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PS and LR are producing bad prints but other programs are not...

Jan 9, 2013 12:26 AM

Tags: #lightroom #photoshop #color #colour #printing #soft_proofing #proofing #color_profiles #colour_profiles

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 v3.0.0.3002).  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,



  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 9, 2013 10:23 AM   in reply to manzico

    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)

    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 9, 2013 7:21 PM   in reply to manzico

    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

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 11, 2013 2:05 PM   in reply to manzico

    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...

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