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Hoping for some help and guidance here.

 

We've recently moved home to a place that has floor to ceiling windows absolutely everywhere. The light streams in from all angles. I love it but it's confusing me as to what light I should work in when processing my images.

 

I have last years 27" iMac high definition screen (reflects light) and find that if I post process at night with low room light the images look very dim in the glare of the morning light. And of course vice versa at night viewing.

 

This is the problem. Which light is best to work in for presentation.

 

Thanks for any help

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Darkened room, always. You can get casette blinds for blackout and USB flex lights for illuminating a keyboard/tablet.

 

I use a hood on my monitor which also helps with viewing - not sure you can with new iMac.

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Agree with everyone.  I work in the dark, always.  In addition, I use Colormunki to calibrate my monitor.  Getting the gamma setting right, for monitor brightness is crucial.  The Colormunki comes with a light sensor that will automatically adjust the brightness level of your monitor when the lumens levels change in your room.

 

I purchased a very expensive NEC LCD monitor a few years back.  It is one designed for photographers and graphics use.  I was astonished at the factory settings compared to the proper calibration.

 

Rick

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I disagree with working in darkness. I think if you work in the dark the resulting images will be adjusted too dark.

 

I always work in office like light because that is how the resulting outputs will be viewed by the client. My 10 X 14 foot office is illuminated by two 40 watt 5000K daylight spectrum fluorescents in a standard ceiling fixture containing a diffuser. Windows blocked out, so no other light in room. This is light bright enough to read a printed newspaper for hours without eyestrain.

 

I judge final images in photoshop on a white background because they will appear on a white printed page or on a white backgrounded web page. The Alamy client will look at thumbnails on a white Alamy background. Images look much better on a black background in a darkened room, but that is not how most of the images will be viewed.

 

Take a look at my Alamy images on a colour balanced monitor situated in a room with the lights on, and tell me what you think.

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I disagree with working in darkness. I think if you work in the dark the resulting images will be adjusted too dark.
 
I always work in office like light because that is how the resulting outputs will be viewed by the client. My 10 X 14 foot office is illuminated by two 40 watt 5000K daylight spectrum fluorescents in a standard ceiling fixture containing a diffuser. Windows blocked out, so no other light in room. This is light bright enough to read a printed newspaper for hours without eyestrain.
 
I judge final images in photoshop on a white background because they will appear on a white printed page or on a white backgrounded web page. The Alamy client will look at thumbnails on a white Alamy background. Images look much better on a black background in a darkened room, but that is not how most of the images will be viewed.
 
Take a look at my Alamy images on a colour balanced monitor situated in a room with the lights on, and tell me what you think.

 

 

I certainly didn't say darkness, I said darkened room. I can't work in total darkness, unlike say Colin Anderson, but keep as little light as is workable for me. I would never use a daylight bulb, since at 5000k, it's possibly different enough to a native WB on a LCD monitor (usually nearer to 6500K) to affect colour.....jury is out on that for me.

 

To quote Martin Evening, who literally wrote the book on Photoshop, "I usually have the light level turned down quite low, in order to maximize the monitor viewing contrast."  in his books and in the colour mangement pdf here - page 99

 

Basically, the monitor needs to be brighter than the ambient light. If judging pre-press, the screen luminance will be 85-110 cdm2, lower than for general photo editing.

 

And BTW, Corbis...who shift a few images, they show images on a black background......

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I do prefer to work in a "darkened room" with as little ambient light as possible.

I do work on a calibrated NEC MultiSync, that is at the end of it's working life.

 

I also do not go by what I see, I go by the White, Black or Gray's in the image

and the histogram in CS5.

 

Chuck (still the original one)

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Martin Evening's Photoshop books are great, but I do not agree with him on this subject.

 

Looking at my Apple 30" monitor I would say it is slightly brighter than my ambient working office room light. A white on my monitor is brighter than a piece of white paper held on the keyboard. Black on the monitor is as black as the black plastic Epson printer on my desk

 

My disagreement with most people is that I believe we should not adjust images with our eyes acclimatized to the lower light levels of a darkened room. With dark acclimatized eyes, and a monitor surrounded by a darker room, I think the shadows will look better to us than they actually are.

 

Adjusting a typical file in a brighter room, my histogram would look like a bell curve with one foot on black, one foot on white, but the higher centre of the curve slightly tilted towards the white side. This gives shadows and vegetation some additional brightness, while still maintaining black and not blowing the whites.

 

I agree that we should always make our adjustments under the exact same ambient light every time, on a colour balanced, contrast balanced, monitor.

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Martin Evening is probably technically correct, but replicating our customers viewing conditions has to be the way to go. And you can bet they wont be sitting in darkened rooms with calibrated monitors, not many of them anyway. If you have bright sunshine beaming in on you, some diffuse thin curtains would be a pretty good idea.

 

Back in film days, I was always surprised how many design departments had their light boxes right up against a bright window.Then editors would come in, grab a lupe, clamp it to a slide and wave the whole thing around the room. Amazing the process worked at all! One picture editor at a pretty prestigious publication always used a lupe and slide against a naked tungsten light bulb. And the finished magazine looked just fine!

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At the end of the day, most of us are not doing product or fashion shots where the colours have to be matched to POS material, corporate identity standards or to a particular Pantone reference. If it looks good on screen and on paper that is probably close enough for 95% of stock uses. Much of Alamy's library is coming through the News channel and is presumably ooc jpegs; many of our fellow stock contirbutors are also using ooc jpegs more and more as they are now so much better than they used to be.

 

That said I do use calibrated monitors for my post production. I also close the translucent blinds on the north facing window to my side. In fact I do most of my post processing in the evening anyway. But like Chuck I tend to work with the histograms and the blacks, whites and greys; my monitors too are coming to the end of their life ;)

.

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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Thanks all for the input. I've spent a few days experimenting and have adopted to work in the daylight (we have diffused drapes) using the white and black points as the guidelines. Seems logical upon reflection.

 

Again, appreciate everybody's advice. Love this forum. 

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