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Ink Reviews - Accurate Colour



THRobinson

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Hey guys... new to the forum, joined a few months back but, just now posting stuff.

 

Was looking at reviews for inks and noticed the colours seems a bit off. I did read the sticky here about why colour differs, which I fully understand because I went to school for art, then graphic design, then part time for photography, also worked in IT for 10yrs so, I have a decent idea of how colour works and how monitors aren't always calibrated properly. :D

 

Anyways.. not a complaint post. I love all the reviews. Very helpful.

 

A trick I use for photos that works with scanning as well, is to use an 18% grey card. You can buy a grey/black/white set of cards off eBay from China, free shipping, for under $1.50. Very cheap, very handy, should last for years.

 

If it helps people, I can created a post that shows how to use these to set a white balance that's decently accurate. And for people who don't have Lightroom or Photoshop, if you scan/photo your review and scan/photo a set of the cards, you can send me the files and I'll set the colour for you and send the files back. Just need to buy the cards from, well eBay or Amazon, photo store etc...

 

So far I own 1 bottle of ink... Noodler's Black... so, can't do much review wise, just looking for another way to help out.

 

Would this be of any use?

 

:D

LAMY Al Star (Limited Ed. Copper Orange) w/ Noodler's Apache Sunset

LAMY Safari (Black) w/ Noodler's Black (Bulletproof)

LAMY Safari (Red) w/ Noodler's Eel Rattler Red

Noodler's Ahab (Clear Demonstrator) Used for Testing Inks

Parker Urban (London Cab Black) w/ Diamine Red Dragon

Parker Reflex (Green Pearl) w/ J.Herbin's Poussiere de Lune

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It's very useful, but some inks are difficult to get right even with custom white balance... Edelstein Mandarin in particular for me.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 

B. Russell

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I find it really difficult for some inks and really easy for others. i can't work out why apart from the fact that green inks generally don't show up as their true colours while other shades are much closer.

 

Maybe peoples monitors are set up differently? Mine is set up for max number of colours and max everything else it can be set on. So is my scanner software.

 

Still when I'm reviewing green inks, I spend ages in Photoshop trying to make the scan I see on the monitor look like what I see on the paper.

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Biggest problem, monitor wise, is that manufactures tend to jack up the blue levels on monitors because it makes the monitor seem brighter than it actually is. Great for video games, bit hard on the eyes for using Microsoft Office, and photography it sucks because makes everone's skin look a bit pale/dead. :D

 

Lots of new monitors have 'modes' as well... Game, Internet, Movie, etc... and when you skip through you'll see how much the colour on your screen shifts and changes. Slightly warmer for movies, slightly cooler for internet surfing, etc....

 

MAX settings (gamut) is great for scanning and photography, since captures all the colours possible... but some scanners/cameras are 'off' as well. Then you're stuck scanning something that may be captured slightly bluer than it should be, then viewing on a monitor that's blue as well. Then images also get embedded with a colour profile that tells the computer how to read the colour, and if what you're using doesn't read it properly, it shifts the colour again. :D

 

You'll never get a file that works for everyone, because lots of monitors aren't calibrated properly and files are being viewed in different browsers/apps. BUT... if the file has the proper white balance set, and the correct profile embedded... it'll look better in general, and for those of us with calibrated monitors, it'll look even more accurate.

 

How your monitor looks, even if for whatever reason your computer only shows in black/white like an old TV... doesn't matter. Software looks at the grey card image, expects to see 18% grey, adjusts the file (brightness, RGB, etc) to force it to a neutral 18% grey, then takes the same settings and applies to the photo/scan of the ink review, since, because photographed/scanned using the same device, it's probably "off" by the same amount as the grey card image.

 

Again, not perfect... and if your monitor is "off" it won't look accurate regardless... but, it will be more consistent, and the colour of one review will look pretty close to the colour of another review.

Edited by THRobinson

LAMY Al Star (Limited Ed. Copper Orange) w/ Noodler's Apache Sunset

LAMY Safari (Black) w/ Noodler's Black (Bulletproof)

LAMY Safari (Red) w/ Noodler's Eel Rattler Red

Noodler's Ahab (Clear Demonstrator) Used for Testing Inks

Parker Urban (London Cab Black) w/ Diamine Red Dragon

Parker Reflex (Green Pearl) w/ J.Herbin's Poussiere de Lune

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... oy.

