Theory of Practice: Technical Papers

This page lists a series of short papers (PDF format), videos, and test files abridged from my workshop lectures covering the implementation and application of digital processes to contemporary fine art photographic practice. Updated 25 May 2016.

Are you Seeing Correct Colour?
A simple outline of two basic evaluations anyone can undertake to help them realise why their prints do not match their screen and why Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom soft proofing does not work. 

•  Introduction to Monitor Calibration: 
A brief overview of monitor calibration with recommendations for ISO compliant calibration settings and the circumstances and workflows they apply to.

• Monitor Calibration for Screen Based Workflows:
A short paper that addresses the question: How do I know whether my image will appear the same on a different monitor? Through the identification and reduction of errors and inconsistencies, confidence but not certainty, can be restored to screen based workflows.

•  Monitor Theory: 
A short paper on the theory and practice of monitor calibration for fine art photography.

• Lighting Theory:
A short paper on the theory and practice of how to create a critical print viewing environment for accurate soft proofing.

• Soft Proofing Theory:
An outline of the theoretical factors determining the limits of soft-proofing simulations with workflow solutions to the most common errors and misunderstandings.

Soft Proofing Light Sources:
This paper discusses the ‘difficulty’ fluorescence from optically brightened printing papers pose for accurate soft proofing.  While this ‘difficulty’ can be resolved, its solution requires a far more rigorous practice compared with traditional non-OBA enhanced papers.

• Calibrating Dual Monitors:
A short paper on the considerations, limitations and best practices associated with matching images across multiple screens. 

Basic Calibration with EIZO ColorEdge Monitors Video:
A five minute video illustrating how to create a new EIZO ColorNavigator calibration target that is ISO 3664 compliant for general photo editing. 

Advanced Soft Proofing with EIZO ColorEdge Monitors Video:
A five minute video illustrating how to precisely adjust the monitor’s appearance in order to achieve a very accurate visual match between the appearance of the image on screen and as a print.

Advanced Soft Proofing with EIZO ColorEdge Monitors Video Transcription:

• ColorChecker_24 step_AdobeRGB Target: 
A printable version of my Gretag Macbeth  24 Step Color Checker in the Adobe RGB (1998) colour space. Print this file, and under your standard print viewing conditions and light source compare the print with its screen rendering. In an accurately profiled soft proofing workflow there should be a very high correlation between the print and screen renderings.

• ColorChecker_24 step_sRGB Target: 
A screen version of my Gretag Macbeth  24 Step Color Checker in the sRGB IEC61966-2.1 colour space. Use this file to compare renderings across multiple monitors in a screen based workflow (such as for web development). In an accurately profiled workflow there should be a very high correlation between the rendering of this target on all screens.

White Luminance Target:
A 255R 255G 255B file for setting the monitor white point in applications like Adobe Lightroom that can only import files, not create them. Use for matching the screen white point with your printing paper’s white point as illustrated in my Advanced Soft Proofing with EIZO ColorEdge Monitors movie. 

• Light-Dark Levels Printing Target: 
A target for testing the correlation between screen and print appearance. All L* values from 1 to 30 and 70 to 99 should be equally visible on screen and in print in an accurately profiled workflow.

Why Les Walkling & Co. Custom Printer Profiles?
A detailed analysis of the ‘difficulties’ experienced when printing with generic printer profiles, and how we correct this, not just through custom profiling specific printers and workflows, but the profound improvements our skills and profile enhancements make. 

Profile Variants:
An outline and explanation of the different printer profile variants we create, their purposes, both technically and aesthetically, and recommendations for their application in print production workflows. 

My Emotional Theory of Print Size:
A short paper from 1985 outlining how I conceive of the scale of my prints relative to their subject-that-matters. 

My Emotional Theory of Aspect Ratios:
An update of my original 1985 paper that outlines how I understand the ratio of height to width in a print effects our interpretation of it. 

•  Print Luminosity:
Notes from 1980 on the contribution of subjects-that-matter, structures, luminosity, and foundations on a print’s emanating presence.

Camera Profiling:
A discussion of the methodology, workflow and colorimetric advantages of custom calibration and profiling of Hasselblad H System cameras.

Notes on Reprographic Photography:
A collection of recommendations and observations on the digitising of cultural and biological collections, including quality control, verification, camera alignment, lighting, diffraction, and depth of field considerations.

In-House Hard Proofing Made Easy:
A short paper on easy and affordable in-house hard proofing that exceeds FOGRA standards via the RGB Mirage RIP

Controlling Inkjet Printers for ‘Alternate Processes’:
A short paper on creating custom ink profiles for use with Roy Harrington’s QuadToneRIP to better align an Epson printer’s output to the requirements of ‘alternate processes’ such as printing on photopolymer Photo Gravure plates.

•  Live Picture:
My original Live Picture workshop notes (last revised 2005). Live Picture is a resolution independent real-time imaging program that runs under the Macintosh
Classic operating system. Though Live Picture was commercially discontinued in 1999 I continue to use it as my primary image editing program.

•  Four Compositions:
A schematic of my digital image editing workflow.

•  B&W Contrast Filters:
The calculation of digital equivalents to Kodak’s Wratten Filters and their implementation in preparing digital B&W fine prints.

•  Editing Out-of-Gamut Colours:
L*a*b* method for the local perceptual compression of Relative Colorimetric (B2A1) ‘out-of-gamut’ transformations.

•  Luminosity Mapping:
The conversion of multi-channel images to a single greyscale channel is based on a luminosity formula, which in turn is based on a theory of perception. This paper examines Photoshop’s methodology and why desaturation and other conversion formulae do not always produce a satisfactory perceptual result.

•  Toning Monochrome Images:
A luminosity masking method for toning digital images so as to emulate the ‘look, feel and presence’ of toned silver gelatin fine prints.