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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?

 
tim
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Aug 27, 2009 18:31 |  #16

Consumer cameras all produce sRgb images, I would expect machines are optimzed for that. I can't believe they'd produce bad prints from sRgb. I wouldn't use a lab that ignored profiles.

"Try it and see" is good advice when it comes to printers. Even with my pro lab i've done sets of test prints.


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BTNorris
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Aug 27, 2009 19:36 |  #17

tim wrote in post #8534927 (external link)
Consumer cameras all produce sRgb images, I would expect machines are optimzed for that. I can't believe they'd produce bad prints from sRgb.

Tim: You're right, of course. As I think about it a little more, I think my "solution" may be that they need to re-calibrate their printer - the middle-gray squares of the color checker had a color cast.

Back to the OP:
If you are using Paper White simulation in the soft-proof, the screen will change when you convert to the printer profile. However, I think everybody here is against doing that.

Best of luck...


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lewdog
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Aug 27, 2009 22:41 as a reply to  @ BTNorris's post |  #18

tzalman wrote in post #8530632 (external link)
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.

I am sure you're right in that some labs are set up on the assumption that all files will be srgb. I think it's important to check, though, because not all are limited to that. For example, the last two labs I've checked with supposedly will accept the file converted to the printer's profile. The fervor I have for this quest is fueled by the belief that it is technically better to work in a wide gamut space (I know that can be a whole other topic of debate) that will preserve all colors in an image and then convert that yourself to the final destination profile. Between the out of gamut warning, rendering intent, and softproof process, you really have the ability to preserve as much as possible of the original color range. My understanding is that printers have a different and, in some places wider, gamut than srgb. I am really reticent to use srgb at any point because it would probably chop colors that I could otherwise get out of the print.

Whatever the ultimate best practice is, I certainly don't mind doing extra conversions or work. I'm not trying to save time or streamline the workflow-that's a whole other discussion. I'm just searching for that ultimate best practice-maintain all possible information for as long as possible and totally control the conversion to the final print.

tim wrote in post #8530664 (external link)
Because very few people understand color, including people who work at labs.

Try it both ways and judge for yourself.

So totally true on both counts. I've gotten conflicting and fairly incompetent advice from almost every one of the people I've talked to the last few days in labs. Also-prints really are the ultimate test of how well we've managed this whole chain.

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?

Check this out:
http://www.drycreekpho​to.com …sing_printer_pr​ofiles.htm (external link)
That's the page BTNorris pulled that quote from that supports conversion to the printer profile.

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 :)

Buy this book (external link).

I don't mean to be rude, Tim, but that's exactly the thing that I was trying to get away from. The reason I started this thread was because all the reading I had done on this topic on this forum (up to the point I started the thread) suggested to just go with the safest bet. Nothing I found talked about what was actually going on in any depth, what the technically correct way to do it is, and what the pitfalls/items to check are. My goal in all of this is to find the best way (even if it's complicated), not the safest way.

BTNorris wrote in post #8534728 (external link)
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.;)}

That is a very helpful document. This is basically the protocol that I arrived at over the last few days, but condensed into one place. Wish I found it earlier.

I know I keep coming back to converting to the printer profile and that this may come across as ungrateful to you guys. Please don't take it this way. I'm just really trying to push here-for my benefit as well as that of others reading this-to discover what the best practice is. Again-not talking for fast workflow or fun or convenient, but what the technically best way to preserve information in the image and manage that to the final print is. So far, my gut says that the Dry Creek protocol is the best way to do this. PLEASE teach me otherwise if this is not the case.


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tim
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Aug 27, 2009 22:59 |  #19

lewdog wrote in post #8536215 (external link)
I don't mean to be rude, Tim, but that's exactly the thing that I was trying to get away from. The reason I started this thread was because all the reading I had done on this topic on this forum (up to the point I started the thread) suggested to just go with the safest bet. Nothing I found talked about what was actually going on in any depth, what the technically correct way to do it is, and what the pitfalls/items to check are. My goal in all of this is to find the best way (even if it's complicated), not the safest way.

