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Printer Profiles 101 - The basics of using profiles for your printer

Discussion in 'Printing Photos and Photo Software' started by Nifty, Mar 19, 2005.

  1. Mar 19, 2005
    Nifty

    Nifty Printer Master Administrator

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    Hello Everyone,

    I thought I'd start a thread for people to start posting some basic help information and links about profiling. I've received some questions about it via email and I honestly don't know much about it.

    Please post some of your own thoughts and links to basic information about profiling. If you have comments and links to more advanced information please label it as such and/or we can start another thread.

    Regarding Profiles:

    One of the reasons why many people do not take advantage of low cost paper, low cost carts or ink refilling is that it is common knowledge that the colors are not as good as with OEM ink and paper. This may be true, but only because the printer is calibrated for the OEM ink and paper. It is possible to calibrate the printer for other inks and papers using custom "ICC profiles". It is the goal of this thread to start a centralized "knowledgebase" of free profiles and documentation on how they can be used so that more people can take advantage of the lower costs without sacrificing their print quality.

    If you follow the forum closely, you will have noted that ink suppliers sometimes change their formulations. When this happens, all of the past history for that ink supplier goes out the window. This is why so much information is requested when a profile is first posted - to let you see if you are using the same ink. Before trying a profile, take a careful look at the dates when you bought your carts/bulk inks and compare them to the profile's information. If the dates are very different, you might want to talk to your ink supplier to see if there have been any formulation changes between the two dates. You should also make sure that all of your inks were made during the same "formulation period". If you mix inks from different formulation periods, you may end up chasing ghosts. Obviously, you should never mix inks from different suppliers if you want to use these profiles.

    Even though a profile was generated for a specific printer, there is a very good possibility that it will work reasonably well for other printers from the same supplier that use similar technologies. For example, the Canon i8500 and i9900 both use 8 ink colors and differ mainly in the maximum width that can be printed. It would not be surprising if the same profile worked for both of these printers. A printer with 6 ink colors would be slightly less likely to be able to use the same profile, and a printer with only 4 ink colors would be even less likely.

    However, a profile generated for your ink and paper but on another printer model may well work better than the profiles supplied with the printer for the OEM inks and papers. If you are willing to spend a little time adjusting the manual color settings, you have a reasonable chance of "tuning" a profile from another printer. If you are successful in getting good results from another profile, please reply to the appropriate post with your settings and printer model so that others can benefit from your experience.

    You may have noticed that some papers come with recommended manual color settings to be used with various OEM profiles when using OEM inks. In a similar fashion, it is very likely that a profile for the same ink and printer can be used for other papers, especially if you are willing to tune the profile to the paper. As above, please post a reply with your settings if you are successful.

    It is highly unlikely that a profile will work for different inks. One exception might be when two ink suppliers buy their ink from the same source. If your ink has similar color problems to another ink that has a profile, give the other ink's profile a try. Just don't blame the profile if it doesn't work on your ink. Since different printer suppliers use different inks, there will be very little opportunity to use a profile from one supplier on another supplier's printer. As before, post any success stories along these lines.

    Procedure for adding a new profile
    If this is your profile, post it on the web. If you don't have the facilities to do this, contact me via e-mail and I will make the arrangements to do this.
    Start a new thread with the title: "Profile for: Ink/Paper/Printer"
    Copy the template from this post and fill in the information.
    Ownership of profiles
    If you generated a profile yourself or otherwise own the rights to the profile, a link to that profile is a welcome addition.
    If a profile is already in the public domain, a link to that profile is a welcome addition.
    Companies that provide custom profiles for a fee generally include a statement in their terms and conditions that says something to the effect that the profile is provided exclusively for use on the printer that printed the profiling targets. If this is the case, you do not own the rights to publish the profile, so please do not post it, and especially do not insert a link from this forum to such a post.

