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Thread: Finished, Printed, and displayed ArtRage Artwork

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    England
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    Hi Guys,

    One annoying downside to a good printer.

    I had an old HP printer which would turn out acceptable prints. I now have a new Epson which is more modern and infinitely better.
    But!

    It is so good that it shows up all my errors in the paintings.

    My personal perception is that paintings done with the ArtRage lighting switched off look more like the original when printed.

    It's something I have banged on about for several years.

    ArtRage has a virtual light source in the top left area of the canvas. It makes paint look shiny and 3D. That light will often make no sense when the picture is placed on a wall. It is , of course, fabulous on screen!

    Therefore I often paint with the virtual light switched off and use traditional techniques to give three dimensional effects. The light is then where I imagine, and decide, it will be. When exposed to typical room light the printed painting is still defined by the light that I painted.
    If it were possible for me to light each print, from roughly the same assumed point that ArtRage provides, then I would do that and leave the inbuilt lighting on.

    To me it then looks better when printed, but it's a very subjective thing.

    I suspect that to get it more "right" I need a "screen spider" to synch the colour of the screen and the printer.

    Phil

    (When we've resolved this one we can move on to the simpler question of "What is ART?")
    Luck is infatuated with the efficient.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Colorado
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    Interesting point Aged P! I never really thought about that. For the paint textures to appear realistic on the screen, they would need a light source. I assume this only effects paint that appears raised of the canvas? I also assume that some of the preset canvas textures utilize this light source as well? How is it turned off?
    "The significance is hiding in the insignificant. Appreciate everything."
    Eckhart Tolle

  3. #23
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    Mar 2006
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    England
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    Hi Sketch,

    Hit F5.

    It gives you, in some ways, a more realistic painting experience, but not for chunky oils.

    It reminds me of Acrylics with a lot of water.

    Phil
    Luck is infatuated with the efficient.

  4. #24
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    Feb 2009
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    Phil is on to something I think for many flat paintings. However, with highly textured paintings like mine, turning off the lighting effects makes the painting unrecognizable. This is one of those things you just have to test with your paintings and files. A cheap way is export a file both ways (lighting on and off) and print out on the home inkjet printer or for a couple of bucks at a local copy center and get an idea which direction to go before a larger printing on canvas.

    For paintings like mine the test isn't required. It is obvious as soon as you turn of lighting. But for other paintings with more subtle or no texture, it's worth the experiment to find out.
    // "Appreciation fosters well-being. Be well." - Byron
    //
    My ArtRage Paintings Here
    // My Comprehensive AR4 & 3 Thread Here
    64 bit Win8Pro, 16GB Ram, Intel i7 Quad Core - 8 threads; Wacom Intuios 4

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Colorado
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    Thanks Phil, I messed around with the light function on a few of my finished AR projects and it appears to be very very subtle. To the point that I wasn't sure if the F5 function was working or not. I wonder if it is because of the style of the majority of my paintings. Most of my work is done with the crayon tool and with paper roughness setting set to 0%. Very flat and all texture effect is "painted" not dependent on the raised (3D) effect of some of the paint in the AR program.

    Byron, I tried your experiment on my home HP inkjet and did not notice a huge difference (again that may be just the style of my paintings). I did however, notice that the printed images printed VERY VERY dark (independent of the light setting on or off). What is the deal with that??? So, obviously, since we are looking at an image on an illuminated canvas (the illumination of the monitor) are the actual images going to be darker once printed on a non-illuminated surface? With a photo... well a photo is what it is once downloaded to the computer (from a non-photogragher's stand point at least) but a painting is built from the ground up and I choose my values based on the image that I'm seeing on my monitor. I would paint in lighter values if I knew my images would look this dark on paper. Or... is it a printer issue... Hahaha...This rabbit hole is leading to a can of worms!

    Anyway... I ordered a couple prints of "Misty Morning" through Costco (which uses a Canadian company called PNI Digital Media to print larger format prints. I ordered 2 20 X 30" prints on "Lustre" finish paper. Very cheap, $8.99 each with about a $5 shipping and handling fee.

