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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
Thread started 24 Aug 2009 (Monday) 21:31
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Printer profiles-soft proof AND convert file to it?

 
lewdog
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Aug 24, 2009 21:31 |  #1

Sorry guys if this is a stupid question, but this stuff has been melting my brain lately. Keeping this color chain under complete control from start to finish is way more complicated than I gave it credit for, even when I thought I kind of knew what I was doing.

My goal (as for many of us) is to get prints that match as closely as possible to what I see on screen. Say I get a profile from Adorama for the Kodak Endura Glossy-what is the best way to make this happen using this profile? I suspect that it is to optimize the image in soft-proof mode using the printing profile and then use the Convert to Profile feature to convert my tiff to the Glossy profile. On the other hand, I wonder if this would cause a double conversion.


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tonylong
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Aug 25, 2009 01:15 |  #2

I'd ask Adorama for very specific instructions if you are sending your prints out to them. Some companies want you to set things very specifically to get the best prints. If you are printing from home, you take a different approach.


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lewdog
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Aug 26, 2009 23:19 |  #3

tonylong wrote in post #8518498 (external link)
I'd ask Adorama for very specific instructions if you are sending your prints out to them. Some companies want you to set things very specifically to get the best prints. If you are printing from home, you take a different approach.

I talked to two separate people at AdoramaPix and got two different answers. Frustrating, because they should be the ultimate authority.
Does anyone know the answer to this in general? Seems like there would be a clear and technically correct answer, but I can't find it ANYWHERE. The other possibly weird part is that, if I go to convert to profile and preview the conversion to the printer profile, it looks different than the softproof mode.


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tim
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Aug 26, 2009 23:25 |  #4

Proof against their printer/paper profile, but send it in sRgb (or Adobe RGB if they support it and you want to). There's nothing gained from converting to the printer profile yourself, and if their machine breaks down and they have to use another they colors will be stuffed.


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lewdog
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Aug 26, 2009 23:36 as a reply to  @ tim's post |  #5

Why do people convert to printer profiles in general and why did one of the two people ask me to convert to the profile? I'm really not trying to be argumentative here, but it really seems like converting to their profile (especially from something like wide gamut rgb or prophoto) would be a good/technically correct/common thing to do. Maybe I'm just missing the definition/use of a printer profile...

I feel like it'd be super helpful if I could understand the why behind these things, such as why it might/might not be technically correct to soft-proof and then attach/not attach the profile. The theory, I guess. Anyone have that on tap?


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tonylong
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Aug 27, 2009 00:10 |  #6

What Tim says is the correct approach if you are using Photoshop CSx -- you load the printer profile into your system and use PS to "soft proof", meaning that you view the approximate "look" of your print according to your profile and PS, do your final edits, then save a file, typically in the sRGB color space, though, because it's the "safe" color space.

The problem is, though, that different labs have different requirements and approaches, and that if you don't have a decently up-to-date Photoshop you may not have softproofing.

When things are uncertain, always have the lab do some softproofing of several shots at a manageable size to judge how compatible they are with your setup. If your system is color-managed, it's also important to have them turn off color management at the printer level.


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tzalman
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Aug 27, 2009 00:27 |  #7

I agree with Tim. Their workflow is probably designed to input sRGB because the bulk of their work is from people who have simple cameras and do no post-processing. The WF will include the conversion to the space for their printer and you will probably have a double conversion if you do one at home. The exception to this rule is the top--end print labs whose WF includes a profile aware step and who will therefore properly handle any image in any space. I don't know which category Adorama fits into, but I suspect it is the former because they are a high volume and low priced lab.
Soft-proofing is merely a tool for your convenience in order predict what the print will be like. In ordinary viewing (not proofing), if your color management is set up correctly the same image in different spaces (ProPhoto, Adobe. sRGB or the printer space) should look the same on your monitor. This is the essence of CM; the application reads the profile and then alters the display data to fit your monitor profile. This is only done to the data sent to the monitor, not the original image data, but no matter what the starting point (the embedded image profile) the display should be more or less the same. When you print at home the application does the same thing but this time to the data sent to the printer, converting it to the printer's space. If you print from a non-CM application or elect to not have the application handle the conversion, the printer driver does the conversion. In eitrher case you do not do a permanent conversion of the embedded space.

Tony -

When things are uncertain, always have the lab do some softproofing of several shots at a manageable size to judge how compatible they are with your setup.

That would be "hardproofing".


