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thomps2
Currently Being Moderated

Brightness Adjustment for Blurb Book

May 7, 2013 9:16 AM

Tags: #book #brightness #blurb

When I print on my Epson R1900, I have to increase the Brightness (+20) in the Print Module on all prints. 

There is no corresponding option in the Book Module for sending files to Blurb. 

How can I make the equivalent adjustment for Blurb?

 

I am assuming that the Blurb profiles are close enough to the Epson profiles (as far as brightness is concerned).

If I have to edit every single image separately, what is the best way to do this? 

Is Exposure the equivalent of Brightness in LR 4, and is the metric the same (i.e. increasing by +20 in both)?

 

 

Lightroom 4.4

Mac OS X 10.8.3

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 7, 2013 9:55 AM   in reply to thomps2

    Your monitor is probably too bright. (IOW the files really are too dark). Read this:

     

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/why_are_my_prints_too_dark .shtml

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 7, 2013 1:38 PM   in reply to thomps2

    I can't answer that. All my instincts would be to get a workable calibration luminance target first, and then go over the files to be sent out. If you routinely have to make changes for print, the calibration target is very obviously wrong.

     

    Although Andrew Rodney's article is very insistent that the right calibration target is the one that produces a match with the print (and you can't argue with that if the print is indeed the final destination) - I feel it's a bit "Epson-centric" and the matter becomes even more urgent for those of us who don't print much, but instead send files out for print (whether offset or inkjet). Then it also becomes essential to adhere to a common standard. You need to know that the files you send out are "right" in and of themselves.

     

    If everything is set up correctly, the two should coincide. Just a little shift in perspective.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 8, 2013 10:13 AM   in reply to thomps2

    thomps2,

    I would suggest that you re-calibrate your monitor with a "print to match screen" setting for intensity (brightness) which is around 110 cd/m2.

    You don't have to use Blurb's icc profile for checking the tonality (darkness / lightness) of your photos. Softproofing your photos in Lr to sRGB will give you a very good feedback how your photos will look in print. That is my personal experience. Just be aware that shadows tend to get dark in a Blurb print (or in any print) since the paper print cannot match the screen for shadow detail.

    If your photos are indeed too dark it would be very easy to adjust all of them with the <Sync> feature in Lr. Adjust the Exposure / Shadows / Blacks for one image until you can clearly see detail in the shadows (and giving it a bit more than that would do no harm). Then select all images and press <Sync>.

     

    If you don't set your monitor to the correct brightness you have no way of telling how light or dark the photos will look in the printed book - unless you order only one copy and then adjust your photos before you order more.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 28, 2013 7:47 AM   in reply to web-weaver

    Hi there,

     

    I'm still struggling with this. I've callibrated my LCD (desktop) monitor for 100 cd/m2 (via i1Display Pro) in order to reduce brightness, but still see a significant darkening in the Blurb (physical) books. As mentioned in this thread: http://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/adjust_brightnes s_for_entire_blurb_book, I think it would still be useful to have an overall brightness control for export to Blurb in the Book module.

     

    Alternatively, what else can be done to help with this? It's a non-starter to keep printing books to compare brightness (and having to develop all images with increased brightness is also a non-starter - managing the separate virtual copies for these "develop for book" images is cumbersome to say the least).

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 28, 2013 8:19 AM   in reply to ColdForest

    One economic way to determine how much adjustment you need to apply to your submitted images, if your print vendor can print a job of only one or a few pages, could be to create a set of small adjusted images on one page, like a contact sheet. Because reducing an image to a small size seems to darken it to the eye, you probably should keep the image at the size you'd print it, but "cut" it into pieces so that each tile in the grid is from a different part of the original image, developed to a known factor of difference.

     

    Since this also depends on the particular image, you might want to begin by capturing a standard test target. Perhaps you could photograph one, and also use a provided digital one. Then cut them into mosaic grids and have the vendor print them.

     

    This is dang tedious, especially keeping track of all the values of each mosaic tile piece, but in the end, you'll have something to work with that's a lot more useful than repeatedly adjusting and printing. Also, it's less expensive.

     

    I used this method when I photographed with "real" stuff - film, wet chemicals, paper prints, etc.

     

    There may be plug-ins, scripts, or 3rd-party tools that can do the tiling. Photoshop, for example, has an option to display a single image with the unadjusted image in the center of a grid of variations. I don't know if users can specify those variations. Perhaps worth a look, at least to get the idea.

     

    HTH

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 28, 2013 9:04 AM   in reply to ColdForest

    I've no experience with Blurb or their process; but I've supplied a lot of material for books (which I usually get to see afterwards). My take-away experience is to always err on the bright side. Dot gain on press always works against highlights, i.e. tends to muddy them. And in the other end shadows tend to lose transparency and clarity because of the general low contrast of inks on paper.

     

    IOW, even with a calibration that produces a dead match in overall tonality, the printed result may seem a little dull and murky. So when the image looks right on screen, I found it always pays off to go an extra round and "open it up" a little.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 29, 2013 9:40 AM   in reply to twenty_one

    Thanks to both of you - valuable feedback to be sure.

     

    Both comments do re-empahsize the fact that the "matching process" is tedious and subjective. It sounds like there is no good way around this. So, the question becomes one of how to manage this in the best possible way. Personally, this seems to distill down to one of two possible mechanisms/processes: 1) have some kind of global brightness/contrast/clarity adjustment as part of "export to Blurb" in the Book module, and/or 2) some automatic way to batch process these attributes in the Develop/Book module. On the latter point I'm curious what the detailed steps would be to do this - for e.g., make virtual copies of all photos in book, apply batch (positive) brightness/contrast/clarity adjustments, etc.

     

    There are a couple reasons why I prefer the former process/capability to the latter. The first of these is just the standard, additional management of the virtual copies (and any associated workflow overhead). The second reason is that using these "conditioned virtual copies" in the Book module means that any PDF and/or EPUB (via Blurb's ebook creator) target also contains these "brightened" images, and these destination targets (both for viewing on displays) aren't appropriate for these "unique to physical book" images.