    Resolution and size is a whole different issue but I will explain how I handled that. My original painting in AR was painted on 11 X 17" at 200 dpi. I exported a PNG file (photoshop opened it 30 something by 40 something at 72 dpi???). I changed the dpi back to original and the size readjusted. I was lucky, the 11 X 17" multiplied up to 20 X 30 pefectly so very little cropping was needed. FYI, Costco did not accept TIF format but did accept a PNG format. I then downloaded the cropped PNG file to Costco and BAM! Done! I will let everyone know what they look like in a week or so. Sorry about all the info but I hope it helps anyone that may be trying to also figure out this process.
    Last edited by Sketchism71; 08-17-2009 at 06:41 AM.
    "The significance is hiding in the insignificant. Appreciate everything."
    Eckhart Tolle

  6. #26
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    Apr 2007
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    This is the wall behind my recliner.
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  7. #27
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    Fantastic Robert! However, I would have to turn that recliner around so that it becomes the wall "in front" of my recliner! Beautiful paintings!
    "The significance is hiding in the insignificant. Appreciate everything."
    Eckhart Tolle

  8. #28
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    Apr 2007
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    The "wall" in front of my recliner is a 52" LCD TV.

  9. #29
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    Sketch, you're in the printing soup now.

    Yes, if your digital painting has no "bump" texture you won't see much difference with lighting effects turned off. (In AR the bump texture tools are the oil brush, tube paint, and glitter, especially tube paint and glitter used to get all that fabbo texture in a lot of AR paintings.) Turn off lighting on my paintings - they are different paintings.

    (Attached is a work in progress with lighting effects on and off. The difference is immediate) (By the way, stand 8 feet or so from your monitor to get the right visual effect of this painting - it's designed to be seen from a distance.)


    The "bump effects" in AR are not possible to render with lighting off. It's the technology that makes AR special. You can test yourself. In AR put some thick glitter, some oil paint brush paint, and a few strips of tube paint. Turn off lighting and the substantial difference is obvious.

    The test for your own painting is simply toggle F5 and review the results, export a file in both modes, and perform a home printer test to see if one is preferable. If it looks good on the monitor with the effects off, there isn't any way to know for sure, without testing, which mode is right for you.

    I'm not surprised your printing output was darker. Brand this in the brain: If fidelity to your source is your printing goal, adjustments to the file and/or printer are required depending on the printing methods and substrates used. I'll get more to that further down.

    It is not a good idea to paint your painting lighter or darker on your monitor to compensate for your printer results. That significantly complicates matters. It's impossible for you to guess if the WRONG COLORS AND LIGHT you are painting on your monitor will come out as the RIGHT COLORS AND LIGHT when printed - humanly impossible, a recipe for disaster..

    Calibrating your monitor for RGB is a good step (I think Juz might be a good source for input on how). But frankly, you work with your monitor every day. You want settings where things simply look good, not too dark and not too bright, when you surf the web, look at photographs, etc. If you ever get two separate monitors to look exactly alike you aren't mortal. As a minimum step, adjust your monitor to look visually pleasing when you search the web. Go to sites that have a lot of art, both the old masters and modern painters, and see if your settings on average look good. It's not at all a perfect approach, but it gets you in the right direction. The monitor looks different depending on the light, if it's day or night, etc. Do the test out of any bright light. All of this is why calibration to RGB output is superior, though I've not done it with my own monitors. I will though, since I will be printing more and more of my paintings. The machine is more accurate than your eye. and everybody sees differently in different light settings.

    So, back to that dark printing. For your home printer, you have two choices, or both choices working together. First is to adjust your home-printer output settings to increase brightness and contrast, and gamma if your printer has such settings. It's adjust and test, adjust and test. Secondly, with third-party software, adjust your file for brightness, contrast and gamma. It may look terrible on your monitor but improved in the printout. Again, test. There is no other way. Change your home printer and you'll need to change your settings. This horrid fact can not be escaped. The marriage of the digital file to the plethora of printing devices is wildly complex. When fidelity matters, somebody somewhere has to make equipment and program setting adjustments to bridge the gap, and use the human eye to make a judgment call on the final result.

    Commercial printers deal with this day in and day out. Most commercial printers have to first convert your file from RGB to CMYK. Immediately differences emerge. CMYK has a narrower range of color it can reproduce than does RGB on your monitor. If you have lot of RGB colors in your painting that are outside the CYMK gamut, you will have color shifts in your printed output. (Juz is an expert on this - I think she gave you a pallet with RGB colors that are all within CYMK gamut. If you don't stray with too much brightening them up you'll get better results from your commercial printer). Your commercial printer is always making adjustments to your file to try to get a pleasing output given his printing equipment and your choice of substrates. He is doing this without you knowing about it. It's part of his job.

    Now, here comes the rub when fidelity matters. For the printer to near match what you want, he has to have something to look at to make a comparison. He needs a visual target for comparing his output. (In commercial offset printing they additionally use a machine called a densitometer to make certain measurements that say if they hit it or not. Those measurements are contract standards for the print run).

