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Author Topic: How do you make you own ICC printer profiles?  (Read 5522 times)
digitaldog
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« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2013, 07:07:09 PM »
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As you know more than most, improperly printing the targets via an application that cannot turn off all modifications will cause improper profile creation.

I ASKED how the target was printed. IF it was printed though their application, then what they wrote was total BS. And lots and lots of my customers and people here print targets outside a host profiler application ON THE MAC with no issues whatsoever. I've probably built at least a few hundred+ profiles from people all over the world this way.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2013, 12:39:00 PM »
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This article is almost 4 years old.  Please read Keith article,recently updated, which covers the EZ  targets that provide self analyzing reading to reduce bad reads.


The self analyzing feature has some serious limitations. A dual measurement method and checking for consistency using a delta E spreadsheet in Excel is wise. Please read on...Here goes:

I almost fear to wade into this spyderprint 3 discussion, because both good and bad experiences with the Datacolor abound for very real reasons. There's some problems with Colormunki as well, so if anyone is truly serious about routinely building custom profiles, I'd suggest saving some more pennies and stepping up to better hardware/software than either Colormunki for Datacolor Spyderprint 3.

Let me get Colormunki out of the way first, and I base my conclusion solely on a basic understanding that Colormunki requires iterative targets (i.e, print one target, measure, then print a second target with values that are based on the acquired readings of the first target, then measure again). I have not used a Colomunki personally, so maybe there's away around this iterative issue, but here's the problem with it.  IMHO, the ColorMunki is perfectly fine for pigmented ink prints that have very little short and long term drift, but ALL dye-based inkjet prints need days (and at moderate to high humidity levels) in order to settle down into sufficiently stable colors for an accurate system profile. This whole short term drift issue  with dyes isn't just a Colormunki problem. It is also one of the big challenges I face when attempting light fade experiments on dye-based print samples. One has to let the samples "cure" thoroughly prior to testing in order to get something resembling a stable T=0 colorimetric baseline for the sample. You can force a dye-based print faster into reasonable color stability by incubating the print in a high humidity chamber (pretty easy to make), but an overnight incubation is still going to pose practical problems for an iterative profiling process. That said, "good is good enough" color accuracy (within average delta E of 4 or 5, worst fliers in vivid colors at 6-15) may be fine for some, but I think one could argue folks who are happy with this level of dye-based print performance may also be very happy with generic profiles and have no need for custom profiling.

The spyderprint3 profiling process relies on one print session to make the targets, not two, so it deals with that drift issue in the same way as other higher end profiling packages like Eye-one, iSis, etc. You let the target dry for those several days to improve accuracy, then make the profile.  The Datacolor spectrocolorimeter or whatever you want to call it is indeed reasonably accurate for its price point. I found it to agree with my venerable Gretag Spectrolinos on average within delta E = 2, better than 1 on neutrals except for high OBA content media whitepoint (which are an agreement problem with many high end spectros as well), and off in some of the vivid green values as much as delta E= 6. But that kind of accuracy is fair enough to not be the source of any serious profiling error. Humans don't pick out vivid color delta E= 6 color errors very easily when those vivid colors are residing within complex color fields (i.e., most full color photographic prints).  The real problem/challenge with Spyderprint 3 is, IMHO, almost entirely OPERATOR ERROR when trying to achieve the measuring accuracy that the unit is truly capable of. It's not trivial to measure a few hundred patches by hand without making one or two mistakes, especially in strip reader mode, but those couple of bad measurements can really screw up profile quality.  The SpyderPrint strip reading mode uses a primitive timing method to take the patch readings. The unit senses the pulse from the white separation lines between patches, but then counts to 0.5 seconds (as I recall) and then reads the patch. If you are way off on your timing (look at the "correct traveling speed" in the datacolor video) you will read the wrong patch and the unit's self analysing feature will catch it. This feature seems to be based on an expectation of what the nominal color should be, red, say for example, and if it doesn't read something crudely within a red hue for a colorimetric value it then flags the patch. However, if you are close to the right speed but a little too slow, the instrument's aperture can accidentally integrate a little of the prior patch and or white separator line into the reading. Likewise, if you go too fast, the unit's aperture may read with the aperture straddling the adjacent following patch and/or separator line. Depending on how good or bad the operator's chosen travel speed is, the unit's read error will go up, but not so much as to flag the self analyzing software check all the time. If you think about it that, this self-check feature has to have wide error limits because if one knew exactly what color to expect out of the printer, one wouldn't even need to profile the printer!!!

