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 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: International Women’s Day

How does this day have a bearing on this blog? Simply put it is the link to the motherline theme. Motherline is based on the mother’s DNA. Her mitochondrial DNA in particular provides us with the means of creating life giving energy. The associated stability or unchanging structure within family members allows identification with ancestors. This DNA bridges across time for thousands of years. My project bridges just over a century.

When the current project is complete, attention can be turned to other families, to other past events, to be carried forward for future generations.

PHO705: DNA Art Portraits

With an eye on commercialising art, the following is from AffinityDNA (AffinityDNA, 2020). This blog post demonstrates the contemporary and growing economic aspect of this genre allied to my photography. Perhaps by marketing photography, it could pay for the cost of the studies. Currently, there is communication taking place with another major DNA testing supplier on an introductory and more mundane level perhaps.

DNA Art Portraits

Display your DNA fingerprint as a unique personalised piece of genetic artwork! DNA art portraits from only £179

In terms of context this offering is available amongst other tests:

This demonstrates the contemporary and growing economic aspect of this (my) genre of photography.

Bibliography

AffiinityDNA (2020) Affinity DNA. Available at: https://www.affinitydna.co.uk.

PHO705: Generative Design

The exercise using word clouds worked/is working well according to the intended outcome and as such is being developed into another technological sphere of artsci known as Generative Design (Bohnacker, 2012) and the update (Gross, 2018). We are now at an intersection with computing.

Generative Design: Ghost with Lyrics – Michael Turner

Generative Art practice has a returned and is being made part of my MA Photography. The above image is one of the ghost pictures that arose from healing photography. It uses a graphics or more specifically a font from pixel values technique and is created with the lyrics of Robert Burns song, A Man’s a Man for A’ That. (Burns, 1795).

Bibliography

Bohnacker, H., Gross, B. and Laub, J. (2012) Generative Design Visualise, Program, and Create with Processing. English tr. Edited by C. Lazzeroni. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Available at: www.papress.com.

Burns, R. (1785) A Man’s A Man For A’ ThatBurns Country. Available at: http://robertburns.org/works/496.shtml.

Fross, B. et al. (2018) Generative Design Visualise, Program and Create with Javascript in P5.js. Edited by C. Lazzerolli. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Available at: www.papress.com.

PHO705: Week 17 Reflection

Guest Lecture

This week saw another Guest Lecture take place this time with Paul Clements Photojournalist.

GCC – Module Leader

There was also a Group Guest Critique GCC with the Module Leader and for some reason, probably to do with timing and project evolution the meeting was very much appreciated. A welcome relief.

I was able to announce the intended exhibition visit of a Contemporary Photographic Editor who I am pleased to have volunteered to take a new job with that is waiting until June. This is as a proofreader for a Contemporary Photography Journal. My earlier offer of managing a related ISSUU electronic magazine was something the photographic group couldn’t wait 8 months for and one of my colleagues from a group photographic project took it on. What this says is that the chosen attendee is someone I’d hope to work with.

The course remains the top priority above all else other than the mortal deeds and close relationships. The reason for reflecting on this is to demonstrate to anyone thinking of doing a course such as the Falmouth MA Photography that even at 10-hour study plus 10 hours photographic practice per week, it requires a high level of commitment. My admiration goes to those able to deliver at this level such as is likely of the really talented artist of whom there are many examples on our course. For me, I hail from STEM education and associated career and often worked from a blank sheet of paper through to architected solutions and adapt my experience to the MA.

Making

During the week attention turned to the facsimile / portable exhibition and a small sense of pride resulted from taking printable cardboard and making a dummy box. Printing the guides at A4 resulted in a miniature of only 2’x3′

Pencil marked dummy

An estimated card stock size of between A3 and A2 would be required. The 2″x3″ dimensions are only external for the pictured dummy box. The final box needs to be double the size to accommodate side-by-side mounted miniatures.

Size didn’t matter for the dummy as the intent was to work out the printed surfaces, the orientation of the print surfaces, the glue points and the folding sequence. An overall feel for how sturdy the box would be for the given card stock was also confirmed.

There is the other matter of now the box construction is would be feasible, how is it to be decorated? The theme of own DNA or historic archive? Design decisions need to be made.

Recombinant Rhymes

Recombinant Rhymes was an ArtSci feature on the radio that I’ve adapted to my project to aid context building.

