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Loxley vs DS Colour Labs

Discussion in 'Digital Image Editing & Printing' started by EightBitTony, Apr 27, 2018.

  1. GlennH

    GlennH Well-Known Member

    It's poorly written in places and incomplete by my reckoning. Making a complex subject accessible isn't the easiest of writing tasks, and if you don't manage that, you scare customers off instead.

    The conversion process is correct, though it ignores the choice of rendering intent and gives you nothing on soft proofing. Monitor calibration doesn't always address luminance/brightness; you need software that walks you through that. "RGB colour space" in this instance equals "Adobe RGB" (not an error that someone knowledgeable on the subject would usually make).

    You'd be better off brushing up on technique elsewhere and then just exploiting what is a rare service in the UK, provided it sorts out the apparent problems with file delivery. There's some good stuff on the Internet by Jeff Schewe, Andrew Rodney, Julieanne Kost, etc, etc.
    Bazarchie likes this.
  2. Waypoint Charlie

    Waypoint Charlie Active Member

    I think their technical guidance on file preparation is confusing. It doesn't feel as if it's been written by someone with a good grasp of colour management.

    For starters:-

    "When you are creating a file to print firstly you must ensure the file is sRGB and not RGB colour space."

    As already pointed out by "RGB" they probably mean "AdobeRGB". Even then, the advice is wrong. You can create the image in any colour working space, as long as the output file is converted to their profile. Also, if you edit in sRGB you lose the (minor) benefit of their profile as it doesn't give you access to the full range of printable colours.

    The advice following about converting to the profile is correct but then later (under the monitor calibration photos) it says in bold...


    What does that mean? Perhaps it means convert the data to our paper profile then assign the profile to sRGB? If so, that would trick the web uploader into thinking the data is sRGB and the data would get passed through to DSCL without being converted to sRGB. It would work and give you the desired prints but it's really corrupt colour management. It's what I mean about it working, but for the wrong reasons!

    To be fair, the advice from some of the other print companies isn't much better. I think the labs' expertise is in maintaining the standard of the print process, which DSCL seem to do well. If I order a re-print today I'd probably struggle to distinguish it from one I hade made four years ago.
    Bazarchie likes this.
  3. Waypoint Charlie

    Waypoint Charlie Active Member

    I agree, it's rare to find a service which supports files, pre-profiled for their printers. It takes more effort and knowledge at the customer end but in principle should give better prints.

    I was talking to people at a local photo club last night. They're keen and competent photographers but even they struggle with colour management. They've sent DSCL sRGB files and wonder why they don't come back looking as great as they'd expected.
  4. dangie

    dangie Senior Knobhead

    Do we know any more details on this? I've avoided using Kiosk as it uses Java which 'upset' my old computer.
    There used to be issues with Java security, is it better now?
  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    There are regular updates to Java. When it was introduced security was supposed to be a benefit because it did not allow direct access to hardware but I'd guess there is much more protection at the operating system level nowadays.

    They (I forget who owns it, Oracle?) are changing the terms and conditions of use so that it is no longer free for commercial use. Developers who have products that depend on Java being installed, will have to license it.
  6. Waypoint Charlie

    Waypoint Charlie Active Member

    No, but I imagine it will be at least 'a couple of weeks'.

    For now you can use the web browser uploader for standard C-type prints as long as you:-

    1) Supply files converted to their profile, according to the paper you want them to print on (as you would for the Kiosk)
    2) Save the file without embedding the profile

    If you send them an sRGB file you won't get the correct colours.

    If you upload via the web browser a correctly profiled file but with an embedded profile, the uploader will convert this to sRGB, which is not what you want.
  7. dangie

    dangie Senior Knobhead

    Thanks for the reply, but can you please explain what this means and how to do it. I'm not very computer savvy.
  8. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I think it depends on the software package. I would have thought that profiles were written to file by default but perhaps it is an option. The expectation is that photoshop is in use, which is way beyond me. I just looked at Lightroom export - it doesn't say what it does but generally there isn't much point in not including a profile because without one there is no reference to say what the colours are. This is a special case of the file only being used for one end purpose.
  9. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    There are limits to how much Oracle can do along those lines...
  10. Waypoint Charlie

    Waypoint Charlie Active Member

    If you want 'correct' standard C-type prints back from DS, then you must convert images to their profiles. To do this you'll need some image editing software, although I believe you can get stand alone profile converts and probably online converters.