     

    Although not necessarily the absolute best solution for fine tuning individual images in books, I'd really like to have an overall brightness control for "export to Blurb" in the Book module.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 29, 2013 10:41 AM   in reply to ColdForest

    Thanks for asking the question in the first place, and for persisting in looking for an answer(s), and thanks to all who are posting suggestions.

     

    I'm new to LR and have never printed from it. As the thread has gone on, I realized that I don't know how LR printing works, so I took a look. I can now see that it's a pretty-controlled workflow, especially for publishing, like you are doing with Blurb. Now I understand more about your questions. I can see where you can apply an exposure and contrast adjustment to the Blurb output, but it's not precise. I'm not sure there's even a preset or template that can save the values you decide are the correct amount of adjustment, for reuse. Perhaps others can answer on this point.

     

    I don't have a Blurb acccount, but when I got as far as their sign-in, there was already a $32 price for whatever the job was that I'd chosen. I'm not sure what that was, because I only had one photograph selected, but I had a multiple-image page spread. Not sure if I'd specified the number of pages. So I can see why you'd want certainty and repeatability at these prices.

     

    I am surprised that Blurb doesn't seem to offer a way to get some useful troubleshooting and technical advice about how to get the result you want from the content you're submitting.

     

    From my limited LR experience so far, and from the great advice on this forum, I think that you're on the right track to look for a way to use a set of virtual copies that are adjusted as a batch, for the amount of Blurb correction you find is right. As is mentioned earlier, the darkening effect from digital printing has to be considered, and it may not be consistent across images - some may be large areas of light or dark tones, and so they'd need different compensation for the darkening effect of printing.

     

    Have you worked with other book publishers and gotten better or worse results? Have you found others who are more supportive in helping you arrive at a suitable workflow that lets them provide their best work for you? If not, it might be worth investing some time and effort, for a possibly better dividend. Yup, yet another round of tedious work, but finding a reliable and consistent solution that you can rely on is worthwhile.

     

    HTH

     

    ColdForest2 wrote:

     

    Thanks to both of you - valuable feedback to be sure.

     

    Both comments do re-empahsize the fact that the "matching process" is tedious and subjective. It sounds like there is no good way around this. So, the question becomes one of how to manage this in the best possible way. Personally, this seems to distill down to one of two possible mechanisms/processes: 1) have some kind of global brightness/contrast/clarity adjustment as part of "export to Blurb" in the Book module, and/or 2) some automatic way to batch process these attributes in the Develop/Book module. On the latter point I'm curious what the detailed steps would be to do this - for e.g., make virtual copies of all photos in book, apply batch (positive) brightness/contrast/clarity adjustments, etc.

     

    There are a couple reasons why I prefer the former process/capability to the latter. The first of these is just the standard, additional management of the virtual copies (and any associated workflow overhead). The second reason is that using these "conditioned virtual copies" in the Book module means that any PDF and/or EPUB (via Blurb's ebook creator) target also contains these "brightened" images, and these destination targets (both for viewing on displays) aren't appropriate for these "unique to physical book" images.

     

    Although not necessarily the absolute best solution for fine tuning individual images in books, I'd really like to have an overall brightness control for "export to Blurb" in the Book module.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 29, 2013 4:45 PM   in reply to peter at knowhowpro

    Where are you finding the exposure and contrast adjustments "to the Blurb output"?

     

    It's true that I haven't engaged Blurb in this discussion and I should, as they may have some constructive feedback. However, I did have a very tedious time working through a font conversion/ebook creator warning issue with them recently so I'm not eager to get into another round with them . I will do this eventually, just need to collect my breath before launching into this one...

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 29, 2013 10:38 PM   in reply to ColdForest

    As in any customer service encounter, it's always a good idea to get the person's name and a case number, and whenever you feel the person isn't helpful, to assertively press for escalating the issue immediately to a supervisor. It's also helpful at times to ask to be transferred to an agent who is known to have more expertise and experience with fixing the problem, resolving the issue, etc. Something like "I don't mean to sound rude, but I don't want to use more of your time and mine. We're not making progress, so please escalate this case to a supervisor now. Thank you." is often effective.

     

    Any company that wants to stay in business shouldn't make a customer dread calling for help with a problem, and should take whatever steps are needed to resolve a customer problem.

     

    HTH

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 1, 2013 2:27 PM   in reply to peter at knowhowpro

    Yup, I've been doing for this for a while now too and unsurprinsgly each vendor is typically unique in this regard. See below for how this Blurb query went .

     

    Jake ( Blurb Support)

    Oct 01 14:14 (PDT)

    Hello David,

    We are not set up to deliver test prints, but we do a offer a small square book that you can order to see how your image will be produced.

    Best regards,

    Jake
    Blurb Technical Support

    To close a ticket, submit a troubleshooting video, or modify a satisfaction rating go to: https://support.blurb.com/requests

     

    ColdForest

    Sep 30 15:42 (PDT)

    Hi Jake,

    And you can provide no further help with this?? What response do you have for Lightroom Book module users that want to create physical books with Blurb? Is there any facility for users to request things like single-page test prints in order to verify their "ad-hoc" settings?

    Regards,
    -David

     

    Jake ( Blurb Support)

    Sep 30 15:13 (PDT)

    Hello,

    The issue is that since Lightroom doesn't support the CMYK color profile we use, we do not have a recommended way to soft proof your images.

    Best regards,

    Jake
    Blurb Technical Support

    To close a ticket, submit a troubleshooting video, or modify a satisfaction rating go to: https://support.blurb.com/requests

     

    ColdForest

    Sep 30 13:48 (PDT)

    Hi Jake,

    Thanks for responding. Yes, your text below is essentially a reiteration of the text that's available online in the FAQs/support forums. I'm aware of this guidance and I guess I was hoping for some additional ideas on how to get better results from this process. There's a lot of chatter on the Adobe forums related to the Lightroom Book module and publishing in Blurb and I'm hoping that between Adobe and Blurb we can all establish a better workflow for LR/Blurb users.

    There is a large segment of the Lightroom community that uses the Book module and that don't have Photoshop so this segment of users doesn't benefit from the Blurb CMYK profile. So what can we do for these users?

