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Author Topic: Printing Targets Without Colour Management  (Read 16546 times)
Simon J.A. Simpson
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« on: November 14, 2009, 11:47:11 AM »
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Printing Targets Without Colour Management

The Eric Chan Workaround With Canon Printers – A Report


I have now found some time to test Eric Chan’s devious(!) workaround for printing colour profiling test targets without colour management.

My system configuration is Mac OSX 10.4.11 (Tiger), Photoshop CS4, Canon printers Pro9000 and iP4500 (with latest drivers).

I have used a print from Photoshop CS2 without Colour Management as a benchmark.

I am sorry to report that Eric’s workaround does not work in the above set-up.  The resulting target patches are too light.  I tried substituting the ProPhoto RGB Colour Space for Adobe RGB and the patches are printed lighter still, which is contrary to the suggestion that changing the colour space will make no difference to the printed output (something which I find hard to credit).  Previewing the workaround prints in CS4 displays clipping of some patches which would appear to suggest that colour management is indeed taking place.

The results of my testing can be seen in the attached file.

There are scans of four tests:
Photoshop CS2 – No Colour Management (benchmark)
Photoshop CS4 – No Colour Management
Photoshop CS4 – Eric Chan Workaround
Photoshop CS4 – Eric Chan Workaround (ProPhoto RGB)

I am really sorry Eric …

I recall that a similar suggestion was made to me by Tom Attix of Adobe, but using the Generic RGB colour space.  Sadly this did not work either.

There are here enough variables to start endless speculations and I suspect a blizzard of postings will follow !

I have to say that I am not convinced that the printer drivers are contributing to the problem, but this is my opinion based on supposition only.

Given that Mark Dubovoy checked the targets he printed (using the workaround) against his reference targets (printed earlier without using CS4 and Snow Leopard), and that they were near enough identical, this would seem to suggest that there is something different about the way Mac OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard) handles colour management compared to OSX 10.4 (Tiger).  As for Leopard (10.5), I can’t say.
Perhaps Mark could verify  this ?

In the meantime my personal, and strong, recommendation is not to rely on targets printed from CS4 to profile output devices such as printers; but to use an earlier version of Photoshop and Mac OS – one which is known from previous experience to produce accurate targets.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2009, 11:48:45 AM by SimonS » Logged
Doyle Yoder
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2009, 12:33:39 PM »
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I can tell you with SL, Canon iPF drivers for SL, and PSCS4 that they do work correctly.

The biggest factor is all this is with applications that use Apple's new printing path. At least with 10.5 and 10.6 if the drivers are written properly then you will get No Correction in the driver. If they are not written properly for the new printing path then you will get ColorSync in the drivers which will CM the print. I suspect with PSCS4 and Tiger you could get all kinds of different behaviors in the drivers.

But then again things happen like what we see with LR3 Beta where the old behavior of forcing ColorSync in the driver is back. Still can figure out why Adobe screwed that up.

Doyle
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2009, 04:02:34 AM »
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Quote from: SimonS
I have now found some time to test Eric Chan’s devious(!) workaround for printing colour profiling test targets without colour management.
My system configuration is Mac OSX 10.4.11 (Tiger)......
You've rather missed the point that the problem this workround addresses only happens with Leopard and later, NOT Tiger.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2009, 12:14:48 PM »
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Did you try Preview 5 in Snow Leopard?
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Andrew Rodney
Author “Color Management for Photographers”
http://digitaldog.net/
madmanchan
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« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2009, 01:38:53 PM »
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Thanks for your report, Simon.

Very surprising.

Follow-up question: Let's say you printed profile targets in CS2 (i.e., your reference). You have custom profiles built.

Are you able to successfully print images from CS4 using these custom profiles? (i.e., via Photoshop Manages Colors, etc.)

If so, do they match the results when printing the same test images -- also using the same custom profiles -- from CS2?
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Simon J.A. Simpson
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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2009, 04:32:04 AM »
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Hi Eric.

In an earlier post I reported only slight (probably negligible) differences between tests images printed from CS2 and CS4 as you have suggested.

I will, however, make a new series of tests - also incorporating some control prints - and hope to report back later this week.

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madmanchan
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« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2009, 12:02:57 PM »
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Hi Simon, thanks. The reason I asked those specific questions is because there really ought to be no difference between

(1) printing profile targets from CS4 using my proposed workaround, and
(2) printing regular images from CS4 using the common "Photoshop Manages Color" workflow

Both go through the exact same code path in CS4 (i.e., the "Photoshop Manages Colors" path), which in turn sets up the exact same output path to feed into the OS (and then the driver).
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Simon J.A. Simpson
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« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2009, 12:51:26 PM »
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The Eric Chan Workaround

Follow-up Report


Hi Eric.  Greetings from across The Pond.

