Update: New tests I have run conclusively show the printing issue in Lightroom 4.
A few days ago I printed a photograph from Lightroom 4 (LR4) that came out with a magenta/red cast. Accounting for the possibility of clogged nozzles in the printer, I printed a nozzle check pattern and everything looked fine. I printed a second copy from LR4 with the same results and did not learn anything. I tried a different approach and used the print to file option in LR4 and the resulting file manifested the same magenta/red problem. Then, I decided to print from Photoshop and loaded the same photograph to Photoshop CS6 and printed a perfectly good copy! Puzzle!
Several hours later I returned to examine the problem once more and printed yet a third copy from Lightroom 4, which came out perfectly fine. That was even more puzzling since I had not done anything differently. Just to make sure everything was still the same, I printed another copy from Photoshop CS6 and that was perfectly fine as well. I attributed the problem to an unknown interference with the printing function of LR4.
Yesterday, I created a 20-photo multi-row panorama in Photoshop CS6 public beta and corrected it using the awesome AWA, adaptive wide angle filter. The result was, despite the hand-held camera, a stunning demo of the panoramic stitching capabilities of PS CS6 as well as the adaptive wide angle filter. Here are the stitched and AWA corrected photographs. The dimensions of the cropped final image are 10,669 x 8,185 pixels, the equivalent of an 80-megapixel photograph!
Seeing this in print would be nice of course and I printed a copy from LR4. Problem! The print was too light. This time instead of a nozzle test pattern from the computer, I used the function from the printer which prints much larger and filled rectangles. They showed no problem at all, all the rectangles were solidly filled with no gaps anywhere. The obvious next step was to print a copy from Photoshop CS6 public beta, which I did. The result was a good print which showed the slight difference one sees between the image on the monitor and the image on paper. I scanned both prints, from LR4 and PS CS6 and opened them in Photoshop. In the end, I had a Photoshop document with three layers, the original Photoshop file, sized to the low-resolution print scans, the scanned photograph from LR4, and PS CS6. All the images were converted to 8-bit color depth and sRGB color space in the same document. Here they are for you to see.
There are some differences between the actual file and the scanned prints. That is due to the fact that the colors have been adjusted for print output and then scanned to Photoshop. That process imparted some tonal and color shifts. But you can clearly see the difference between the LR4 and Photoshop prints, and how close the PS print is to the actual image. I am also adding screen captures from Photoshop CS6 public beta and Lightroom 4. Interestingly, the screen capture of LR 4 seems a bit darker than that of PS.
Eliminating color would make the comparison easier, focusing on tonal range and values. Using a Hue and Saturation layer, I lowered the saturation of all the images to zero, essentially leaving just the tonal values. You can see the difference more clearly in the set below.
I am totally puzzled by this behavior. The plausible explanations are:
- There is something wrong with the Lightroom 4 (or 3 for that matter) print engine
- There is a process running in the background that interferes with the Lightroom 4 print process
- My printer does not like Lightroom 4
- Someone cast a spell on …
I will post links to this article on Adobe Lightroom 4 forums and hope that one of the Adobe engineers will find the answer, which, in all likelihood will not be one of my highly speculative (and tangential, even flippant) explanations. If you have a similar experience or an explanation please post a comment so that we can provide all the input we can to Adobe.
In the meantime, I will prefer printing from Photoshop until I hear a solution from Adobe. You do your tests and decide what you want to do.
- Computer, Intel i7 6-core, 3.2 GHz, 12GB RAM, Windows 7 64-bit, 3TB hard disk with plenty of free space
- Display, Samsung SyncMaster 244T, calibrated and profiled with ColorMunki Photo
- Printer, Epson 4880