    Thanks,
    -David

     

    Jake ( Blurb Support)

    Sep 30 13:17 (PDT)

    Hello David,

    Thank you for contacting Blurb support.

    Blurb's ICC profile is designed specifically for use in CMYK supported applications such as Adobe Photoshop. Lightroom does not support the CMYK color space, so our profile will not appear in the ICC profile list and so it's not possible to softproof within Lightroom.

    You may want to check out our recommended workflow to soft proof images using Photoshop http://www.blurb.com/resources/color_management

    You can purchase a PDF version of your book without ordering a physical book, though the PDF that you purchase is basically the same thing you can get from exporting your project as a PDF in Lightroom. The biggest difference is that PDF exported from Lightroom has the cover and page files as two separate PDF files.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.
    Best regards,

    Jake
    Blurb Technical Support

    To close a ticket, submit a troubleshooting video, or modify a satisfaction rating go to: https://support.blurb.com/requests

     

    ColdForest

    Sep 30 08:08 (PDT)

    ...

    I use Lightroom 5.2 and its Book module for publishing books to Blurb. After reviewing one of these physical books it was clear that all the images were way too dark. I understand that full (soft) proofing is necessary to help normalize this (i.e., the LCD view and the physical copy) and that this is supported via Blurb's ICC profile and *photoshop*. However, there is no equivalent process/workflow for *LIghtroom*.

    So, what is the recommended workflow/process for ensuring LCD image/physical image normalization in Lightroom? I have a calibrated LCD monitor (using an XRite colorimeter) but without proper soft-proofing for Blurb's printers in LR there's no way for me to accurately match these views. Experimenting qualitatively with (potentially multiple) physical prints of books isn't a very economical solution.

    Thanks,
    -David

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 1, 2013 5:49 PM   in reply to ColdForest

    Egad! How much effort does Blurb want to expend to drive customers to another vendor?

     

    The potentially best solution is to find a vendor who cares about your business and has a useable workflow for LR books.

     

     

    If you want to pursue Blurb, it sounds like what you need is a CMYK ICC Profile for LR. Or an RGB to CMYK image converter.

     

    I searched Google for RGB to CMYK converter and found stuff that might or might not be useful.

     

    In addition to online services, free or not, and to some downloads that are trials then need to be purchased, these free tools may work:

     

     

    The GIMP is a free Photoshop-like image editor for a variety of platforms.

     

    Here's one link:

     

    http://gimp.en.softonic.com/mac

     

    On the left of this page, there's an item for OS. If there's a red X in a circle for OS X, click the blue "i" button to see other platforms and click Mac.

     

     

     

    Imagemagick is another multiplatform converter

     

    http://www.imagemagick.org/script/index.php

     

     

    Adobe.com has ICC profiles here:

     

    Windows:

    http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=4075

     

    Mac:

    http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=4074

     

    These things are kind of techy, beyond my experience, but perhaps someone on the list can jump in and help in getting these to work with LR. One way might be to output the book as JPG RGB (see below) and convert the JPGs to CMYK with one of the above tools. There will be one JPG per book page. Perhaps one or more of the above tools can convert the whole batch in one go.

     

    OK, if that doesn't work, other option is to try to output an LR book to JPG or PDF by choosing JPG or PDF at the top of the left column of the LR Book module. Click the button under Book Settings where it shows Blurb, and change it to JPG or PDF. You can choose the JPG quality for either JPG or PDF with a slider. You can also choose a color profile from the pop-up list of RGB profiles. However, there's an "Other" option that opens a dialog box. If you click and then click the box Include Display Profiles, you'll see the path to where the display profiles are stored. It may be possible to copy a CMYK profile to that location, and then choose it in setting up the export to JPG or PDF. In other words, perhaps you can trick LR to use a CMYK profile. Or, perhaps someone knows where the ICC output profiles are stored, and you can output a CMYK JPG or PDF At the bottom of that column, choose Output Book to JPG or PDF.

     

    HTH

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 2, 2013 10:04 AM   in reply to ColdForest

    I did a Google search for something like "cmyk printer profiles for mac lightroom" without quotes and found a bunch of stuff. It's an old problem, but there aren't a lot of posts that complain or that offer solutions. Wait, there's more...

     

    The bottom line is that Blurb wants Adobe to provide a CMYK profile because that's what they want. Period. Talking with tech support won't resolve it because this is a corporate-exec level decision, if you think about it. Adobe makes LR, so they know it best, and that's a good reason to provide the profile. Blurb is responsible for their output, so they don't want to create profiles for every application that outputs material for them to print.

     

    Perhaps Blurb could add one more supported profile, a specific Acrobat joboptions file. So much of print output these days is provided to print vendors as PDF. Almost all print vendors either specify the settings the customer should make to create a custom joboptions file, or they specify a joboptions file, or they name the particular industry-standard preset they require.

     

    So, the problem will remain until the two corporations get to talking at levels where these decisions can be made.

     

    I'm just guessing that because there's so little discoverable online discussion of the issue, that lots of LR books are going to other print vendors. If so, that's Blurb's loss. It used to come up often in the InDesign forums that someone would say "my print vendor wants my original InDesign files, not PDF," or "my print vendor wants me to convert all the text in my InDesign files to outlines (the text characters become drawings of characters, which makes them a tad "fatter" AKA uglier, as designers see it.)" What should I do? The usual answer was "Get a printer who's in the 21st century." The reasoning was that the print vendor had an older workflow, older equipment, older printing software, etc., that worked fine in the past, and doesn't want to change the workflow and/or doesn't want to spend any money on modernizing the equipment and software. After a couple of years, that's a rare request. Who knows if the stubborn vendors have gone out of business, retired, been bought in by larger modern firms, or actually spent the money to modernize? Blurb's got a story and is sticking to it for whatever reasons.

     

    OK, as promised above, more:

     

    I'm sort of buzzed by looking at the information on the various links I found. I'll give them later. The short of it is that there's a supposedly-usable ICC profile available, free. It's at a German site, One of the pages I visited mentioned it. It is there. I can't figure out where to install it so that LR finds it when you specify a profile for books. Maybe someone else can.

