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**Printer testing** in Elements (long) - Adobe Photoshop Elements

"Printer testing" in Elements In an ongoing quest for a consistent way to get quality prints of digital photos (or from scans), AND to minimize ink and paper waste, I have come up with a system of sorts to test different printer settings. I would love to have your input on this. I also would like to hear how others approach this "quest" of trying to get a desktop printer's output to more closely resemble what we see on the computer screen in Elements. I am guessing, but I believe that most Elements users do _not_ have professional printers or ...

  1. #1

    Default **Printer testing** in Elements (long)

    "Printer testing" in Elements

    In an ongoing quest for a consistent way to get quality prints of digital photos (or from scans), AND to minimize ink and paper waste, I have come up with a system of sorts to test different printer settings. I would love to have your input on this. I also would like to hear how others approach this "quest" of trying to get a desktop printer's output to more closely resemble what we see on the computer screen in Elements. I am guessing, but I believe that most Elements users do _not_ have professional printers or specialty photo printers, but instead we have these affordable desktop printers that promise quality photo printing.

    Preliminaries: My testing method similar to Mikkel Aaland's, Creating a Test Strip on page 253 of his book, "Photoshop Elements 2 Solutions." However…my testing is done from the printer end -- AFTER I get the photo adjusted the way I want in Elements. My reasoning for this (such as it is) is the my printer output should give me a very close facsimile of what I see on the screen. (am I dreaming?)

    I assume that you have your monitor calibrated with Adobe Gamma if using a CRT monitor...or if using a laptop, that the LCD screen is calibrated by whatever means it has available. If you want to know more about Adobe Gamma, do a search on this Forum for "Adobe Gamma," grab a comfortable chair and read!

    In Elements, I have Color Management turned off, so as to let my Epson C82 printer have control of output. I make use of the ability to save custom print settings in the printer's properties. The C82 allows you to save up to 10 custom settings. Most printers have this feature, so check your manuals and on line help. Your screens, tabs, settings, etc. will vary according to your particular printer. Note that I am using Elements 2 on a Windows PC, not a Mac, but the basic method will work for any platform.

    1. Create and save custom printer settings. If you can save custom print settings and name them, you will always know EXACTLY what you did if you find a combination that works. Simply choose a saved setting from the custom list and it will remember the details. This will not affect your printers default settings. Most printers have the basic default settings for the masses as well as more advanced options for those of us who aren't afraid to try them. For my Epson C82 printer, I can right-click the icon in the system tray and choose Printer Settings. This is the easiest way for me, but you can also do this from any print dialog box, choosing the Properties beside your default printer.

    First, you must make your printer setting choices/changes and when you're done, save the settings and give them a name. I started with four different custom settings and tested them with a sample photo from Elements. I named the Elements1 thru Elements4.

    Examples:
    Elements1 -- I chose Best Photo, Photo Quality Ink Jet Paper, checked Photo Enhance, unchecked High speed printing and checked the box for Digital Camera Correction. Notice that Photo Enhance has it's own presets, the only changes I made were unchecking High speed and checking Digital Camera Correction. Once I made my changes I saved this custom setting and named it Elements1.

    Elements2 – Same as Elements1, but I unchecked Digital Camera Correction.

    You get the idea now. I set up these first two, thinking that these were the highest quality options available for printing on photo quality paper for the Epson C82. When you've saved your custom settings, click OK to close the Printer Settings.

    2. In Elements, create a 2" test image to use. Open an photo image that want to print, duplicate it, close the original and work on the duplicate. Use the Crop tool to select a square area of your choice that would be good for testing (hold down shift key as you drag to keep it square). Capture an area that reflects the focus of the picture as some background. Save as a Photoshop (.psd) file,
    Patti_Anderson@adobeforums.com Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: **Printer testing** in Elements (long)

    Sorry, I did not realize there was a length limitation for posts. It let me paste it, but it didn't all come through. I will post it again in three parts.