So, I solved the data color OPERATOR ERROR problem and got consistently repeatable results with SpyderPrint3 by some operator practice and more importantly by measuring the target twice, using the Datacolor softwares import/export text file feature to output a text file readable in Excel, and then using a spreadsheet (email me at aardenburg imaging if you want a copy of it) to make a delta E comparison of the two sets of measurements. The spreadsheet flags the unwanted errors, I remeasure those patches, added the corrected values in the spreadsheet, let the spreadsheet output a corrected and averaged text file that the datacolor software will then import to build a very good profile. On this point of dual measurements and before too many folks cry foul, especially those who think the patch measuring is wickedly time consuming, I can only say many years of using color instrumentation have taught me that good data takes time to collect and VERIFY. Even with an EyeOne or Spectrolino, I use this completely independent dual measurement technique. And in routine light fade testing at AaI&A, we make several thousand measurements each month, and we do catch the occasional error!... an error that would sometimes screw up the profiling tone curves. For these reasons, I think being somewhat anal retentive about one's target measurement is a good idea no matter what instrument you choose.

The last piece of advice I've got for SpyderPrint 3 owners or potential owners, is that compared to a true spectrophotometer, the SpyderPrint 3 unit takes single patch readings very fast, not nearly the 1.5-2 seconds I need for an EyeOne or Spectrolino measurement time. The Spyder3 is so fast in single patch mode, expecially if you move it with one hand and use the computer keyboard to "click" the measurement with your other hand, such that I finally came to the personal conclusion that the strip mode feature was a "nice in concept" but largely irrelevant.  I could move faster and with more accuracy in single patch reading mode with the SP3. Once you accommodate the instrument's measuring idiosynchracies, the data color profiling software is really quite nice and reasonably full featured.

Oh yeah, and one more thing. The Datacolor profiling engine does still suffer from the classic LAB color model "blue turns purple" problem which other profiling packages have learned to overcome by fudge factors in the perceptual rendering mapping. Nonetheless, you see this blue-purple bias in the softproof, and it's not so hard to correct if you are working in a monitor calibrated viewing environment, so again, for the price paid, I was very personally satisfied with the Datacolor Kit. It does accomplish what none of us reading this forum should lose sight of, ie., it gives the end-user a much more calibrated printing environment than one is going to achieve relying solely on canned profiles from media manufacturers. Is it as good as a high end profiling hardware/software package? Well, no, so as a stated at the beginning, if you are a die-hard printmaker spending lots of money on printers, inks, and media (like me) you will want to forego both Colormunki and Datacolor and move to higher end profiling kit.

cheers,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com




« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 12:49:28 PM by MHMG » Logged
digitaldog
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« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2013, 01:06:39 PM »
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 IMHO, the ColorMunki is perfectly fine for pigmented ink prints that have very little short and long term drift, but ALL dye-based inkjet prints need days (and at moderate to high humidity levels) in order to settle down into sufficiently stable colors for an accurate system profile. This whole short term drift issue  with dyes isn't just a Colormunki problem.

Some justifiable criticism of the Munki is that indeed, there's some time between sheet 1 and sheet 2. The software does pop up a "wait this long" progress dialog for dry down but as you point out, that isn't enough time for dye based inks. Personally even with pigmented inks, I prefer to let the print dry down for 24 hours. On the other hand, you only have to measure 100 patches in total and the results using this small a number of colors to measure is very impressive. Anyone been playing with these products long enough to recall a produce many years ago that only required the measurement of (if memory serves) 16 patches? Didn't work, made awful profiles. When X-rite claimed they had a process to make a 'good' profile with only 100 patches, I was super skeptical. But as I said, the end results get very close to the quality I saw with nearly 4000 patches (2500 being a 2nd iterative target).