     

    Here are the links to the various discussions:


    http://help.adobe.com/en_US/lightroom/using/WS268F3399-80B2-4169-A598- 04C7F769FFA0.html#WS0CEB539E-34A7-4c10-B6F3-82EDCA5D3617

     

    http://help.adobe.com/en_US/lightroom/using/WS268F3399-80B2-4169-A598- 04C7F769FFA0.html

     

    http://help.adobe.com/en_US/lightroom/using/WS013EDBB1-F532-43f1-84AE- 91EAC06B95B4.html#WS05D9634F-E1DD-4bf8-8496-717B30201637

     

     

    http://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/color_management -hzoak

     

    http://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom/kb/using-blurb-profiles-lightroom-4.h tml

     

    Posts from a link:

     

    "

      Lightroom: LR4.1 RC: Why can't I select blurb icc profile for soft proofing? (CMYK) 

     

    Hello,

     

    I am using Lightroom 4.1 and want to create a book with the new module. Unfortunately, I cannot select an icc-profile (Blurb-icc profile) when doing a softproof. All other profiles I can select. Please could you give me a hint, why I can not select the blurb icc profile? It is located where all the other profiles are located also on my mac (Library/ColorSync/Profiles). And here is the download link for the profile:

     

    http://www.blurb.de/color-management

     

    "

     

     

    * The page is in German. Here's what the the download button looks like:

     

    german download icc blurb.jpg

     

    I Agree.
    There is a work around on this and it can be found in Photoshop element 10
    but you have to install a plugin called elements + found herehttp://simplephotoshop.com/buy_elemen...
    this works quite well and allows the use of the blurb profile as far as I understand .I find it disappointing like other users that blurb and adobe have brought together these two products namely Lightroom4 promoting the use of each other to achieve "better " results,when really the only convenience is to not to have both running at the same time ,and have not given them full functionality of the one issue that irritates most Photographers WYSIWYG !
    Are we still really that far off achieving this ?
    All the manipulation new algorithms ect is pointless if you can't print the image out properly.
    Hope the developers of Blurb and Adobe are reading this !

     

     

    "

     

    I didn't try that, just reporting it here.

     

     

    The discussions go back to LR 4. Adobe seems to be saying they won't add CMYK support to LR.

     

    If anyone can find the right location for the CMYK profile from the German site, and make it work, please share it.

     

    HTH

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 2, 2013 10:39 AM   in reply to peter at knowhowpro

    I noticed that I forgot to include some info about Blurb and workarounds.

     

    This may help to figure out where an ICC CMYK profile might need to reside to fool LR into accepting it:

     

    lr book pdf other profiles displays annotated2.jpg

    I tried copying the downloaded CMYK ICC profile in some of these directories, but LR didn't show it in the profiles pop-up list. I didn't restart LR after trying each location. I'm not sure if a restart is needed. You may want to experiment with restarting. Also, you may want to try installing the profile in your own user Library rather than your operating system's Library folder.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 2, 2013 12:03 PM   in reply to peter at knowhowpro

    My suggestion to the OP thomps2 would be to use his monitor's presets to create a calibrated LR screen setting at 100-120 cd/m2 and a 2nd setting with higher brightness for other purposes. He could also use two monitors with separate calibration for the "brighter" monitor that won't be used with LR.

     

    My monitor is calibrated and set for 6500 K, 100cd/m2, 2.2 gamma and I have no such issues with my prints or Blub books. I've used both LR and InDesign with Blurb's InDesign plugin and soft proof using the Blurb.icc profile with equally good results.

     

    WebWeaver's suggestions in post #5 are all that should be necessary to get good Blurb Books using the LR Book module. Most of the differences I've seen using PS or ID soft proof with the CMYK Blurb profile.icc were very subtle and mainly with out-of-gamut colors. There's not a lot you can (or should do) to try and "fix' out-of gamut colors so they look better on printed page.....it won't! Regardless, most of the issues mentioned here concern "tonality" and NOT out out of gamut colors! The most likely cause is improper tonal adjustment inside LR similar to what twentyone mentioned   in his post #8.

     

    SUGGESTIONS

    The LR Histogram is a good tool to help insure you are using the full tonal range when processing images for your Blurb book. It's best to create "separate" Soft Proof virtual copies of the images for your Blurb book layout, especially if you're having tonal issues like brightness. You can apply global "relative" adjustments to ALL of the images using the 'Quick Develop' panel. There's also a "workaround" to do this inside the Develop module using the Graduated filter tool, which gives you more adjustment options:

     

    Drag the Graduated Filter pin and guides off of the picture canvas (i.e. in the border area). which selects the entire image 100%. Make any combination of available adjustments using the Graduated filter panel and save as a Develop preset with only 'Graduated Filter' and perhaps 'Process Version' selected.

     

    The only potential down side is that this local adjustment will not be reflected in the global adjustment tools. You'll have to remember that you applied them as a Graduated Filter to change them later, but that shouldn't be too hard! Try it!

     

    There's a good discussion at the below forum post concerning Blurb soft proof issues:

     

    http://forums.adobe.com/message/5344569#5344569

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 2, 2013 12:24 PM   in reply to trshaner

    Thanks for posting this and the link to http://forums.adobe.com/message/5344569#5344569 This link seems to sum up all the issues and reasons why things are they way they are.

     

    I can see that I was trying to find helpful ways to reinvent a wheel that shouldn't need to be reinvented, once folks read and understand your post and the link in it.

     

    There's also a great article by Andrew Rodney on CMYK here: http://www.ppmag.com/reviews/200703_rodneycm.pdf

     

    It's the first of two called, CMYK: The Devil's Color Space.

     

    Part 2 is here: http://www.ppmag.com/reviews/200704_rodneycm.pdf

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 2, 2013 4:54 PM   in reply to peter at knowhowpro

    Andrew Rodney has helped me out out more than once–The Digital Dog knows what he speaks!

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 3, 2013 6:47 AM   in reply to trshaner

    Just getting back to this...

     

    Awesome feedback/suggestions/comments from both of you guys - thanks so much for helping to flesh all of this out (again ). I still need to drill down on all the pointers/threads in order to digest this more.

