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Thread: Printer Profile... still very blur!!!

  1. #1
    Kiwi
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    Default Printer Profile... still very blur!!!

    I seriously need a BIG HELP here....

    I know this topic sounds familiar but I've got specific questions here so I've started a new thread:

    Spent almost the whole day reading on Colour Management with respect to Photoshop 6 and still can't understand what the heck the authors are saying!!!

    1. The books simply mention that if the printer output is not the same as the screen, then I need to create an ICC profile for the printer. Period. That's all they were willing to explain. But how to create such a profile and tell PS6 to use it??!

    2. My Canon printer driver actually has an ICM (Colour Management) option which claims that if selected, it can print the same colours as that on screen. But first, I need to "select ICM on the software (PS6 in my case)". How do I do this?

    3. I have calibrated my screen using Adobe Gamma. When I printed a test image, I find the colours to be less saturated than the original I see on screen. Also, the grey comes out with a tinge of magenta. How do I go about adjusting from here?

    4. There also seems to be a lot of confusion about CMYK printing. I've heard different views about pple (in Clubsnap included) saying we need to select CMYK if we want to do printing on our home bubble jet printers bcos they use CMYK inks. In the books I've read, they said home printers use RGB. But at times they also referred to CMYK printers!!! Arggh!! Do they mean CMYK printers like those used for printing books?

    5. In that case, does it mean in PS6, under Image/Mode/Convert to Profile/Destination Space, I have to choose Adobe RGB since our home printers are considered to have RGB gamut?

    Wahhhh.... this is all getting very confusing!!!!

    Pleasssse could somebody help me!!! I really appreciate your help!!! Thanks very very very much in advance!!!

  2. #2
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    Regarding to your headaches, maybe can post some help. RGB is the color model of your monitor screens and it is how your monitor display colors. This RGB color model has a larger scope of colors and it can display more colors. Whereas in print, or rather ur printer, it is using a CMYK model. In CMYK model, the color model has a lesser scope of colors that can be displayed.

    Therefore, before u send for printing, just change the color mode to CMYK, so the photoshop automactically changes the colors u used to suitable printable colors and that makes the print work look nice and does not have dithering marks or smudgy look. Usually its photography that can see such things clearer.

    For the CMYK and RGB, you needa know that both are different mediums of how color are displayed. RGB is on the screen, CMYK is on all printable medium.

    RGB is able to display more colors because it is using lights and CMYK is using inks thus not able to display as much color than your monitor. Therefore slight color changes will definately occure for digital printing.

    I guess this is something you're unsure bout and hope you get good prints

    ARIGIN = CONCEPT + STRATEGY + COMMUNICATION.

  3. #3
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    Even though inkjet printers print in CMYK mode, does anyone know if printing applications actually sends the image in CMYK mode?

    My guess is that the image sent to the print driver is still in RGB format, and the conversion to CMYK is done by either the driver or the printer hardware itself.

    If that is true, then editing in CMYK mode in PS does not really do any good, because even though PS will store the image in CMYK, it will have to convert it to RGB for display and printing. When this image is sent to the printer driver, it is then converted again to CMYK.

    Unless we can send CMYK directly to the printer, my suggestion is to work in RGB format and let the ICC profile do the rest.

    You will need a special software to generate an ICC profile for your printer. Ideally, you will need a different profile for a different ink/paper combination. The main purpose for using ICC profile is not to match your print to your screen. It is to modify the print density of each colour to be as linear as possible.

    For Windows, the most popular ICC profile generating software is Profile Prism by www.ddisoftware.com. The price is US$69 the last time I checked. The package includes the software and a target print (a reference print with the intended colour output from the test image file).

    You will need a scanner to be able to use the package to generate ian ICC profile.

    Hope this information helps.

    - Roy
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision.

  4. #4

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    until you have calibrated your screen with something like colorvision spyder (do search) and your printer with profile prism or the colorvision software, it is better to leave the profiles alone and just use ICM which is found in the printer options somewhere. (also called 'color correction auto' i think)

  5. #5
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    Although inkjet printers print using CMYK inks (or the 6 and 7 colour variations), they actually work in the RGB space. Internally, the printer driver (or printer?) will convert to CMYK, so sending CMYK files to the printer results in some strange colours as double conversion is performed.

    The printer drivers "ICM" option is pretty useless. It uses the Windows built-in color management system to do the colour mapping from screen to print in an attempt at colour matching. Usually doesn't work well.

    In PhotoShop or other ICM aware application, you can usually choose which space to use when printing. If you use this option, make sure the printer is set to "No Colour Management" or double conversion takes place again.

    Printer profiles are paper and ink specific. That is to say, you need a profile for normal, glossy, premium glossy, semi-gloss, etc. You can't have a "one size fits all" profile.