I have done some more printing tests and, in answering your questions, here is what I have found.  I used a test print which encompasses some out-of-gamut colours as well as in-gamut colours to test the out-of-gamut rendering as well as the colour accuracy.

I used one custom profile for each of my two printers (but with two different papers) and a manufacturer’s profile.

There are no visual differences between prints produced in Photoshop CS4 and CS2.

Test Details
All the prints were made from Photoshop CS2 and CS4 using the Relative Intent and Black Point Compensation.
Print 1 – Canon Pro 9000 Ilford Smooth Gloss / Manufacturer’s Profile
Print 2 – Canon Pro 9000 Epson Glossy Premium Photo / Custom Profile
Print 3 – Canon iP4500 Kirkland / Custom Profile

To answer your questions:
Q1:  Are you able to successfully print images from CS4 using these custom profiles? (i.e., via Photoshop Manages Colors, etc.).
A1:  Yes.  There is a high degree of accuracy to the image produced on my monitor (usual caveats applying).
Q2:  If so, do they match the results when printing the same test images -- also using the same custom profiles -- from CS2?
A2:  Yes, they match.

I am happy to upload scans of the prints but since they all look near enough identical this won’t tell anyone very much.

Some More Information
[blockquote]1.     For me this situation first arose when I attempted to get some profiles made using CS4 for the first time with a new printer.  The service I was using identified the overly dark prints of the targets as a possible problem but made the profiles anyway.  The resulting prints using these profiles were awful.
2.   In addition I tried your workaround using PS CS2 and, (trumpet fanfare) it works as advertised ![/blockquote]

I need to reflect for a while on what conclusions can be drawn.

However, I believe that it would not be wise to trust targets printed from PS CS4 for the time being – certainly under Tiger (10.4) and Leopard (10.5).  It would be good to get the results of some more testing under Snow Leopard (10.6), with different printers and set-ups, to corroborate your first successful results.

I can’t help wondering whether there might be a few software engineers in Apple and Adobe who know the answers to our speculations.  I wish they could speak-out and put us out of our misery !
« Last Edit: November 17, 2009, 12:53:57 PM by SimonS » Logged
Doyle Yoder
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« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2009, 05:41:50 PM »
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In the iPF series Canon driver, when software is function properly in the printer driver under Color Matching both selections are grayed out but ColorSync is checked then in the Main option of the driver under Color Mode, No Correction is is the only selection and it is grayed out. This happens in PSCS4 when both PS Manages Color and when No CM is selected. When there is a problem with the Application (like Print with LRMC in LR3 Beta, ColorSync is still grayed out under Color Matching but under Main/Color Mode ColorSync is the only selection and grayed out.

How does this compare with your Canon drivers?

What happens in your drivers if you open a unmanaged target and print with Printer Manages Color and under the Color Matching option choose Vendor Matching can you select No Correction in Main/Color?

Doyle
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madmanchan
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« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2009, 08:15:25 PM »
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Thanks for your detailed report, Simon. They match my expectations, and yet I am confused. Since the proposed workaround (for printing profile targets) involves using the exact same method as when printing your real images -- i.e., Photoshop Manages Colors in CS4's print box, and the Canon driver settings remain the same in both cases -- I cannot understand why printing real images in CS4 works fine, but printing the profile target via the workaround does not.
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Simon J.A. Simpson
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« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2009, 11:14:57 AM »
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Hi Eric.

It puzzles me too.  However, I have a theory.

With both your workaround, and printing with colour management (allegedly) turned-off, the file seems to be subject to some form of 'colour management' - even though the results are quite different.

I asked myself, therefore, what might be the same about both these cases.  I believe the answer may lie in the metadata which accompanies the image (and this is where I am out of my depth and is pure speculation on my part).  In both cases CS4 could be saying 'I am not doing anything to this image, I have not colour managed this document, no colour transform is taking place'[1] so when it hands the file over to the Mac OS the OS (ColorSync ?) is saying 'OK then, I'll colour manage this file', and does.
In the case of the untagged file the OS is perhaps tagging the file in some way[2] (perhaps also making a transformation and/or perhaps telling the printer to colour manage it ?)[3].
In the case your workaround it is either transforming the data into the printer's default profile[4] or doing something else ?  (was something similar not the case with some Epson printers ?)

*  NOTES
1.   I am reliably informed that in the case of your workaround Photoshop may interpret printing to the same colour space as the file’s tagged profile (both Adobe RGB) as a “null transform” and so do nothing.
2.   It is possible that tagging does take place since we know that Apple’s new APIs require every image to have a profile attached to it.
3.   There is some slight evidence for this since the result is a much darker print which can be a symptom of ‘double’ colour management.
4.   This could explain the much lighter print ?