     

    It still bothers me that there isn't a better way to integrate these ideas into the normal LR/Blurb workflow. Summarizing the above: 1) soft-proofing to sRGB should be sufficient, 2) proper monitor callibration (100-110 cd/m2), 3) CMYK profiles help with "out of gamut" concerns but not tonality (which should be adjusted/targetted separately), 4) others??? Do I have this right?

     

    A couple nights ago I downloaded the SDK docs to see if I could determine whether a plugin might help with this (e.g., intercept the Blurb export pipeline to perform additional actions - i.e., boost "brightness"; simulate a macro for batch creation of virtual copies with tweaked "brightness" values for Blurb books; etc.), but it looks like the SDK is fairly limited in terms of its offerings (i.e., primarily concerned with export and publish functions/hooks).

     

    Having read all this and thinking about things more I have to admit that I'm still nervous about my next physical publication. I won't have any confidence in the results until I receive the first physical proof and even then it's unclear whether a global "brightness" tweak will work for all future cases/images...

     

    Anyways, thanks for keeping this thread active and for helping me work through this.

     

    PS: Peter, I did try some of the suggestions for fooling LR into seeing the Blurb profile (e.g., in the PDF export) but I, also, was unable to get the profile to show up in any of the LR profile dialogs...

     
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    Oct 3, 2013 9:50 AM   in reply to ColdForest

    ColdForest2 your  4-step workflow pretty much covers it.

     

    Please feel free to post an image with the adjustments in LR that show up dark in a Blurb book. The best way to do this is by creating a DNG file copy of the original image with LR adjustments and post it to a download site like Dropbox or Hightail. The DNG file contains your LR settings, which we can evaluate on our own systems to see if you're doing something that's causing the brightness issue.

     

    As other have mentioned here it's just a matter of properly adjusting the image as you would for a normal picture. Certain images made need additional "tweaking" to prevent shadow and highlight detail from blocking up, but that has nothing to do with the overall image brightness.

     
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    Oct 3, 2013 11:37 AM   in reply to ColdForest

    ColdForest2 wrote:

     

    soft-proofing to sRGB should be sufficient

    But keep in mind that if you have a standard gamut monitor what you see on screen is already soft proofed to (something very close to) sRGB. So it won't tell you anything you can't already see.

     
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    1,388 posts
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    Oct 3, 2013 2:51 PM   in reply to ColdForest

    ColdForest2 wrote:

    It still bothers me that there isn't a better way to integrate these ideas into the normal LR/Blurb workflow. Summarizing the above: 1) soft-proofing to sRGB should be sufficient, 2) proper monitor callibration (100-110 cd/m2), 3) CMYK profiles help with "out of gamut" concerns but not tonality (which should be adjusted/targetted separately), 4) others??? Do I have this right?

    Look, no matter what you try, Blurb isn't providing a color managed workflow. Even IF LR could soft proof with their CMYK profile, that profiles is a generic profile and doesn't define their print processes. Notice I used a plural here. They have differing papers. Each needs it's own ICC profile. The profile they do provide is actually based on GRACoL2006 Coated1, right down to the paper white Lab values! Again, some generic aimpoint. It IS possible they are funneling all their preses to GRACoL but that doesn't account for the papers. So IF you could soft proof, it would be 'kind of close' at best. The ideal workflow is for a provider to give you the exact ICC profile used to convert to that printing condition and allow you to do the conversions after which they send the numbers to the device 'as is'. Otherwise what Rendering Intent is used? Do they support Black Point Compensation (toggle that on and off with some profiles and look at how big the soft proof can change). Bottom line is, with Blurb, best you can do is send of some sRGB data, get it back and attempt to calibrate the display AND the print viewing conditions to produce a match.

     
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    Oct 3, 2013 3:18 PM   in reply to Andrew Rodney

    What other vendors do LR book folks use if Blurb won't budge from their position?

     

    Is there any reason to fight a losing battle with Blurb? Are their printed results better (when you've finally adjusted to their needs) or are their their papers or bindings or speed of service or prices better?

     
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    Oct 3, 2013 9:32 PM   in reply to Andrew Rodney

    Andrew Rodney wrote:

     

    ColdForest2 wrote:

    It still bothers me that there isn't a better way to integrate these ideas into the normal LR/Blurb workflow. Summarizing the above: 1) soft-proofing to sRGB should be sufficient, 2) proper monitor callibration (100-110 cd/m2), 3) CMYK profiles help with "out of gamut" concerns but not tonality (which should be adjusted/targetted separately), 4) others??? Do I have this right?

    Look, no matter what you try, Blurb isn't providing a color managed workflow. Even IF LR could soft proof with their CMYK profile, that profiles is a generic profile and doesn't define their print processes. Notice I used a plural here. They have differing papers. Each needs it's own ICC profile. The profile they do provide is actually based on GRACoL2006 Coated1, right down to the paper white Lab values! Again, some generic aimpoint. It IS possible they are funneling all their preses to GRACoL but that doesn't account for the papers. So IF you could soft proof, it would be 'kind of close' at best. The ideal workflow is for a provider to give you the exact ICC profile used to convert to that printing condition and allow you to do the conversions after which they send the numbers to the device 'as is'. Otherwise what Rendering Intent is used? Do they support Black Point Compensation (toggle that on and off with some profiles and look at how big the soft proof can change). Bottom line is, with Blurb, best you can do is send of some sRGB data, get it back and attempt to calibrate the display AND the print viewing conditions to produce a match.

     

    Ya, what a drag...

     

    Message was edited by: ColdForest2

     
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    Oct 3, 2013 9:31 PM   in reply to trshaner

    trshaner wrote:

     

    Please feel free to post an image with the adjustments in LR that show up dark in a Blurb book. The best way to do this is by creating a DNG file copy of the original image with LR adjustments and post it to a download site like Dropbox or Hightail. The DNG file contains your LR settings, which we can evaluate on our own systems to see if you're doing something that's causing the brightness issue.

     

    I've put an example image up on Google Drive in case anyone's interested:

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3ULWi3pBkYcbGJlWkpYNmtiX0k/edit?usp=s haringhttp://

     
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    Oct 4, 2013 7:20 AM   in reply to thomps2

    I didn't expect such a comprehensive and valuable discussion when I posted my original question. Thanks to all who contributed. I'm certainly better informed, and I expect some other users are too.

