This is a little long, because I've done a bit of investigating, but I can't fix my problem and I need some help:
I've had a nice workflow that I've used for years. I'm sure many of you would find it a bit tedious and I won't go into the details of it, but the important part is that I always printed out of Photoshop (CS6 Extended - now at 13.0.3 - yes I have the stupid Trial window bug, but that's another matter). My monitors are profiled (no custom printer profiles, but I've downloaded appropriate profiles from PixelGenius for those times when I've needed them, and with my color management my prints have been fairly accurate. I use and Epson Stylus Photo R2880 and I've been very happy with it. I mainly work on a 24" iMac (2009 vintage). Recently I decided to change my workflow entirely based on some of the tutorial videos I've purchased from LL. I decided I was ready to integrate much more LR into the workflow, especially now that it includes soft proofing. Because of the new workflow I was really looking forward to printing out of LR. That should more or less get you current.
To date, I haven't printed with my new workflow and I'd say I haven't printed anything since 13.0.1 on PS and 4.1 on LR (not that I was printing from LR at the time). Having not printed in a while I knew I'd need a head cleaning (sure enough I did) and, as is my habit, once the head was clean, I printed (from LR) a 4x6 of the image I planned on printing at a larger size. It catches any lingering gunk after a cleaning. The print just didn't look right to me (too dark and the colors were a little off). I've encountered prints with bad colors once before and it turned out to be a driver issue. In the process I found a great image that is indicative of some kind of problem and I keep both good and bad prints of it handy... just in case. I decided to print this image, and sure enough it came out looking like the standard craptastic version I was getting with the bad driver ages ago. Just to check out that it didn't have to do with my new process, I printed the same image from PS (which worked fine last time I printed this image). It too came out all wrong (the same all wrong as LR). Since the bad prints looked just like the old "bad driver" prints, I figured I knew what was going on and worked with Epson to reset my print pipeline and reinstall my printers (I also have a Workforce 845 for "throw away" printing and for my wife to use).
With new installs for my printers in place I went ahead and printed again... and again it came out wrong. I was, to say the least, despondent. As a final sanity check I loaded the image up in Nikon Capture NX2 (version 2.3.1) and did a print using the same color profile. All of a sudden the print came out perfect. It matched my old "good" prints and, just as importantly, was a dead ringer for the image on the screen. At this point I assumed that for some reason LR and PS were not properly color managing. I figured that they were ignoring my selection of color profile and either letting the printer manage it, or printing from the native colorspace (ProPhoto RGB). To test this, I set up a print in PS (same image), but picked a very weird color profile (Nikon DBase for NEF v126.96.36.19902). It is as drastically bizarre a color profile as I could find (colors are mapped into completely different fields). I was hoping that the print would be unchanged, but unfortunately it came out in with the bizarre mapping that this profile provides. It's so drastic a change, that I have a hard time evaluating if it is "off" like the other prints are. What is apparent is that PS at least (I haven't tried it in LR) is actually propogating color information along the printing pipeline. This doesn't explain why LR and PS produce "wrong" prints but Nikon Capture doesn't. This is where I find myself. Apparently color management is broken in my Adobe products, but works fine in my Nikon software. I'm at a bit of a loss. I'm 99.999999999% sure that I'm printing out of LR, and especially PS, correctly. Anyone have any ideas? I'd love to be able to print again. Printing out of Capture NX2 is really not a great option.
Thanks in advance,
In this case, color management is broken in your printer driver.
Photoshop and LR use printer color management, and NX2 does not.
Contact Epson for updates or instructions on how to fix your driver software.
(but you may have to escalate the problem since their normal support folks have no idea)
Thanks so much for your response. I'm a little confused though. In Nikon Capture, the print dialog allowed for me to select a target color profile and I had access to print settings where I made sure that printer color management was disabled. I just assumed that this meant that Capture was using a color managed print flow. I have been in contact with Epson and they provided instructions for completely removing their drivers and resetting my print systems. I then did a fresh printer install. I will contact the and see what further help they can provide.
I've just gotten this in an email from Epson support:
We have seen an increase in calls of users using 10.7/10.8 and CS5/CS6 with darkness or color cast issues. We do know this issue is coming from Photoshop and they are aware of it and have told customers to test this by printing a photo from Apples Preview program, something other than an Adobe program. So if you right click on a jpeg file and select "open with", choose Preview and make settings here and print, the print should come out more like you are used to seeing. If it comes out normal, then this will tell you Photoshop is the issue and you will need to contact Adobe for a fix or an update.
I haven't tested Preview, but I have tested with the Nikon software... could this be correct? Has anyone heard of this?
then this will tell you Photoshop is the issue
LOL, I don't have an Epson printer, but in case I'm buying one and for that matter any printer, I think it would be wise to ask the manufacturer if it is Photoshop compatible.
edit: Or the other alternative is after you have an Epson printer, and before buying Photoshop to ask Adobe if it is Epson printers compatible
I think I figured it out. I took another crack at it tonight, starting with a full printer deletion. I removed all of my printers, and deleted all signs of Epson on my computer. I even went so far as to delete the icc profiles in my ColorSync directory. Then I reinstalled everything. I don't know if this helped or not, but what I did find out is that I will never enable 16-bit printing in the driver again. It turns out there are two places where you can check a box enabling 16-bit printing. One is in PS/LR, the other is in the Printer Settings dialog. Right next to where you disable printer color management in that dialog is a 16-bit button. I'm guessing that even if you disable printer color management in the driver, this button, when checked, enables all or a part of the printer color management operation again. So if you have PS/LR set to color manage, and the driver set to do nothing, turning on this option can result in a conflict between PS/LR and the driver. That's my theory anyway. All I know is that as long as that box remains unchecked (even if 16-bit is enabled in PS/LR) everything works fine. I'd love to hear from those more knowledgable than me if my theory makes any sense.
Thanks for all of the help and suggestions. Chris, you were dead right that the problem was in the driver. I'm going to close the loop with Epson product support anyway just to see if I can confirm my suspicions.
Just to close this out fully, I just got off the phone with Epson and they confirmed that if you have PS or LR managing colors, EVERYTHING needs to be off in the printer driver including the 16-bit option. You will still get 16-bit printing via PS's color management. Apparently the "Off (No Color Adjustment)" option and the 16-bit checkbox operate independently in the driver and if either is on there will be a conflict with a color managed print utility. Just wanted to pass that along.
Thanks again for all the help,
Epson...confirmed that if you have PS or LR managing colors, EVERYTHING needs to be off in the printer driver including the 16-bit option. You will still get 16-bit printing via PS's color management.
that is very useful information, i hope you mark it as correct
i, too, was hit with this "bug" (dark/off color) some time back under OSX 10.7/CS6, but i just moved my printing to an older station, now i will try it again...