Jump to content
Merlin

WYSIWYG in Designer or Photo

Recommended Posts

Is there a recommended way of adjusting images to print to match how they appear on a screen? All my prints are much darker than I expect or want them to be. It is frustrating that effort on appearance, color and brightness does not transfer to the final print. I know this is a common issue based on an attempt to solve this through internet searches.

I have watched the soft proof video for Designer but that doesn’t seem to solve the problem (I don’t really understand what it does to be honest). I’ve looked online and it is suggested that the screen settings (brightness, contrast etc.) are adjusted to match the print, then the brightness of the image is adjusted in the software to how you want it to print, but that seems a little cumbersome and antiquated, and probably unreliable.

Is there a more robust way of adjusting exports for printing to match the screen image?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You’re always going to come up against this problem unless you have a carefully calibrated display. Bright colours on screen don’t translate well when output on paper.


Alfred online2long.gif
Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher for Windows • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
Affinity Photo for iPad 1.8.6 • Designer for iPad 1.8.6 • iPadOS 14.2 (iPad Air 2)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alfred, are you saying the best solution is to calibrate the display to represent the darkness of the prints? If the screen is calibrated do you have any recommendations on what should be adjusted in the software to achieve WYSIWYG? If, for example, I go to layer>new adjustment>... there are several options there for exposure, levels, brightness, contrast etc. Would adjusting those improve the export for print?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You would calibrate and adjust the display to be accurate, given the lighting conditions in your room. This is not something that is specific to an image. It is about getting the monitor to display all colors as accurately as it can.

Then, for each image you're working on, when you're ready to print you would use soft-proofing to simulate how that image will appear when printed, given your specific printer and paper combination. If it does not look as you want it to look, you would add adjustments (such as the ones you mentioned) above the soft-proofing layer to correct it so it does look as you want it to look. You would then turn off the soft-proofing layer, and print using the image with the added adjustments. During printing you would specify the appropriate color profile for your printer/paper, as you did when soft-proofing.

That should give you the closest result you can get. But you still need to understand that your monitor may have a wider color gamut than your printer, and you won't be able to get everything to match. This will be especially true if you're using a wide-gamut color profile for your document in Affinity.

Also, displays and printers use different technologies, which will give you different results. They can never match exactly. Displays use transmitted light and can be much brighter than prints, which use reflected light. The color mixing technologies are also different between RGB (the display) and CMYK (the printer).


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 2004 (19041.388),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.864 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.864 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.863 Beta.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Walt, thanks. The issue I face is I am printing professionally so I can’t experiment with my own printer. I suppose I could do a smorgasbord of alternates and print them at the print shop to see what gives the best results.

Furthermore, I want to manufacture my prints which would use another print driver, so my goal is really to find a WYSIWYG solution for a wide range of professional printers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Merlin said:

Walt, thanks. The issue I face is I am printing professionally so I can’t experiment with my own printer. I suppose I could do a smorgasbord of alternates and print them at the print shop to see what gives the best results.

I would try asking the print shop for the color profile that describes the printer and paper (or other medium) they will be using. Then install that profile on your system (or import it into Photo with File > Import ICC Profile...) and soft-proof using it.

But starting with a calibrated monitor is still important for getting the best results.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 2004 (19041.388),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.864 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.864 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.863 Beta.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Merlin said:

As noted above (through edit) I will need to print on various printers.

I think that each different printer and media combination is likely to need different adjustments if you want the best results. But I await comments from other users with more experience.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 2004 (19041.388),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.864 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.864 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.863 Beta.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I print to a web press (Goss) and use Affinity Designer to compose elements that are exported to PDF/4 and then imported to Adobe InDesign (Affinity Publisher needs a span columns option to even begin to work for me). However, the cover colors are always significantly off screen to print. Designer seems to display the RGB values even when the document is set up as CMYK? Want to see the simulated CMYK gamut instead of the RGB on screen. Then I can calibrate the screen from there. Is there a setting I'm missing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, whitewolf7070 said:

However, the cover colors are always significantly off screen to print. Designer seems to display the RGB values even when the document is set up as CMYK?

