Printing Problem

Mike Hollingshead

I'm having fun trying to get this image to print right at a local lab.


It is having a banding problem, I think. I've had banding issues with a few images in the past but only when they were worked as 8 bit files. I started working in 16 bit and I don't get this. Well I neatimaged this one in 8 bit and then layered it over the 16(when I changed it back to 16 bit). I thought maybe that was the reason. So, I make up another file but I don't do neatimage and never change it to 8 bit. I print it and again, I have this light red band that goes just under that main curl on the storm at the top and continue straight off the right side. It goes down and right along the bottom side of that curl until it gets to right side where the curl goes back straight. It then lifts up a bit and goes off the right of the image. The problem is, this only shows on the prints. I have looked hard at the image on my monitor and my parents and you simply don't see any sign of a banding problem. None. They can't see this red band on their monitor at the lab either. It is a bit hard to try to correct a problem that seems to not even exist. Any thoughts on what this might be? Kind of hard to visualize what I'm talking about I guess. Maybe I'll take a picture of the print(lol watch it not show up on that). It is amazing that it is not evident at all on three monitors, yet is very obvoius on each print we've made.

I don't have the information yet on what machine that is exactly. It is huge is all I know. I have only been trying the one 11x14 size. Today we're going to try their larger epson printer that I do 16x20s on. Will try to get more info.
So this is basically an Inkjet or Giclee type printer using a pigmented dye rather than the tradition Chemical Process that the Noritsu or Fuji systems use?

If that's the case, it is very possible the raster engine of the printer driver is balking at something on the image. From your description that's what it sounds like. Just depends on the printer being used.

Most large roll paper printers support a "profile". You may need to ask them for a Profile Target package so they can get the information that your computer uses to create the image to their printer that prints the image.

You might try and take the image to your local 1 hour photo place and ask them to run an 8X10 and see if the banding shows up there. That would help isolate the issue to the image rather than the printing process. You might also try printing an 8X10 from your printer on your computer and see if it shows up there as well.

Here's another thing you might try on the image itself. Rather than running neat image (I use it to and it's a pretty nice process), try this if your using Photoshop:

Open the image -> Go to the image menu and click on the "mode" and then LAB Color.

Once it's converted to LAB Color, click on the channels pallet (right hand menus). That brings up 4 channels. The last two are the ones we are concerned with.

Click on the top channel (remember we are using the last two) and then go to your filters menu and bring up Gaussian Blur. Blur the channel enough to just start mottling the edges together. Do the same for the bottom channel (usually, just a bit more). In all, you should be going over the 2.5 pixel range in the effect.

If you desire, you can click the Black & White channel and do some sharpening here. Use the Unsharp Mask filter set to about 50% to 65%.

Once done here, convert the image back to RGB Color.

The effect is pretty subtle but shows up well on larger prints. I use this mostly on portraits and it has the effects of smoothing out some of the highlighted skin blemishes. It's real subtle so you won't see a massive difference.
My totally non-technical opinion is that the printer is handling that particular color incorrectly. If it shows up on a different printer then you can rule that out.

BTW...where did you get that sweet picture of Hurricane Rita coming ashore?
Hey Mike, you might try I use to use them all the time, it's run by Millers Imaging here in Pittsburg KS. Registration is free, upload your picture, submit an order for the kind of prints you want and that's it.

I've never had any problems with them.
Thanks for all this info. I think you might be right on about the printer not seeing that color right. I am guessing you know more about it than the people with this very very expensive printer, lol(from what I'm gathering).

I have a bit more info on the printer used. It was not an inkjet, but something that uses lazers and emulsion. The name on it is an Agfa D-Lab 2(it is really big). We're going to print it on the inkjet tomorrow and see. I am guessing it will not show up on that and then we'll have to figure out how to fix it for the nice printer. I'll re-read the above and make a copy of it and see if we can figure it out. The info is much appreciated.
The first step is to find a lab that specifies the ICC color settings for the printer you are using... then you can import the color profile into PS and make sure the colors show up correctly.

