PHO705: A Reflection on Colour Correction

Colour correction suddenly became important as printing, which had been going swimmingly well, went wrong overnight a week before the 1 May 2020 hand in. I mentioned elsewhere the saying “leave yourself enough time for contingencies”. Well the contingency was needed as I had to allow time to recalibrate the system and sort out a technical printing issue. Gladly these issues were fixed.

A Year Later at April 2021

A year on and this subject unexpectedly crawled to a conclusion: Talking to print consultants at the highly recommended A2i expressions group it was clear that instead of making all of my own ICC profiles with the Datacolor SpyderPrint I should sort out access to the extensive range of paper manufacturers profiles. On a mac computer these were a) never installed fully and never even identified b) were in a hidden Library c) wrapped up as a package and so very much not present. I discovered the packages in an Epson Library folder, opened them (there were four) and copied each list of ICC profiles to the system colorsync folder. I’d like to think this was all an act of genius but in fact the issue was described and solved in an Adobe support article from 2018. This is what came to the rescue:

https://community.adobe.com/t5/color-management/printer-profiles-missing-for-epson-sc-p800/m-p/10870908#M3033

Immediately I had all of the Epson paper options available in Lightroom and Photoshop and in fact I’m now softproofing in both apps and doing screen and paper simulations in Photoshop and very encouragingly my eye can detect the nuances of colour correction which before was done by hard proofing.

A further wrinkle in the Epson printer driver setup was found on reverting to Lightroom Advanced B&W where only a limited generic set of paper profiles was present. I thought this had all been sorted out but no. It turns out there is a known problem where Apple default network connection to the printer via Airport protocol. This prevents the full Epson driver from working and hence the limited selection of generic paper types.

The solution is to start afresh by removing the printer from Apple settings and instal it twice – yes twice. First time the system enforces an Airport protocol. On the second attempt it is realised by the system that there is an identical printer already installed and is coughs up the option to have the second instance as an Epson driver.

Here is the explanation: https://www.redrivercatalog.com/infocenter/tips/how-to-fix-missing-paper-media-type-selection-OSX.html

When someone commented to me the problem was my fault for not installing the printer the truth was I hadn’t installed the printer twice. Who would have thought such defective logic would be hidden from the owner of a new printer?

So Case Closed?

When printing had been going so well with review test prints, or in fact, any prints then why overnight a green cast appeared and wouldn’t go away.

There is a little tale to hear. The system, of course, had been calibrated at regular intervals, both screen and print. Monthly updates on screen and a really deep 9-page colour swatch check on the printer a while back.

The regular intervention meant recalibration was only a small chore but then nothing ever changed. The images always looked their best on the system and on the choice of my regular choice of paper.

Almost imperceptibly the recalibration reminders fell silent. But this was a result of the computer OS being upgraded to 64 bit somewhere along the line. The Spyder software simply faded away and stopped working and almost consigned to the bin.

A bit of begrudged time was needed to backtrack over emails to uncover the software suppliers policy followed by some checking on their website. The whole set of equipment was obsolete overnight except I was pleased to discover that the Spyder5 and associated SpyderPrint scanner were the oldest gear to remain in support.

Next followed some tracking down to find the 64-bit drivers on the datacolor website. Never an easy task but they were eventually found. Before locating the drivers in the support area there were several opportunities to purchase the latest all 64-bit offering SpyderX. That would have been a mistake as it was not required.

A bit of usual messing around with technology followed then without any razzamatazz the Spyder5 and SyderPrint were working again.

That gave a sense of ease but did it solve the problem? Well no, not exactly.

Next up was a colour correction problem caused by a double action of printer and computer. I describe this as two bullets in the barrel firing at once making a bit of a mess.

I was printing from Photoshop opting for Photoshop to control the colours rather than the printer. But still, the vital printer driver settings I needed to alter were greyed out and besides, there was no Generic RGB profile on the system. The embedded YouTube video from datacolor explains all.

There was a deep dive investigation required but once the solution was found it worked really well. First I had to find a Generic RGB colour profile. The reason for this is that it is a no-action option, what goes in comes out. The next step on my computer was to find the ColorSync utility and use it to set the Generic RGB setting from behind the greyed out controls. The manufacturer doesn’t want the general user tampering, I suppose.

Having done a full system calibration I now had a new set of icc profiles. I could see in the making of them how a whole range of colours had been inexact. So a new icc profile was made for each paper (and ink)..

In Photoshop I could now pick the exact profile and let the printer add its neutral /no effect correction and all became good.

The thing was I spent a day or so away from my work solving the green colour cast problem.

When things are going well each print is spot on first time. When things are going wrong in printing they really go wrong and you notice by the amount of reprinting and wasted prints that begin to pile up. There are so many adjustment options that dissapoint and it is only when getting behind the software driver in ColorSync that you retake control. At least that was my hard found experience.

The hanging questions have to do with why did it suddenly go wrong. The 64-bit aspect was one problem, the print manufacturer forbidding vital change with greyed out settings and lack of a neutral Generic RGB profile another.

