Printing to color laser printer


#1

Usually designs are for video, web, but recently had project printing flyers for a industrial project.
HP477 color laser printer. Images tend to have the blue/purple cast.

Printing from Indesign or Photoshop, and I’ve tried converting from RGB to CYMK, and adjusting levels for Magenta and Cyan with not much luck. Also tried adjusting in RGB, but same lack of success.

Any simple tips/advice?

Its been a long while since I’ve printed out work. I forgot how tricky that can be with color matching/calibration.
Have both Mac and PC, iMac Retina and Dell P2715, both calibrated with Data color Spyder. Renders out of Octane and Redshift, linear workflow.


#2

When an output device puts a certain color cast on an image - whether an LED screen or a color printer - it can sometimes help to increase/boost the intensity of the exact opposite colors, rather than reducing the offending color. (Note that some color casts won’t go away at all because the output device is technically incapable of outputting a certain color channel properly - this may be the problem with this particular printer)

For example, if there is a blue cast in RGB ( = Too much of Blue, too little of Red and Green), you can try messing with the contrast/luminance/gamma/saturation/pedestal of the Red and Green Channels, while leaving Blue as it is. Try boosting the luminance/intensity/gamma and similar of both the Red and Green images by say 15%, and see if your cast is still there.

Note that RGB color channels have different intensities from each other because of the way the human eye sees.

For example, the average luminance of an RGB image = 0.3 x Red Value + 0.6 x Green Value + 0.1 x Blue Value.

So when you adjust the Red and Green channels to try to loose your Blue cast, Red and Green need to be adjusted to different extents (one 2 x times as much as the other) or you mess up your color balance.

Another thing you can try is to extract only the Blue Channel image from your render, and in Photoshop, layer-add/subtract/multiply a bit of that Blue Channel to the Red and Green channels of the image. Or in reverse, try adding/subtracting a bit of the Red and Green channels from the Blue channel.

This is stuff best done with scripting/code, but basically, if you can get separate Red/Green/Blue images out of your render, there is a chance that adding/subtracting a bit of that Blue image from/to your Red and Green images, or doing the opposite, and putting the RGB channels back together as one RGB image may kill your blue cast.

But if this is something caused specifically during printing by the way the color toner or image processor or paper used in this particular laser printer works, the best you might get is a slightly less horrible cast.


#3

Doesn’t matter if your monitor is well calibrated if you are going to print on a low quality/uncalibrated printer, and even when calibrated you’ll never get decent quality despite your attempts if using printers conceived for office works. I used to print 90% of my work and a few years ago I’ve finally given up trying to adjust my render to avoid client’s crappy plotter/printers terrible output. I’ve bought a good Epson photographic printer and I’ve started to print on my own, problem solved. If you really need decent print quality then try a good printer, eventually you will save time and money.


#4

The problem probably is with the printer itself - solution: print on something elsewhere.

But RGB/CMYK math is far more complex than most people think. So the approaches I described above may - possibly - make the situation better without having to use a different printer altogether.


#5

+1 for a Spyder calibrator


#6

He already uses that (see his 1st post).

Its the printer that doesn’t seem to respect the calibration.


#7

The printer should be calibrated as well otherwise monitor calibration doesn’t matter. Don’t know if spider works on printer too, I use XRite products for that.


#8

That may work. But there are output devices that - through bad design - have a color cast that is virtually impossible to mitigate.

I hope calibration or RGB magic gets the trick done.


#9

Since we are talking color, the new GIMP 2.10 with funky new Color Management features is out:

https://www.gimp.org/downloads/

It might actually be worth a shot to see if printing from GIMP 2.10 instead of Photoshop can somehow get around the color cast issue.

I also found this open source pre-press image viewer and converter called “Cyan” (haven’t used it myself).

https://sourceforge.net/projects/prepress/?source=directory

Perhaps that too may somehow help print out or convert to a cast-free image.


#10

Thanks All - I took Sirio’s advice and purchased decent Canon printer - Pro-100, so at least for soft proofing, can get a “general” idea of what is going on. Im very satisfied with the quality here, and I gather this type of Canon uses dye inks which have less tendency to clog compared with pigment inks. Hope that’s so…like most, I have junked more ink jets than I care to remember.

Thanks to Skeetertus for the excellent tips and analysis. You detailed explanations really helped! …I will try out Gimp today and the other app you suggested.

Learned a bit - messing around with the print settings, found a couple of caveats. For the HP color laser jet, there is an advanced option to print neutral grays with 4-color or Black; printing the former product the tint shift - with the latter, looks decent for a laser output on laser gloss paper! OMG, insane.

I think I was foolish to think I could use a laser jet to do soft-proofing. Although client was going to use their Laserjet to produce some product sheets - its difficult with 3d rendered images. For comparison, I printed out product photos, and these didn’t require the same amount of tweaking/adjustment - in fact most could be printed letting printer manage colors.

I recommended they have them printed professional on digital press - not that much more when you factor toner & paper costs for laser. And in that situation, its much easier to do soft-proofing in Photoshop as long as you have the correct ICC’s and some knowledge of the CYMK destination.

I have a Spyder5Elite+, but if I was purchasing now, from reviews and comments from others, I think I would go with X-rite i1Studio.