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Thread: Printer colors

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    Printer colors

    I have been scanning a few old photos with the intent of printing them for an album.

    Looking at the previews using two different photo editing programs, ( Nero and MS Picture it! ) the scans look fine and colors appear properly. Yet when I print them, they have a weak background tint that didn't show up in the preview scan. A color print has a weak pinkish tint to the background and a black and white print has a weak blue tint to the white areas.
    The definition and focus of the pics look fine, just this wrong tint to them. I have tried adjusting various settings in the editing program but to no avail.

    I SUSPECT that my printer cartridges are getting low on ink and may not be supplying the proper mix to the prints but before I rush out and buy new color and black ink cartridges ( if my wallet can stand it ) I thought I would bounce this question off the photo experts in the Lounge.

    What say you, experts?
    BOB
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    Re: Printer colors

    Most likely it is indeed the printer's interpretation of the colors and not the images themselves - color conversion. If you can test on another color printer, that would tell you for certain. It would also help to know what model printer you are using, and whether the ink itself is from the manufacturer or if it is a third-party replacement. Third party ink cartridges are cheaper but they also use unknown quality ink and give unexpected results. Either way, accurate representation of color starts with white balance or the white point of each device involved. If the printer defines white differently than your RGB display, this would explain the tinting effect.

    You may also want to look at what ICM color profile is assigned to the printer. More advanced photo editing tools (think Photoshop) allow you to assign a color profile for accurate printing. There is an MSDN article that will help explain how color conversion between devices works. For Windows XP, there is also a control panel add-in to help you manage various color schemes.
    -Mark

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    Re: Printer colors

    To go along with what Mark has had to say, you need to use the printer make ink as well as the correct paper. You will find that the different makes of paper are made to match a certain printer and it's brand name ink.

    So if you are using a HP printer you will want HP ink and HP photo paper.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

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    Re: Printer colors

    Mark & Dave,
    Thanks for your info. There is a lot to digest there, so I'll have to do some reading.

    I'm using a HP 920c printer with HP ink. I am only printing to plain paper just for tests and trial an error before going to regular HP photo paper. As I said, the scans look good on the monitor preview.

    Mark, I'm not sure what you mean by white balance or white point. Is there any setting to check or test this? I don't see any while quickly looking at the printer setup and preferences.

    Photo processing is rather new to me, so I could use some guidance here.
    BOB
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    Re: Printer colors

    You are going to find that what you see on the screen is always going to be some what different when seen on printed photo paper.

    You need to think about the different makes of paint, is red from one company the same as another's and or same make, but different lot (batch) number?

    Now you are mixing the makers of the monitors vs the ink vs the paper, you have a lot of variables here. If you have the <img src=/S/money.gif border=0 alt=money width=17 height=15> there is equipment and software that will help adjust your monitor and printer (if the printer is supported) to a near perfect match. You will find this pretty much in the commercial house design shops.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

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    Re: Printer colors

    Honestly, I don't know of any way to easily check the white point/balance easily on a desktop computer. The simplest way that I can explain this is by way of example: when you go to a store to buy white paint, there are several kinds... eggshell, "off white", etc. As human beings we can learn what "white" is and make an intelligent choice. Computers and peripherals need to be told what white is, because to them every color is simply a number. This is the reason for the ICM color profiles that modern versions of Windows include; it's supposed to take some of the guesswork out of the process.

    For your purposes, you should be able to adjust the tone settings in the printer driver. In my experience most commercial printers do not support white balancing by the user. Have a poke in the printing preferences for the color controls and see if there is a way to adjust the color profile. You might also consider contacting the manufacturer and asking them the same question. I use an HP LaserJet 2550 color printer and the driver does not support anything but ICM color profiles, but they seem to work fairly well. You may have to edit your photos to remove or lighten the color cast that you do not want.

    A final note: digital cameras, unless they are high-end models, usually have presets for white balancing. Fluorescent, daylight, and darkness are a few common choices. In pro environments, such as television and most high-end cameras, you point the shutter at a piece of white paper and hit the white balance button, and the unit learns what is considered "white" for that environment (given the different lighting conditions) so that no matter when or where you shoot, the colors remain consistent.

    Sorry there's no easy answer for this one. <img src=/S/sad.gif border=0 alt=sad width=15 height=15>
    -Mark

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    Re: Printer colors

    Bob,

    You ought to consider Kodakgallery.com The easiest way to share your photos and get high-quality prints or Digital Photo Printing and Free Online Photo Sharing at Snapfish or you choice, as the price of prints from these sites has dropped dramatically recently. Also, most have a relationship with one or more retailer so that you can order prints online and pick them up at a reatil outlet.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Printer colors

    Joe,
    I think this site is more for getting prints made from a digital camera. My problem is getting decent scanned and printed pictures from OLD prints. I know there are places that do this for a rather large fee. I trying to make this a DIY project. So far, no respectable results, sadly.
    BOB
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    Re: Printer colors

    Bob,

    I thought from your original post that you were satisfied with the quality of the scanned pictures. These photo sites don't care if the pictures are from a digital camera or not. All you need to do is signup and then upload the pictures to their site. Once they are uploaded order a print or two to see if you like them.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Printer colors

    Joe,
    Yes, satisfied with the SCANNED results but when trying to print them is when I am getting the faint background colorization. LIke white areas have a slight blue tinge to them in B&W photos. In color pics there is mostly a yellow or pink colorization in the background.

    Instead of sending them out, I am trying to DIY.
    BOB
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    Re: Printer colors

    Bob,

    The only reason I suggested using one of the photo services is they are pros. The DIY route is fine but as you are discovering can be problematic to get set up correctly. Also, the cost of printing at home is high compared to the photo sites. You might also be able to burn the photos to a CD and take them to a Walgreens or CVS or Wal-Mart and get some prints done rather quickly for not very much $$$ just to see what they look like if a professional site processes them. IMO, the only reason to DIY these days is if there is a time crunch.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Printer colors

    Joe,
    I can see your reasoning OK but that's just it, there is no time crunch, just the challenge of it.

    BTW, there is is no Wal-Mart or Walgreens around the area here. I once went to the CVS store and asked about CD photo processing and all I got was a blank stare from the "Pro with the spiked blue hair" behind the counter! So much for that!
    BOB
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    Long ago, there was a time when men cursed and beat on the ground with sticks. It was called witchcraft.
    Today it is called golf!

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