Add to this a change of paper type. I was now using double-sided matte for the book and poster board matte for the exhibition prints. In the past, the solution had been narrow. I’d kept to what worked. For the FMP publications, I needed to learn to respond to expanded options and change.

A year ago I first used double-sided matte for my Ed Ruscha challenge book, which was a summer activity. Some of that printing was off I recall but I brushed it aside and should have dived into the software behind the scenes to correct the problem back then. I’d have placed myself in a better place. for the delivery fo the FMP assignments. The most significant impact of the printing being held up was that less drying time was left for the hand-bound book.

Summary

Through making FMP publications and both as a photographer and hopefully some may allow artist, I’ve been able to develop printing skills even if progress was hard-won.

As a self-professed print-virgin only two years ago I was aware of the benefit of the photographer printing their own work and always made my own prints. From review comment on the paper selection, I’ve expanded the wider creative options.

What started out as a preference for letting Photoshop control colours turned around. In spite of giving Photoshop colour control, it made more sense to let the printer do the work. I have more confidence with my new choice at the moment at least as the printer tends to control the hidden variables like ink drying and paper feed and size detection.

There was another benefit in that the December Digital Imaging Symposium I attended that helped me sort out issues of residual Infra-red IR detection had a session of colour spaces with lots of examples and comparisons. So the knowledge is building and with practice, it is leading to controlled higher quality publication.

As a consequence of all that is said, I can now confidently go public with my photography in a wider range of forms.

PHO705: Week 24 Reflection

Done. The work has been done. Everything was handed in well in advance or in advance.

It proved important to leave enough time for checking as the inevitable was ready to happen – the screen freeze and colour printing going all wrong with an unexpectedly deep dive into ColorSync print technology.

Restart work on the Exhibition items put on ice

The video refresh, the music, the exhibition in a box were all in work but lost out as publication turned to book when the exhibition was postponed. Now there is time to prepare for a new date.

I’ll continue to check this blog for any mistakes. I know there a few.

Reflection

At the current point, much has been taken from the course. Starting with a new passion for bookbinding. Things there are going wild with three more hand bindings lined up.

Practice in using media tools with a vengeance was a highlight too.

Fulfilling the objective of making a portfolio of publishable work was the aim at the outset and how that has been helped along.

Making pictures as Art based on cutting edge Science ArtSci became a revelation in the area of genetics This genre is ripe for new picture making.

PHO705: Assignment Final Major Project (PDF)

Submit Assignment here

Depending on the nature of your practice, your resolved project may take one of a variety of forms, however, and it will be an original, authored piece of creative practice, of a publishable standard. It will have been developed over the FMP module and will extend from or otherwise draw upon work created throughout the course.

The FMP submission will evidence and document your critically informed project that is resolved to a professional and publishable standard.

The form that your project takes will depend on the nature of your practice and should reflect your creative intent. It should be resolved as appropriate to the work itself and with considered purpose. As the consideration of audiences and markets are key concerns throughout the course, you are strongly encouraged to present it to an appropriate public audience.

This may include, but not be limited to:

  • An installation
  • Solo or group exhibition;
  • Editorial feature;
  • Book;
  • Online project;
  • Workshop;
  • Performance, screening or talk;
  • Symposium or conference presentation.

These artefacts and/or activities should be clearly evidenced in your FMP submission.

The document should include:

  • A concise description of the work,
  • The final images of the project or an edit thereof,
  • Documentation of the publication (e.g. installation shots, tear sheets),
  • Critical feedback or analysis from other professionals (if applicable),
  • URLs to relevant video or other supporting material.

You may wish to remind yourself on guidance for documenting your FMP submission.

Format

It should be:

  • A colour, page-numbered, PDF document
  • Text should be 1.5 line spaced and use a 12 point, sans serif font
  • Fully Harvard referenced throughout, where applicable
  • All images should be fully titled and referenced
  • No more than 15MB

Assessment

The Final Major Project accounts for 60% of the final grade for the FMP module. It will be assessed on the following Learning Outcomes:

LO1: Technical and Visual Skills

Demonstrate an awareness of a range of photographic and image-making processes, and display accomplishment of photographic skills relevant to your practice specialism.

LO2: Visual Communication and Decision-Making

Exercise discernment in the making, resolution and presentation of practical work, and an ability to communicate ideas through creative visual strategies.

LO3     Critical Contextualization of Practice

Apply a critical awareness of the diversity of contemporary photographic practice to the development of your own work, and inform your practice through historical, philosophical, ethical and economic contextualization.

PHO705: Week 4 Assignment Final Project Proposal

This was a week for handing in the FMP Project Proposal

Proposal PDF

The next step is to book a 121 meeting with my Supervisor.

Bibliography

Howard Rachel (2018) Repetition is truth via Dolorosa. Edited by A. C. Beard Jason. London: Other Criteria Books. Available at: newportstreetgallery.com.

PHO705: Opening Night Party

PHO705: Book Designer Meeting

We had privileged access to Book Designer Victoria Forrest in a group session. It was useful for me although I’m erring towards a handbound artist book dummy and an exhibition in a box, a repeat of a successful approach from tyhe summer exhibition.