    The conversion method will vary according to the software. I use Photoshop and do it in stages.. First I convert. Then I may do a final sharpen. Then I'll switch to 8-bit mode from 16-bit mode. Then I'll save (you can save directly from 16-bit mode but then no dithering is applied in the conversion to 8-bit, which can lead to visible banding).

    In the save menu there's a tick box for embedding the profile. As Pete says, you don't really want files on your system with non-standard profiles without the profile definition embedded in them, but I'm afraid that's what you have to do with DS, if you use their web uploader.

    If you don't feel comfortable with all this conversion stuff you may find it easier to use a regular lab who accept sRGB, like SimLab or Loxley.

    Here are the conversion and save boxes I get in Photoshop.
    Profile conversion box.jpg
    Save box.jpg

    Attached Files:

  11. dangie

    dangie Senior Knobhead

    For information if you could help me further, I usually edit my raw files in Lightroom and then Export from there.
  12. Waypoint Charlie

    Waypoint Charlie Active Member

    Sorry, I'm not familiar with Lightroom. I'm sure someone else here could help. I guess if you Google a bit you'd find it.
  13. dangie

    dangie Senior Knobhead

    Thank you, but the problem is, I don't know what I'd Google for? :)
  14. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    If I take an image in LR and click export then one of the options is File Settings. You have option image format and colour space as options. Under Colour space there is an option other. Clicking this bring ups a list the printer profiles. If I select one and save to the default destination and look at the file properties it says (on a mac) colour space RGB, colour profile : GPSGP11_CANpro9500mkii_PPGGiin - (the profile for Ilford Galerie on my printer). So it looks as if LR embeds the profile.

    I think the colour space RGB property distinguishes that this is not a CMYK profile.

    So LR export embeds a profile, which you usually want. I didn't find any option to turn this off.

    Otherwise if you got to the print module in Print Job panel there is a print to: option. You can change this to jpeg file. In the colour management tab you can again choose the profile and the intent.

    I didn't go all the way through and make a jpg to see what the properties were, or if it looked the same as via the export route. I leave that to you as an exercise.
  15. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    The DSCL website tells you how to use their profile with LR. You need to get the profile on your pc or Mac and then the rest is covered by Pete's post.
  16. Waypoint Charlie

    Waypoint Charlie Active Member

    My curiosity aroused, I just tried this too. I can't find a way of preventing the embedding in LR either. You can probably find a utility to remove an embedded profile.

    However, is it really worth the hassle? If you're editing in sRGB working space anyway I can't see DSCL offer you anything better than the other labs. I'd give SImLab a try. They're about the same price and, I'm told, they're packaging is better.
  17. Waypoint Charlie

    Waypoint Charlie Active Member

    Yes, but the problem is with LR the profile always gets embedded in the file. There doesn't seem to be a way of stopping this. This means if you use the web browser for upload it will convert the file to sRGB before forwarding to DSCL. You do not want to give DSCL an sRGB file for their standard C-print process.

    It's fine if you can upload via the Java Kiosk. That doesn't convert the file to sRGB, even if it has an embedded profile.
    Bazarchie likes this.
  18. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    This is where I get confused. Why not embed a profile in LR when this is what they say is required in their guidance? Just the way the uploaded works? I don't think LR allows you to convert to their profile.

    If they do not require their profile for wall products as they profile in the lab, why can't they do the same for prints?
  19. Waypoint Charlie

    Waypoint Charlie Active Member

    LR does allow you to convert to their profile, it incorporates the conversion in the file save process. I don't see any option for rendering intent so I assume it's Relative. Photoshop offers more control.

    Yes, the problem is the way the web browser upload works. It's an external interface provided by LiveLink and it converts all files to sRGB if it thinks they're not already. It then forwards the sRGB file to DSCL. It does this for all their products, but they ought to be disabling the sRGB conversion for their standard C-type prints.[/QUOTE]

    You'd have to ask them that but I assume they use different print machines. For instance, their 'fine art' prints will be done on ink jet printers and the canvas may be too. These machines may be setup to accept sRGB. The standard C-type printers are not.

    Supplying pre-profiled data to the printer is arguably superior to sRGB.
    Bazarchie likes this.
  20. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    LR will do the conversion. As said before, normally you need the profile embedded in order to read the file properly, and that's what LR does. The only way you will be able to tell a conversion has been done is if you have a non-colour managed viewer, and even then it might not easily be apparent - it depends on the colours in the picture.

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