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lewdog
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Aug 27, 2009 00:36 as a reply to  @ tzalman's post |  #8

Interesting points, guys.
Here are some things that I found online:


from http://www.creativepro​.com …proofing-in-photoshop-6-0 (external link)
"When you're printing to the actual device you've been soft proofing, you don't want to use the Proof Setup space as the source. Use the Document space, and set the Print Space either to the profile you chose in Proof Setup (in which case you must make sure that all color conversions in the print driver are turned off), or to Printer Color Management (in which case you need to make sure that the color conversion is turned on in the printer driver)."

from http://www.outbackphot​o.com/artof_b_w/bw_09/​essay.html (external link)
"As the article demonstrates the basic procedure for these grayscale ICC profile is very much like the color profiling methods and produces a profile that is used very much like color profiles.

All standard profiles have two parts -- one set of curves that are used for printing and convert Lab values i.e. colors to numbers for the print driver, and the other set that is used for soft-proofing that show the actual color (Lab) that is produced for numbers that are sent to the driver.

On first glance these two sets of curves are just inverses of each other. But in fact they can be and usually are slightly different. In color the obvious difference is the mapping for out-of-gamut colors. In soft-proofing the idea is to map a Color to the best the printer can do and then map back to what that actual is so you can see it on your screen.

The grayscale profiles do nearly the same thing. There is no gamut limitation -- black is mapped to dMax and white to dMin with a "perceptual intent" mapping of everything in between. This direction is pure grayscale the result being the grayscale values that are sent to the driver (QTR, Epson ABW). The softproof side though is gray to Lab values and therefore a color mapping. So in the softproof you see the actual tint of the print. In the softproof setup you can also Simulate Paper White and/or Simulate Ink Black that will show those colors.

So the profile making procedure actually creates two functions that are both in one iCC profile. Usually one would use them both -- print with the profile and soft-proof with the same profile. But the soft-proof setup has a check box that says whether or not you will be printing with the profile. Preserve Color Numbers OFF means show the output using the profile in printing, ON means show the output as if you are not using the profile in printing."


These, along with a couple other things I just found, seem to indicate that you do, indeed, both softproof and convert to the same profile. Of course, this is with the assumption that all color management is turned off in the printer. I believe I'm reading these things right, but please correct me if I'm not.


5DII
Zeiss ZE: 21/2.8 50/2 100/2
Canon L: 35/1.4 85/1.2 135/2 70-200/4IS
3x430 EXII and various small studio equipment
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tzalman
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Aug 27, 2009 01:33 |  #9

These, along with a couple other things I just found, seem to indicate that you do, indeed, both softproof and convert to the same profile. Of course, this is with the assumption that all color management is turned off in the printer. I believe I'm reading these things right, but please correct me if I'm not.

But if you are sending it out for printing you can't make that assumption. A large volume commercial lab will be set up based on their assumption that everything they receive will be in sRGB and they will automatically convert everything to their printer's space.

Also, you have misunderstood the first quote. If you print at home from a color managed application, when you click the "Print" button a print setup dialog opens in which you are asked to supply the printing profile. The application then makes an on-the-fly conversion of the print data and you do not make an actual conversion of your original file. You can, of course do so if you want to and the application will read the new profile and understand that it does not need to do the on-the-fly conversion, but your image will then be in a non-standard device-dependent space and if you want to use it for any other purpose you will have to convert again. Each conversion - like any other editing - causes a bit of cumulative degradation so if you insist on doing the conversion it is best to do it to a copy without changing the original and then delete the copy after you have made the print. But that route is a lot of extra work to do something the application will do in less than a second.


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tim
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Aug 27, 2009 01:43 |  #10

lewdog wrote in post #8530145 (external link)
Why do people convert to printer profiles in general and why did one of the two people ask me to convert to the profile?

Because very few people understand color, including people who work at labs.

Try it both ways and judge for yourself.


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gooble
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Aug 27, 2009 03:28 |  #11

I've always been more or less confused about this as well and have used Adorama and wasn't sure what to do with their printer profiles.

So let's say I have a color managed system that I've done with some monitor calibration tool like Spyder. It should be taking files I open and correctly displaying them to me on the computer desktop or in Photoshop, correct.

Now I want to send some pics for Adorama to print. I don't want them mucking with my colors or exposure so I tell them not to do any correction. I send them an image in the srgb colorspace. What are their printer profiles for that they provide for advanced users? What do I do with them? What exactly is softproofing?