So what was learned:

  • focus on my DNA – I’d downloaded it pivoted it and searched it for transcription errors. It is an interesting error rate. There is some research out there about various diseases and these kinds of errors. My genome is good though as it is 99% shared with other human beings.
  • there’s the work I mentioned before on making visuals from base-pair sequences. As mentioned, there is a legal requirement to look after the genome data for my own protection and that of my offspring. Dry data is a bit too graphic for my liking but can be made to work by skilful handling. I prefer it as a blank verso decoration. Too much of it will be samey or overwhelmingly and potentially take away from the visuals I reckon. 
  • develop an offshoot of an artistic work recombinant rhymes. My take is I’ve gathered all the words containing a letter A, C G and T (base pair letters in DNA) and pick salient words in pairs or threes to describe a context around the project (photography, Great War, etc. but the layout of a crossword puzzle element. 
  • don’t associate with the Berger quote I made for being too inflammatory. Very strange on a Visual Arts course that the subject of reversing Berger’s observation should seem difficult. Surely art should challenge its own foundations. There is nothing illegal that couldn’t be published and after all, why waste a founding pillar and key inspiration to my work?

What else?

  • something on paper gsm was answered 300 gsm is too much and 175gsm is preferred
  • mtDNA is something Victoria is comfortable understanding but leave it out in preference to using own genome work
  • Victoria wanted to know details of my method of making. Seemed a bit cheeky a question in a public forum but unless the person you are working with really knows your work how can it be successful?

That was it in a nutshell, and very good considering five students were on in under two hours. Victoria must have been exhausted by us but thank you.

PHO705: Fonts

Supporting Discussion

The choice of font for FMP submission remains firm as Granville Light. A return to inspect the style after a cooling-off period only confirms this. The use of a Typography Insight App allowed a detailed comparison with a standard sans serif font. The Granville Light style is very much being enjoyed.

Original Post

Time has been spent researching san serif fonts for the FMP assignments and two fonts have shortlisted and have been installed and are being trialled:

  • Granville
  • Auster

Both fonts are very clear and Granville is being preferred on several counts including style which is more apparent on the lower case letters f and t, but also for being from a French designer at a Paris foundry given the project theme of loss in the Great War. The slight dagger-like flourishes in the lowercase letters f and t, also act as a metaphor for me as references to the Dirk and the Sgian Dubh, sheathed pointed daggers carried in Scottish national dress.

I won’t install the Granville font in this blog but provide a PDF example here:

PHO705-Fonts

Looking at this example a reservation emerges to do with font width, even as something that makes it more readable. Is it too wide? The answer becomes clear when the font is viewed at the required 1.5 line spacing where indeed it looks fresh and clean as seen in th ePDF above.

PHO705: Creating Draft Critical Review of Practice

Two items have been held up pending 10 weeks of illness then need to create portfolio work.

These are the Video that should have been made over the break and the Critical Review of Practice CRoP.

These have been taken together, but oddly manage to support the work. The following PDF is the mind map. A CRoP is a CRoP but it has to be about something so the overview of working practice and methodology is given as a mind map. The CRoP requirement (or part of) has been mapped onto it and requires further development like issuing a draft. However, there is some referencing to other practitioners still in research. Despite having this for earlier incarnations of the work (in earlier study Modules) the work has progressed on so time for the update.

To an extent I can argue about originality and a need to mask off external influences as the work is quite unique in its standing as a branch of Art based on Science. As blogged previously I’m never surprised anymore to find original thought crop up in other places of which two examples could be cited.

CroP-WIP

  • Top left hand in the mind map is the Critical Review of Practice from an earlier module assignment.
  • The bottom left hand is a storyboard outline for a useful video resource that is being created. (This proved very helpful to visitors to the summer exhibition).
  • Above this is the connection to the CRoP linked to Ghost Abstract Figurative Themes. While Ghosts per se have been dropped since the review with a book designer, the landscapes remain ghost images.
  • Practice location top right is the piece being updated for this dynamic project. It does need to settle down urgently prints, book, portable exhibition and talk to be worked on.

There is quite a challenge here as none of the work has been subcontracted to printers or anyone else so all of the skills from the photography through to all branches of making have been absorbed and this alongside all of the marked assignment work. For anyone wishing to embark on an MA Photography Course they may wish to consider how much work to outsource to specialists. Personally, outsourcing the Book making to an online offering is not preferred over an artists book dummy and hiring a book designer would lose some of the original intent to someone else’s view of what the market would stand. The work is still too dynamic for this.

Bottom right is the remainder of the CRoP assignment requirement, which pertains to the public showing.

In terms of evidencing the work as mentioned here in an FMP lecture video then on the subject of gaining public feedback, there is a need to reach out to practitioners to elicit attendance or somehow provide comment on the work.

I now have a date of the Easter Weekend for showing the work over four days at Amersham Studios tradesecrets.live Only now can approaches be made by reaching out.

As image-making is fundamental and has been a major focus, work has been flooding forward and is now starting to receive critique (two critiques were missed through technology issues).

There is scope for an earlier pop-up exhibition at the same location. No promises yet. Details will be published and a campaign run via Instagram account foto_graphical and Facebook.

<placeholder> for draft CRoP