Matchprints too dark

Bashv

Member
A printer mailed me some matchprints for my next project, which will be printed on offset (uncoated), but they turned out too dark for my taste.

My screen is not professionally calibrated. I picked the darkest images in my layout and I checked the percents. The darkest areas are in the 90s, so maybe these matchprints are accurate.

I also checked the document on another computer. On screen it looked a bit brighter than the matchprints, but relatively close to them.

I've prepared the images in Photoshop, by converting them to Black Ink of the CMYK profile required by the printer. Previously, they were sGray (for screen use). As a result of the conversion, the images turned out "fuller" and "more meaty".

I assume that this is normal (correct me if I'm wrong). Probably this is why they became so dark.

I also made a test-version, where the images are nominally CMYK (not grayscale), but they actually use K only (CMY=0). As I expected, the matchprint for this version turned out the same as for the grayscale version.

Now I'm thinking what should I do:

a) Asking the printer to set the offset press for a brighter print. I don't know the tech lingo (lowering the ink density?). I also don't know if this is considered a breach of standard, an improvisation.

b) Replacing these Black Ink images in the layout with their sGray equivalents. I tried it and this way the images look "washed out" and kind of "weak" in the soft-proof, but maybe this is a safer choice.

c) Leave everything as it is and just hope that things will turn out fine in the final product. Cause these matchprints are not press-proofs, so maybe there will be some difference in the end, maybe it will turn out brighter.

Thanks for your opinions
 

kslight

Well-known member
If you’d be disappointed by the final job if it looks like what they sent you now, then I’d ask the printer if the file needs corrected or if they’d prefer to correct at the printer level. I think ignoring and hoping for the best is asking for problems. You’ve posted previously about having print jobs not match your expectations.

I never can guess what a client’s screen looks like from where I am, and even on a calibrated screen there’s always some deviation between what a screen looks like and what a print looks like… color critical jobs should always get a paper proof before production to get everyone on the same page.
 

SteveSuffRIT

Well-known member
I understand what you mean when you say "MatchPrint" but that product/term is obsolete.
What ICC profile did you send them?
Lowering the press ink (Solid Ink Density, SID) on uncoated paper will make the image look lighter but also much flatter/duller/less contrast.
Get the results in you want in the contract proof and hold the printer responsible for matching the proof.
Also, are you viewing the hardcopy proofs under proper lighting conditions (professional viewing both, D50)? There is a Lighting indicator patch on very last page of newer Pantone book.
 
Last edited:

Bashv

Member
I understand what you mean when you say "MatchPrint" but that product/term is obsolete.

Thanks for your reply, @SteveSuffRIT.

I understand, but the printer uses the term "Matchprint", so that's why I used it, too.

All I know is that this is a prepress proofing system based on inkjet technology and the prints are made on harder paper. I just don't know how accurate it is.

Note that now I'm not talking about a contract-proof made on an actual offset press.

Lowering the press ink (Solid Ink Density, SID) on uncoated paper will make the image look lighter but also much flatter/duller/less contrast.
I googled a bit and I found this pic:

Typical SIDs Densities Chart.jpg


If these rectangles on the hard right show SID values for K=100%, I think that I get the concept.

For this particular project, I don't mind if the black is not that black.

I wonder if this SID thing can be simulated in Acrobat's Output Preview. I found the Ink Manager there and I entered some values in it, but nothing changed on the screen. I don't know how it works.

sse_ink_manager.png.img.png

I found this pic online. I have only process colors.

Also, I think that I understand your warning that lowering the SID will make the images look flatter/duller/less contrasty, but I think that's OK in this case.

Now please check the pics below. Look at the one on the right. That's what happened to me once and I want to prevent it from happening again.

This is just a photoshoped reconstruction.

It was a proof supposedly from an offset press and it was too dark and contrasty:
reconstruction-png.291616

What ICC profile did you send them?
PSO Uncoated v3 (FOGRA52).

Also, are you viewing the hardcopy proofs under proper lighting conditions (professional viewing both, D50)? There is a Lighting indicator patch on very last page of newer Pantone book.
I'm not that advanced to be honest. I'm just viewing the prints under a desk lamp. It is a strong one, I guess.
 
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SteveSuffRIT

Well-known member
The SID images you showed from top to bottom represent gloss coated paper, matte/dull coated paper and plain uncoated offset paper.
Inkjet proofs are not made on actual production paper, they need special paper, but should simulate the color and gloss finish of the actual production paper.
Viewing lighting is very important for judging proof to press match because color management uses D50 (Daylight 5K) as the reference.
 

bill kahny

Well-known member
"I'm not that advanced to be honest. I'm just viewing the prints under a desk lamp. It is a strong one, I guess."

Then "I guess" the print will match - lol
 

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