    Template for information to be provided with each profile:
    Printer manufacturer/model used to generate the profile (e.g. Canon Pixma iP5000).
    Ink used to generate the profile (e.g. MIS).
    Ink colors used by this printer (e.g. C, Y, M, K, PM, PC)
    Date the carts/bulk ink were purchased (note - all carts/inks should be purchased at roughly the same time)
    Paper used to generate the profile (e.g. Kirkland Glossy Photo)
    Printer settings used to generate the profile.
    Technique used to generate the profile (e.g. Spectrophotometer/scanner/hand edited/unknown).
    The number of color samples used in the test prints.
    Date when the profile was generated.
    Relevant notes.
    Profile name.
    Link to the profile. If you are posting a link to a profile on some other site, be sure to link to the page where the profile is located, not directly to the profile itself.
    Link to the home page of the profile provider (if this is a profile in the public domain)

    If this is an "original" post of a profile and it is stored on "nifty-stuff.com", include the following statement at the end of your post:
    "This profile located on "nifty-stuff.com" is provided free of charge for your personal use only. It is not to be copied for any other use, including posting on other sites or offered for sale. Permission is hereby given to link to this post, providing that external references do not link directly to the data, and that there is no charge for this information."
     
  2. Mar 19, 2005
    Grandad35

    Grandad35 Printer Master Moderator

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    It seems that many people don't use custom ICC printing profiles because it seems too complicated. These are instructions for using custom ICC profiles for printing on Canon printers.
    _______
    The Canon printing program (Eazy Photo Print) does not support custom ICC profiles. It also ignores the settings in "Preferences", including the color adjustments, so you cannot use these color settings to adjust for papers other than Canon papers with this program. This program is designed to work only with Canon paper and ink - other combinations are not adjustable and may not give a good color match. I removed it from my computer so that I am never tempted to use it.
    _______
    Before starting, read the Canon writeup at (http://www.sns.ias.edu/~jns/files/Canon_ICC_Profile_Guide.pdf). A lot of what follows is in this guide, but I found the guide to be a little confusing.
    For WinXP, Vista and Win 7 install custom profiles in the "C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\SPOOL\DRIVERS\COLOR" directory. This may vary on other systems.
    _________
    For the i9900, the following profiles are predefined by Canon for use with Canon paper and ink (other printers will have different profiles). For other Canon printers, the link given above will help you to determine which profile is for which paper. You can use these profiles if you are using OEM ink and paper and the printing procedures defined later:
    PP Pro (Quality 1) CNB5pCA0 (Canon i9900 PR1)
    PP Pro (Quality 2) CNB5pCB0 (Canon i9900 PR2)
    PP Plus Glossy CNB5pEA0 (Canon i9900 SP1)
    Matte PP CNB5pDA0 (Canon i9900 MP1)
    Glossy PP CNBJPRN2 (BJ Color Printer Profile 2000) (A generic profile that does very little color correction)
    _______
    Printing with Microsoft's Photo Wizard:
    Change your default printer settings by Control Panel/Printers and Faxes, right click on the printer to get access to the "Properties" and "Preferences".
    In Properties/Color Management (if this is a "shared" printer, this step must be done on the server):
    Select "manual".
    If the desired profile isn't listed, click "Add" to locate and include it in the list
    Set the desired profile as the default.
    Click "Apply".
    ___
    In Preferences/Main/Color Adjustment:
    Set the paper type and print quality as defined for the profile (these settings must be the same as they were when the profile was generated to get the same proper results)
    Select "Manual", then click "Set"
    Set all color adjustment settings to 0. They can be set differently if needed for special cases, but you will be modifying the results from the profile.
    Enable "ICM" (this activates color management in the driver using the profile selected above).
    ___
    Use the Photo Printing Wizard as usual, making sure that the settings selected above are still there.
    _______
    Printing using Photoshop's color management:
    Change your default printer settings by Control Panel/Printers and Faxes, right click on the printer to get access to the "Preferences". It is first necessary to turn off color management in the printer driver to prevent "double profiling".
    In Preferences/Main/Color Adjustment:
    As above, Set the paper type and print quality as defined for the profile (these settings must be the same as they were when the profile was generated to get the same proper results)
    Select "Manual", then click "Set"
    Disable "ICM" - this deactivates color management in the driver.
    Select "None" for the "Print Type" (this deactivates color management in the printer).
    Set all color adjustment settings to 0 as a safty measure (these adjustments seem to have no effect when the Print Type is set to None).
    ___
    In Photoshop, select "Print with Preview".
    Click the "Show more options" and select "Color Management" if "Output" is shown in the drop sown menu.
    Under "Profile", select the desired profile.
    Set the "Intent" and "Black point compensation" as required (this is another lengthy subject - a discussion of the "Intent" options is given toward the bottom of (http://www.normankoren.com/color_management.html). "Perceptual" is usually the best choice for photos.
    Print, but recheck the selections made above in Preferences to make sure that they are still set properly. If they are changed, it will be necessary to reset them at this point in the printing process for each print request.
    _______
    Printing using Qimage's color management:
    Turn off color management in the printer driver in the same way as it was done for Photoshop.
    In Qimage, right click on the "Pntr ICC".
    Enable the "Printer (output)".
    Click the box to the right of the "Color space to use for your printer", and a list of available profiles will appear. Select the desired profile.
    Select the "Rendering Intent" and "Black Point Compensation" as discussed under Photoshop.
    Print, but recheck the selections made above in Preferences to make sure that they are still set properly. Qimage should remember any settings for these values made from within Qimage the next time that you use it.
    _____________
    That's all that there is to it. If you can find the proper profile, your strange color cast problems on low cost paper and ink will be just a bad memory.

