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Author Topic: Printer calibration tools  (Read 6598 times)
Ronny Nilsen
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« on: August 23, 2006, 04:04:40 AM »
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I'm thinking of making my own profiles for the printers and papers I use, but what package is considered to be good, or best today?

The ColorVision PrintFIX Pro as reviewed here on LL earlier? Or one of the Eye-One Pro products from GretagMacbeth? Or something else?

Any suggestions would be welcome.

Regards,
Ronny
« Last Edit: August 23, 2006, 04:05:30 AM by ronnynil » Logged

Andrew Larkin
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2006, 05:21:09 AM »
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I'm thinking of making my own profiles for the printers and papers I use, but what package is considered to be good, or best today?

The ColorVision PrintFIX Pro as reviewed here on LL earlier? Or one of the Eye-One Pro products from GretagMacbeth? Or something else?

Any suggestions would be welcome.

Regards,
Ronny
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74194\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I use the Eye-One with the "basic" software (Eye One Match) and found it OK as a starting point.  The key limitation I found was that there were insufficient control points in the test charts around the grey vector to produce a particularly usable profile for B&W printing.  If the printer you are using is more-or-less close to the mark, then no problem.  But when the native colour output is outside a narrow band of colour, the test points on the chart don't give the detail required to bring things into line.  This is precisely what was happening with the Epson 4000 profiles I was building.

Faced with this problem, I either needed to drop a bundle of cash on a different (professional?) level software product or come up with another solution.  Having a background in software development, I chose the latter and have produced my own test charts and reference files that work with the basic software to produce a vastly better profile - by using more than twice the number of patches and having them distributed through the colour space in a more useful way.

The pro software gives you the ability to create your own charts and such, but the software cost dwarfs the hardware cost.

The other alternative solution was to develop two sets of profiles.  One for colour (using unadjusted printer colour), and one for BW (with driver colour correction turned on).  This latter method gives quite good BW neutrality at the sacrifice of colour gamut.

Regards
Andrew
Sydney
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Ronny Nilsen
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2006, 03:13:12 AM »
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Thank you for sharing you experince, wery useful for me!

I guess I could do the same as you with the Eye-One (I'm also a sw developer), but after reading a bit it seems that the ColorVision PrintFIX will do the job for less money without me havning to spend time tweeking the sw. But is the ColorVision solutions as accurate as the Eye-One?
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digitaldog
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2006, 08:53:12 AM »
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Thank you for sharing you experince, wery useful for me!

I guess I could do the same as you with the Eye-One (I'm also a sw developer), but after reading a bit it seems that the ColorVision PrintFIX will do the job for less money without me havning to spend time tweeking the sw. But is the ColorVision solutions as accurate as the Eye-One?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74313\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

If you're referring to making printer profiles, there' s a world of difference in just the hardware between these two products (and price as well, as you'd expect). The EyeOne Pro Spectrophotometer is a true swiss army knife of Spectrophotometer's (the PrintFix instrument technically isn't even a Spectrophotometer). If you've ever spent time measuring patches, one at a time, it ware's thin real fast!  And from those on DP Review who've used it, apparently many do need to do a lot of tweaking of the paper profiles using the slider's in the software.
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Andrew Rodney
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Ronny Nilsen
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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2006, 03:03:11 AM »
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If you're referring to making printer profiles, there' s a world of difference in just the hardware between these two products (and price as well, as you'd expect). The EyeOne Pro Spectrophotometer is a true swiss army knife of Spectrophotometer's (the PrintFix instrument technically isn't even a Spectrophotometer). If you've ever spent time measuring patches, one at a time, it ware's thin real fast!  And from those on DP Review who've used it, apparently many do need to do a lot of tweaking of the paper profiles using the slider's in the software.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74343\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Does this mean that you would recomend buying the EyeOne Pro Spectrophotometer over the PrintFix? I would be willing to save money until I can aford  a more expensive solution if it's of better quality.