    At the end of the day, for home printing, don't bother with all these as it only complicates matters. I find the easiest way is not to use any printer colour management at all. Calibrate your monitor using Adobe Gamma or Spyder. Do a test print on your target paper. Tweak the colours accordingly if desired using the printer driver.

    Lastly, DO NOT REVERSE CALIBRATE - that is, do not adjust your monitor colours to match the print. You will end up with an inaccurate monitor which is of no use when editing images.

    http://www.aim-dtp.net/ has a number of articles and tutorials (some quite cheem) on color management.

    Regards
    CK

  6. #6

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    Hi Kiwi,

    Same as you, I'm a newbie when it comes to scanning and printing. I was delighted when I finally got my 5000F and S800. After 1 week of paper and ink wasting, I've come to a conclusion that color management in a home setup is a waste of time, despite several hair pulling moments and researching. The few things I learnt

    1. Calibrate the monitor.

    2. Your print is not going to be as vivd and saturated as your slides

    3. Printers print in CMYK but PS manages in RGB. However, that's fine because the printer expects the data to be in RGB. Do not convert your photos to CMYK.

    4. Both my scanner and printer comes with ICC profiles. When I scan, I tell Windows to use the profile that came with the scanner. The results looks great on screen most of the time (except for a few that I need to tweek the white balancing).

    5. When printing, target color space is set to the S800 profile. Make sure you un-checked the use ICC profile in the pritner driver. Actually, this only works for some, so I also need to disable ICC profiles for some other. Still trying to figure out why.

    6. I also realize that I can assign the pritner profile to the photo and roughly see the result of the print on screen.

    7. Just remember that your monitor has a wider gamut and the printer cannot reproduce the entire color range on screen. You'll be a happier man knowing this Can keep some hair in the process as well.

    Regards,
    JK

  7. #7
    Kiwi
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    Hey thanks to every one of you guys!

    So contrary to what n.dee said, indeed there's no need to convert what I want to print to CMYK. That's what the books said also. But it's confusing bcos I think they are also referring to the general case of printing done for books, etc. So they use the word "printers" in general.

    Now I think I know where I miss out: I need an ICC profile software for my printer! Gosh, if only they explained it explicitly. Roy, the profile prism u mentioned sounds cheap. The last time I went to the website of Colorvision (Spyder manufacturer) and inquired Cathay Photo, to get the complete package including Spyder of calibrating screen + printer/scanner, it will cost something like $800 or so?! For screen calibration only, think it's $400+?

    Thanks Ckiang. If only those manufacturers would stop misleading us with stuffs that are pretty useless, like ICM on my Canon printer driver.

    U mentioned to tweak the colours accordingly using the printer driver. I see that there is an option where my driver allows me to do that by adjusting the CMYK colours. But how will I know by how much to adjust since I don't have a real-time view of the changes I'm making? Does it mean I have to adjust-print, adjust-print...until I get the colours I'm satisfied with? If so, that'll cost a lot of ink and glossy photo paper! Pls tell me this is not so....

    Hi tanjk: I'm also using the S800. But I don't remember seeing any ICC profile option in the printer driver. Which part is it? U mean the ICM option? Even so, I think you need to "tell" or set up the profile on how your printer is producing the colours with respect to that which you see on your monitor. As what the kind pple in Clubsnap has pointed out on this thread, I think we need a separate profile software.

    I'm having the temptation to let my S800 collect dust and just let the shops do the printing. My long weekend just got burnt accomplishing nothing much trying to figure out colour management! But then again, how are we to ensure the shops will print the images with the same colours as our original? I've let Colourlab done it b4 and found the prints to be darker and the colours off even with ICC profile attached. Obviously I'm not doing something right... Anyone with any further advice here?

    Sigh, I wish the books or manufacturers could be much clearer on stuffs like that. And if only they know how to explain it short and sharp like you guys!

    I've realized though, digital photography has so much post-processing issues. All I wish is to enjoy the images I've taken but it turns out I spend much more time figuring out how to adjust this and that!

    I have other issues too, like sharpening. When on screen, I find the image to be very sharp but when printed, it looks just horrible. Realize that my USM wasn't enough. Too much though, and the image is ruined. That in itself, I believe, requires experience and wasting lots of ink and paper of course!

    Now I'm itching to go back full-time to my good old flims....

    Hey guys, thanks so much once again!!! Appreciate it.
    Last edited by Kiwi; 9th December 2002 at 09:28 AM.

  8. #8
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    Yes kiwi, you have to adjust print adjust print. No way around that. If you are lucky you will get it right within a few prints. Learn how colour works, learn the colour wheel and what colours to add/subtract to fix what colour cast, etc. Most of the time, the default should be pretty good already. At least this is so on my Epson 890.