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So, I solved the data color OPERATOR ERROR problem and got consistently repeatable results with SpyderPrint3 by some operator practice and more importantly by measuring the target twice, using the Datacolor softwares import/export text file feature to output a text file readable in Excel, and then using a spreadsheet (email me at aardenburg imaging if you want a copy of it) to make a delta E comparison of the two sets of measurements.

It took X-rite awhile to get this to work out too. I recall the very early i1 wasn't easy to scan without getting an error to rescan the row again. But at least there was decent error checking such you were told, do it over again. Over the years, either the product has gotten better or I have in terms of scanning. It does take practice but I've patted myself on the back a few times when I've measured hundreds of patches for a profile using the i1 without ever getting an error. I find the Munki is even a tad easier to scan due to those huge patches!

Question: Do you know if in scan mode the DataColor product averages more than one reading per patch?

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The Datacolor profiling engine does still suffer from the classic LAB color model "blue turns purple" problem which other profiling packages have learned to overcome by fudge factors in the perceptual rendering mapping.

So what's this about having to use a Saturation intent with the resulting profiles? And what's your experience with the newer product in terms of the editing sliders? Would this fix the color shift? And does it equally affect the preview table of the profile?
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #23 on: January 06, 2013, 02:14:04 PM »
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And this was printing through their application? If so, how is this Apple's fault?

Like the blue's shifting to magenta, it's not their engine, it's OOG colors or something else. FWIW, blues shifting magenta is a somewhat common occurrence or it was years ago. Good profiling engines shouldn’t be affected. I've seen none of this with the i1P engine (or earlier the Monaco engine).
Precisely what I eventually concluded.  Even using ACPU to print targets still did not produce decent profiles using the Spyder Print 3 device and Datacolor's profile generator.  (Unlike the Munki and subsequently 1Profiler) That's what led me to the conclusion that either (my copy of) the Spyder hardware was shonky, or that their software didn't play with OS X.

Tim
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MHMG
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« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2013, 05:39:27 PM »
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Question: Do you know if in scan mode the DataColor product averages more than one reading per patch?

So what's this about having to use a Saturation intent with the resulting profiles? And what's your experience with the newer product in terms of the editing sliders? Would this fix the color shift? And does it equally affect the preview table of the profile?

I can't unravel the muddy waters of why Datacolor recommends the saturation intent rather than perceptual intent for photographs.  Nor did I attempt to fiddle with the sliders all that much because I was pleased with the default results once I got good measurment data with which to build the profile.  Presumably, the DataColor software guys elected to bake some secret sauce into the saturation rendering intent, and let perceptual act just like relative rendering. It's a little unorthodox, but then other vendors sometimes skip a unique implementation for saturation mode, and thus all I can say is choose to use softproofing and select the rendering intent which gives best starting point for that image.

By way of a little more explanation, the Datacolor print patches are separated both by white and black separator lines depending on whether white or black gives better contrast to the oncoming color patch. The unit has a very simple photocell detector independent of the colorimeter that looks for this contrast peak as the unit travels along. It then tells the colorimeter to take a single reading 0.5 seconds after the photocell recognizes a white or black line. Hence, the operator does have to learn how fast or how slow to go in order to have that 0.5 second activated single readout land fully within the patch color. The patches are pretty big which give you some allowance for travel speed, but not a whole lot. A new user won't have any idea where to start with an appropriate scanning speed without looking at the video.

I looked at the SpyderPrintStudio kit in late 2010 right after the new strip reading version was released. Funny in hindsight now, but at the time of release the guys who did the operator manual video compression messed up, and the demo was running twice as fast on a typical computer as it should have. So initially, I tried to match my personal operator scanning speed to the video and was getting flagged with all sorts of errors. Then, I took another approach, zeroing in on optimal scanning speed using my spreadsheet results. I then emailed Datacolor tech support and we then had a good conversation about how the strip mode actually works. Datacolor confirmed my finding that in strip mode the unit expects a 1 second per patch travel time (0.5 seconds thus triggering perfectly in the middle of the patch if your speed is also perfect). The actual colorimeter readout and reset time is thus much faster, and that's why spot mode works great, too, especially for operators who can't master the right travel speed. Hence, new operator error can be high with the SP3 gismo, and you can see why there are many forum complaints about SpyderPrint 3 making poor profiles. Garbage data in, garbage data out.