What sw comes with the "Eye-One Photo" package? Is it the basic sw that Andrew have, or is it more complete an usable?

Not easy to pick a product here.  
« Last Edit: August 25, 2006, 03:03:45 AM by ronnynil » Logged

digitaldog
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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2006, 08:06:10 AM »
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Does this mean that you would recomend buying the EyeOne Pro Spectrophotometer over the PrintFix?

If you can afford it absolutely. It provides a much faster and better (more flexible) instrument and software plus an upgrade path to other products (the i0, Beamer etc). You can use it to measure ambient light and strobe, profile projectors etc. There are literally thousands of EyeOne's in the market and it has years of a track record.

The ColorVision stuff can work. But if you'll pardon an analogy, it's like shooting with a point and shoot compared to a true DSLR. You'll bet pictures with both of course.
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Andrew Rodney
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Fred Ragland
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2006, 09:40:18 AM »
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If you can afford it absolutely. It provides a much faster and better (more flexible) instrument and software plus an upgrade path to other products (the i0, Beamer etc). You can use it to measure ambient light and strobe, profile projectors etc. There are literally thousands of EyeOne's in the market and it has years of a track record.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74435\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I'm one of the literal thousands who have used an Eye-One for years.  As Andrew noted, its great strength is versatility...with Eye-One Photo you can read color from any source, calibrate and profile monitors,printers, consumeables, cameras,etc., edit the profiles and measure spot colors.  GMB came out with a new spectro last year that reads twice as fast as the previous one.  And if you really get into profiling and printing, Profile Maker 5 is the upgrade path to advanced capabilities.  To support all of this, GMB offers training.  See their website.

Of course, all of this comes at a price.  Eye-One photo, for example, is quoted on the GMB site for $1495, less if you shop around.
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Ed Foster, Jr.
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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2006, 10:00:49 AM »
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Not easy to pick a product here. 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74413\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Ronny,

I would like to share another thought with you.  Consider having someone who has top of the line equipment and software make a good custom profile for you for one paper.  There are a few specialist who are very experienced and are using larger targets even - Andrew Rodney is one - who produce a top of the line, quality profile with neutrality, smooth tonal gradations, etc.  Then, if you really see the cost and time feasibility of doing your own, you will have at least one really good profile to measure your work by and a benchmark for quality.

It is kinda like the guy who takes his film or digital files to the local processor versus making his own prints.  When you see the local processor's prints, you begin to believe that it what your work should look like, when in reality there is soooo much more information available.  Look at really good prints from really good photographers to learn what a really good print should look like.

However, without some kind of a "benchmark" for quality, you will never understand just how much you are capable of achieving with the equipment that you have at hand.

Good Luck,
Ed
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Ed Foster, Jr.
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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2006, 11:18:59 PM »
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Quote from: Andrew Larkin,Aug 23 2006, 05:21 AM
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different (professional?) level software product or come up with another solution.  Having a background in software development, I chose the latter and have produced my own test charts and reference files that work with the basic software to produce a vastly better profile - by using more than twice the


Andrew, I tried to do this, and could not get Match to recognise the larger targets.  Can you explain?
Thanks!
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Ronny Nilsen
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2006, 06:09:19 AM »
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Thanks to all for all the advice given, I think I'll follow  Ed's advice by having someone make a good custom profile. That way I'll have a profile for use now, and something to compare agains later when I make my own profiles.

Andrew and Freds advice about the Eye-One also sounds good. I think it's better to buy something more expensive that will be used and give quality and pleasure using it, rather than save some money and end up with somthing that's not good enough and that will not be used.

Again, thank you!
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rueyloon
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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2006, 09:40:10 AM »
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may I jump in ?