    Patti
    Patti_Anderson@adobeforums.com Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: **Printer testing** in Elements (long)

    "Printer testing" in Elements

    In an ongoing quest for a consistent way to get quality prints of digital photos (or from scans), AND to minimize ink and paper waste, I have come up with a system of sorts to test different printer settings. I would love to have your input on this. I also would like to hear how others approach this "quest" of trying to get a desktop printer's output to more closely resemble what we see on the computer screen in Elements. I am guessing, but I believe that most Elements users do _not_ have professional printers or specialty photo printers, but instead we have these affordable desktop printers that promise quality photo printing.

    Preliminaries: My testing method similar to Mikkel Aaland's, Creating a Test Strip on page 253 of his book, "Photoshop Elements 2 Solutions." However…my testing is done from the printer end -- AFTER I get the photo adjusted the way I want in Elements. My reasoning for this (such as it is) is the my printer output should give me a very close facsimile of what I see on the screen. (am I dreaming?)

    I assume that you have your monitor calibrated with Adobe Gamma if using a CRT monitor...or if using a laptop, that the LCD screen is calibrated by whatever means it has available. If you want to know more about Adobe Gamma, do a search on this Forum for "Adobe Gamma," grab a comfortable chair and read!

    In Elements, I have Color Management turned off, so as to let my Epson C82 printer have control of output. I make use of the ability to save custom print settings in the printer's properties. The C82 allows you to save up to 10 custom settings. Most printers have this feature, so check your manuals and on line help. Your screens, tabs, settings, etc. will vary according to your particular printer. Note that I am using Elements 2 on a Windows PC, not a Mac, but the basic method will work for any platform.

    1. Create and save custom printer settings. If you can save custom print settings and name them, you will always know EXACTLY what you did if you find a combination that works. Simply choose a saved setting from the custom list and it will remember the details. This will not affect your printers default settings. Most printers have the basic default settings for the masses as well as more advanced options for those of us who aren't afraid to try them. For my Epson C82 printer, I can right-click the icon in the system tray and choose Printer Settings. This is the easiest way for me, but you can also do this from any print dialog box, choosing the Properties beside your default printer.

    First, you must make your printer setting choices/changes and when you're done, save the settings and give them a name. I started with four different custom settings and tested them with a sample photo from Elements. I named the Elements1 thru Elements4.

    Examples:
    Elements1 -- I chose Best Photo, Photo Quality Ink Jet Paper, checked Photo Enhance, unchecked High speed printing and checked the box for Digital Camera Correction. Notice that Photo Enhance has it's own presets, the only changes I made were unchecking High speed and checking Digital Camera Correction. Once I made my changes I saved this custom setting and named it Elements1.

    Elements2 – Same as Elements1, but I unchecked Digital Camera Correction.

    You get the idea now. I set up these first two, thinking that these were the highest quality options available for printing on photo quality paper for the Epson C82. When you've saved your custom settings, click OK to close the Printer Settings.
    Patti_Anderson@adobeforums.com Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: **Printer testing** in Elements (long)

    [Part 2 of Printer testing in Elements]
    2. In Elements, create a 2" test image to use. Open an photo image that want to print, duplicate it, close the original and work on the duplicate. Use the Crop tool to select a square area of your choice that would be good for testing (hold down shift key as you drag to keep it square). Capture an area that reflects the focus of the picture as some background. Save as a Photoshop (.psd) file, naming it "test image1" or something similar.

    Go to Image menu>Resize image. Do not change the Pixel dimensions. Under Doent sizes, change the doent dimensions to 2 x 2 inches and Resolution to 300 ppi. This will give you a good quality image to test. Be sure that Resample and Constrain dimensions is checked. Note: This assumes that your original image is a high resolution. View the image in actual size to check. When you're done, move this image off to one side, keeping it open.

    3. Create a testing canvas page. Create a new doent, under preset sizes choose 8 x 10 (not 8 1/2 x 11, we want to have a margin) and set the resolution to 300 ppi (if it not there by default).

