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Author Topic: Rendering Intents for Customers  (Read 3475 times)
ThePhotoDude
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« on: May 13, 2009, 03:20:07 PM »
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I print for clients who send me their photography through my website.

I normally print using Relative Colorimetric (RC) and have never had a problem.
Up until now that is ..

Received a print back where the colors were all wrong, too dark, over saturated etc.
I recalibrated the printer, I re-profiled (which made it worse for some reason, so I went back to previous profile), and still couldn't get it right.

I thought I would try printing using Perceptual (P) and, yes, that fixed it!

My concern, is, how do I tell (I use Qimage) how a customer has softproofed it using what intent? Or do they 'Assign' a profile or 'Convert to profile' or what?
I can't check every image to see what works best, or do I?

What does everyone else do who aren't printing there own stuff?
All advice welcome, thanks.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 03:21:06 PM by ThePhotoDude » Logged
madmanchan
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2009, 03:35:46 PM »
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I would have them send you images in a standard working space (e.g., ProPhoto RGB, Adobe RGB) instead of already converted to the printer space. Then you can soft proof it on your side and decide on a per-image basis which of the 2 intents you prefer. And yes if you're looking for the best starting point then you may need to do this on a per-image basis. That's what the soft proof is for.
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ThePhotoDude
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2009, 03:51:10 PM »
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Correction to the above - The Perceptual print is awful. The colours seem right but huge areas (in the shadows) of solid black.

I am not sure what's going on, I have never had this trouble before.

My customer mentioned to me that they assign, or convert, (i can't remember which) a profile in Photoshop. Is it possible we are getting some sort of mismatch? Double profiling?
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2009, 04:25:39 PM »
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Quote from: ThePhotoDude
Correction to the above - The Perceptual print is awful. The colours seem right but huge areas (in the shadows) of solid black.

I am not sure what's going on, I have never had this trouble before.

My customer mentioned to me that they assign, or convert, (i can't remember which) a profile in Photoshop. Is it possible we are getting some sort of mismatch? Double profiling?

Whenever I've sent out offsite print jobs, I have been asked by the printer to provide an appropriately sized, profiled print, such that all they have to do is run the file through the printer.  I think that you should lay out specific guidlines for what you expect.  Generally, this breaks down into two options:

1)  The client softproofs, converts the colorspace using the appropriate profiles that (s)he downloads from the printer, and sends you the file ready to go.  The client should provide the rendering intent.  You will need to provide a profile for each paper type that you offer.

2)  The client just sends you the file, preferably in a wide gamut space like ProPhoto, and you softproof/convert.  You should charge extra for this.

John
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 04:26:39 PM by button » Logged
JeffKohn
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2009, 06:10:11 PM »
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My experience based on sending files to various labs in the past is that most of them seem to use perceptual intent. I guess that is the safe choice, since most images will look OK with perceptual. Rel-col will usually be better for images that fit within the printer's gamut in my experience; but for images that exceed the printer's gamut rel-col can be a poor choice. So places that want to stick to a single workflow tend to favor perceptual.

If you're going to be giving individual attention to each image, you could handle this in two ways:

1) Have them send you the files in a standard working space, and you can soft-proof the different intents to decide which is best. The benefit here is that you probably know more about color management and rendering intents than the customer does, and can make a more informed decision. The negative is that in the end your choice of rendering intent is still subjective, and there's no guarantee that what you think looks best will agree with the what the client thinks looks best. Another negative is that soft-proofing may indicate problems that can only be addressed through more editing.

2) Provide your printer profile to the client, so that they can use it for soft-proofing during editing. They can also convert to the profile using the rendering intent of their choice so that all you have to do is send the image to the printer. This gives the client more flexibility if they know what they're doing; on the other hand they can screw up pretty badly if they don't know what they're doing (for instance, assigning the profile instead of converting).

If I were the client, I would definitely want (2) as an option, because being able to soft-proof during editing is important and I'm comfortable with color management concepts.

I guess you could take a middle-of-the road approach: make the profile available for those who want it and know how to use it. When you receive client files, if they're already converted to the printer profile just print them as-is. If they're in a standard working space, you can do the conversion as you deem best (this assumes you're not running a high-volume operation and are willing to soft-proof the files before printing).  