Put it this way: i'm a professional photographer who prints thousands of photos a year, I understand color better than most, I use half a dozen labs, and I never convert to a printer profile. It's unnecessary if you use a competent lab. A good lab with good equipment reads the profile embedded in the image and does whatever mapping is required to get a good print out of their equipment. I use Adobe RGB at some labs, ProFoto at one, sRgb at others, depending on their requirements. sRgb has never let me down.

I've never done a head to head test of Adobe RGB vs sRgb for any photos, but since I have a print order to do soon maybe i'll find a vivid image with lots of strong reds and greens and see what happens.

In my opinion the best way is to embed the profile the lab suggests - sRgb, Adobe RGB, ProFoto RGB. If they suggest they embed the printer profile, unless they can come up with a fantastic reason that this is necessary, use another lab.


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gcogger
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Aug 28, 2009 02:25 |  #20

tim wrote in post #8536302 (external link)
Put it this way: i'm a professional photographer who prints thousands of photos a year, I understand color better than most, I use half a dozen labs, and I never convert to a printer profile. It's unnecessary if you use a competent lab. A good lab with good equipment reads the profile embedded in the image and does whatever mapping is required to get a good print out of their equipment. I use Adobe RGB at some labs, ProFoto at one, sRgb at others, depending on their requirements. sRgb has never let me down.

I've never done a head to head test of Adobe RGB vs sRgb for any photos, but since I have a print order to do soon maybe i'll find a vivid image with lots of strong reds and greens and see what happens.

In my opinion the best way is to embed the profile the lab suggests - sRgb, Adobe RGB, ProFoto RGB. If they suggest they embed the printer profile, unless they can come up with a fantastic reason that this is necessary, use another lab.

I've had a different experience - the labs I've used do no conversion of profiles. Even if the lab provides a profile they still print straight through (i.e. send the images direct to the printer) - I've proved this by supplying images in sRGB, and converted to the printer profile, and they come out different. The reason they get away with it is that the printers are close enough to sRGB that most people don't see a problem. I think this is where the advice from DryCreekPhoto comes from.

Now I'm not a pro, so I haven't used very expensive labs. I don't believe, however, that your average (i.e. affordable for an amateur) lab will add an extra step to process the images. I certainly doubt that somewhere like Adorama would, when they can just send the image straight to the printer.

Unfortunately whatever you do might give rise to problems, but I think it's safest to convert to the printer profile (and make sure the profile is embedded). That way, whether the lab converts to the printer profile or not, you're covered. The only way you'll hit a problem this way is if the lab assigns sRGB then converts to their printer profile, but that doesn't seem too likely.


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tim
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Aug 28, 2009 04:26 |  #21

Interesting. There's some pretty irresponsible labs out there.


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René ­ Damkot
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Aug 28, 2009 05:55 |  #22

gcogger wrote in post #8536980 (external link)
I've had a different experience - the labs I've used do no conversion of profiles. Even if the lab provides a profile they still print straight through (i.e. send the images direct to the printer) - I've proved this by supplying images in sRGB, and converted to the printer profile, and they come out different. The reason they get away with it is that the printers are close enough to sRGB that most people don't see a problem. I think this is where the advice from DryCreekPhoto comes from.

Now I'm not a pro, so I haven't used very expensive labs. I don't believe, however, that your average (i.e. affordable for an amateur) lab will add an extra step to process the images. I certainly doubt that somewhere like Adorama would, when they can just send the image straight to the printer.

Unfortunately whatever you do might give rise to problems, but I think it's safest to convert to the printer profile (and make sure the profile is embedded). That way, whether the lab converts to the printer profile or not, you're covered. The only way you'll hit a problem this way is if the lab assigns sRGB then converts to their printer profile, but that doesn't seem too likely.

Agree on all points.


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