 

Once I hit POST, I realized what a long ramble that was. :)

LAMY Al Star (Limited Ed. Copper Orange) w/ Noodler's Apache Sunset

LAMY Safari (Black) w/ Noodler's Black (Bulletproof)

LAMY Safari (Red) w/ Noodler's Eel Rattler Red

Noodler's Ahab (Clear Demonstrator) Used for Testing Inks

Parker Urban (London Cab Black) w/ Diamine Red Dragon

Parker Reflex (Green Pearl) w/ J.Herbin's Poussiere de Lune

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I'll make something up then... screen shots and such.

 

And as well, for people who don't have Lightroom/Photoshop, I can adjust files for them as well, again, as long as they photo/scan a grey card and send that image with the review image.

 

:)

LAMY Al Star (Limited Ed. Copper Orange) w/ Noodler's Apache Sunset

LAMY Safari (Black) w/ Noodler's Black (Bulletproof)

LAMY Safari (Red) w/ Noodler's Eel Rattler Red

Noodler's Ahab (Clear Demonstrator) Used for Testing Inks

Parker Urban (London Cab Black) w/ Diamine Red Dragon

Parker Reflex (Green Pearl) w/ J.Herbin's Poussiere de Lune

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I have made the point in another pen forum about colours in some ink reviews not being the same online as what I see in real life. It wasn't a criticism of the reviews per se, I was just pointing out that my monitor wasn't showing what my eye "sees".

 

It's not just the equipment we use, it is what our individual eyes "see". We all perceive colours slightly differently, as you probably know, otherwise there'd be no such thing as colour blindness. Further, an ink can look very different dependent on paper, pen, nib, temperature, humidity, age, storage method, filling system, etc etc etc. and indeed those factors can all be consistent and the ink still decide to behave differently. I'm convinced inks have "moods" lol

 

That's why I stopped doing ink reviews a long time ago, & take any posted with a large pinch of salt. It does worry me that some of those new to inks, won't appreciate all the variables that affect an ink on the page & which make it different to the scanned/photographed review. I know some have ended up disappointed.

 

To coin a phrase, "Ink Reviews - are they worth the paper they're written on"? :-)

Verba volant, scripta manent

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The first problem is getting a consistent ink line down on paper.

Different pens will put more or less ink down on the paper, so a review by one person will show the ink colour a little differently from a review of the same ink by a different person/pen.

Second, different papers will show the same ink differently, even from the same pen.

The only consistent way to display an ink so others can get a a reasonably accurate idea of what it looks like is to include a commonly available ink that is similar to what you are displaying, such as Waterman Serenity or Sheaffer Skrip Blue if you are reviewing a blue ink. That way they can compare how their Serenity or Skrip blue compares to what you have on screen, and adjust their eyes accordingly for the reviewed ink. So, if the Serenity (a slightly purple blue) sample looks a little green, and the reviewed ink looks a perfect blue, it will actually be quite purple.

 

Once you have developed a consistent way of displaying the ink on paper ( I use the same FP nib as a dip pen, on the same paper), then you can look at calibrating your scanner and monitor. However, that implies that others have the same monitor and can calibrate it just as well.

 

Don't forget that many papers have UV sensitive optical brighteners in them that certain scanners will activate. This will result in a blue cast that will distort any blue inks you are trying to scan. It doesn't matter how well you calibrate your scanner and monitor, you can't fix that problem.

Edited by dcwaites

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“Them as can do has to do for them as can’t.


And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.”


Granny Aching

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True, though for how we see colours (ie colour blindness) it's why we use a grey card and let the computer calculate accurate colour, versus us eyeballing the screen and trying to do it manually. The computer sees colour as it's meant to be seen, it doesn't care if you have a bad monitor, poor eyesight, or anything else.

 

Plus... some people's scanners may be scanning the colour perfectly accurate, but because their monitor's colour is way off, they force changes to make it look good on their screen, which makes it look bad on everyone else's screen. If you have a monitor that's not calibrated, don't manually adjust the colours... there is no point. You may be making the image look better on your screen, but possibly making the colour worse on everyone's else, which defeats the purpose of posting the image for everyone else. :)

 

If you're colour blind and reading this... don't manually adjust colours... end of discussion. :D

 

Again, I totally get what you're saying, but, sometimes when you look at reviews, don't look at the ink, look at the paper... I've seen a few reviews done on white paper, and the white shows up almost magenta or cyan in colour because someone tried to force colour changes to work on their monitor, and well, I think we can all agree, if white paper looks pink or blue, then likely the ink is wrong too.