As Walt said, computer monitors can only display colors as combinations of RGB values -- there is no such thing as a CMYK monitor. To simulate CMYK print as accurately as possible, the monitor must be color calibrated and a soft-proofing profile used as Walt described for each combination of printing device & print medium the document will be printed with.

5 hours ago, whitewolf7070 said:

Want to see the simulated CMYK gamut instead of the RGB on screen. Then I can calibrate the screen from there.

For accurate results, screen calibration should be done with hardware devices & software specifically designed to do that. See for example this 'best of 2019' list or this one. If you try to 'calibrate' the monitor to somehow simulate what a print made with some printing device would look like without soft-proofing & without regard to ambient room lighting (if that is what you mean) isn't going to work.

For more info about this, see for example the excellent Cambridge in Colour Monitor Calibration For Photography article & the companion Soft Proofing Photos & Prints one.


Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4, Affinity Publisher 1.8.4;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 40GB RAM; macOS 10.15.6
Affinity Photo 
1.8.4.186 & Affinity Designer 1.8.4.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 14.0.1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Typically when printing professionally you shouldn’t need the print drivers. The print shop or manufacturer requires PDFs at 300dpi and CMYK. You print the pdf to a file and the print shop prints the pdf. So I think the comments about finding out the exact model of printer from a print shop is a red herring.

I’m not sure calibrating the monitor solves the problem either because it is the pdf that comes out dark when printed at a print shop. The only solution I can think of is trial and error by adjusting brightness of images until they print correctly.

For example I adjusted the color brightness and contrast of my monitor until I was close to the darkness of a typical print and ended up with R10%, G25%, B25% and contrast 70% but that doesn’t change how the pdf prints. All I can think of is to try various brightnesses and contrasts in the software and have them printed until I’m satisfied with the output.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Merlin said:

For example I adjusted the color brightness and contrast of my monitor until I was close to the darkness of a typical print and ended up with R10%, G25%, B25% and contrast 70% but that doesn’t change how the pdf prints.

  • There is no such thing as a "typical print" without a reference to the specific combination of the printer, printing method, & the media it is printed on or applied to.
  • Changing the brightness and/or contrast of a monitor to match any of the multitude of these so-called "typical prints" is not even close to the same thing as calibrating it.

Please at least browse through the Cambridge in Colour articles I mentioned or do your own web search on color calibration, color management, soft-proofing, color perception, or any related term. There are no red herrings in any of this.


Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4, Affinity Publisher 1.8.4;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 40GB RAM; macOS 10.15.6
Affinity Photo 
1.8.4.186 & Affinity Designer 1.8.4.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 14.0.1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am doing research. My point is printing PDFs does not use the printer drivers. And if I commission artwork the calibration of the monitor isn’t going to change the darkness of a ‘typical print’, meaning an image I typically want to print professionally.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Merlin said:

My point is printing PDFs does not use the printer drivers.

Printing the PDF doesn't use your printer drivers, but it certainly uses the printer drivers that your print shop is using.

18 minutes ago, Merlin said:

And if I commission artwork the calibration of the monitor isn’t going to change the darkness of a ‘typical print’, meaning an image I typically want to print professionally.

The image consists of a set of pixels with defined colors. Those pixels will print as determined by the application and printer software and how the ink behaves on the chosen printing medium.

The monitor calibration affects your view of the image. If the monitor is not calibrated to display the image colors accurately for the environment where you have the monitor setup, then a perfect red in the image may appear orange or pink to you. Or if the monitor brightness/contrast are not set properly the image might seem dark, or light. So you might adjust the image so the color looks right to you, or the brightness/contrast look right, but that's based on the monnitor which was set incorrectly. After your adjustment the image actually has the wrong color/brightness/contrast, but you think it's fine because it looks OK on your mis-adjusted or mis-calibrated monitor.

