an external dell or nec screen w/o any extra color management shows an obvious color shift between two (grays immediately look yellowish on the external screen if you compare how two monitors render them)

    that being said, I can't complain about actual quality or anything else, and it's easy to calibrate too.

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  9. #8
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    Just to hijack the thread for a wee bit; are you able to properly calibrate any monitor, or is it better to have an IPS screen?
    I don't know too much of it myself.

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