    Two points.

    1. I've followed trshaner's suggestion (#17), which mostly solved my problem. If I were more concerned with out of gamut colors or did more commercial printing, I suppose I would not be as satisfied.  But my Blurb books now match my calibrated screen reasonably well.

    2. My experience with Blurb Support has been very positive.  True, they don't offer what some of you are asking for, but when I've had problems, the technician patiently worked with me, and twice reprinted books at no cost when the printed result was significantly off.  In one case, it was clearly a printer error, though.

     
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    Oct 4, 2013 11:24 AM   in reply to ColdForest

    ColdForest wrote:

     

    trshaner wrote:

     

    Please feel free to post an image with the adjustments in LR that show up dark in a Blurb book.

     

    I've put an example image up on Google Drive in case anyone's interested:

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3ULWi3pBkYcbGJlWkpYNmtiX0k/edit?usp=s haringhttp://

    This is a very low contrast image, but it has plenty of tonal detail that can be brought out with LR's PV2012 controls.

     

    1) The first thing I noticed is that you lowered the Exposure by -.65 EV, even though there is no clipping in the image with LR Default (0) settings. I generally find that raising the Exposure by about .5 EV is helpful on most images with PV2012, which is about where this image is with Exposure = -.25 EV.

     

    2) You left both the Highlights and Shadows controls at 0, which are PV2012's "magic controls." For virtually all normal images and even low contrast images like this one, adding -Highlights and +Shadows will enhance the detail in these two areas. Generally the best starting point is with them at equal but opposite settings and then continue setting the other controls from the top down. Adjust the Highlights slider just to the point where detail is "maximized," but brightness isn't significantly reduced. Then set +Shadows to the same number.

     

    3) One other minor detail, the Lens Corrections> Color> Remove Chromatic Aberrations setting is unchecked. I set my LR Camera Defaults with this checked for all my Canon cameras for both JPEG and raw image default settings, since my in-camera JPEGs are not CA corrected.

     

    Your Develop module processing isn't bad, but it's obvious the screen brightness is causing you to bias the settings on the dark side. Below is a comparison of your image and my attempt using the downloaded DNG file using my own settings. I've included PS CS6 Blurb.icc Soft Proof images using Perceptual, 'Black Point Compensation,' 'Simulate Paper Color,' and 'Simulate Black Ink.' You can download my edited DNG file version here:

     

    https://www.hightail.com/download/OGhmMWZQcGtFd2NLSk1UQw

     

    Obviously, this is my interpretation of the best LR settings. The main takeaways are the brightness difference and amount of detail in the highlight and shadow areas. This will help you to get better results in your Blurb book hardcopy.

     

    LR Images on Top - PS Soft Proof Images on Bottom

    (click on image to see full-size)

    DSC_4986_ Redit Compare w Soft Proof.jpg

    
     
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    Oct 6, 2013 7:15 AM   in reply to trshaner

    Thanks so much for taking the time to work with this image.

    trshaner wrote:

    This is a very low contrast image, but it has plenty of tonal detail that can be brought out with LR's PV2012 controls.

     

    1) The first thing I noticed is that you lowered the Exposure by -.65 EV, even though there is no clipping in the image with LR Default (0) settings. I generally find that raising the Exposure by about .5 EV is helpful on most images with PV2012, which is about where this image is with Exposure = -.25 EV.

     

    2) You left both the Highlights and Shadows controls at 0, which are PV2012's "magic controls." For virtually all normal images and even low contrast images like this one, adding -Highlights and +Shadows will enhance the detail in these two areas. Generally the best starting point is with them at equal but opposite settings and then continue setting the other controls from the top down. Adjust the Highlights slider just to the point where detail is "maximized," but brightness isn't significantly reduced. Then set +Shadows to the same number.

     

    Thanks for this. Before addressing the main theme here: "brightness" in the resulting physical copy, I did have some questions/comments on the post-processing per se. I guess I originally adjusted the exposure as a result of the base (raw) histogram suggesting slight overexposure. The first part of this occured as a result of "Auto Tone" (which suggested an exposure reduction of -.40 EV) and then subsequent adjustments to clarity, exposure, whites/blacks, and contrast further expanded the full tonal range to where you first saw the image. These ultimate settings were a result of subjectivity on my part to be sure. To be honest, I prefer (*when viewed on my display*) the darker, dramatic effect of the original. And this is now directly relevant to our discussion about how to process these images for *physical output* (where this "display view" will necessarily change).

     

    Your Develop module processing isn't bad, but it's obvious the screen brightness is causing you to bias the settings on the dark side. Below is a comparison of your image and my attempt using the downloaded DNG file using my own settings. I've included PS CS6 Blurb.icc Soft Proof images using Perceptual, 'Black Point Compensation,' 'Simulate Paper Color,' and 'Simulate Black Ink.' You can download my edited DNG file version here:

     

    https://www.hightail.com/download/OGhmMWZQcGtFd2NLSk1UQw

     

    Obviously, this is my interpretation of the best LR settings. The main takeaways are the brightness difference and amount of detail in the highlight and shadow areas. This will help you to get better results in your Blurb book hardcopy.

     

    LR Images on Top - PS Soft Proof Images on Bottom

    (click on image to see full-size)

    DSC_4986_ Redit Compare w Soft Proof.jpg

    

     

    So, to be honest (again), I like the result of the soft-proofing on the original. This is the key point here (for me anyway, and, I admit, I'm probably missing something fundamental here): specifically, it's this image that I'd like to be represented on the physical page. My physical copy is *darker* than all of these. I understand your adjusted image (along with the soft-proofed variant) are meant to provide a subjective guess on the resulting physical copy (i.e., that it will be somewhat darker than the lower right image above, but not as dark as the original, top-left image above). Do I have this right?

