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I am using Colormunki to create color profiles, and while the results are good in terms of color, I have this issue where I have a dramatic increase in contrast; the dark areas are just way too dark. My setup is as follows:

Printer: Epson R28880 Photoshop CS5 Paper: Moab Lasal Lustre

I first matched my display and then created print profile. I can view an image through view -> proof setup -> custom --> select my profile / perceptual which looks okay on screen. When printed however, the dark areas are just way too dark. Anyone else has come across this or have any advice?

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I think the issue is simply the Lasal Luster paper. In my experience, Lasal is a very contrasty paper (I have used both Moab's ICC profiles as well as my own created with DataColor Spyder Print). It is actually one of the things I love about it...it has some extremely DEEP blacks, and for certain types of prints, I think that is ideal. You lose detail in those blacks, and sometimes they become almost flat...but that is really the nature of the paper. It is definitely not the right paper for everything, and if you do not enjoy the deep contrast, you might want to look to another paper.

Moab Colorado Fiber Satin is another nice luster paper that does not have the same deep contrast level as Lasal, yet still has much of its appeal. Like most other Moab papers, it is exquisite in structure and surface, but actually brings out soft detail in the shadows...possibly to the degree where it is rather low in contrast relative to other types of paper.

In an interesting quirk of paper types, I've discovered that the Lasal Photo Matte paper from Moab actually has a very wide dynamic range. Unlike its luster counterpart, Lasal Matte does not block up the blacks...it actually renders detail within them quite well. You lose some contrast, so prints don't pop quite as much as with the luster, but they still have more pop than many other types of paper, and definitely have a greater degree of fine detail (including color detail) in the deep shadows that only a few other papers manage to achieve. You lose the luster, which can be a deal breaker for some, but the vibrance and microcontrast of Moab Lasal Matte may be worth a switch...prints still retain an extremely lifelike depth.

It should be noted that Lasal, both the matte and luster varieties, are papers with a fairly considerable amount of OBAs in them. The OBAs are partly responsible for the rich, vibrant color, but there are some drawbacks to using any paper with an OBA. For one, it actually can become more difficult to calibrate, as OBAs fluoresce under UV light...something colorimiters and spectrophotometers don't usually emit. That might actually be the reason why profiles for Lasal Luster (which has a higher OBA content than matte) tend to block up the blacks. Additionally, papers with OBAs don't last nearly as long as pure natural fiber papers. OBAs by nature cause fading, given the way they fluoresce, so print longevity will suffer. You might expect half the lifetime or less out of a print on OBA paper, vs. a nice bright white bleached natural fiber paper.

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