    In the View menu, click Grid (to make it visible) and then again in the View menu, click Snap to Grid. In the Edit menu Preferences>Grid, change the Color: Light red, Style: Line, Gridline every: 2 inches and Subdivisions: 1. Click OK.
    Patti_Anderson@adobeforums.com Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: **Printer testing** in Elements (long)

    [Part 3 of Printer testing in Elements]
    4. Move your test image onto the testing canvas. Make your test image active and then Select All (Ctrl+A). Click on the Move tool and drag the image onto your testing canvas doent. Once it's on there, move it up to the first grid square in the upper left corner. It will snap right into place.

    5. Run a printer test now. Click on Print Preview and then choose "Print…". This will open the default print dialog box. In this box choose Properties beside where it has your printer listed. In the printer's dialog box, choosing one of your saved custom settings (for the C82 you will need to click on Advanced to find your custom settings). Click OK and then click OK again in the Print dialog box to print.

    6. To run another test on the same page, move the test image to the next grid square and try another saved custom setting. If you want to make adjustments in Elements, but still want the same custom printer setting, make note of it. If you want to leave room to write notes on your testing canvas, use every other square. I usually just write on the test image itself using a light colored gel pen if it's a dark.

    The idea is to move the same test image to a new grid square and run the same paper through the printer. This saves ink and paper. It also allows you to easily compare the your tests. You WILL need to create different tests for different paper, but sacrifice one sheet for testing is a lot less expensive in the long run. Note that there will be more options and different settings available depending on what paper you choose. If you want to test on 6 x 4 glossy photo paper too, set up the canvas in the same way for the new size. You can fit six 2" images on a 6 x 4 doent.

    And for all Epson C-82 users… In my test on Epson Photo Quality Paper. The best prints came from these settings: choose Photo Quality paper and Best Photo. In the advanced settings, check Photo Enhance, UNcheck High speed under print options and leave everything else alone -- Do NOT check Digital Camera Correction (makes fuzzy edges). If using Glossy Photo paper, use Photo RPM instead of Best Photo – all other settings are the same as above.

    This is how I do it, adjust to suit yourself. :)
    Patti
    Patti_Anderson@adobeforums.com Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: **Printer testing** in Elements (long)

    Posts 2 through 4 of this thread contain the complete article. I apologize ahead of time for the length ! It's the teacher in me, I'm afraid. :)

    Patti
    Patti_Anderson@adobeforums.com Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: **Printer testing** in Elements (long)

    Hi, Patti. Great instructions, but I just want to point out that not all printers will offer all those options. For instance, on my HP in OS X, I can choose paper type/quality and the amount of ink, but that's it.

    Just thought I'd mention it so people don't get confused if they can't find everything you mention. 8^)
    Barbara_Brundage@adobeforums.com Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: **Printer testing** in Elements (long)

    I should also mention that despite the lack of custom settings, I was still able to get pretty darned accurate results even though the HP is dumb as a brick about color management, by just choosing the right paper/ink combination. (That's prior to my panther monitor problems, of course.)
    Barbara_Brundage@adobeforums.com Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: **Printer testing** in Elements (long)

    Barbara, I do realize that this answer is sort of Epson specific and does assume that you can save custom print settings. I debated whether to even post it at all, but I promised "Eva" that I would. ;)

    The part about creating the the 2" image and the test canvas is pretty generic, so at least folks can use that to save on paper and ink if they want to make test runs on their printer.

    Patti
    Patti_Anderson@adobeforums.com Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: **Printer testing** in Elements (long)

    Hi, Patti. It's definitely a very valuable post, especially since so many people here do have Epsons. I just didn't want people who don't have all the options to think there's something wrong with their setup.
    Barbara_Brundage@adobeforums.com Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: **Printer testing** in Elements (long)

    Hi Patti, Thanks for part 1. I'm copying your post, and eagerly awaiting posts 2 to 4. I appreciate all the detail and all the effort. I should have been able to tell by the clarity of your instructions that you are a teacher. :-)
    Eva
    Eva_Deck@adobeforums.com Guest

  12. #12

    Default Re: **Printer testing** in Elements (long)

