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Author Topic: How do you utilize printer profiles?  (Read 1640 times)
WernerG
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« on: October 28, 2011, 02:34:31 PM »
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I have a printer/paper profile (for a print service or a home printer) and when I soft-proof against my processed raw or tiff file, I see color changes that I don't like so I want to correct the image before sending it to the printer or the service.  What is the process one uses for doing this?  Is it just fiddling with color sliders until the print version with the printer profile looks like the original?  Or is there a more rigorous way of doing this?  It would seem that differences between known monitor profiles and known printer profiles would be calculable such that a preset that would mitigate the changes could be computed or procedurally determined. 

A basic assumption here is that there are no changes in color-space.  I'm aware that changing color-spaces complicates things but I'm trying to keep the question simple.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2011, 03:43:02 PM »
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I assume that you are using photoshop for the soft-proofing - the following predicates on this.

1. import file into Ps - use Profoto RGB as the colour space in both raw processing and in Ps.
2. duplicate the file once in Ps.
3. display both images side by side so one can see them both simultaneously.
4. use view to softproof on of the images using the appropriate profile for the printer/paper combination.
5. make sure that paper colour and black ink simulation are on.
6. the image tends to look strange at this point.
7. use layers to tweak contrast (curves) and possibly also a hue/saturation adjustment.
8. occasionally local corrections are also required.
9. try to make the softproofed file look like the duplicate.
10. this a season to taste approach.
11. most files need individual attention.


Look at the latest LuLa video dealing with colour management and printing for more details.

Regards

Tony Jay
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WernerG
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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2011, 04:40:31 PM »
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Thanks for your answer Tony, but no, I'm using Capture NX2 as my editor.  Sorry, I thought there might be a more generic process.  

I should add that in NX2 I can put the original and the soft proof side by side and edit the soft proof copy to try to get it to look like the other.  That seems like a hit or miss operation when it would seem that there is enough information in the profiles for one to be converted into the other mechanically. 
« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 04:53:04 PM by WernerG » Logged
Nigel Johnson
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« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2011, 11:00:01 AM »
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A basic assumption here is that there are no changes in color-space.  I'm aware that changing color-spaces complicates things but I'm trying to keep the question simple.

Werner,

You are incorrect in stating that there is no change in colour-space as you are changing from the colour-space being used in NX2* to the colour-space of the printer, represented by the printer/paper/ink profile. As such NX2 has to attempt a colour-space change and make an attempt to convert the colours between the mismatched profiles. This conversion is already attempting to make a good match but cannot know which colours are important to you and whether you would prefer a saturation change or a colour change if needed to fit the output profile.

Does NX2 offer different choices for the rendering intent, ie a choice between perceptual matching or relative colourimetric matching? If it does, you should first try the alternative rendering intent. If this isn't possible or doesn't help then you should be looking at local corrections (ie assume that NX2 offers local corrections) to those areas where you wish to make changes, rather than global corrections that are likely to change areas that you are happy with.

Regards,
Nigel

* Or the colour-spage of the image - I am not certain which is the case as I do not know how NX2 works. When printing in Photoshop it would be the colour-space of the image, whereas when printing in Lightroom it would be the Melisa RGB colour-space used internally by Lightroom.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2011, 11:18:47 AM by Nigel Johnson » Logged
WernerG
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« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2011, 11:42:54 AM »
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Thanks Nigel, I mentioned color space because I didn't want to add the complication of going from, say ProPhoto to sRGB and then trying to match monitor and printer profiles at the same time.  

When it comes to printing options, NX2 seems to have all the right options, 4 different rendering intents, side-by-side comparison of softproof and master images.  NX2 also has local masking for every adjustment and even layer blending, it just uses different terminology.  I really would like to avoid doing local adjustments.  That just seems like it opens up a whole array of opportunities to create a new version of the image, not a just color-corrected image.  

I did some experimenting in Lr and found that I could "almost" softproof.  I exported (to the same directory) a 16 bit tiff copy of the master rendered in the printer's profile and put it up in the compare view with the master.  Most of the differences I see in the NX2 softproof are visible in this Lr comparison but of course I can't set a rendering intent.  I would like to try and find a global preset that maps most of the changes I see from the printer profile to the master.  I know it can't be done perfectly.  I am using a test image with kids faces and color checker charts and lots of colored objects as the master.  So far I have a preset that gets the faces right, but surprisingly, to me anyway, there are still some strong reds and yellows in the color checker chart are off color yet the faces are right.  Almost everything I do to get the color checker right messes up the faces.  That's why I asked if there is a global procedure for doing this.  It just seems necessary for every image to have to be tailored since the difference between profiles is static.   fix one, fix them all?

Edit for new info
The printer profile I've been using is for a printing service, their printer, their paper.  They (Mpix) recommended a "perceptual" rendering so that's what I've been using for the soft proofing.  However, relative colorimetric completely eliminates the color and contrast changes everywhere.  So at this point my OP is moot.  I'm still a bit surprised that there isn't a procedure for creating a "best fit" between two profiles and then using that best fit on all images.  But I haven't been able to find one so maybe there isn't.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2011, 12:45:28 PM by WernerG » Logged
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