 

Kinda boils down to... White is white, black is black, etc... doesn't matter how you see it, the computer knows what white is, it knows what black is, and it knows what all 16.7 million colours are in between that your monitor can display.

 

If you see white as slightly warmer, and adjust a white image to look slightly warmer. It'll still look white to people who see white accurately. Because, if your eyes are off by say 3% magenta, the image you adjust to look correct in your eyes, would also be off by 3% magenta.

 

Make sense?

 

Basically, the grey card idea is what photographers have been using for years... it helps eliminate issues with mixed light sources and sets the colour to be more or less accurate so the photographer has a correct starting point. They may tweek colour for mood and such, but, they need an accurate starting point.

 

I hope this makes sense... it makes sense to me, but, hard to explain via typing.

 

Good link for anyone interested

 

Need Accurate Colour?

 

Simple Solution

LAMY Al Star (Limited Ed. Copper Orange) w/ Noodler's Apache Sunset

LAMY Safari (Black) w/ Noodler's Black (Bulletproof)

LAMY Safari (Red) w/ Noodler's Eel Rattler Red

Noodler's Ahab (Clear Demonstrator) Used for Testing Inks

Parker Urban (London Cab Black) w/ Diamine Red Dragon

Parker Reflex (Green Pearl) w/ J.Herbin's Poussiere de Lune

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You'll never be able to be consistent with putting the ink to paper. Even if the same person with the same pen, same paper, and same ink made it, there are too many variables involved, like pressure, angle, flow, etc...so being consistent in putting ink to paper, will never happen.

 

Making sure everyone has accurately calibrated monitors and using the same software will also never happen.

 

Having the computer set a proper white balance, is about the only thing that can be done. And again... costs about $1.50.

 

Photographers know, as well as designers, you can't make the colour accurate on everyone's screen. It's a fool's errand to even try. You can however, make a file that is accurate, even if your screen isn't.

 

  • If your monitor colour is 'off' and you're looking at 10 reviews by 10 different people, and all their colours are off by varying degrees... you'll have 10 reviews that are extremely off on your screen.
  • If your monitor colour is 'off' and you're looking at 10 reviews by 10 different people, all of whom set a proper white balance... you'll have 10 reviews that are slightly off because of your monitor, but all off by the same amount and consistent with one another.

If I'm wrong... so are thousands and thousands of designers/photographers producing work for the web. :lol:

Edited by THRobinson

LAMY Al Star (Limited Ed. Copper Orange) w/ Noodler's Apache Sunset

LAMY Safari (Black) w/ Noodler's Black (Bulletproof)

LAMY Safari (Red) w/ Noodler's Eel Rattler Red

Noodler's Ahab (Clear Demonstrator) Used for Testing Inks

Parker Urban (London Cab Black) w/ Diamine Red Dragon

Parker Reflex (Green Pearl) w/ J.Herbin's Poussiere de Lune

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Yes I know. As I said in my post #8, paper is one of the key factors significantly affecting what an ink looks like, IRL and online. Inks can change significantly just by using a different paper, which is why I treat ink reviews with that large pinch of salt.

 

Ink behaviour is "mysterious". I have a bottle of ink that decide, on one particular day last year, to behave completely and utterly differently to all my previous experiences. I had used the pen, paper, nib, etc etc combination many times before. The weather wasn't anything unusual. I was at my usual writing desk. It's look and behaviour was bizarre. I was so surprised I asked people I knew who had the same ink to send me writing samples. I got about 30 samples. None replicated my ink. I've never been able to ascertain the reason :-/

 

It reverted to original behaviour the next time I used it.

 

Of my nearly 350 bottles of ink, all are variable in use, to a an extent.

Verba volant, scripta manent

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Well... I'll post the how-to for people... it all really boils down to white balance being the only thing we can do towards consistency.

 

Again, as I mentioned in one of my long-winded posts (I ramble) I've seen a lot of reviews where the paper was not even close to being white (different papers, different whites).