    Here is another link that covers the same subject (written in June 2005):
    http://www.steves-digicams.com/techcorner/June_2005.html
     
  3. Mar 19, 2005
    tyamada

    tyamada Printer Guru

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    There is reasonably priced software form DDI Software called Profile Prism ($79.00) Comes with it8 color chart and a camera color chart. The Software can profile scanners, cameras and printers and is easy to use if you read the instructions.

    Profiling a printer requires a good scanner, not a expensive one.

    If you purchase Profile Prism, DDI Software will provide a user name and password to their FTP site for Printer/Scanner/Camera Profiles.

    I love that I can profile my printers when I change inks/paper.

    There are commercial sites that charge $40.00 to $100.00 for a printer profile, that makes Profile Prism a real bargin.

    Their link is http://www.ddisoftware.com

    DDI Software also sells Qimage, which I use occasionally. Most of the time I use Corel Photo Paint 12 to print my pictures.
    Corel has an easy to use Color Management interface built in, and has a nice preview print.
     
  4. Mar 26, 2005
    Nifty

    Nifty Printer Master Administrator

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    I edited the first post and added more profile information. Again, if you create a profile please send it to me with the detailes listed above. All profiles can be sent to rl@ludcon.com
     
  5. Sep 29, 2006
    canonfodder

    canonfodder Printer Guru

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    ON MY NEW iP4200, using Canon ink and paper, I find a printed picture pleasent, but the colors are not really correct. This is when printing decent photos and filling in the proper blanks in the printer setup pages. Is this an unusual situation? The "pleasent but not really correct" results with OEM supplies and setup, that is.

    I have been reading and reading and reading, and I am slowly getting to understand a lot from the forum information concerning different inks and different papers and PRINTER PROFILING. At this point, I have many more questions than answers. (This may never really change to the opposite condition.)

    MY PRESENT STATUS.
    I have downloaded the sample page from Digital Dog's site. The one that shows the girl, the hand with jewelry, and all the color samples. (Thanks to GRANDAD35 or whoever pointed to that site.) When I print that page, I can see the errors which the printer is making, but it is not really simple to understand what should be done to fix the errors. I find that nothing is so simple as "too much magenta" or "too little yellow". Some things I have seen include "the blue swatch is purple", and "the cyan color is wrong", but I can't say exactly why it is wrong. Slowly, and after much staring at the printouts, I feel I am coming to understand what things may be wrong. Because this printer uses CMYK inks, it is a bit difficult for me to relate a problem with a red or green or blue to the specific ink and its intensity.