    Printer manufacturers are not misleading you, that ICM option is just there for people who want the option.

    I am not familiar with S800, but you shouldn't need to set the profile in the driver. In ICM-aware apps like QImage and Photoshop, you can set what print space to use for printing. For this option, you then set the driver to "No colour management".

    Always start by having a perfectly calibrated monitor. Just attaching a profile to the file may not garauntee you accurate colours. The Frontier machines Fuji labs use to print has their own profile, and I believe that should be used. I usually get the right colours without having to do anything extra. Attaching the wrong profile can cause colour problems. I have heard from people that sRGB works fine though.

    No matter what you do, a print will never match the screen 100%. The screen is a transmissive device, and the print is reflective. The light used to view the print is also important.

    Colour Management is a very, very complex topic. I myself is still trying to grasp it. The best for end users like us is just to ignore it for the time being. Most printers nowadays are very, very good.

    Regards
    CK

  9. #9
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    U mentioned to tweak the colours accordingly using the printer driver. I see that there is an option where my driver allows me to do that by adjusting the CMYK colours. But how will I know by how much to adjust since I don't have a real-time view of the changes I'm making? Does it mean I have to adjust-print, adjust-print...until I get the colours I'm satisfied with? If so, that'll cost a lot of ink and glossy photo paper! Pls tell me this is not so....
    When I first got my S9000, I tried to tweak the colours myself. That was a real nightmare! I wasted almost half a set of ink catridges, and got nothing close to what I was looking for.

    Finally, I came across a website with profiles that are pre-generated by some kind soul for free downloading. That finally solved my problems, and my prints turned out beautiful.

    Adjusting the colour setting in the driver will never achieve the same effects of a properly created ICC profile. The difference is like adjusting "Brightness" and "Contrast" in PS versus adjusting "Curves".

    When you tweak a particular colour, say +10 for Cyan, the driver will simply add the value 10 to the Cyan value in every pixel, regardless of the original value. This will normally cause problems for areas that are very light or very dark in the image.

    When you use ICC profile, the profile maps each input level to its corresponding output level, like adjusting the curves. A good profile will create neutral colours and in some cases, prevent micro-pooling problems (such as the case of using Kodak paper on Canon printers).

    Unless you can get satisfactory results by less than +/- 5 adjustments in the driver, my recommendation is for you to get the profile prism software.

    - Roy
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision.

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    By the way, if you use only original ink and paper from the same manufacturer of your printer, the colour is normally very good.

    I have seen many good reviews on the Canon Photo Paper Pro on Canon printers. The %#$@*&$ thing is that the Canon PPP and Canon inks are so #*%$*&@ expensive!

    For my case, a set of Canon ink cartridges costs US$80 from a retail store.

    I bought a CIS system that cost US$200 and came with an equivalent amount of ink from 11 sets of original Canon cartridges.

    Even if I can get a bulk order discount on 11 sets of Canon ink cartridges, I still save more than US$500 worth on ink!

    Canon PPP here costs about US$1 per 8x10 sheet. Epson Glossy Photo Paper costs about US$0.20 per 8X10 sheet.

    With all these savings, the $69 spending on the Profile Prism to get Canon printer + CIS ink + Epson paper to work well together is well worth the price.
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision.

  11. #11

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    Hi Kiwi,

    I'm not sure how the printer ICM stuff got installed. I just followed the steps . In your printer driver, you have the option of using a profile. By default, everything is Adobe RGB I think. You can change that and you can forget about color management everywhere else. Of course I'm simplying things abit here. Then again, the profile might not be accurate either (or suits your taste etc )

    My current workflow

    1. I set the printer profile via the device properties.
    2. I set my scanner to use the D65 profile (there are 3, I can't really remember which one I choose) for it. Again that can be set in the device properties.
    3. In PS, I use untagged RGB for source and I choose 'Same as source' as target color space. _MOST_ of the time, the prints turn out nice.
    4. Sometimes, the scanner screws up with the color balance and those times I'll need to intervene in the post processing.

    Part (1) is really optional, if you don't set it, you can always get PS to print using that profile. You lose the functionality in non-ICC aware apps though.

    I'm really a newbie also, just sharing what I learnt (a hard way as well). God knows how much ink and paper I've wasted

    Regards,
    JK

  12. #12

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    Originally posted by roygoh


    Finally, I came across a website with profiles that are pre-generated by some kind soul for free downloading. That finally solved my problems, and my prints turned out beautiful.

    - Roy
    roy, what website is this?

    CK, how to get the ICC profile for the Lab Frontier machines?

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by beachbum


    roy, what website is this?