One can certainly make a good case that it's way too much to ask of photographers and printmakers to go through the learning curve I went through to make the SP3 work according to it's design, but I found the ways to make it work well, and there's something good to be said for that.  I can list countless other products in the digital printing workflow that have stumped me big time and for many more hours of frustration, including but not limited to computer OS upgrades, printer driver glitches, mystery meat software menus, hardware failures, etc, etc. Grin  Many product reviews conveniently ignore all of the balls in the air that must be juggled just to get any of this stuff to "work as advertised".

cheers,
Mark
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« Reply #25 on: January 06, 2013, 06:31:18 PM »
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I can't unravel the muddy waters of why Datacolor recommends the saturation intent rather than perceptual intent for photographs.  Nor did I attempt to fiddle with the sliders all that much because I was pleased with the default results once I got good measurment data with which to build the profile.  Presumably, the DataColor software guys elected to bake some secret sauce into the saturation rendering intent, and let perceptual act just like relative rendering. It's a little unorthodox, but then other vendors sometimes skip a unique implementation for saturation mode, and thus all I can say is choose to use softproofing and select the rendering intent which gives best starting point for that image.

Keith quotes Datacolor as saying:

""Saturation Intent: This intent favours colour saturation over hue or lightness when determining how to print out of gamut colour; those colours that the printer can’t reach, which must be replaced somehow with achievable colours. This intent offers the most satisfying inkjet colour in terms of keeping high colour areas in your images looking like you remember them. For smaller gamut devices, it may be more important to avoid Hue Bias, by starting with Relative Colorimetric.

Relative Colorimetric Intent: This intent makes the most accurate, literal, choices for replacing out of gamut colours. It is often used for prepress and graphic design work, for matching spot colours, and for other non-photographic work. Brilliant colours may be significantly less saturated than with Saturation intent on inkjet printers, but may better retain their hue with other types of devices.

Perceptual Intent: Datacolor’s Perceptual intent falls somewhere between Relative Colorimetric and Saturation intents, and is best used when an intermediate result is needed. Use in cases where Hue Shift with Saturation intent is objectionable, but the low colour brilliance with Relative Colorimetric is problematic.

Absolute Colorimetric Intent: This is a special intent for proofing purposes, where the off white paper of the final printing device needs to be emulated on the whiter paper of the proofing device. Unless you are emulating newsprint output on your desktop printer, you probably will never need this intent."

It helps to remember why you are doing all this - to produce better prints of photographs. Don't forget to go out and take some as well. ;-)"

As far as I know, perceptual stays perceptual, same with relative.  They do offer an option to create a profile where perceptual is replaced by saturation, relative stays relative.  This is for people who like the Spyder saturation intent and want to use the profile with Lightroom, where Adobe, in their wisdom, only support perceptual and relative.

John
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John
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« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2013, 09:45:00 AM »
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Why make them at all since the paper firms have experts who all have more experience than we do at paper profiles. I'd rather spend my time optimizing my images than creating more work for myself. Can anyone honestly say they get better results on an Epson printer than just using icc profiles provided by manufacturers?
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« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2013, 10:00:45 AM »
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Why make them at all since the paper firms have experts who all have more experience than we do at paper profiles.

If only that were true and accurate. First off, there are paper firms that make bad profiles or don't supply them at all. In order for them to provide profiles, they have to either write their own software to do so (forget about that), OR pay a pretty steep licensing fee to the profile creation company (e.g. X-rite).

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Can anyone honestly say they get better results on an Epson printer than just using icc profiles provided by manufacturers?

Yes, lots and lots of us can! I have built hundreds of profiles for myself and others who will report better results for a number of reasons (you want to know why?). There are lots of people on the LuLa forums who either build them themselves or have had others build custom profile for them.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2013, 10:35:28 AM »
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If only that were true and accurate. First off, there are paper firms that make bad profiles or don't supply them at all. In order for them to provide profiles, they have to either write their own software to do so (forget about that), OR pay a pretty steep licensing fee to the profile creation company (e.g. X-rite).

Yes, lots and lots of us can! I have built hundreds of profiles for myself and others who will report better results for a number of reasons (you want to know why?). There are lots of people on the LuLa forums who either build them themselves or have had others build custom profile for them.