    I have found it rather helpful to think in terms of the artist's color wheel where the colors make a complete circle as they gradually change from one color to the next. My wheel has the clockwise order Yellow, Red, Magenta, Blue, Cyan, Green, and back to Yellow. I think that when my blue looks more purple, it is being "pulled" toward magenta. This could be from too much magenta, but could also be from too little cyan. Well, that gives a sample of how I am starting to reason out my color problems. I believe I will be able to improve my results with the iP4200 by thinking in this manner and adjusting color intensities.

    QUESTIONS NOW:
    I have been reading about PROFILING.

    Is a "profile" just a file which controls the adjustment of the intensity of the ink colors, either together or individually?

    Does a "profile" sometimes, or always, contain a large look-up-table which adds corrective values to all the possible hue and intensity requests that are being sent to the printer?

    If I want the best profile, do I have to make it (or have it made) using photometric measurements and a program to generate the file?

    If I know what corrections I want to make, and I can describe them in terms of settings of the options available to me on the printer setup page, can I create a profile file that would do these settings for me whenever I request the ICM option in printer setup?
    Would I use some particular program to create such a file?

    Any and all aswers will certainly be appreciated.

    cannonfodder









    Answers to any of this will be greatly appreciated.
     
  6. Sep 30, 2006
    Grandad35

    Grandad35 Printer Master Moderator

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    canonfodder,

    Let me start by stating that the answers to your questions are quite involved, but that there is a great book ("Real World Color Management" by Bruce Fraser) that answers these questions (and many more ) in detail. It isn't light reading (I had to read it 3 times to get a decent understanding of the subject), but if you want proper answers to your questions, this is a great source.

    It is surprising that you are having color problems using Canon ink and paper - most people report that this combination gives them excellent color reproduction. Is it possible that your monitor isn't properly calibrated, and that you are misadjusting the colors in your images to make them look good on your display? Generate a gray gradient - does it have a color cast in the mid-tones on your display.

    One simple aid to remembering the interactions of R/G/B colors and C/M/Y inks is as follows:
    1. Put the R/G/B directly above the C/M/Y as below:
    R G B
    | | |
    C M Y
    2. The colors directly above/below each other are complimentary - e.g. Reducing Cyan gives the image a Red cast (reducing Magenta --> Green cast, reducing Yellow --> Blue cast)
    3. The reason that R/G/B are listed in that order is because they go from long wavelength colors to short wavelength colors.
    4. The reason that C/M/Y are listed in that order is exactly because they are complimentary to R/G/B

    The color controls in the printer driver are simple linear adjustments with no interactions. The adjustments in a profile can be non-linear, plus they can include the effect of color interactions when more than one ink is being printed (almost always the case). To create a profile, several hundred color patches (usually close to 1000) are printed with no corrections. The colors of each patch are then measured with a color measuring device (spectrophotometer, colorimeter, scanner) and the software creates a "Look Up Table" (LUT) that basically says, if you want "this" color, then print "that" color. There is a LOT more to it than just a LUT (there are actually 6 LUTs generated for each profile, one for each of 3 "rendering intents" in each direction). Having a table for both directions allows you to "soft proof" - to see in advance what colors will actually be printed by a printer with a smaller gamut than the image. I think that it is obvious that there is no simple way to explain how a profile works in 200 words or less.