    CK, how to get the ICC profile for the Lab Frontier machines?
    One of the pages on www.popphoto.com has it (forgot liao). I have not personally tested tho.

    Regards
    CK

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    Originally posted by beachbum


    roy, what website is this?

    CK, how to get the ICC profile for the Lab Frontier machines?
    The site where I downloaded the free profiles id here:

    http://wandb.com/icc.htm

    However, they are S900 and S9000 profiles, so I am not sure if they will work for S800/S820.

    - Roy
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision.

  15. #15
    Kiwi
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    Hey thanks so much guys! A lot of very useful info for me to try out and digest. Ok, more experiments to do.. hopefully it gets better this time round.

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    I just bought an S800 printer, so Kiwi, any update on your findings?

  17. #17
    Kiwi
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    Hi Snowcrash, welcome! Finally found someone with the S800. Seems like this is a good printer which is underrated.

    Have you tried some prints on the S800? How are the colours? I figured it's too tedious and expensive to keep printing and adjusting the colours via the software provided by the printer.

    I'm currently considering a purchase of a profiler software to create a profile for the printer. I guess that's the only accurate way to go. Do you want to share the cost with me?

  18. #18

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    You can only convert your file to CMYK mode when u need to do an offset printing. CMYK (cyan, megenta, yellow, Black) Is the industrial format of printing used in publishing houses. To acheive a full colour print, the paper has to go through 4 layer of printing from the plates. However, this is only applicable to offset publications.

    For home-based printer and photographic output, the printing uses RGB output. Photographic process uses the light property of (RED, Green and Blue) to produce a photographic full coloured image.

    Both CMYK and RGB mode are totally different. The reason for having these two format is due to the diference in production mediums (e.g ink vs subtractive colours in photographic processes) . Homebase printer ink are also very different from the offset standard print. Thus if you are not doing any commercial works which requires hundred or thousands of mass printing like the magazines, you won't need to use CMYK mode.


    Printing from what you see from the monitor will also be very difficult. The spectrum that are available in the monitor are very different from print output. Thus, it's not always possible to get exactly what you want. The most reliable way is to do a test print first and adjust according to the print from the computer. Even large format printers like Epson will require to do test printing inorder to get what they want. To find out more, I suggest you go to the showroom of Epson at Funan. The staff are very friendly and maybe they could explain to you more.
    Last edited by excentrique; 29th December 2002 at 12:53 AM.

  19. #19
    Kiwi
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    How come the printer manufacturers don't tell us such things? Is it bcos they assume that a good portion of buyers are just lay people who just want to print and don't care much about getting accurate colours?

    I'm dismayed that the topic or rather theories and concepts are not rigorously dealt with over here. Only thru informal discussions like here in Clubsnap that kind people share their ideas and knowledge, which unfortunately, may not be exhaustive. I can't find any respectable courses that cover topics on colour correction and printing which I believe could take months to master at a reasonable level.

    In US, for eg, as I learnt, there are many colour experts who conduct detailed classes on such stuffs. And there are companies that do printer profiles for you. Quite pricey though. Over here, many just go blank when you mention such things!

    I find digital photography is pointless if one knows little about post-processing his or her images. The bad news is, most people these days are turning to digital but they are not aware that their images can be very much improved after they press the shutter!

  20. #20
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    Originally posted by Kiwi
    How come the printer manufacturers don't tell us such things? Is it bcos they assume that a good portion of buyers are just lay people who just want to print and don't care much about getting accurate colours?

    I'm dismayed that the topic or rather theories and concepts are not rigorously dealt with over here. Only thru informal discussions like here in Clubsnap that kind people share their ideas and knowledge, which unfortunately, may not be exhaustive. I can't find any respectable courses that cover topics on colour correction and printing which I believe could take months to master at a reasonable level.

    In US, for eg, as I learnt, there are many colour experts who conduct detailed classes on such stuffs. And there are companies that do printer profiles for you. Quite pricey though. Over here, many just go blank when you mention such things!

    I find digital photography is pointless if one knows little about post-processing his or her images. The bad news is, most people these days are turning to digital but they are not aware that their images can be very much improved after they press the shutter!
    The reason is because lay people don't think too cheem like us. They just print straight, and that works like 90% of the time. They don't understand CMYK (And good for them, less confusion) and they won't bother to convert also.

    I'd say that for most purposes, the output from a decent photo printer should be close enough to the monitor - assuming it's calibrated properly to begin with. There's no way to get 100% match. Even your lab prints won't be 100% matched to the monitor.

    Printer profiling is a very tedious and complex task - and you probably need to re-profile everytime you change paper or ink. Don't really need to bother unless you really, really, really need that extra level of accuracy.

    Regards
    CK

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