I've searched and read and asked on these forums for advice or directions to help but I've never felt satisfied with my results and I feel like I'm just muddeling through it all. I really wish I could find step by step, specific instructions on a color managed work flow and what I end up with is contradicting advice or just confusing non-descriptive directions that leave out "obvious" steps etc.

tonylong wrote in post #8530307 (external link)
What Tim says is the correct approach if you are using Photoshop CSx -- you load the printer profile into your system and use PS to "soft proof", meaning that you view the approximate "look" of your print according to your profile and PS, do your final edits, then save a file, typically in the sRGB color space, though, because it's the "safe" color space.

What does that mean exactly? How do you load it into your system? Where do you do it? Does that replace your monitor profile?




  
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tzalman
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Aug 27, 2009 03:51 |  #12

gooble wrote in post #8530880 (external link)
I've always been more or less confused about this as well and have used Adorama and wasn't sure what to do with their printer profiles.

So let's say I have a color managed system that I've done with some monitor calibration tool like Spyder. It should be taking files I open and correctly displaying them to me on the computer desktop or in Photoshop, correct.

Now I want to send some pics for Adorama to print. I don't want them mucking with my colors or exposure so I tell them not to do any correction. I send them an image in the srgb colorspace. What are their printer profiles for that they provide for advanced users? What do I do with them? What exactly is softproofing?

I've searched and read and asked on these forums for advice or directions to help but I've never felt satisfied with my results and I feel like I'm just muddeling through it all. I really wish I could find step by step, specific instructions on a color managed work flow and what I end up with is contradicting advice or just confusing non-descriptive directions that leave out "obvious" steps etc.


What does that mean exactly? How do you load it into your system? Where do you do it? Does that replace your monitor profile?

By loading it into your system Tony means putting the icc file in your Color folder, the one where all the other icc files are. In XP, for instance, the path to it is C:/Windows/System 32/Spool/Drivers/Color​. When you select Softproofing in PS it will ask which printer profile to use and find it there. When you view normally PS is reading the images embedded profile and translating its display data (the data that is sent to the monitor) to numbers that are appropriate for your particular monitor. When you softproof, instead of doing this it translates the image data into numbers that will cause your monitor to show a display that simulates the print's appearance as much as is possible, so yes, in a sense the printer profile is temporarily replacing your monitor file.

Edit- I just remembered that there is an easier way to load the icc into your system. Just right-click on the file and select Install. Windows will put a copy of it into the Color folder


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tim
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Aug 27, 2009 04:07 |  #13

Profiles are purely for soft proofing. Nothing else. And anyone who disagrees with this and has a good reason for disagreeing save your breath, I know what they are, I just don't want to confuse people :)

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René ­ Damkot
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Aug 27, 2009 11:31 |  #14

lewdog wrote in post #8530442 (external link)
Interesting points, guys.
Here are some things that I found online:


from http://www.creativepro​.com …proofing-in-photoshop-6-0 (external link)
"When you're printing to the actual device you've been soft proofing, you don't want to use the Proof Setup space as the source. Use the Document space, and set the Print Space either to the profile you chose in Proof Setup (in which case you must make sure that all color conversions in the print driver are turned off), or to Printer Color Management (in which case you need to make sure that the color conversion is turned on in the printer driver)."

That's talking about creating a printed proof (hard proof?).
Say you want to simulate what the print will look like in a newspaper on your inkjet.

tim wrote in post #8530973 (external link)
Profiles are purely for soft proofing. Nothing else. And anyone who disagrees with this and has a good reason for disagreeing save your breath, I know what they are, I just don't want to confuse people :)

Who, me? :)

Only reason to convert to profile, is that it's the only way you can set what rendering intent is used.

But yeah, generally speaking, converting shouldn't be needed.


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Aug 27, 2009 17:51 as a reply to  @ René Damkot's post |  #15

Dry Creek Photo (they provide printer profiles for Costco) recommends the following:

16. Finally, convert the image to the appropriate profile, using your chosen rendering intent.

...

Frontier and Noritsu printers do not read embedded profiles, so the image data must be converted. This changes the data in the file to compensate for how your lab's machine actually prints colors.

http://www.drycreekpho​to.com …sing_printer_pr​ofiles.htm (external link)

I always submit regular sRGB to Costco (with good results), but just had a bad experience with a new printer (Noritsu 3705).

I did a test, and my sRGB electronic version of the GretagMacbeth™ ColorChecker printed quite a bit different than the old printer (which was a Noritsu 3411). I haven't had time to convert to the printer profile and try a reprint yet.

I hope to find another solution, I REALLY DON'T want to manage a set of device-dependent photos.

{No, no, please don't flame me for using Costco... That's for another thread.;)}


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