In the case of a Photoshop colour managed print, made from a tagged image file, Photoshop is making the transformation into the printer’s profiled colour space, and is ‘telling’ the OS that it is doing the colour management and has completed the transformation; and from the metadata the OS presumably says ‘OK I’ll do nothing’ and hands it over to the printer driver, which knows also from the metadata to print without colour management (and is pre-selected in the driver anyway) and does nothing also.  So this works as advertised and everyone’s happy.

Finally, and of course, we know that the reason why your workaround works in CS2 is because it using the ‘old’ Apple APIs.  And in Snow Leopard it would appear that Apple have changed something.

Sorry, this is a bit speculative really;  and I can imagine the software engineers at Apple and Adobe tittering into their hands at my ignorance.
Any further thoughts and informed speculation gratefully received.

However, the bottom line is that Apple, Adobe, and/or the printer manufacturers need to get this fixed.  They’ve known about this since at least April 2009, and probably from the end of 2008.  Nearly a year has passed and we’ve yet to hear an ‘official’ peep out any of them on this matter.

Eric, thanks for all your hard work and continuing interest in this issue.
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Simon J.A. Simpson
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« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2009, 11:23:16 AM »
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Quote from: DYP
In the iPF series Canon driver, when software is function properly in the printer driver under Color Matching both selections are grayed out but ColorSync is checked then in the Main option of the driver under Color Mode, No Correction is is the only selection and it is grayed out. This happens in PSCS4 when both PS Manages Color and when No CM is selected. When there is a problem with the Application (like Print with LRMC in LR3 Beta, ColorSync is still grayed out under Color Matching but under Main/Color Mode ColorSync is the only selection and grayed out.

How does this compare with your Canon drivers?

What happens in your drivers if you open a unmanaged target and print with Printer Manages Color and under the Color Matching option choose Vendor Matching can you select No Correction in Main/Color?

Doyle

Hi Doyle.

My drivers work as expected with all the correct colour management options greyed-out in the driver -- depending on what Photoshop is being told to do.  So Photoshop and the driver appear to be correctly communicating with each other.

Thank you, I like your suggestion for printing an un-tagged target and will try it over the weekend.
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madmanchan
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« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2009, 02:25:33 PM »
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Simon, you're very much on the right track. Basically, Photoshop's "Photoshop Manages Colors" does tag the document before handing it over to the OS. It tags it with whatever is selected in the Printer Profile popup in the Print dialog box.

Which reminds me of something ...

When you tried my workaround to print RGB profile targets from CS4, did you by any chance accidentally choose "Working Space - Adobe RGB (1998)" from the Printer Profile popup menu in CS4's Print box? If you've assigned Adobe RGB (1998) to the image, it's very important to choose "Adobe RGB (1998)" from the Printer Profile popup in the Print box, and not "Working Space - Adobe RGB (1998)"

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eronald
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« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2009, 06:30:25 PM »
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It sounds like we caught Apple's attention, and things will get fixed soon. The following was posted on several developer lists today.
I particularly like the fact that printing charts will now become a use-case for testing of future drivers.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On Nov 15, 2009, at 2:07 PM, edmund ronald wrote:
...
Then, please Michael, can you tell us how to get CS4 and Preview to
print untagged (targets etc) *reliably* on pro Epsons *today* ? Or
could you release a simple fix that would allow us to do that?
Many of us save print files for a given printer in untagged  -eg.I
save  composite images created to compare various gamut mappings-
directly to untagged, and print there.
...

Apologies for the delay in responding, but I wanted to make sure I had all of my information straight.

First, here is an article that started serious investigations within Apple:

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/solving.shtml

This article includes a workaround for the problem, which is a combination of CS4 and Epson driver bugs that also show up on Leopard (10.5) if you use the latest Epson driver there.  The workaround (use AdobeRGB as a working space and the ColorSync profile in the print dialog) will also work in Preview, although there you just tweak the profile in the print dialog.

In any case, we are working with both vendors to get an actual fix for this and are looking at ways to "idiot-proof" this color path so that we don't get this problem again.  We're also adding this particular use case to our standard testing so we can better catch target printing problems before releasing new drivers via Software Update.

___________________________________________________
Michael Sweet, Senior Printing System Engineer


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Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
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« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2009, 08:02:11 PM »
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Simon Simpson (SimonS?) appears to have alerted BJP as well...