This website lists a bunch of color profiles for labs across the country.

You didn't say what kind of lab you are using, but walmart/sams, etc are usually no-nos. They have auto exposure correction stuff enabled on the digilab which can screw things up. I use them for 4x6 proofs simply for the quantity price, but when quality counts... I go elsewhere.

So a couple of things... if other pictures are being printed out correctly, then it is possible that either a) this print has something corrupt in it color wise...or B) the file has been pushed too far in the digital darkroom.

BTW: Even though we have support for 16bit, you shouldn't see a difference yet with printing out 8bit files.... the technology isn't there yet.

Finally... there printer may just be whack.... find another lab if they can't even tell! ;)

Let us know how it turns out!

I'm using a local lab(only one in town). It is not sams or walmart. I think the printer was $100,000(might be way off).

Found a picture of it:


So a couple of things... if other pictures are being printed out correctly, then it is possible that either a) this print has something corrupt in it color wise...or B) the file has been pushed too far in the digital darkroom.

I have not had other prints done on it because they use the epson printer for the 16x20s and that is what I've had so far there. This is an 11x14 done on the emultion printer.

On all monitors the image looks perfectly fine. It is not pushed too far at all. If it was then the problem should show on someone's monitor.

BTW: Even though we have support for 16bit, you shouldn't see a difference yet with printing out 8bit files.... the technology isn't there yet.

My banding issues I had with a few images went completely bye bye once I processed them as 16 bit images. I had that banding on about any image with sunlight behind a dark cloud. The bright area would have alternating bands instead of a smooth transistion from dark to light. That and that odd stuff I had that I posted a while back, where it was right in the cloud. Both fixed by working in 16 bit. This is why I mentioned the bit thing here. But I get what you are saying. I could work in 16 bit and when I'm done change it to 8 bit and print it and not see a difference. My thinking was maybe that neat image layer I did was part of the problem because it only works in 8 bit. But, turned out it didn't matter. [/quote]
Ya, that's what I meant... it's good to do as much editing in 16 bit mode (especially when adjusting contrast, saturation, etc. ), but once it comes time to print... 8bit or 16bit shouldn't matter.

Aaron is on the right track here. Since I've been answering this post from work, I didn't have the links available.

The AGFA D-lab2 is a complete minilab similar to the Noritsu and Fuji systems we see in 1 hour photolabs. It uses the silver halide chemical processes and basically runs the same style as any other minilab system. The software is key to the special functions along with the paper.

As far as 8 bit vs. 16 bit, most printing system will convert the print via the raster print engine to what it needs to be able to print. So 8 bit or 16 bit doesn't really matter to the printer itself.

The only thing I can see that may be an issue would be a corruption of the color space causing the banding. Since this isn't an inkjet printer and doesn't lay down the print a stripe at a time, I would be more inclined to look at the raster process within the machine. It could be misinterpreting the dynamic differences between the colors of the cloud, sky behind and ground. The sudden difference in tones could be throwing the raster engine off.

The other thing could simply be a bad bit or two of information in the image file itself. That would be enough to throw off the raster engine. The programming reads the code just like we do. Left to right. If the bat bit or two are on the left side of the image, it makes sense that it corrupts from that point and continues until it finds the next good line of code.

You won't see it from the video card as it is less discerning of the information it digests and will compensate for a few bad bits. Raster engines are pretty primitive as far as programing goes and tend to be quirky.
Well I'm officially way lost after reading all that info. I should have them get on here and read all his so it can be figured out.

I just picked up the version printed on their epson inkjet and it looks perfect. The colors are even different and it matches what I see on my monitor perfectly. Now, how to get their other printer to do this. Thanks again for all the input. I wish I knew much more about all this. That smart printer should be able to print what I'm seeing on my monitor like their epson does.