    If you want to experiment with profiles, I recommend that you start by buying a custom profile for your printer/ink/paper from a place like (http://www.cathysprofiles.com/). If you want to make your own profiles, many people have good success with low cost products like (http://www.ddisoftware.com/prism/), even though most pros say that any scanner based color measurement will have problems because the color sensors in a scanner do not match the sensors in our eyes and will suffer from metamerism. Here is another good link on generating printer profiles, even though they are apparently no longer in the business of providing profiles for individuals(http://www.drycreekphoto.com/).
     
    ice-t likes this.
  7. Sep 30, 2006
    fotofreek

    fotofreek Printer Master Moderator

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    Grandad - I found that with my i960 printer and no effects selected, OEM ink and Canon paper produced oversaturated results in many instances. Although this can be very pleasing in many pictures, I doesn't work well for skin tones. MIS inks produce similar oversaturated results with some pics as well. With my wife's ip5000 (not set to highest quality) there seems to be less oversaturation of colors. Not a scientific evaluation but just from eyeballing prints. One more issue with Canonfodder - Is he using any of the effectsor other automatic adjustments in the Canon driver software. Also the Canon printing software that comes with the printer will take control and automatically "correct" pics. Generally a bad idea but useful, I guess, for someone who needs a "dumbed-down" printing program.
     
  8. Sep 30, 2006
    canonfodder

    canonfodder Printer Guru

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    Thank you Grandad for your detailed comments and answers. I may end up getting a profile from cathysprofiles before I really am satisfied. Thank you Fotofreek for your input.

    The printiings fundamental problem is this: No matter what, when printed, a blue prints as rather purple.
    I have tried all sorts of options, but the only thing that comes even close to fixing my problem is the manual setting of Intensity to -10 and the Cyan Intensity to a ridiculous level of +30! This weakens the reds too much.

    BUT WAIT !! HOW EMBARASSING !

    I FORGOT ABOUT LIGHT. WHITE LIGHT, THAT IS.

    I do most of my work at night, under ordinary room lighting. And, what is missing from ordinary, (spell that 'incandescent'), lighting? BLUE. Incandescent is weak on the BLUE. A photo print observed under incandescent light will NOT seem balanced. A shortage of any color will make it appear wrong. A shortage of blue with leave the blue area redder, and that yields PURPLE.

    What happened today is that it is Saturday, and I am here printing photos on a sunny afternoon with lots of good WHITE sunlight streaming in a window. I turned around from the desk holding a purple plagued print, and as I turned, the purple turned to a nice blue. Maybe not perfectly blue, but really satisfactory.

    I must apologize for forgetting the light. I really have known better from work in other disciplines. I will try to remember this lesson forever. Here is my poster for the brain:

    A MONITOR GENERATES LIGHT, AND ITS COLORS CAN BE WELL BALANCED
    PHOTOS MUST BE EXAMINED UNDER BALANCED WHITE LIGHT

    Thanks to all.
    Thanks for having the Forum.
    canonfodder
     
  9. Oct 13, 2006
    canonfodder

    canonfodder Printer Guru

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    New questions about Profiles.
    I have learned enough to know now that some photo editing software will work with profiles, and some won't.

    Can someone point me to a list of programs that DO work with profiles.
    So far I understand that Photoshop and Qimage do. Any others?

    When I print the sample pages for a profile, what settings should I use on my printer? I would assume that I should use some basic settings, as I believe that when using the profile I will have to use the very same settings.
     
  10. Oct 14, 2006
    Grandad35

    Grandad35 Printer Master Moderator

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    canonfodder,

    Here are Dry Creek's instructions for printing targets:
    http://www.drycreekphoto.com/custom/DCP-CustomProfiling.pdf

    Instructions for Cathy's Profiles:
    http://www.cathysprofiles.com/buy profiles/terms_of_sale.htm

    When printing the targets, color management must be turned off (to disable any other profiles), but most other settings (like paper type) must be set the same as when you will print with the profile - this is covered in the instructions.

    Post #2 in this thread gives the instructions to specify a profile directly in the driver, so you can use any printing package that doesn't bypass the driver's settings (e.g. Canon's "Easy Photo Print" bypasses these settings, so it won't work). Even the standard Microsoft Photo printing wizard will use profiles in this way. Qimage just makes it all so much easier.
     

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