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jrsforums
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« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2013, 01:06:51 PM »
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If only that were true and accurate. First off, there are paper firms that make bad profiles or don't supply them at all. In order for them to provide profiles, they have to either write their own software to do so (forget about that), OR pay a pretty steep licensing fee to the profile creation company (e.g. X-rite).

Yes, lots and lots of us can! I have built hundreds of profiles for myself and others who will report better results for a number of reasons (you want to know why?). There are lots of people on the LuLa forums who either build them themselves or have had others build custom profile for them.


Andrew....I agree with you.....but, for education purposes, I would like to hear your "you want to know why."

I am not pulling your chain....I would really like to know it, so I could share it with others, particularly my camera clubs.

John
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« Reply #30 on: January 11, 2013, 02:20:13 PM »
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I have use ColorMunki. Made some profiles, and still have sample prints where some out of gamut color were messed up. Then I bought SpyderStudio 3 SR. It has both display and print calibration. I am satisfied with the display calibration, but print profiling is hit or miss, definitely better than ColorMunki, but stumbles in difficult areas.

I also tried i1 Photo 2 (or whatever it is called but it is the current version), it did much better job on certain papers, but stumbled on Glossy Canvas. Given that this is the Gold Standard and even manufacturer profiles are also made by this product, I am attributing the problems with user errors. Which makes me think that user error may be the issue with Spyder 3 as well. So I will re-profile some of the difficult papers later on using ez targets.

Colormunki was so straightforward and so limited in options, that I can not think that there was any user error involved.
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Damir
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« Reply #31 on: January 11, 2013, 04:15:37 PM »
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Just as reminder: "The cheapest, most repeatable automated spectrophotometer I know of—is the HP Z3100 printer! And it includes the software to make profiles—and, oh yeah, it can make pretty good prints, too."

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/Z3100-profiling.shtml

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« Reply #32 on: January 11, 2013, 05:06:31 PM »
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I am not pulling your chain....I would really like to know it, so I could share it with others, particularly my camera clubs.

Just the differences between the quality of the Perceptual rendering intent for say i1Profiler versus the older offering makes a visible improvement when ink hits paper. IOW, just the software used to build the profiles can play role. When I build profiles with the new software, I also always run the optional 2505 patch gray optimization which further improves the results but it is subtle and I suspect there's a world of people who wouldn't notice the difference unless pointed out.

You might be using a differing media setting or ink control setting than the manufacturer's setting for their profiles (if they tell even tell you). The paper, ink or even hardware may be different behaving on your unit then the unit used to print the targets for the canned profile.

It is much like the on-going posts here about DNG profiles. Are they better than the one's supplied by Adobe? The answer is almost always yes but it isn't necessarily night and day differences. Adobe's profiles for their camera sample is probably superb. But how is it on yours?
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #33 on: January 11, 2013, 05:14:36 PM »
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Why make them at all since the paper firms have experts who all have more experience than we do at paper profiles. I'd rather spend my time optimizing my images than creating more work for myself. Can anyone honestly say they get better results on an Epson printer than just using icc profiles provided by manufacturers?
The Epson's are much more linear today than when I started using them over 12 years ago, yet across the board, I have not found a manufacturer's profile to be better than those I make myself using iOne Pro and iOne Pro 2. Over the years, there have been a few, but just a few, that are very close.I am now making profiles for my favorite media for a new Epson 7900 and comparing them to the ones from each of the paper manufacturers.

I find that those I create, versus the manufacturer's, provide not only for better color rendition, but better highlight and shadow control and neutrality, density and smoother tonal gradations.

There is often a lot better quality that can be obtained from good digital files than many realize. One way to learn is to look at prints made by master printers, whether analog or digital, and strive for that level of quality.

So, yes, I can say that for me, making my own profiles is superior to nearly all I've seen from manufacturers.

Ed
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« Reply #34 on: January 11, 2013, 05:35:04 PM »
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Just the differences between the quality of the Perceptual rendering intent for say i1Profiler versus the older offering makes a visible improvement when ink hits paper. IOW, just the software used to build the profiles can play role. When I build profiles with the new software, I also always run the optional 2505 patch gray optimization which further improves the results but it is subtle and I suspect there's a world of people who wouldn't notice the difference unless pointed out.