A revisit was made to the literary element of adding contextualising text, specifically a list of dictionary entries for words that contain the base pair letters A, C, G and T.

Perhaps there is scope for extending individual words by concordance perhaps using SketchEngine (SketchEngine, 2020) to expand the text.

On the one hand, this can be categorised as being overly smart which detracts from communication but then again it does allow context to be built and we (I certainly do) know how important context building can be to a visual project especially in the surreal abstract.

Video (and Music)

Music was composed for a Ghost theme feature after a visit to a store that demonstrated the GarageBand music composition software.

A further video has been storyboarded as a follow on to a successful showing at the Summer Exhibition.

Bibliography

SketchEngine (2020) Sketch Engine. Available at: https://app.sketchengine.eu.

PHO705: Effects

This post surprisingly is about layering and effects as it is starting to become late in the day for further development. Finished work will be required imminently.

Follow-on Work from Book Design Meeting

The meeting with book designer Victoria Forrest had taken the direction towards using own genomic data. A 700,000 sample of the human genome from my own test results has been downloaded and secured. It remains to decide how and how far to extend its use and this could be via layering as in three examples created to date.

  • Great grandmother and boy outdoor portrait with glow image overlapped
  • Grandmother posed by rock with glow image and DNA base pair layering
  • A tablet of DNA base pairs overlaid on mono glow image.

Other possibilities are an illustrative option for use for example to add content to a facing page. The theme can either punctuate change or run continuously. This compares with amending each work created to date to incorporate base pairs.

The DNA test data contains autosomal, Y-DNA and mtDNA data. Apparently the test no longer lead to the latter two being made available.

Themes and Use of Effects

Some of the image themes within the overall project lead to the possibility of going to the next level of visual presentation by working with Adobe After Effects. Specifically the Ghost persons themes work well with Spotlight enhancement with motion. Music has also been composed for this. The overall production should be very emotive. However much this is lining up as the next evolution of this work, it kind of was dropped from the project scope for now.

Another thematic element is the use of Effects alongside the inner/outer space visuals or cellular portrayal falling under the heading of Pan Cellular Ex Cellular – all cells are made from cells a reference to the DNA transcription process that enables life and link made to the past.

The cellular theme is ripe for working in Adobe After Effects with Trapcode Particular from Red Giant. Practice in this domain as part of a course or courses completed in advance of the this Falmouth MA Photography course.

For now, this blog post has to be limited to a record of strong intent as expansion into 3D and VFX must not detract from the Assignments. Keep to the plan and the timeline for now.

PHO705: Portable Exhibition

This blog post refers to the idea of taking the work outside of the white cube exhibition space, using facsimile mounted prints in a display box.

It was recommended at the Arles critique last year that a new box is made and while open to the idea, it was decided to investigate. This was done by researching the methods for making a clamshell and flip lid boxes.

Having handmade a box in the past it has been clear how much of a challenge such a simple intention can become. Research has been conducted and shows a range of techniques from simple paper folding through to the use of guillotine and cast iron press.

There are many minor considerations that affect the construction and finish – tiny triangular nicks and unexpected cuts and folds to cover corner spaces and raised section to keep out light and dust. This is quite an enterprise. The tooling is an expensive consideration as is attending a centre such as London Book Arts.

Design: woohoo

Box-making cut details

So what about drawing on the resources of a firm that offers custom made boxes. The factors come into play are cost etc. At a 5,000 piece run the box I’d need would be approximately £1 per box. That’s too many boxes and too high an outlay. At a single box the cost is £50 – it is almost better re-ordering the original DNA test kit.

To show how subtle the flip-top box is to make a PDF design has been attached:

WOO-PHL49-A5-template

Here is the dummy box using the above plan to work out print constraints, folding, scale, weight, strength and glueing:

PHO705: Group Critique with Module Leader

While the focus of late has been on writing the Critical Review of Practice and on ‘plussing’ the visuals, this post relates to a switch back to the public presentation of the work.

Switching tasks like this may be less efficient than running each task to completion. Professional development of photographic work might call on multiple resources, but here for the MA Photography, the author becomes or has become the sole resource for all of the work.

Collaboration practised as a professional specialism has yet to flow into the making process, so it has become quite a busy time. Considering research turned to image-making only a month ago then a lot of ground has been covered.