I have the eyeone photo and I can't get satisfactory profiles, I followed the instruction to a T, can some one help me figure out what's wrong ?

guess the most important question first, how do I judge the print ? I have some some solux D50 bulbs setup, an old gretag lightbox, and the usual florescent and daylight. non of those looks like my print....... I bought the solux bulbs because I tot that was the proper setup but it does not show anything that matches the screen, I don't trust the gretag light box because it is very old.

overall, the printout seems to be biased towards yellow when printed out.
I edit with softproof and I print from photoshop with profiles properly defined there, printer color management is turned off.

I have a 4800, help.... help....

I can't accept that this is as good as it gets after spending so much money and I still end up "reverse editing" to get my prints to match the screen.

cheers
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digitaldog
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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2006, 09:49:52 AM »
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may I jump in ?

I have the eyeone photo and I can't get satisfactory profiles, I followed the instruction to a T, can some one help me figure out what's wrong ?

guess the most important question first, how do I judge the print ? I have some some solux D50 bulbs setup, an old gretag lightbox, and the usual florescent and daylight. non of those looks like my print....... I bought the solux bulbs because I tot that was the proper setup but it does not show anything that matches the screen, I don't trust the gretag light box because it is very old.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74544\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

How many patches are you measurning? I'd want at least 918 for an Epson.

Your lighting sounds OK (few users have either which is a shame). The Solux are awesome and usually the issue is controlling their brightness in relationship to the luminance of the display. But you seem to have a bigger issue (a color cast). You also need to examine how you're calibrating the display (what white point?). So is this a color cast on the print or you're just not happy with the screen to print matching?
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Andrew Rodney
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rueyloon
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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2006, 12:26:53 PM »
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How many patches are you measurning? I'd want at least 918 for an Epson.

Your lighting sounds OK (few users have either which is a shame). The Solux are awesome and usually the issue is controlling their brightness in relationship to the luminance of the display. But you seem to have a bigger issue (a color cast). You also need to examine how you're calibrating the display (what white point?). So is this a color cast on the print or you're just not happy with the screen to print matching?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74546\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm using the default 2 page RGB patch inside Eyeone Match. I have an apple 23inch LCD, the older one with the plastic bezel. I calibrated it to 6500K. As for the last part of your question, I guess I'm not expert enough to tell the diff (color cast vs screen to print matching), I just would like the print to be more predictable.

I check the profile I created under colorsync and I noticed that the profile does not hit 0,0,0 for black, (as I inteprete it). The original epson profile hits the point where the X,Y and Z axis meet.

let me volunteer as much info as I can...
1) I use "perceptual" under softproof and also when printing.
2) The colorspace of the printed files are usually in sRGB
3) The patch is printed from Eyeone Match (think you advised againt printing inside PS CS2), with color control off in the printer control panel
4) Color control is either

a) managed inside photoshop, off in printer control panel
 NOT managed inside photoshop, using colorsync in printer control panel
c) softproof and converted to profile, and all color control off

thanks for jumping in, you're great.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2006, 12:43:38 PM »
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I check the profile I created under colorsync and I noticed that the profile does not hit 0,0,0 for black, (as I inteprete it). The original epson profile hits the point where the X,Y and Z axis meet.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74558\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

IF you're referring to the Epson profiles from Japan (not the ones made in the US), those are artificially built (edited) to show this on a 3D gamut map but don't really produce this.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2006, 12:59:16 PM »
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IF you're referring to the Epson profiles from Japan (not the ones made in the US), those are artificially built (edited) to show this on a 3D gamut map but don't really produce this.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74560\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

IC, so I guess that's one concern out of mind. are you able to spot anything that I'm doing wrong ?

cheers
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digitaldog
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« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2006, 02:14:12 PM »
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IC, so I guess that's one concern out of mind. are you able to spot anything that I'm doing wrong ?

cheers
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=74562\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hard to diagnose remotely. Key is figuring out if the output is OK and it's the soft proof you need to look at or the opposite. Usually I'll output a file I know has known (good) color conditions like a step wedge, memory colors etc. I have a test file I use on my site (tips and trick page) you can use or you can roll your own.
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Andrew Rodney
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