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Author Topic: Color management/Printing Workflow Question  (Read 9732 times)
Bryan Conner
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« on: December 30, 2011, 05:16:15 AM »
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I do not print my own images.  I either send them to a Photo Lab for printing on a Frontier or Durst printer, or I send them to a printer that uses an Epson GS6000 or another printer that uses an Epson Stylus 9900.  I have printer/paper profiles that each company has provided for me.  I also am able to utilize soft-proofing in CS5, make adjustments to compensate for saturation etc.  No problems with the understanding there.  My problem is knowing exactly what to do when I am saving the file that will be sent to the printing company.  Should I save my file in my working space (ProPhoto), or should I convert it to another and imbed the printer/paper profile before sending it to be printed?  If I were printing myself, I would not have this uncertainty.

I have spent several hours over the past week on doing Google searches, searching here on the forum etc. And have not found a clear answer to my question.  I also was hoping to gain clear understanding about this in the Capture 2 Print videos, but they very effectively deal with using your own printer and printing via Photoshop or Lightroom, but not when sending files out to be printed.

I have asked the company that uses the GS6000 and they told me: "an ICC Profile embedded in your pictures is not necessary for printing. Color space should be RGB - otherwise the upload doesn´t work anyway. Permitted Formats are *.jpg *.jpeg *.gif *.png *.tif *.tiff *.bmp   All our products are printed on EPSON GS 6000 InkJet printing systems and only differ in further processing and finishing.  We are looking forward to produce your pictures for you. If you have any further questions feel free to ask."  I live in Germany and am not fluent in German, especially when it comes to such specific technical questions.  So, I am not sure if the communication between me and the printing co is accurate.

Any help, or direction to enable me to educate myself is greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance.
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Rainer Ots
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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2011, 06:33:09 AM »
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I have asked the company that uses the GS6000 and they told me: "an ICC Profile embedded in your pictures is not necessary for printing. Color space should be RGB - otherwise the upload doesn´t work anyway. Permitted Formats are *.jpg *.jpeg *.gif *.png *.tif *.tiff *.bmp   All our products are printed on EPSON GS 6000 InkJet printing systems and only differ in further processing and finishing.  We are looking forward to produce your pictures for you. If you have any further questions feel free to ask."

That sounds like a typical answer from a lab that doesn't know anything about color management. You have to make some guesses here and hope that they work at least consistently (always same settings).
"Color space should be RGB"  - that basically means "dont' send us CMYK files".
"an ICC Profile embedded in your pictures is not necessary for printing" - they either assume everything is in sRGB or in printer profile space or really don't know what they are talking about.
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Bryan Conner
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« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2011, 06:55:06 AM »
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That sounds like a typical answer from a lab that doesn't know anything about color management. You have to make some guesses here and hope that they work at least consistently (always same settings).
"Color space should be RGB"  - that basically means "dont' send us CMYK files".
"an ICC Profile embedded in your pictures is not necessary for printing" - they either assume everything is in sRGB or in printer profile space or really don't know what they are talking about.

Thanks for the response.  I understood the same thing about the "Color space should be RGB" statement.  No problem there.  I guess my real source of confusion is the statement that in ICC profile is not necessary for printing that has me baffled.  The response is very vague...and vagueness does not have a place in Color Management. 

So, does anyone have any general instructions on workflow, or could you direct me where to get this information about sending files to printing companies in general?
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2011, 08:50:04 AM »
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The response is very vague...and vagueness does not have a place in Color Management. 
The easiest answer would be to deal with someone else!
If you got no choice, send them sRGB has probably the least odds of being incorrect, followed in second by the printer ICC.
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2011, 01:02:05 PM »
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An excellent example of why you should be printing your own work. You'll quickly learn at least one workflow that works well for your eye, even if it involves lots of trial and error at the beginning.
Most photographers I've seen at art shows here in AZ who don't print their own work have a wide range of print qualities. That results from labs with haphazard work flows and/or employees with varying levels of skills.
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Hening Bettermann
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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2011, 04:19:48 PM »
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Hi Bryan

I recommend digitaloriginal.de as a print shop. I have so far only printed 1 test image, and it was perfect with his default settings, better than what I could do with soft proofing using the shop's profile.

On the web site you will find instruction on how to submit photos. And the owner is very knowledgeable and responsive answering questions. He confesses to reading LuLa from time to time, so I assume you could write to him in English.

