Darktable Windows - printing process advice

I’ve challenged myself to learn Darktable and although it is frustrating at times, I’m still 100% committed. My goal is to print majority of the photos, web is not that important. Because of that I’ve got Benq SW2700PT with 99% Adobe RGB.
As the Darktable for windows is missing Print module, I’m looking for next step in the process/software (ideally opensource) once I’m happy with my edit.
I’m using Canon software which came with my Pixma ip8750, but I think it’s rather bare-bones with not that many options.
Also, I’d like to ask you, if you could confirm my process assumptions make sense:

  1. set adobe RGB in camera, use adobe RGB profile in monitor

  2. darktable will automatically pick adobe RGB input color profile once I import photos

  3. once I’m happy with my edit in darktable, I need to set output color profile to adobe RGB

  4. exporting: which file format should I use? Any specific settings I need to change? Anything else I need to keep in mind?

  5. printing: which software should I use in Windows 10?

Thank you in advance for any advice or leads to interesting articles or software.

Hi Matus, and welcome,

Are you shooting and processing RAW? If so, the in camera profile is not part of the process. It’s only applied to the in camera jpg.

darktable will pickup the jpg profile on import, but your RAW file wil be worked on in the color space you assign to your editing preferences. You should use a wide gamut space for this. Refer to the manual for suggestions. Also, be sure to check and make sure your monitor profile is set correctly. Again, check the manual.

Adobe RGB is a good profile for export of the final image. If you are not going to do further editing on the export, jpg at 85% or higher compression should be fine. You can also export as tif if you wish. PNG also works. Depends on your printing software.

I run darktable with Linux, and to get to my Canon Pro-1000 printer, I open the file in Photoshop running on a windows virtual machine, and print through the Canon Print plugin. I can’t really suggest what might work for you for that final step, but there are probably a host of solutions for a Windows system. Q image is a program I used to use. It’s rather complex for what it does, and has a cumbersome interface, but it works well. Not recommending it for you, but you might want to look at it.

1 Like

You need to calibrate your monitor.

Monitor is factory calibrated, with the calibration report. Anyway, I’m getting calibration tool next. Appreciate your advice, but that’s not really answering my questions. I’m looking for a SW for printing, next piece of puzzle, as darktable in Windows has no print module.

Hi Mark, thank you very much for warm welcome.
I’m shooting and processing RAW. Didn’t know camera aRGB/sRGB setting has no impact on RAWs, so that is good news. I will give Q image a try. I’ve posted this question on reddit as well and Affinity Photo was suggested. This could be good addition to my workflow. There might be discount for cyber monday / black friday, but the price is reasonable enough already.

Try Picture WIndow Pro 8…its a great piece of software and is free and color managed and lots of features for printing…created by one of the original creators of the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet…

https://www.dl-c.com/Downloads.html Its almost like a nodal editor as well…the interface can be a bit quirky but it has powerful tools and masks as well as versatile scripting etc etc…

2 Likes

What printer? Your own, or a service? You’ll want to find if ICC profiles are available for the paper and printer you want to use. Yes, even Costco and other snapshot commercial printers likely have them for download. All pro level services will have them. Ditto for your own at home printer. Darktable can use them for proof previews, to give you a moderate idea of how the photo will change when going to ink on paper, so you can adjust as needed before outputting the file (jpg, tif, etc.). If using your own printer, be prepared to burn through a lot of test prints to find the internal settings needed to adjust the print to be close to the proof version you see on screen. Just don’t ever expect it to be an exact match with whatever way you print them. It’s the nature of the mediums (refractive vs reflective). But with some work, once you find the printer settings to use to give you that great output (even if it is a bit different than your output file), you can lock them in and pretty much not have to adjust for the next photo. Just make sure to always do your work in darktable using the proof preview, for those photos that will be printed.