Adobe addresses Photoshop CS4 printing issues, 19 November 2009

Quote
Contacted by BJP, Adobe has confirmed the issue. 'We are aware that it has been challenging for our customers to print accurate targets for profiling printers from Photoshop CS4 (impacting Mac OSX -10.4, 10.5 and 10.6.),' says Adobe. 'In the meantime, we have provided the community with a work-around for this issue. We are currently addressing the overarching issue of driver/OS changes to ensure our customers have a better experience, moving forward. Stay tuned for further updates from us around this, as we are working on a better solution.'
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Simon J.A. Simpson
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« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2009, 09:32:38 AM »
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Quote from: madmanchan
When you tried my workaround to print RGB profile targets from CS4, did you by any chance accidentally choose "Working Space - Adobe RGB (1998)" from the Printer Profile popup menu in CS4's Print box? If you've assigned Adobe RGB (1998) to the image, it's very important to choose "Adobe RGB (1998)" from the Printer Profile popup in the Print box, and not "Working Space - Adobe RGB (1998)"


Hi Eric.

You know what, I'm not sure.  I'll try the test again making sure I don't pick the 'working space Adobe RGB'.
Just to make sure I've understood the first part of this workaround: when assigning the Adobe RGB profile to the file I should pick 'Adobe RGB (1998)' and not the Adobe RGB working colour space ?

However, that said, I did not get an accurate target print using ProPhoto RGB (not the working space) - so I'm not sure this will help.  But it's certainly worth a try.

What's this "we" Adobe are talking about with the workaround you created ... ?!
And who are the 'idiots'[sic] here, that Apple are having to "... get an actual fix for this and are looking at ways to "idiot-proof" this color path" ?

Grins.
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Doyle Yoder
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« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2009, 09:44:16 AM »
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Idiot Proofing!

As I see it this is exactly why we are in the trouble we are in right now. Instead of using the workflow idea of Apple's old printing path where one had complete control of all printer driver settings, the new printing path tries to make things default in the driver. As it is now implemented (in the new path) when application manages color is selected if the driver behaves correctly it should turn off colormanagement. But when something is wrong in the whole printflow it defaults to ColorSync. Witness LR3 Beta compared to LR2. Somebody screwed up there. But release LR3 with that behavior and watch the blame game heat up again.

As for me, give me all the control back and quit trying to idiot proof this. If people want to get correct prints let them learn how to do it. As it is now we are all chasing a moving target and with every new release it needs tested on none main work partitions to see if some new screw up has been implemented. I don't believe that a lot of software designers really understand CM and that also contributes to this problem. For example a canned profile if linked to the media setting in colorsync may print just fine when chosen in the application even though it is double profiling, but of course print correcly because it is doing it with the same profile. But just try that with a custom profile. If people don't realize what is going on they start chasing all kinds of ideas which is what these forums are mostly filed with.

Bottom line is if one little thing in this forced workflow is not talking properly with the other then double profiling occurs. A perfect example of this is the LR3 Beta release compared with LR 2 and PSCS4. Blame who you want but in this scenario only Abode changed things.

"The bad thing about idiot proofing something, it only works until they produce a better idiot"

Doyle
« Last Edit: November 20, 2009, 09:48:19 AM by DYP » Logged
Simon J.A. Simpson
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« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2009, 12:26:55 PM »
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Eric.
I have reprinted the target, this time assigning Adobe RGB (1998) as the profile and printed, as per the instructions posted by Mark; but ensuring I have selected Adobe RGB (1998) in the printer dialogue (NOT the working space profile !).
Sorry.  The results are the same - a print which is too light.

Doyle.
I have tried two versions of your suggestion, letting the 'Printer Manage Colors' and then turning-off colour management in the printer driver.  One attempt used an untagged target, and one a target tagged (profile 'assigned') with Adobe RGB (1998).
An interesting but contradictory result this.  First, the two prints are identical.  Second, the overall, print density is (visually) the same as the reference prints (PS CS2) but some of the colour patches with different colour values have printed without discrimination.  By this I mean that they have printed visually the same, but are printed visually differently on the reference print (I hope I have made this clear).  I would still not trust these prints to make profile.

As Doyle has already pointed-out we are going round and round in circles here.  At this point I think I have to stop (paper and ink are running out !) and wait to see what Adobe and Apple come up with.  Come on chaps get to it !

Good wishes to all and have great weekend.
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Desmond
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« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2009, 10:59:21 AM »
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Simon,

What is the woking space setting in your CS4 when testing Eric's work around?
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Regards,

Desmond
Simon J.A. Simpson
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« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2009, 11:12:48 AM »
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Quote from: Desmond
Simon,

What is the woking space setting in your CS4 when testing Eric's work around?

Adobe RGB (1998)
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