I found the shop because it was the cheapest that accepts .TIF files.
Usual disclaimer applies.
Good luck! - Hening.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2011, 05:13:30 PM »
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Your best bet here is to find a printing company that is colour mangement savvy.
They do exist!
You just need to the yards to find them

Regards

Tony Jay
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Bryan Conner
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« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2011, 11:15:01 PM »
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Hi Bryan

I recommend digitaloriginal.de as a print shop. I have so far only printed 1 test image, and it was perfect with his default settings, better than what I could do with soft proofing using the shop's profile.

On the web site you will find instruction on how to submit photos. And the owner is very knowledgeable and responsive answering questions. He confesses to reading LuLa from time to time, so I assume you could write to him in English.

I found the shop because it was the cheapest that accepts .TIF files.
Usual disclaimer applies.
Good luck! - Hening.


Thanks Hening.   I will check digitaloriginal out.
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Sigi
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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2012, 04:43:43 PM »
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Hello Bryan,

you could also check out Saal:  http://www.saal-digital.de/

Sigi
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Hening Bettermann
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2012, 02:02:37 AM »
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But they take jpegs only, no tifs.
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Walter Schulz
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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2012, 03:26:54 AM »
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They accept PNG, too.

Ciao, Walter
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Hening Bettermann
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2012, 11:46:20 AM »
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Not according to their web site, so that is insider information, thanks for that.
 
Their web site, under Foto/Farbmanagement, says:
"Achtung: Damit wir Ihre Farbprofile zuverlässig erkennen, senden Sie uns Ihre Dateien immer als JPEG - nicht als TIFF!"

In addition to a color managed workflow ("Fachabzug"), they also offer one where you can send images without a profile, and their software will "optimize" them ("Premium Foto").

Could it be that their accept of PNGs refers to this workflow only?

And a couple of things I discovered when checking this:

They print on Fuji Crystal Archive DP II Professional, in 3 surfaces: glossy, matte, and silk. For softproofing, they offer one and the same profile for all the 3 … Well, I have not tried it.

And under the tab "Abmessungen":

"Beschnitt / Überlappung
Bitte beachten Sie, dass aus produktionstechnischen Gründen mit 3% Überlappung belichtet wird. Ihr Motiv wird also um diese 3% bei der Belichtung vergrößert, sodass an den Bildrändern ein minimaler Teil Ihres Motivs wegfällt. In der Saal Design Software wird Ihnen dieser Bereich als rote Linie angezeigt."

So you have to face a 3% crop of your images. Not a place where I would send mine…

Good light!
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Bryan Conner
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2012, 12:35:57 AM »
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Not according to their web site, so that is insider information, thanks for that.
 
Their web site, under Foto/Farbmanagement, says:
"Achtung: Damit wir Ihre Farbprofile zuverlässig erkennen, senden Sie uns Ihre Dateien immer als JPEG - nicht als TIFF!"

In addition to a color managed workflow ("Fachabzug"), they also offer one where you can send images without a profile, and their software will "optimize" them ("Premium Foto").

Could it be that their accept of PNGs refers to this workflow only?

And a couple of things I discovered when checking this:

They print on Fuji Crystal Archive DP II Professional, in 3 surfaces: glossy, matte, and silk. For softproofing, they offer one and the same profile for all the 3 … Well, I have not tried it.

And under the tab "Abmessungen":

"Beschnitt / Überlappung
Bitte beachten Sie, dass aus produktionstechnischen Gründen mit 3% Überlappung belichtet wird. Ihr Motiv wird also um diese 3% bei der Belichtung vergrößert, sodass an den Bildrändern ein minimaler Teil Ihres Motivs wegfällt. In der Saal Design Software wird Ihnen dieser Bereich als rote Linie angezeigt."

So you have to face a 3% crop of your images. Not a place where I would send mine…

Good light!


These are problems that I also had with using them.  I may try them for printing of snapshots for friends/relatives, but that would be about it. Other images I wish to have printed using an inkjet printer on specific paper, and Saal does not offer this type of printing as far as I could determine on their website.

The fact that they only offer one profile for all of their papers also seemed strange to me.  I may be wrong, but I think that each paper type would have it's own individual characteristics and individual color profile.  Other labs have separate profiles for each type of FujiFilm silver halide paper.

