Book Printing

Locked Delighted with Blurb Books...but is there a problem with Proline Paper?

I’ve had six books of various sizes printed by Blurb on standard and lustre finish papers, and they have all lived up to my expectations. But the last book has been disappointingly dark.

I’d like to preface this by mentioning that as a professional photographer I keep my monitor calibrated regularly and use a constant work flow for all my images. In essence nothing changed from the earlier books to the last one except that I chose Proline Pearl paper.

In photographic terms the book is looks  about 1.25 stops underexposed. I had the book reprinted and it is still looks about 0.75 stops underexposed. Interestingly I chose a mid-grey for the  text and in both books it is almost black and beach scenes of golden sand look muddy and ugly.

I’ve been in contact with customer support and I have to say that they have been very helpful, I’ve followed their suggestions regarding monitor brightness (already set as suggested), and I also watched  the video by Joe Brady.  I reset the monitor colour temperature from 5,000 to 6,500 as per his recommendations – using a Spyder Pro2 – all the other settings were already correct. 

My next step was to change Photoshop’s (CS4) "colour settings" to the Blurb preferences and retain them as a template…and lastly I downloaded the Blurb ICC Profile.

With all that done, I figured that any problems would become very evident when I opened images that looked really dark in the book. Using the above profiles, I viewed them in the Blurb ICC profile and found to my surprise, that they all appeared  slightly lighter and not darker as I had anticipated. 

I like the feel and weight of the proline paper, but I need the book to look right, so, before I try again, and use the Lustre Finish paper, I thought I’d just check on the Forum to see if anyone has any suggestions that can throw some light on the problem.

 

Many thanks….George

 

 

Posted by
georgemunday
Dec 28, 2011 6:22am PDT
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georgemunday
 

I’ve had exactly the same problem and just contacted customer support.

My photos look too dark and saturated. I don’t like the look and feel of proline pearl compared with the lustre finish paper. Do you think from your experience printing the same book using lustre finish paper would deliver better results ?

Thanks

Posted by
bulentacar
Dec 30, 2011 5:43am PDT
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bulentacar
 

Hi George:

I don’t think that the proline pearl paper is the problem here.

I’ve had three proline books printed in the past two months; one with proline pearl paper, one with premium lustre paper and one with premium matte paper. The color accuracy, exposure and “crispness” of the images (for lack of a better word) was excellent on all three books.

The printing on the proline pearl and premium lustre papers looks almost identical to me. The pearl seems to have a slightly smoother surface, but it’s really close.

The premium matte paper seems to have slightly lower contrast than the other two papers, and the darker tones seem to print about 1/3 stop lighter, but it’s subtle, and may simply be due to variations at the printshop. It’s similar to printing on matte vs lustre paper on my Epson printer.

I haven’t bothered with Blurb’s ICC profile. If the monitor is accurately calibrated and the files saved in the sRBG space, then there shouldn’t be any significant variation in the print version. I calibrate my monitor with a Spyder3 Pro, and just leave it at that.

I’d go back to your original settings, recalibrate your monitor, then have a look at some of the images from your earlier books that you’re happy with. If they look OK, then something went wrong at the printer.

Good luck with getting this resolved.

regards
S

Posted by
sangio
Jan 2, 2012 1:47pm PDT
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sangio
 

@ bulentacar…Thanks for your question. I’ll shortly be getting the book re-printed on lustre finish – so I’ll let you know how it looks when I get a copy.

@ sangio…Thanks for your comments. I know there people who work without calibrating their monitor. I’m not one of them. Having been a professional photographer – and stock agency owner – for some 30 years, I know the importance of  accurate print profiles and colour settings.

So, I calibrate my monitor every two weeks, and again immediately before I work on Blurb books, just to be certain. 

I’d suggest that the main difference is that you are in Canada, and your books were probably printed in North America. And mine were printed in Europe. It may just go some way to explaining the successful outcome that you had for Proline Paper….

 Cheers…George

 

 

Posted by
georgemunday
Jan 3, 2012 6:14pm PDT
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georgemunday
 

Hello again George:

I didn’t realize you’re based in Europe; so I presume your books are printed in The Netherlands?
And yes, you’re correct; all North America proline books are printed in Seattle, Washington.

If the printer in Seattle can produce a good product on the Pearl paper, there’s no reason why the European printers cannot do the same.

Perhaps you’ve already seen this conversation thread, but if not, the last post outlines a very fastidious colour management workflow that might interest you.

http://forums.blurb.com/forums/5/topics/10033

regards
Sangio

Posted by
sangio
Jan 5, 2012 10:59am PDT
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sangio
 

Hello Sangio,

I’m having an issue with one of my books and based on your posts i thought you might be able to help me. I typically use blurb to print books for weddings. On one of my last books i made an error on the front cover and had the wrong date printed on it. I was wondering if you know of a printer that i could contact that prints the dustjackets so that i would be able to slip it on over the front of the book thereby covering the error.

Posted by
Torrell
Mar 9, 2012 12:43pm PDT
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Torrell
 

I too am a pro photographer and calibrate my monitor. I made a 12×12 book with black and white photos and printed on Proline Photo Pearl – first copy came out great. Then I ordered more and they came out with a green cast. Then it was reprinted and it came out better, but not as good as the very first one — oh well. Now I made a new book, same 12×12, again black and white, and file handled the same way, ordered a copy and it came out very dark — my guess is the same 1.25 stops dark. Tried to get help with this. Sent a file and asked to have it brought to a tech to let me know how much to lighten it to make it print well — or at least in the ballpark. CS has ignored my request two time so far — she won’t even answer the question. Takes a day to get a reply — but then my question is again ignored. I think the problem is multiple printing partners, and not having a quality control procedure. CS lady did say to not use the Proline Pearl Photo Paper as it aborbs ink differently — the ink "sits" on the surface she says. Really? Then why is this paper described on Blurb as being ideal for photos? I’ve asked about 4 times for a phone number, but they won’t give me one. Sorry to sound like a complainer. I do like Blurb and the concept is great, and I’d like to make lots of books and spend lots of money, but I’m being shined on and so I have one foot out the door. Too bad. By working hard to publicize my book (and Blurb), I’ve had over 6,000 views — mostly from photo related web sites.

Posted by
danwagner
May 22, 2012 6:04pm PDT
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danwagner
 

Hi Torrell,

I’m sorry I didn’t reply sooner; I don’t visit this site regularly. To the best of my knowledge, there is no service that prints only the covers.

Regards
Sangio

Posted by
sangio
May 27, 2012 3:30pm PDT
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sangio