Print Story You know, all I want is for my pictures to look good
Photos
By ObviousTroll (Sat May 03, 2008 at 08:11:33 AM EST) (all tags)
Whether or not I'm looking at them on the web, on my own machine or in a print.

Is that so much to ask?



My reward to myself for passing the black belt test was to get a new camera. I'd promised myself this 18 months ago when I was seriously thinking about quitting.

So, I ran out yesterday and used my George Bush Memorial Stimulus Package to pick up a Nikon D60 then I went around shooting all sorts of random stuff to get a feel for the camera.

The lens is spectacular, very nearly a macro, it easily allowing me to focus in nice and close. The display is great and, clearly, I have a lot of learning to do because this is a huge step up in complexity from my old "bridge" camera. I had a ball shooting lots of stuff.

The problem came when I went to import the photos into my computer. First off, the provided software is t3h cr4p. Someone needs to tell these guys that it's 2008, the "Norton Commmander" style GUI is quite passe. The deal breaker, though is that it keeps complaining that it needs to download an update, even though the Nikon website says there is no update, and the program itself  fails when it tries to download the update.

So, no problem, I use a Mac, I'll just use iPhoto. No problem. Pictures get pulled in fine. I grab a photo I took of a dandelion, dropped it into photoshop and bumped up the saturation a bit. Set it as my desktop, nice nice, then I upload it to deviant art.

Except the Deviant Art version has had the saturation drained out of it. WTF?!? Completely boring. Repeat the process with a tulip. The version on Heinztrucking.com looks different from the version on Deviant Art.

Then I discovered that the images even render differently if I load the pages in Firefox instead of Safari!

Oy vey!

So, finally, I decide to print them out and, lo, instead of being the way I tweaked them on my own monitor, or printing them out desaturated, the way they appear on some websites, they came out hyper saturated. The tulip looks like Andy Warhol had it's way with it, the grass looks like it was done with crayolas.

Sigh.

I thought color profiles were supposed to deal with all this?

Well, the camera is still absolutely great, zero shutter lag, close focus, huge display, supports RAW. sooner or later I'll work this out. I'm having a lot of fun with the camera, and the high-speed operation let me get pictures I wouldn't have been able to take otherwise, for example:

Sensei Mike Gets Schooled.

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You know, all I want is for my pictures to look good | 22 comments (22 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Maybe this helps... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #1 Sat May 03, 2008 at 09:18:36 AM EST
http://www.bythom.com/qadcolor.htm

It probably will, thanks. by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #2 Sat May 03, 2008 at 10:08:37 AM EST
I think the problem with the websites and (webbrowsers) is that in each case the picture gets converted during upload, and some of them respect the ICC profile, but some don't.

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Has anybody seen my clue? I know I had it when I came in here.
[ Parent ]
As far as I know only Safari uses profiles by spacejack (2.00 / 0) #3 Sat May 03, 2008 at 11:40:22 AM EST
Personally, I think colour profiles have been nothing but a nuisance. It's hard to set everything up right, and even then you won't know what colours you're going to get until you see the final output.

I'm in the habit of stripping the colour profile out of the image. If it looks too desaturated, then I re-saturate the colour until it looks good sans profile. At least then I've got a better idea of what it's going to look like on the majority of browsers and monitors.

[ Parent ]
I agree. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #4 Sat May 03, 2008 at 12:13:44 PM EST
Embedding color profile data in the image itself seems counterproductive. Better to map your data to a single "ideal" color model and let the display devices adjust themselves to get as close to that ideal as possible.

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Has anybody seen my clue? I know I had it when I came in here.
[ Parent ]
Not embedding is also a problem by fluffy (2.00 / 0) #6 Sat May 03, 2008 at 09:08:53 PM EST
If you don't embed a profile, some things decide to assign a specific profile to it anyway.  Safari is bad about this, for example.  A .png format OSX screenshot will look just fine in Firefox but will look ultra-saturated in Safari.  for example (in the comments)
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[ Parent ]
Yeah, I saw that in one of my web site designs by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #7 Sun May 04, 2008 at 07:47:44 AM EST
I was trying for a brown leather-ish look, like a truck interior. It looked great in Safari, but it, literally, looked like puke.

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Has anybody seen my clue? I know I had it when I came in here.
[ Parent ]
fyi by coryking (4.00 / 1) #20 Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:15:46 PM EST
I'm one of those websites that scripts your ICC profile out.  There used to be a bug in IE6 that would crash the damn browser when it hit certain JPEG's that had embedded color profiles.

The remainder of the difference between websites is the resizing and compression algorithms they use on your image.


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Dog food. Snack for some. Feast for others.

[ Parent ]
Actually that makes sense by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #21 Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:52:32 PM EST
that would explain why the image de-saturated on your site.

BTW - I vastly prefer your site to DA. Posting images onto DA is like throwing bottles into the ocean and hoping someone picks them up. You've got a much friendlier and more personal community going on Photographica.

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Has anybody seen my clue? I know I had it when I came in here.

[ Parent ]
Your colour profile is useless without calibration by BadDoggie (2.00 / 0) #5 Sat May 03, 2008 at 01:52:12 PM EST
If you're going to be finicky you need to buy a hardware monitor calibration unit, like the Spyder 2 Pro. It doesn't cost that much (US$99-279 depending on version) and although the software is piss-poorly written and terribly annoying, the results are true colour which can then be sent off to the printer and appear the same as on your screen. It should likewise render better.

If you mail me (@gmail) a couple photos I can have a go at them and see if Photoshop + calibration provides better results than what you're seeing.

woof.

OMG WE'RE FUCKED! -- duxup ?

