Best Practices for Lightroom performance

It’s 2020. If you are a Lightroom user, now is a great time to take some steps to reevaluate and optimize your Lightroom catalog. Here are my 2020 LR performance tips: 01 When buying a new machine, get at least 32GB RAM. 32GB is the new minimum. 02 When buying a new machine, buy a big, fast Solid State Drive (SSD). Having 30-40% of that drive open ensures both its performance and longevity. Don’t run an SSD close to capacity. 03 SSDs have the single biggest impact on performance. Have your OS and Lightroom running on an SSD . 04 Keep your working files on an SSD. Archive older,…


Celebrating 25 Years

25+ years ago I was splitting my time between a job where I was a scanner operator and an apprenticeship with a master printmaker. In the printmaking studio we were making large digital negatives on an imagesetter and using them to make hand-coated platinum/palladium prints in a wet darkroom. Back then everyone was using Photoshop 2 and had CRT monitors. While the color scans coming off the Leaf45 seemed pretty decent after a little color correction in curves, I was frustrated with how different the handmade B&W platinum palladium prints looked in comparison to the same images onscreen.…


Quick 2019 RAID Evaluation

I had a chance to setup a few new RAID systems last week at different client sites. I always like to do a Blackmagic Disk Speed Test and thought it would be fun to share. Manufacture’s speed claims are one thing but real world performance is another, and much more meaningful.  Here’s a Drobo 5D3 connected via Thunderbolt 3 on a new, maxed out iMac. This 5 bay enclosure costs $678 without drives and comes with two Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C ports and one USB 3.0 port. DiskSpeedTest Drobo 5D3 via TB3 on a maxxed out 2019 iMac Another client asked me for a recommendation prior to purchasing and I’ve…


ChromaMax Part 4: Printer Profiling

The final RIP calibration step is profiling. If the base calibration steps performed beforehand aren’t done properly, you won’t get a get profile. But even if the previous steps are performed perfectly, there’s a surprising amount of profiling variables that are important to discuss to ensure we get the best ICC profile possible. ChromaMax targets use ‘bottom weighted’ patches that allow us to characterize deep shadow color better than traditional targets that distribute patches evenly throughout the tonal range. In the same fashion, its important that we create profiling targets that are…


ChromaMax Part 3: Printer Total Ink Limiting

The third RIP calibration step is to set the total, combined ink limit of all the channels together. Any given media might be able to hold 100% of any individual ink, but holding 100% of all 4 or more inks simultaneously without bleeding is another matter. With high quality media, there’s also a certain point at which it achieves maximum Dmax. If we use with a higher ink limit than this we’re just wasting ink without benefit. The Chromamax total ink limit step helps us find this precise sweet spot where we’re achieving maximum print quality with the lowest ink consumption.…


ChromaMax Part 2: Printer Linearization

The second RIP calibration step is to linearize the ink channels with their newly restricted ink limits. This generates a set of curves that should produce a tonal response that is rich in shadow color and neutralizes the combined gray axis. The problem here is that many RIPs are still using curve generation algorithms that were created a long time ago and haven’t been updated. These RIPs rely on the final profiling process to “fix” an imperfect linearization, and the results are “good enough” for many. The G7 process introduced an excellent way of automating the curve generation process for…


ChromaMax Part 1: Printer Ink Restrictions

The first step to calibrating a printer in a RIP is to set the per channel ink restrictions. The challenge here is that RIPs typically have very poor (or no) tools for determining the optimal settings. The first screen grab below shows a popular RIP that encourages you to set the ink sliders without any guidance whatsoever. Color consultants are pretty good at making educated guesses, or at least have a crude process for getting close. The second screen grab below shows another popular RIP’s Ink Restrictions process where it determines the values automatically, but these settings are…