Some files just aren't going to print well on some combinations of ink/paper, and it sounds like that may be the case with this particular image. Usually these types of images will need some additional adjustment based on the soft-proof (for instance desaturating the shadows a bit when printing on matte papers, etc).
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tived
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2009, 12:10:42 AM »
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Hi,

Your images that look great on your calibrated screen, to say 6500K 2.2gamma and 120cdm/2, however, because you are not taking into account the color of the paper and how the ink is absorbed, in other words, the paper black is very different to your monitor black. Therefor you need to compensate for this, but you can't do that till you know what to set that black point to :-) The Holy Grail to Printing off site.

Knowing where you are going, as in you know your colors will fit the majority of the colors within the destination output color space, use Rel-Col. If you have no clue what that may be, no fault on your behalf, but the information is just not made available, then output to a known standard for the particular type printer/press you will be going to. and if you are still not sure, then go to Perceptual :-) the price you are paying is loss of detail, and maybe blocked up colors, bleeding into one solid color where there was once details.

:-)

Good luck - ask away if you have more questions

Henrik
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ThePhotoDude
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2009, 01:22:08 PM »
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Thanks for all the answers ..

Some strange goings on here.

Yes I provide profiles to my customers for different papers.

I have identified the issue a bit more:

I have received some images from a client:

They have assigned my profile to the image; when I view in CS4, it looks good, skin tones etc.
When I print in Qimage (using my profile (the same one as the customer has used)), the skin tones are all red, awful.
If I softproof in Qimage, it looks good, like viewing in CS4 as above.

So where are these red skin tones coming from?

I go back to CS4, I assign sRGB to the image - wow, very punchy, looks better than my profile - to be expected I guess as my profile is for printing.
Still no red skin.

I assign aRGB to the image, and bang, there it is, the red skin tones....

So it appears that my printer is printing using Adobe RGB (at least the colours look the same), even tho' the image has been assigned MY profile, and in Qimage I am printing using MY profile AND before anyone asks, I am printing using Application Managed Colors.

BTW, my paper is calibrated and I have tried re-profiled the printer using a 1728 patch target.
This is a Z3100.

Side note: If I get an image from a customer where they haven't assigned a profile, then it prints perfect.

Thanks


EDIT: I just tried this print from CS4,

Image has MY profile assigned - normal skin tones
Printed from CS4 using MY profile and Application Managed Colours
The resulting print has red skins tones, very similar to what AdobeRGB profiling looks like.
Why oh why?
« Last Edit: May 21, 2009, 02:20:23 PM by ThePhotoDude » Logged
JeffKohn
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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2009, 02:28:17 PM »
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They have assigned my profile to the image
I'm not sure if you're using the wrong term here, or if they really did assign the profile. But they shouldn't do that. They should convert to your printer profile, not assign. I'm not sure that explains the difference you see between screen and print, but it's definitely an issue to be concerned about.
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ThePhotoDude
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« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2009, 02:48:25 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
I'm not sure if you're using the wrong term here, or if they really did assign the profile. But they shouldn't do that. They should convert to your printer profile, not assign. I'm not sure that explains the difference you see between screen and print, but it's definitely an issue to be concerned about.


Possible they HAVE converted, it shows My Profile Name in the box underneath the picture (Document Profile) in CS4. I have used the word Assign wrongly I guess, but who knows what they have done?
If they ASSIGNED and sent it to me, would it show up in the Document Profile box in my Photoshop?

The trouble, is, it soft proofs perfectly both in CS4 and in Qimage. It seems that on the way to the printer, or the printer doing this, it's going back to aRGB.
I am now stressing big time, have prints stacking up and running out of time and using shedloads of paper.

EDIT: In Qimage, the orginal JPG the customer has sent shows: NOT A VALID ICC PROFILE - If I save as a TIFF (which I do sometimes to amke an adjustment) it show My profile correctly.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2009, 03:00:51 PM by ThePhotoDude » Logged
ThePhotoDude
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« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2009, 05:29:27 PM »
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OK, a cheap trick, but for now it's giving me results .....

I take each image, I convert to sRGB profile in CS4.
I print in Qimage using My printer profile.
It looks perfect.

Not ideal as I really want to understand what is going wrong.

Much appreciated, Thanks.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2009, 02:12:18 PM »
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Quote from: ThePhotoDude
OK, a cheap trick, but for now it's giving me results .....