At any rate, thanks to everyone for their assistance.  I have decided to use Digiphotopro ( http://www.digiphotopro.de/ ) for large inkjet prints, and PixelFotoExpress ( http://www.pixelfoto-express.de/ ) for silver halide prints.  Each place has a nice variety of papers and offers icc profiles for each paper.  I have received several prints from each, and the quality and consistency is very pleasing to me.


This thread wandered away from it's starting focus.  My original question was ".  My problem is knowing exactly what to do when I am saving the file that will be sent to the printing company.  Should I save my file in my working space (ProPhoto), or should I convert it to another and imbed the printer/paper profile before sending it to be printed?  If I were printing myself, I would not have this uncertainty".  I have searched and googled and find lots of info for when you are printing your own, but not any definitive info when you save and send to an outside printer.  Any help, or suggestions of a book to buy/read to educate myself would be greatly appreciated.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2012, 12:42:39 AM by Bryan Conner » Logged

Walter Schulz
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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2012, 03:12:50 AM »
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Not according to their web site, so that is insider information, thanks for that.

According to their web site it is: http://www.saal-digital.de/foto/faq-hilfe/
"Auflösung, Farbraum und Dateiformate

Saal Digital unterstützt die gängigen Dateiformaten JPEG und PNG. "

Ciao, Walter


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Walter Schulz
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2012, 03:18:08 AM »
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Should I save my file in my working space (ProPhoto), or should I convert it to another and imbed the printer/paper profile before sending it to be printed?

You can use any profile you like as long as you're softproofing with the company's ICC-profile.

Ciao, Walter
« Last Edit: January 15, 2012, 03:20:04 AM by Walter Schulz » Logged
Hening Bettermann
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« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2012, 04:35:53 AM »
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> My problem is knowing exactly what to do when I am saving the file that will be sent to the printing company.  Should I save my file in my working space (ProPhoto), or should I convert it to another and imbed the printer/paper profile before sending it to be printed? 

The service should advice you about that. Digitaloriginal adviced me to deliver files in a standard RGB color space, NOT to embedd the paper profile they offer for soft proofing.

Good light - Hening
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Peter_DL
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« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2012, 09:51:58 AM »
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... and PixelFotoExpress ( http://www.pixelfoto-express.de/ ) for silver halide prints.

The profiles offered for download (9x13 to 40x45 cm prints) might be for a Fuji Frontier and will most likely refer to the printer in its so-called sRGB mode.  The file received is basically expected to be in sRGB. It does not need to be tagged, there is no further gamut conversion applied, it is just printed "by the numbers" although the de facto printed gamut may finally deviate from sRGB.

One intended application of such profiles is to have the file in Photoshop in sRGB as the source space and to softproof with "Preserve Numbers" enabled, to edit and match the appearance of the non-softproofed sRGB.

Some documentation from Fuji here.
Challenging reading though.

Peter

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Bryan Conner
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« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2012, 10:34:58 AM »
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thanks everyone!  You have really been a help to me.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2012, 12:51:46 PM »
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Digitaloriginal adviced me to deliver files in a standard RGB color space, NOT to embedd the paper profile they offer for soft proofing.

So silly. What is the point of having a profile to soft proof if you have no idea what rendering intent is being used, what CMM (with or without BPC), not knowing if they even use that profile (it is currently representative of the process) and you can’t edit the data for the soft proof? It is a brain dead, make the customer feel the shop is using CMS when they are not mindset. Might as well say “you have to send us sRGB” and forget the soft proof profile. Either fully commit to a proper color management workflow or just don’t. But to attempt to make customers feel the shop is using color management when they really are not is just a lie.
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Andrew Rodney
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http://digitaldog.net/
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« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2012, 12:56:44 PM »
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It does not need to be tagged, there is no further gamut conversion applied, it is just printed "by the numbers" although the de facto printed gamut may finally deviate from sRGB.

A colorspace conversion is taking place; there is no such thing as an sRGB printer. The front end may not use ICC profiles (that’s how printing was done for many years prior to ICC implementation). ICC profiles are not necessary but none the less, sRGB isn’t going directly to the printer, somewhere there is a conversion to the native output color space. The de facto printed gamut will most likely deviate from sRGB (and all one has to do is build a profile from the process and plot that gamut to see this).

This is a bit like the old time drum scanner operators saying they had CMYK scanners. No such beast natively. Those old scanners are an RGB device that can only provide CMYK data, there was no need in those days for RGB data. A conversion took place but that didn’t change the facts of what the actual, original data was.
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Andrew Rodney
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