 

If the "white" paper in a review looks like cotton candy... something's wrong. :D

LAMY Al Star (Limited Ed. Copper Orange) w/ Noodler's Apache Sunset

LAMY Safari (Black) w/ Noodler's Black (Bulletproof)

LAMY Safari (Red) w/ Noodler's Eel Rattler Red

Noodler's Ahab (Clear Demonstrator) Used for Testing Inks

Parker Urban (London Cab Black) w/ Diamine Red Dragon

Parker Reflex (Green Pearl) w/ J.Herbin's Poussiere de Lune

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interesting thread.. posted elsewhere about greyscale... but entirely forgot about the paper issue.. very good points.

DC's suggestion using known (forever) inks to bracket the colors is a good one to help gauge color range, on different papers

the paper should be noted, used consistently through the review, and since ink formula's sometimes change, include the date too.

(nice to see you post DC : )

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Don't worry about it migo

All reviews are subjective to the readers' personal eyesight (computers adjustments notwithstanding). Many times people see things (shading, sheen, whatever) that, as much as I squint, look, etc, I can't see

Other qualities such as flow, time-to-dry, price, availability, reactivity to various papers, pens, etc are just as important

You keep your reviews to yourself and the rest of us poor souls will just have to muddle our way through life without your "help". Thanks anyway

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You keep your reviews to yourself and the rest of us poor souls will just have to muddle our way through life without your "help". Thanks anyway

???!

 

That's ok then. I guess I can sleep tonight.

Verba volant, scripta manent

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amberleadavis

Fountain pens are my preferred COLOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (in part because crayons melt in Las Vegas).



Want to get a special letter / gift from me, then create a Ghostly Avatar



Ink comparisons: The Great PPS Comparison 366 Inks in 2016



Check out inks sorted by color: Blue Purple Brown Red Green Dark Green Orange Black Pinks Yellows Blue-Blacks Grey/Gray UVInks Turquoise/Teal MURKY

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Intellidepth

If u figure out something that works for an iPhone camera + an easy app, I'd be interested.

 

I'm happy looking at multiple reviews of the same ink to decide if I like it enough to order a sample to check it out, then later order a bottle if I really like it in person.

 

I did learn my lesson with my first bottle ;).

 

I would like to be able to post pics that are at least mostly accurate though. I do find it frustrating when my photo colours are so far off.

Noodler's Konrad Acrylics (normal+Da Luz custom flex) ~ Lamy AL-Stars/Vista F/M/1.1 ~ Handmade Barry Roberts Dayacom M ~ Waterman 32 1/2, F semi-flex nib ~ Conklin crescent, EF super-flex ~ Aikin Lambert dip pen EEF super-flex ~ Aikin Lambert dip pen semi-flex M ~ Jinhao X450s ~ Pilot Custom Heritage 912 Posting Nib ~ Sailor 1911 Profit 21k Rhodium F. Favourite inks: Iroshizuku blends, Noodler's CMYK blends.

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inkstainedruth

One thing to mention (since nobody else seems to have):

A friend of mine was telling me a number of years ago about trying to scan some calligraphy and illumination for a brag book. And she was going to copy centers and having to have the machines re-calibrated to cut the red [i guess technically magenta] by something like 50% in order to get the colors come out accurately on the page.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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Yup... already did. :)

 

But, again, talks about manually setting a white balance based on what your screen looks like. And knowing that your screen is not calibrated and different from everyone else's screen, you're basically doing more harm than good to the image.

 

Tonne's of sites and YouTube vids out there why setting a WB is a good idea, and how using a grey card is the easiest best way to do so.

 

There are a lot of factors that can't be controlled when doing ink reviews... paper, ink, pen, flow, pressure.... I'm just trying to focus on the 1 factor that can be controlled and consistent.

 

If your monitor is off by 10%R-5%G-0%B, at least this way, all the reviews on your monitor will be off by 10%R-5%G-0%B, instead of every review being off by all sorts of numbers.

 

Well, weekend I'll post something... I think at this point, if anyone reading still doesn't understand why having a baseline is important, again, there are some good websites and videos that may do a better job explaining than me. :)

LAMY Al Star (Limited Ed. Copper Orange) w/ Noodler's Apache Sunset

LAMY Safari (Black) w/ Noodler's Black (Bulletproof)

LAMY Safari (Red) w/ Noodler's Eel Rattler Red

Noodler's Ahab (Clear Demonstrator) Used for Testing Inks

Parker Urban (London Cab Black) w/ Diamine Red Dragon

Parker Reflex (Green Pearl) w/ J.Herbin's Poussiere de Lune

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