You might be using a differing media setting or ink control setting than the manufacturer's setting for their profiles (if they tell even tell you). The paper, ink or even hardware may be different behaving on your unit then the unit used to print the targets for the canned profile.

It is much like the on-going posts here about DNG profiles. Are they better than the one's supplied by Adobe? The answer is almost always yes but it isn't necessarily night and day differences. Adobe's profiles for their camera sample is probably superb. But how is it on yours?

Thanks...

"...always run the optional 2505 patch gray optimization..."

....but you're cheating....with an i1-iSis automated reader  :-)

John
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« Reply #35 on: January 11, 2013, 06:14:28 PM »
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Why make them at all since the paper firms have experts who all have more experience than we do at paper profiles.
Even if a paper company has a profiling 'expert' on staff, how much time do you think they can put into creating each individual profile, if they have to profile several dozen printers for each paper they sell? Do you think they even produce individual profiels for each Epson/Canon model, or just a profile for each ink-set? How much effort do you think they put into choosing the optimal media type and other printer settings, and how large of a patch set do you think they use? How likely is it that they do the second-pass gray-scale optimization that Andrew mentioned?

« Last Edit: January 11, 2013, 06:17:50 PM by JeffKohn » Logged

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« Reply #36 on: January 11, 2013, 06:17:04 PM »
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Thanks...

"...always run the optional 2505 patch gray optimization..."

....but you're cheating....with an i1-iSis automated reader  :-)

John
I do it by hand, but only for OBA-free papers, because if I don't use "legacy charts" I can't scan the resulting charts without constant errors. For whatever reason, the test-chart generator for Optimization doesn't lay out the patches to reduce scanning errors like it does for the regular profiling charts.
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« Reply #37 on: January 12, 2013, 02:41:00 AM »
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Let me get Colormunki out of the way first, and I base my conclusion solely on a basic understanding that Colormunki requires iterative targets (i.e, print one target, measure, then print a second target with values that are based on the acquired readings of the first target, then measure again). I have not used a Colomunki personally, so maybe there's away around this iterative issue, but here's the problem with it.  IMHO, the ColorMunki is perfectly fine for pigmented ink prints that have very little short and long term drift, but ALL dye-based inkjet prints need days (and at moderate to high humidity levels) in order to settle down into sufficiently stable colors for an accurate system profile.

I was working with a friend's Colormunki, and we successfully managed to build excellent profiles while letting the target dry down for 24 hours. One can shut down one's computer, and restart the target scanning and profile building later, skipping the completed earlier steps. It is not exactly straightforward, but it can be done. I don't have access to the munki at the moment, and I can't remember the exact steps. But it can be done.
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« Reply #38 on: January 12, 2013, 11:12:47 AM »
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Andrew, you and others, have made this elitist, promotionally biased statement before.  I have NEVER seen it backed up by fact.  As Jeff would say....show me the facts...!!!
Fact is, a few years back I spend many hours trying to profile my Canon toy printer with the previous Datacolor Prdcut (Spyder 2 Studio I think it was called). Never received anything even remotely satisfactory. DataColor Support could not produce anything useful either.
Had profiling papers printed for X-Rite, sent them off and got working profiles in return.
Case closed.

cheers
afx
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« Reply #39 on: January 24, 2013, 01:47:57 AM »
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Regarding the colormunki comment regarding the need to let dye ink made test sheets dry for 24 hours or more, this is absolutely no problem with the colormunki software.  You can wait a week or more, and its no problem.

Just shut down the program after the first print, and after the second print.  Wait the amount of time you want to let the second print dry, and then start up the print profiler of Colormunki.  You get to the first screen, then click on the box that says "Target is already printed" and click next to go to the second target, click Target is already printed, then scan it.  No problem.  10 minutes is suggested, but not mandatory in any way.

I just got my colormunki today, and its already improved my monitor.  My spyder2express colorimeter just wasn't working right anymore - maybe filters faded or something.  The instructions and video are very straightforward and i've been able to make my first printer profile ever - amazing to me. 
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