     

    I guess we're just confirming that the whole process is subjective. There's no way to see a priori what a developed image will ultimately look like on the printed *Blurb* page. And this gets back to my original question regarding whether it would be useful to have a global "brightness" adjustment that would be available as part of the "export to Blurb" sequence. Without this we're left with guessing and management of additional virtual copies (a unique one for output to Blurb). I'm a bit hung up on this latter point, but perhaps I shouldn't be (e.g., I already have virtual copies for any image that I soft-proof for local output to my Epson printers). But it's really the former point that's the big problem (I'd like this not to be subjective).

     
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    Oct 6, 2013 9:46 AM   in reply to ColdForest

    ColdForest wrote:

    Thanks for this. Before addressing the main theme here: "brightness" in the resulting physical copy, I did have some questions/comments on the post-processing per se. I guess I originally adjusted the exposure as a result of the base (raw) histogram suggesting slight overexposure. The first part of this occured as a result of "Auto Tone" (which suggested an exposure reduction of -.40 EV) and then subsequent adjustments to clarity, exposure, whites/blacks, and contrast further expanded the full tonal range to where you first saw the image.

    There is no clipping in the image file and it is very low contrast. You can download RawDigger if you'd like to see the actual raw image data histogram. With PV2012 controls it is best to use a top-down settings work-flow starting with Exposure, but I usually leave Contrast to last. Adjust Exposure to set the midtone brightness level than move it about +.5 EV higher, which will normally get you closer to the correct setting.

     

    ColdForest wrote:

    These ultimate settings were a result of subjectivity on my part to be sure. To be honest, I prefer (*when viewed on my display*) the darker, dramatic effect of the original. And this is now directly relevant to our discussion about how to process these images for *physical output* (where this "display view" will necessarily change).

    You can set the Exposure to achieve whatever look you want, but you need to use the Highlights and Shadow controls to open up (and show more detail in) the shadow and highlight areas. Like I said, Brightness primarily equates to the Exposure control. So yes you can lower Exposure to achieve a darker image, but then you may need to 1) slightly decrease Highlights, 2) Increase Shadows, and 3) adust White and Black points to establish clipping points.

     

    ColdForest wrote:

    So, to be honest (again), I like the result of the soft-proofing on the original. This is the key point here (for me anyway, and, I admit, I'm probably missing something fundamental here): specifically, it's this image that I'd like to be represented on the physical page. My physical copy is *darker* than all of these. I understand your adjusted image (along with the soft-proofed variant) are meant to provide a subjective guess on the resulting physical copy (i.e., that it will be somewhat darker than the lower right image above, but not as dark as the original, top-left image above). Do I have this right?

    On my 100cd/m2, 6500K, 2.2 Gamma i1 Display 2 calibrated monitor the tonal detail in the darker areas (i.e. Shadow control) with your LR adjustments is very low compared to the settings I used. My guess is that your monitor isn't properly profiled (i.e. adjusted) and calibrated to 100cd/m2, 6500K, 2.2 Gamma, or there is something wrong with your monitor (i.e. backlight aging issue). Either way you should also be using the Highlights and Shadows controls with this image, I have virtually no raw images in LR with ZERO (0) Highlight and/or Shadow settings. Try readjusting the image using Highlights and Shadows controls and then repost the DNG. If the image is still lacking shadow detail on my monitor then it's safe to save you have a monitor issue. We'll see!

     

    ColdForest wrote:

    I guess we're just confirming that the whole process is subjective. There's no way to see a priori what a developed image will ultimately look like on the printed *Blurb* page. And this gets back to my original question regarding whether it would be useful to have a global "brightness" adjustment that would be available as part of the "export to Blurb" sequence.

    I'm sitting here right now with one of my Blurb books open and looking at a page in the book with good lighting on it. The printed page looks very close to the image I see onscreen inside LR, InDesign, and Acrobat. When I look at the same page in the book on Blurb's website using there Flash viewer the image is noticeably darker. Is this what you are seeing or are you looking at an actual book printed page and comparing it to the on-screen image?

     

    PBS Book Screen Compare.jpg

     
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    Oct 6, 2013 11:30 AM   in reply to trshaner

    trshaner wrote:

     

    ColdForest wrote:

    Thanks for this. Before addressing the main theme here: "brightness" in the resulting physical copy, I did have some questions/comments on the post-processing per se. I guess I originally adjusted the exposure as a result of the base (raw) histogram suggesting slight overexposure. The first part of this occured as a result of "Auto Tone" (which suggested an exposure reduction of -.40 EV) and then subsequent adjustments to clarity, exposure, whites/blacks, and contrast further expanded the full tonal range to where you first saw the image.

    There is no clipping in the image file and it is very low contrast. You can download RawDigger if you'd like to see the actual raw image data histogram. With PV2012 controls it is best to use a top-down settings work-flow starting with Exposure, but I usually leave Contrast to last. Adjust Exposure to set the midtone brightness level than move it about +.5 EV higher, which will normally get you closer to the correct setting.

     

    I have the raw file so the original histogram is available to me (but maybe you're refering to something else?). Your suggestions above do (typically) match the sequence I use.

     

    ColdForest wrote:

    These ultimate settings were a result of subjectivity on my part to be sure. To be honest, I prefer (*when viewed on my display*) the darker, dramatic effect of the original. And this is now directly relevant to our discussion about how to process these images for *physical output* (where this "display view" will necessarily change).

    You can set the Exposure to achieve whatever look you want, but you need to use the Highlights and Shadow controls to open up (and show more detail in) the shadow and highlight areas. Like I said, Brightness primarily equates to the Exposure control. So yes you can lower Exposure to achieve a darker image, but then you may need to 1) slightly decrease Highlights, 2) Increase Shadows, and 3) adust White and Black points to establish clipping points.

     

     

    Got it - thx.

     

    ColdForest wrote:

    So, to be honest (again), I like the result of the soft-proofing on the original. This is the key point here (for me anyway, and, I admit, I'm probably missing something fundamental here): specifically, it's this image that I'd like to be represented on the physical page. My physical copy is *darker* than all of these. I understand your adjusted image (along with the soft-proofed variant) are meant to provide a subjective guess on the resulting physical copy (i.e., that it will be somewhat darker than the lower right image above, but not as dark as the original, top-left image above). Do I have this right?