    The printer's job is to keep making adjustments to both print-equipment and file settings until achieving the best possible result. A good printer knows when he can't get closer. He will advise on adjustments to help you achieve something acceptable. If you can't reach a print-goal agreement and you believe another printer can, change printers. A smart client understands these limitations and works cooperatively with the printer to get something good. A bad client is one who pushes for what can't be done; those clients should be shot. A bad printer is one who makes no effort to help you achieve a satisfactory result and clearly is not competent manipulating his equipment and your files. You might shoot him.

    But back to the rub. What is the printer going to look at to help him make decisions? For commercial business, a LOT (and I mean a hell of a lot) of money is spent preparing digital proofs and press proofs that become the visual guide (and contract) for the printer to achieve his results. YOU CAN'T AFFORD IT.

    So what to do. Some simple things can help. Go to a copy shop and have them run several small ink jet and/or laser printouts that are lighter and darker (brightness and contrast) until you have a printout that is in the direction of what you want. Have them adjust color as needed, giving them clear direction on what to heighten, lesson, etc. until you get something that gets you in your target direction. Do this at home if your home printer is flexible enough.

    THIS IS NOT PERFECT by any means, but it provides a directional, visual reference so your printer has a concrete starting point. If your laptop monitor provides a good approximation, take it with you and show them that too. Provide anything that gives them something they can see so they can be matching their output to an agreed source. Without a visual it is all language to describe the near indescribable given the depth and breadth of visual nuance in any painting, especially nuance in paintings like yours.

    I don't have big bucks for digital proofing and press proofing. So I get inexpensive proofing at a local copy shop, the same guy who will use his six-color HP Plotter to print my stuff out on canvas, and we work inexpensively to get a directional proof that guides him. (As an aside, when my printer is looking at HIS monitor with my files, what he sees looks nothing like what comes out of his printer. He has to play the same guesswork game as you do with your home printer. Usually this is all going on in the background without the customer having a clue.)

    In the end, I'm standing there with the printer while he runs his own print tests. I provide him with guidance; likewise he provides me with guidance on what he can achieve, which helps me and him come to a decision for the final output. I get a good result, always with divergence from my original vision, but beautiful nonetheless, sometimes maybe even better than my original thoughts.

    This all sounds complicated, but it doesn't have to be. Good commercial printers have to deal with these complexities all the time. A competent commercial printer can achieve quite good results quickly if you provide them with decent input and a clean file. With most representational art they can look at your file and get a reasonable idea of what you intended and hit something pleasing. (With abstract art like mine, they might not have a clue )

    For dimensional blowups and increased resolution of AR files I like to resample up my files with Photozoom3. A good printer can do all of that for you, you just have to pay. (Be advised the re-sampling algorithm in AR when resampling up can considerably alter the painting depending on its content. Compare versions if you use it. Third party software designed for this purpose is preferable.) Most people should just leave it to the printer, being sure to ask them to provide a proof sample for any work that will be expensive. Their final proofs become the target reference and contract.

    I can't stress enough the importance of proofing when you are being picky about the results. If you have leeway, good printing resources, especially the better giclee printers in the business of printing fine-art paintings, will do 95% of the work for you. When engaging these printers, listen to them, and give them what they ask for to help them get you the result you want. Let them do their job.

    Again, I want to emphasize all this is only for those with a critical need for specific fidelity. It's way overboard for the majority who just want an acceptable even if low fidelity printout they can get for a few bucks at Costco or on their home printer with a little diddling.

    This is a lot and I haven't had time to edit it down. I hope it isn't overwhelming and will be useful. It probably raises questions, so do ask.
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    Last edited by byroncallas; 08-17-2009 at 10:59 AM. Reason: spellling
    // "Appreciation fosters well-being. Be well." - Byron
    //
    My ArtRage Paintings Here
    // My Comprehensive AR4 & 3 Thread Here
    64 bit Win8Pro, 16GB Ram, Intel i7 Quad Core - 8 threads; Wacom Intuios 4

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Concord, California
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertSWade View Post
    This is the wall behind my recliner.
    Robert, I LOVE your wall.

    These are printed to the AR canvas size, no significant blow-ups - you probably had little or no problem getting acceptable results would be my guess?????
    // "Appreciation fosters well-being. Be well." - Byron
    //
    My ArtRage Paintings Here
    // My Comprehensive AR4 & 3 Thread Here
    64 bit Win8Pro, 16GB Ram, Intel i7 Quad Core - 8 threads; Wacom Intuios 4

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