Then when you print it, the printer will produce the wrong color.

Or, when you export it to PDF, and view the PDF, it will still look right on your monitor, but it will print incorrectly.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 2004 (19041.388),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.864 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.864 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.863 Beta.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When you print you either choose a printer which uses the printer driver, or you can print to a file format such as pdf. Or you can export to a file format such as pdf. I see no way to print to a pdf using a specific print driver. Am I missing something?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Merlin said:

When you print you either choose a printer which uses the printer driver, or you can print to a file format such as pdf. Or you can export to a file format such as pdf. I see no way to print to a pdf using a specific print driver. Am I missing something?

No, I don't think you can print to a PDF using a specific printer driver.

But you can print to a PDF using a specific printer color profile, which your print shop could provide to you. That color profile would have been developed to describe the way that their printer prints to the specific medium (a specific paper, for example) using their specific inks. The application (Affinity Photo) or the OS would use that information during printing to make sure that the colors in the image are printed as accurately as possible.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 2004 (19041.388),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.864 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.864 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.863 Beta.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Merlin said:

I am doing research. My point is printing PDFs does not use the printer drivers.

What research have you found that suggests this? In general terms a software driver is just an abstract software interface that provides low level access to either a hardware device (a device driver) or to another low level service provided by the OS. Because they are abstractions, it is not unusual for there to be a chain of software drivers 'between' an app & the device that eventually produces the physical print, including I/O drivers, filter drivers, class drivers, function drivers, etc.

But regardless of the format, to actually produce a physical print, there must be a device driver at the end of the chain, & it will be specific to the printing device that produces the print.


Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4, Affinity Publisher 1.8.4;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 40GB RAM; macOS 10.15.6
Affinity Photo 
1.8.4.186 & Affinity Designer 1.8.4.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 14.0.1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am asking for help, but if you want to blind me with science that’s ok. My question is how to I ensure my prints aren’t dark and the answer I get is calibrate my monitor and ask the print shop for the printer they use and use that driver when I print.

I am saying it doesn’t work like that. Manufacturers require files in pdf, 300 dpi and CMYK. When I use those settings my prints are too dark. I don’t see how calibrating my monitor will change that, and certainly printing to a pdf will not change it either. The solution is in the settings for Affinity Photo and Designer which I was asking for help with.

I didn’t realize my basic question would require me to apply to college for a degree in color management.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Merlin said:

the answer I get is calibrate my monitor and ask the print shop for the printer they use and use that driver when I print.

No, the answer was calibrate your monitor, and ask the print shop for the color profile that describes the printer and printing medium and ink that they will be using. Each combination of printer, ink, and medium has a different profile that describes how the input colors are reproduced for that combination.

You get your image looking correct by:

  1. Making sure your monitor is calibrated and the room lighting is correct. Then
  2. Adjusting the image to look the way you want it to look on the monitor. Then
  3. Soft-proofing the image using the color profile for the printer/ink/medium it will be printed on, and making further adjustments to keep the image looking right.

Then you turn off the soft-proof layer while leaving the additional adjustments active. At this point it will look wrong on the monitor, but that's OK. Finally you're ready to print the image, specifying that color profile in the print dialog, to an actual printer. Or you can export the image to a PDF file to give to your print shop.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 2004 (19041.388),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.864 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.864 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.863 Beta.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just called my local print shop and they said prints are always darker than the screen and they recommend using CMYK. Other than that they had nothing to offer, so I have to solve the problem in the software.

I’m curious whether the recommendations I am receiving are tried and tested, or whether most people don’t do much physical printing nowadays.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Merlin said:

I just called my local print shop and they said prints are always darker than the screen and they recommend using CMYK. Other than that they had nothing to offer, so I have to solve the problem in the software.