I take each image, I convert to sRGB profile in CS4.
I print in Qimage using My printer profile.
It looks perfect.

Not ideal as I really want to understand what is going wrong.

Much appreciated, Thanks.


Problem is you most likely will clip some of the colors of your clients file to something smaller than your printers space.  Depending on what printer you are using it may be less than desirable. I assume the file is coming to you tagged in the clients working space and you are providing your printer profile to the client so they can soft proof.

IF the problem is rendering intent, 3 solutions come to mind. One is simply state which rendering intent will be used so the client knows to make all corrections using that intent when soft proofing (easiest).  2nd would be a method where the rendering intent can be indicated, perhaps by some acronym in the file name, if the wish to use an intent different than your default.  3rd would be for them to do the actual conversion into the printer space with your profile and the intent of their choice, and you would then send the file to the printer without color management.

Of course if your clients aren't that advanced, you may just have to live with your solution ... it's probably good enough for them.

Just some random thoughts.
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ThePhotoDude
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2009, 03:17:34 PM »
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Quote from: Wayne Fox
Problem is you most likely will clip some of the colors of your clients file to something smaller than your printers space.  Depending on what printer you are using it may be less than desirable. I assume the file is coming to you tagged in the clients working space and you are providing your printer profile to the client so they can soft proof.

IF the problem is rendering intent, 3 solutions come to mind. One is simply state which rendering intent will be used so the client knows to make all corrections using that intent when soft proofing (easiest).  2nd would be a method where the rendering intent can be indicated, perhaps by some acronym in the file name, if the wish to use an intent different than your default.  3rd would be for them to do the actual conversion into the printer space with your profile and the intent of their choice, and you would then send the file to the printer without color management.

Of course if your clients aren't that advanced, you may just have to live with your solution ... it's probably good enough for them.

Just some random thoughts.

You're right, it doesn't convert 'back' to sRGB, in the sense of regaining the reduced gamut.

Yes, I provide my printer/paper profile to the customer and this has come back tagged with the profile.  I always print using RC intent, my client has come back and says he 'Assigned' and used Perceptual.

Is there any way I can tell from the tag, what rendering intent they used? And if they Assigned or Converted?

Also, that last point you made, when they send through images that have been converted, I send to the printer 'with COLOR UNMANAGED??' ... this could be my issue - I send to the printer using my profile. Am I double profiling? My shadow detail is all blocked up and yuk. If I send to the printer without color management will it automatically know what rendering intent they used when they converted?

Thanks
« Last Edit: May 26, 2009, 03:19:13 PM by ThePhotoDude » Logged
Wayne Fox
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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2009, 03:42:10 PM »
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Quote from: ThePhotoDude
You're right, it doesn't convert 'back' to sRGB, in the sense of regaining the reduced gamut.

Yes, I provide my printer/paper profile to the customer and this has come back tagged with the profile.  I always print using RC intent, my client has come back and says he 'Assigned' and used Perceptual.

Is there any way I can tell from the tag, what rendering intent they used? And if they Assigned or Converted?

Also, that last point you made, when they send through images that have been converted, I send to the printer 'with COLOR UNMANAGED??' ... this could be my issue - I send to the printer using my profile. Am I double profiling? My shadow detail is all blocked up and yuk. If I send to the printer without color management will it automatically know what rendering intent they used when they converted?

Thanks

The client shouldn't be "assigning" a profile.  If he is "assigning" your printer profile to the file before he sends it to you I can smell major problems.  

As I mentioned, 2 options.  Leave the file assigned to his working space, and use the printer profile in the soft proof function in Photoshop to tweak the file to optimize the output.  With this option you still have the issue as to which rendering intent he used when soft proofing ... you can't tell that from the file itself.  The only way to I can think of for the client to communicate which rendering intent he wants is through a file name acronym or some such mechanic.

The other option I mentioned is he can literally convert the file into the printer space using whatever rendering intent he chooses, tweak till satisfied, then send you the file which you would then print with no color management ... otherwise you will double profile.  This is the only way I can see where he can control the rendering intent and you don't have to be concerned with it - you just print it.

Either way, the printer profile shouldn't be "assigned".

If the file is converted to your printer space, you should be able to print it without color management and it will look OK.  If instead it was assigned to the printer space you can reassign it to AdobeRGB or ppRGB, then print it with color management, and it should look OK.
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