    Patti, I just found and copied the remaining parts. The instructions are general enough for everyone to benefit from, but from a fellow C82 user, I thank you very much!!!
    Eva
    Eva_Deck@adobeforums.com Guest

  13. #13

    Default Re: **Printer testing** in Elements (long)

    Eva, all of the parts are there, they've just been placed in additional messages.
    Beth_Haney@adobeforums.com Guest

  14. #14

    Default Re: **Printer testing** in Elements (long)

    It's taking me a while to run systematic tests on my Epson C82 printer. I've set up an 8X10 canvas with 2X2 samples and notes about the printer settings as suggested by Patti.

    First of all, I'm confused about how to turn "color management off" in PE2. The options seem to be, "Output" or "Color Management". Under Color management, "off" is not an option. I decided to use "same as source". Is that what is advised?

    My husband managed to find deep in his "saved stuff" a Macbeth color chart. Years ago someone had suggested that he photograph it at the beginning of each roll of film and then tell the photo lab to adjust its colors to the first photo. He had been perpetually disappointed with the colors he was getting on photo prints. He never followed through on that, but saved the chart.

    I scanned the chart at 300 ppi. I thought it would be useful to see how closely the printer matched the original. Even though I have calibrated and re-calibrated my monitor, the colors on the screen did not match the scan very well. I could adjust it with hue and especially saturation but decided to leave it alone and just print. I made a 4X4 square to start. I used the following choices in the printer dialogue: glossy photo paper (I used Epson. I'll compare with Office Depot another time), photo enhance, photo RPM, turned off hi-speed. The colors were better on the print than on the monitor (!) but not exactly right. So I tried all settings the same except I chose Matte Heavyweight paper (although I used glossy photo). I did this because I found somewhere that the C80 and C82 don't use black on photo paper, but create black from the other colors. This seems to be true. If you lift the front cover of the printer and watch the print process, it starts with blue and continues to overlay with other colors. But with the matte choice, it actually puts down black. The colors seemed to be the same, but the grays were really off. I also tried the "premium semi-gloss" setting. Again, it printed black but the grays were bad.

    So back to the glossy photo paper setting.
    As for the colors, they are quite good except for blue and orange. Playing around in PE I found that reducing cyan helped. So in the printer settings, I chose "color controls" instead of photo enhance, and reduced the cyan to -5. No real help. I tried setting the gamma from 1.5 to 1.8. Again, I couldn't notice any difference. At this point, I think Patti's settings are about the best.

    Of course, one reason for using PE is to make changes on the screen that will result in a better print. So a tried a couple of changes in PE to the Macbeth chart, with minimal improvements in the print. I guess I need to do some work with actual photos.

    Your eyes have glazed over by now if you got this far, but any comments you might make as to my methods or my understanding of PE would be greatly appreciated.
    Eva
    Eva_Deck@adobeforums.com Guest

  15. #15

    Default Re: **Printer testing** in Elements (long)

    <<First of all, I'm confused about how to turn "color management off" in PE2. The options seem to be, "Output" or "Color Management". Under Color management, "off" is not an option. I decided to use "same as source". Is that what is advised?>>

    Sorry about the confusion, Eva. You'll find the color management settings on the Edit menu>Color Settings, choose No Color Management. If you haven't done that yet, try it and see if it helps. It seemed to make a big difference for me. If you have a colorful image open when you change the settings, watch the image as you make the change. I can see a definite difference if I switch back and forth from checking No color management to checking Full Color Management.

    Patti
    Patti_Anderson@adobeforums.com Guest

  16. #16

    Default Re: **Printer testing** in Elements (long)

    Thanks Patti. I found the color management. It was already checked to "no color management". I turned it on to full. There is certainly a visible change in intensity and brightness. I printed a "square" with the color management. It didn't seem to make a difference on the print, but maybe that's because the colors on this chart are already so intense. I'm glad to know it's there. It will be interesting playing with it when I start my tests on actual photos, especially of flowers.

    Eva
    Eva_Deck@adobeforums.com Guest

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