I’m curious whether the recommendations I am receiving are tried and tested, or whether most people don’t do much physical printing nowadays.

Tried and tested. The level of detail at which each of the suggestions needs to be applied will vary depending on a variety of factors, including but not limited to:

  • the range of colors in your original images
  • how far off from "true" your monitor is (that is, what you see) vs the mathematical representation of the underlying actual colors used
  • the type and quality of the output substrate (glossy labels will present colors differently than matte fine art paper, etc)
  • how critical color reproduction is for your end result ("different from the screen" and "not an acceptable result" _may_ be different levels of judgement)

You expressed a frustration at the detail being thrown at you; that's understandable. The world of color management is obtuse and only made worse by the relative ease with which high-gamut material (photos, designs) can be created these days that look spectacular on a light-based display but will wash out on pigment-based output. Still, if you're doing any sort of non-trivial print, learning the basics (and beyond if you choose) will make your print-creation-life if not easier, at least a little more predictable.


https://bmb.photos | https://vocallength.com | https://khonsuapp.com Focus: The unexpected, the abstract, the extreme on screen, paper, & other physical outputTools: macOS (Primary: Mojave, MBP2018), Canon (Primary: 5D3), iPhone (Primary: X), Epson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do physical printing, but not (yet) via a print shop.

They are right (I think) that prints are darker than the image on the screen. I mentioned that indirectly earlier with my comment:

On 9/2/2019 at 9:55 AM, walt.farrell said:

Also, displays and printers use different technologies, which will give you different results. They can never match exactly. Displays use transmitted light and can be much brighter than prints, which use reflected light. The color mixing technologies are also different between RGB (the display) and CMYK (the printer). 

And merely using CMYK rather than RGB for your document profile won't address all of that. But it's possible it will get you closer.

I'm a bit disappointed that your print shop doesn't have more to offer. For example, saying "use CMYK" is quite vague, and incomplete. Your document also needs to have a color space (profile) specified.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 2004 (19041.388),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.864 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.864 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.863 Beta.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@brad thanks for your calm insight. I am frustrated. I am designing a board game and have spent money on art that may be darker than I thought and need to correct it. So this is very much a matter of perception  rather than precision.

@RCR I will definitely look at cambridgeincolour.com and have already started.

@walt I am disappointed in the print shop too. It is fully professional with the full range of products you’d expect from a print shop but I sometimes wonder about the attitude of the owner. It’s just around the corner from me, so very convenient, but I really hate going there because they don’t seem to be interested in the end product I want to achieve. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Merlin, on the quality of the assets and their representation in CMYK, depending on your relationship with the artist that created them, either revisit the issue as to print-safe gamuts or failing that (for a variety of potential reasons), find a local professional print-centric graphic designer to help you out. It may be fairly straightforward to adapt what you have to properly represent the desired result.

You can also, of course, continue to ask questions here and gain significant insight along the way. The only real problem there is that you're having an issue with physical output and the only way to convey those issues here is to create a screen-based representation. That might work well-enough after several iterations but will be more cumbersome and time consuming than face-to-face interactions. Now, once you have those "change this this way" instructions from your design mentor (assuming s/he doesn't do the actual work for you), you can much more effectively peruse the tutorials or ask for help on how to apply "this way" to your images.


https://bmb.photos | https://vocallength.com | https://khonsuapp.com Focus: The unexpected, the abstract, the extreme on screen, paper, & other physical outputTools: macOS (Primary: Mojave, MBP2018), Canon (Primary: 5D3), iPhone (Primary: X), Epson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK I am looking at soft proofing. This is really interesting and does represent the darkening of images under certain proof profiles. So how does one know the correct proof profile to use? The proof profiles appear to relate to paper types. Can more profiles be added? How do you know which proof profile to use? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Please note the Annual Company Closure section in the Terms of Use. These are the Terms of Use you will be asked to agree to if you join the forum. | Privacy Policy | Guidelines | We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.