    On my 100cd/m2, 6500K, 2.2 Gamma i1 Display 2 calibrated monitor the tonal detail in the darker areas (i.e. Shadow control) with your LR adjustments is very low compared to the settings I used. My guess is that your monitor isn't properly profiled (i.e. adjusted) and calibrated to 100cd/m2, 6500K, 2.2 Gamma, or there is something wrong with your monitor (i.e. backlight aging issue). Either way you should also be using the Highlights and Shadows controls with this image, I have virtually no raw images in LR with ZERO (0) Highlight and/or Shadow settings. Try readjusting the image using Highlights and Shadows controls and then repost the DNG. If the image is still lacking shadow detail on my monitor then it's safe to save you have a monitor issue. We'll see!

     

     

    I've uploaded an adjusted version to: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3ULWi3pBkYcUExqNjI2aHhaWmc/edit?usp=s haring

     

    I do see a lot of (good!) modification to shadows+, but not much happens with highlights- (just so happens that I prefer next to no highlights- in this image as there is no clipping anyway - well some in whites, but minor).

     

    This is a great experiment wrt your suggestions and has really helped me see what will ultimately be much better results in these images. Specifically "brightness" (i.e., midtones) are good, but many images require shadows+ to help differentiate dark areas and to help prevent the blocking effect that you allude to.

     

    I do hope the monitor calibration is correct, beyond having my calibrator tell me it's calibrated things to my liking/settings I really don't know how to evaluate whether this is absolutely true or not. Perhaps you can tell something from the latest image.

     

     

    ColdForest wrote:

    I guess we're just confirming that the whole process is subjective. There's no way to see a priori what a developed image will ultimately look like on the printed *Blurb* page. And this gets back to my original question regarding whether it would be useful to have a global "brightness" adjustment that would be available as part of the "export to Blurb" sequence.

    I'm sitting here right now with one of my Blurb books open and looking at a page in the book with good lighting on it. The printed page looks very close to the image I see onscreen inside LR, InDesign, and Acrobat. When I look at the same page in the book on Blurb's website using there Flash viewer the image is noticeably darker. Is this what you are seeing or are you looking at an actual book printed page and comparing it to the on-screen image?

     

    PBS Book Screen Compare.jpg

     

    I'm working with a physical book, so this is the comparison I've been refering to. As I look more closely at this now I do see that the physical image "brightness" (i.e., midtones) appear to match (fairly closely), but that the shadows are significantly darker. Beyond what you say about a potential bias I may have about viewing darker images on-screen (tendency to reduce mid-tones by reducing exposure) I do see that these images can benefit (potentially significantly) by an increase in shadows (both on-screen and then, subsequently, on the physical Blurb copy). Thanks for helping me see this!

     
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    Oct 6, 2013 4:12 PM   in reply to ColdForest

    ColdForest wrote:

    I have the raw file so the original histogram is available to me (but maybe you're refering to something else?). Your suggestions above do (typically) match the sequence I use.

     

    You can't see the "raw data" histogram in LR or any other raw processor used for editing because once you apply a camera profile the raw data is modified. You can download RawDigger if you'd like to see the actual raw image data histogram.

     

    ColdForest wrote:

     

    I've uploaded an adjusted version to: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3ULWi3pBkYcUExqNjI2aHhaWmc/edit?usp=s haring

     

    I do see a lot of (good!) modification to shadows+, but not much happens with highlights- (just so happens that I prefer next to no highlights- in this image as there is no clipping anyway - well some in whites, but minor).

     

    The new image file looks very good! The midtones are dark like the original file, but the shadow detail is much better. Low contrast images without highlight clipping will need less -Highlights, so your settings are spot on for darker midtones using a lower Exposure setting. It looks like you've nailed it!

     

    ColdForest wrote:

    I do hope the monitor calibration is correct, beyond having my calibrator tell me it's calibrated things to my liking/settings I really don't know how to evaluate whether this is absolutely true or not. Perhaps you can tell something from the latest image.

    We've already determined the new mage is good, but I'm not looking at your screen image. There are some good online tests for determining "by eye" if your monitor calibration is good:

     

    http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/

     

    Pay special attention to the tests for Contrast, Gamma Calibration, Black Level, and White Saturation. Use a  color managed browser like Firefox that can be configured to use the montor viewing profile:

     

    http://cameratico.com/tools/web-browser-color-management-test/

     

    My guess is that your monitor calibration is good and use of the Highlights and Shadows control will correct the Blurb book brightness issue.

     
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    Oct 6, 2013 8:17 PM   in reply to trshaner

    Thanks very much for sticking with this and helping me out! I'll reply back with the results after the next book . Cheers!

     
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    Oct 21, 2013 9:14 AM   in reply to ColdForest

    I've been working with Blurb on this again and they've been very accommodating to me wrt getting this re-printed. I've just re-submitted the updated book (which did involve creating virtual copies of all originals followed by individual re-develops of all copies) and I should have the results back in 1-2 weeks. I will update here again when I receive the physical copy.

     
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    Oct 26, 2013 6:46 AM   in reply to ColdForest

    Just received the re-printed copy in the mail and the results are much, much better than the original. Kudos to Blurb and to the folks in this thread for helping out with this. Absent the ability to soft-proof and/or adjust overall "brightness" on the exported result I now have a clearer understanding of how to develop images for the Blurb target.

     

    Cheers!

     
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    Oct 26, 2013 7:37 AM   in reply to ColdForest

    Glad to hear the suggestions helped. Just keep in mind that if you decide later to change paper types there may be a visible difference. Andrew Rodney measured the paper types with a profiler and I took his data and posted patch samples for comparison here:

     

    http://forums.adobe.com/message/5347370#5347370

     

    As mentioned previously, I also ordered the Blurb paper swatch kit with five paper types each printed with the same test image. The only paper where the printed image looked different was the Proline Uncoated, and that was only slightly lower in  contrast (as expected). The major difference is weight (80#, 100#, and 140#), which primarily affects opacity (see-through of image from opposite side). I am happy with Blurb's Standard 80# paper, but a heavier paper is probably better for the larger book sizes.

     
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    Oct 26, 2013 7:41 AM   in reply to Todd-Russell

    Duly noted - thanks again.

     
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