Thanks Tsander I am aware of those issues. Gladly I don’t really print much these days anymore I was suggesting Picture WIndow Pro as a printing solution for Windows users of Dt since it has not direct printing option…all your comments are quite important as you summarize the process. Picture WIndow has built in color calibration for color cards and built in creation of ICC files and also allows you to create printer and monitor curves so it has a lot of options to help implement the parts of the process that you have nicely outlined above… https://www.dl-c.com/Documents/Printing.pdf

1 Like

Thank you very much Todd, it really does look like the piece of puzzle I was missing. I was thinking about linux dual boot for a while just because of that, but I’m afraid it would be more difficult to get my printer going there than find a Windows solution for printing.
Also, I’m aware how important calibration and correct ICC profiles are. That is the reason why I’m looking for something more advanced than Canon SW.
Thank you all, much appreciated

You can set up DT to run using wsl2. WIndows 10 now has internal support for the linux kernel so you can set up DT to run there. Its not too hard. Someone commented on color management under that scenario but it is running on Ubuntu or whatever distro you install…You have to tweak it to run GUI linux right now but that will be fully supported soon . I have the linux version of DT up and running as well. It was more for proof that I could do it than for daily use but I could direct you if you want to try. It does not require you to mess up WIndows really at all and it is easy to reverse and best no dual boot just a window and you can access files on both OS from the other so no issue accessing your files…it is another option. Picture Window is a cool concept…each module shows as a thumbnail and you build it like a tree , you can even split it out at certain points and create side branches of your edits…its a cool concept and you can save this all as a script to redo the process with other images or to add editing steps…its quite clever…as I said it ends up being a bit like a nodal editor…the interface is a bit quirky and can look dated at times but if you browse the documentation it has quite a powerful battery of tools and the ability to make icc profiles and use color charts to color calibrate makes it a nice tool…in any case it or GIMP I guess are your options if you want to print from windows

1 Like

With WSL2, you will get no color management, as it uses RDP and Wayland to deliver the pixels to your screen.

I use Qimage a lot for fine art printing. Initially it needs some effort to get used to the interface but there are a lot of learning videos. I particularly appreciate its flexibility, the fact that it automatically up/down samples images to the native resolution of the printer and its sharpening algorithm. The overall quality of the prints is great in my opinion. I’ve compared it to others (LR, PS, Mirage) printing on an Epson 3880 and I find the results on par or better.

1 Like

What about this type of install

https://www.kali.org/

It supports this …not a Linux guy and clearly you are far more informed on this than I but would this be enough to maintain a color managed workflow…

https://pkg.kali.org/news/401399/gnome-color-manager-3360-1-imported-into-kali-rolling/

No, that won’t work, because Wayland (the software that draws the pixels to the screen) doesn’t support color management. I would be surprised if RDP supported color management too, but I am not informed on that.

Ya I think its likely a mess…I found this but I think its software specific and not sure it even applies… https://www.microimages.com/documentation/TechGuides/69colormatching.pdf

No, it doesn’t. X11 is the long running display server for Unix. Wayland replaces X. Wayland has no protocol for color management, though it is being worked on.

Hi Matus,

I’m using darktable on Windows 10 and export my images in JPG format. I usually do some additional editing with GIMP. When printing I also use the (was free) Nik collection plugin Sharpener Pro 3 and then print the final JPG file using Canon Photo Professional 4 (free download) to my Canon Pixma MG5750.

If you have already colour calibrated your monitor, then I recommend that you get an icc / icm colour profile for your paper / printer combination. Your photo paper provider should be able to provide you with this, it involves you printing out a test chart on your photo paper - with colour matching disabled on your printer - and then sending it off to your supplier - you then get back a a file which you install in Windows. I mainly use paper from a UK company called Fotospeed.

Canon Photo Professional 4 allows you to control the printed output using the relevant colour profile for the specific paper you are using.

I find the printing process is still a little bit hit or miss, but generally I find the results are pretty good considering I’m using a cheap multi-function printer! I think for some of the higher end printers you can use an additional Canon plugin which adds more functionality to the Canon Photo Professional 4 software.

Hope this helps