The making in the digital darkroom had been akin to the process of creating a painting. Now with the change of methodology and processing, the mental task of visualising and the way time is consumed is closer to photographic sculpture.

A National Portrait Gallery Friday evening drawing session attended last year, was conducted with white pencil on black paper, the process of observation and drawing likened to making sculpture.

Guest Group Critique

In presenting the work it was noted how exciting the development of the project has become and how this easily extends the work beyond the time available to us on this MA Photography course. With practice development, the project is likely to undergo further extension and presentation beyond May 2020. It is very exciting at this stage

A minor comment was the all-important selection of the sans serif Granville light font for use in the book and in the PDFs – the Critical Review of Practice assignment PDF and the book PDF hand-in.

As for the work shown in the critique an original InDesign file was shown having evolved through a one to one session, to the recent book designer session, to the subsequent splitting out of themes into individual files and finally and importantly the addition of more new work.

The project had all along used but now re-presented as having a trace of author’s DNA both as glow and as a graphic sequence.

There was a call to make a model in order to experiment with the layout of images. This would be more of a demonstration or proof exercise. In practice, the author has ongoing access to the studio/exhibition space and so does not require the intermediate step of modelling layouts. In an earlier module, a summer exhibition was held in the same space over a period of 8 days, it will be four days this time.

What is different this time is that access has been gained to the material for constructing exhibition walls from a stand kit. In a one, to one review the author was advised to set this aside, for an unexplained reason. It would be easy advice to take as it makes life easier. It is felt that there was a misunderstanding in communication via the online medium used.

Style, Paper and Framing

The critique was missing much in the way of content as the reviewer needed to see actual prints in front of them. The previous comment was of the look of charcoal on antique paper and was an accurate description of the aesthetic. This is produced both as an adjusted filter and is reproduced as a homemade PS action.

The vignetted borders were said to act against normal framing methods and would require consideration.

A test print was made a little while ago, was on matte paper and set out on the surface of the stock off white mount board used in the Summer exhibition. It all went together well.

There was a call to make a pile of prints as the quality can be more readily viewed and prints allow the order and sequencing to be done. This is an imminent action.

The project is the same one from the start of the course and has recently taken on more of the surreal. As image making began little more than one month ago the thrust has been towards image-making to gain images in sufficient numbers, higher than in the past with quality and with enough spares to support an 18 image exhibition and a book.

Recombinant Rhymes

From recombinant DNA and an artsci process of creating poetry. A decision was made to discover all or as many dictionary words as possible containing base pair letters A, C, G and T together. In order to form two or three-word crossword sections, words were gathered into themes.

There are sufficient range and sophistication of meanings linked to the work as photographic, biological and socio-political. The book would be expanded with facing blank pages set to contain word pairs or triples. No rhymes are intended.

Word Cloud

A simpler approach is the word cloud.

A variation might be to take advantage of scale in order to emphasise selected words. Chosen words correspond with a facing image. The method can be used with my DNA results in two cases; autosomal and mtDNA

Author’s Autosomal DNA and error rate

The Autosomal DNA chromosomes 1-22 are over 99% identical to all other human beings. Above are the mismatch errors in a 600,000 sample from 1.3 trillion base pairs in each DNA strand.

Author’s mtDNA

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) samples for the author scaled by position in the DNA chain. mtDNA exists within the female line, is passed on to offspring female and male offspring and is very very stable. By remaining constant for thousands of years it easily spans the century of ancestors to whom the author identifies with. The Past Present.

Vision 2020

The forthcoming Vision 2020 Symposium and gathering at Falmouth University would have been a great opportunity to unveil the prints. However, the finite risk from the current virus spread and attending an international conference, combined with having caught a virus three times last year, making attendance undesirable.

Campaign

A social media campaign is planned and the first post made on social media using Instagram account foto_graphical. An Easter exhibition has been announced with the title: Past-Present.

Strands are coming together in consistent form.

Practitioner Comment

The advice given to another student was not to go overboard in obtaining practitioner input. A note I’d sent in earlier indicated that one remote critique was booked in, while a contemporary journal editor had responded as a potential attendee. A multi-genre, multi-award-winning professional had also volunteered to comment. Three others are on the back burner, so perhaps this is what was meant as going overboard – two of the three are recognised, art photographers.

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.