0wned sensi by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #8 Sun May 04, 2008 at 08:45:09 AM EST
ACCESS DENIED.

Yup, someone got owned there.

Seems to be working for me now. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #9 Sun May 04, 2008 at 03:48:43 PM EST
pic

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Has anybody seen my clue? I know I had it when I came in here.
[ Parent ]
The lens is spectacular by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #10 Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:03:30 AM EST
Which is the main selling point of Nikons.

Importing photos:
I use a card reader. Pull the card from the camera, put it in the card reader, and it shows up on the desktop as a removable hard drive. Only one issue to be aware of when doing this: OSX will put ".Trashes" folders on the card, which causes some cameras, and photo kiosks (especially WinCE based ones) to Have Issues. So you have to open Terminal, "cd /Volumes/card", and "rm -R .*".

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

It's interesting by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #11 Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:09:33 AM EST
I haven't put the card in a reader yet and, oddly, when I plug the D60 in it shows up in iPhoto but not on the desktop - with all the other cameras I've tried, they show up in both places.

But the lens is amazingly sharp. Here's a crop of a picture I took from about 12" away: Close Up.

Tragically, I have no idea what kind of flowers they are...


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Has anybody seen my clue? I know I had it when I came in here.

[ Parent ]
A nice thing about digital cameras by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #12 Mon May 05, 2008 at 03:25:44 AM EST
is how they make so many things that used to take a bit of calculating, and make it easy. Fill-in flash, for example.

BTW, I'd recommend you get a Real Flash. Better range and color, and more flexibility, than the built-in flash.

And, as long as I'm linking to pictures from Sunday's bbq.

Cuteness!

More cuteness!

I'm innocent, I tell you! Innocent!

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
That's the plan. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #13 Mon May 05, 2008 at 05:24:24 AM EST
But not till my budget recovers in a year or two.

Back in the day, I had a good flash and a Lumiquest diffuser for it. That piece of plastic was my favorite camera accessory ev4r.

The speed that the D60 runs is amazing, too. Focus in a split second. Zero shutter lag. Continuous fire for 4-5 shots (then the buffer fills and you have to wait for it to digest). The closest thing I can find to a complaint about it so far is I have to get the box out of my closet and carefully troll through it - the manual refers to a couple of cables and covers that I didn't find when I took it out of the box. That's probably just what they chose to include in the Costco bundle, but I want to double check.

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Has anybody seen my clue? I know I had it when I came in here.

[ Parent ]
By the way... by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #14 Mon May 05, 2008 at 05:28:20 AM EST
Is that the chaperone on the end ?

Also, the dog was clearly framed. He needs a better lawyer.


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Has anybody seen my clue? I know I had it when I came in here.

[ Parent ]
With the tattoos? by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #15 Mon May 05, 2008 at 07:43:34 AM EST
Nah. She's getting married soon, so she's stressing.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Decades? by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #17 Mon May 05, 2008 at 10:16:55 AM EST
I don't remember having problems with my prints changing color depending on the brand of photo album I mounted them in...

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Has anybody seen my clue? I know I had it when I came in here.
Blink. Blink. by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #19 Mon May 05, 2008 at 01:43:58 PM EST
I really think your missing the point in all this.

I've been taking photos for a solid 35 years. I'm not a "young jedi". With print film I really, really, never had to worry that my prints changed color depending on who was looking at them.

Yes, if I used Velvia things would look different than if I used Ektar, and everybody had a favorite developer and paper and we still knew that if you really wanted really good color you had to shoot slide film.

But what you didn't have to worry about was things changing after you were done.

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Has anybody seen my clue? I know I had it when I came in here.

[ Parent ]
Color sucks by duxup (4.00 / 1) #22 Tue May 06, 2008 at 07:32:08 AM EST
Somehow the moon and stars aligned and my monitor at home set to its default pretty much matches the local printing shop I use.

Aside from that the best tips I get are from pros who think it is sensible to buy some fancy device, attach it to their screen, print stuff, scan it back in, and then mount their computer in some horrific way in order to convince it to do all those functions in a similar manner.

Anyway as for software that comes with your camera, break the disks.  I use Adobe Lightroom for organization and pretty much all the editing as well.  I heart it like mad.
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Lightroom.... by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #23 Tue May 06, 2008 at 07:43:55 AM EST
I've been listening to the "This Week in Photography" podcast and they agree with you. Actually, they tend to go on for hours about how great Lightroom is.

I've been toying with the idea of trying out both that and Aperture, although household infrastructure issues may force me to stay with iPhoto. I've got tens of thousands of photos archived in exported iPhoto databases. Migrating them to a new app then teaching SWHTL how to use the new app may be an insurmountable obstacle.

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Has anybody seen my clue? I know I had it when I came in here.

[ Parent ]
Yeah by duxup (4.00 / 1) #24 Tue May 06, 2008 at 08:13:00 AM EST
I only had a few thousand photos to put in Lightroom so it wasn't the end of the world for me.  I've never migrated into Lightroom aside from just adding files so I've no idea how that would work for you.

I don't know Aperture aside from its early release reports.  Back then it was teh suck compared to Lightroom (the free Lightroom beta was better than the pay for Aperture version), but those sucky aspects were so obvious and counterintuitive that I'm willing to bet most have been long since fixed.

It might sounds silly but my enjoyment of photography took off again after I picked up Lightroom.  Before that managing photos and editing them was so disconnected and used so much software that was REALLY not meant for the job it was a huge chore.  Now I can pretty much do everything in one place and best of all the app was built for photographers from the ground up, not some other BS.
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[ Parent ]
You know, all I want is for my pictures to look good | 22 comments (22 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback