Is there any hope to make this happen? I've tried every combination of print settings but nothing comes close to the proper colors.
Here is my setup:
OS 10.6.8 (also gave it a try on 10.7.3 with same results)
latest HP drivers from Apple
custom cmyk profile that works great with our commercial printers
cmyk print project
HP CP5225dn color laserjet
Before we were printing to an expensive Minolta color copier/all-in-one with an optional print server attached that produced relatively good color results. The new HP output is very poor, the blacks are way too heavy and losing detail in anything even a little dark, dark reds are blown out to neon red, browns are amped up to neon red and yellow, subtle purples are neon cyan.
I've tried the suggestions from HP to let the printer handle color managment in the printer options setup, and every combination of setting in the Indesign print settings. They all print the exact same results, with the only variation being extremely dark or just very dark.
You will most likely find that when printing to a desktop printer it is best to print in RGB... change your workspace to RGB or make sure it uses the RGB profile.
Test it by creating a document with 4 squares coloured in CMYK... then compare the print to the actually colours rather than comparing them to your screen.
Creating a pdf and printing from Acrobat results in the same colors and darkness.
For this test I am printing something that has already been commerically printed, which also closely matches what I have on my calibrated monitor.
The pdf matches what shows in Indesign if I include the color profile, which is what I tried printing out from Acrobat. Unfortunately the content I am working with isn't my own so I can't show a screenshot or picture.
Peter Spier wrote:
Is this profile supposed to match the laserjet or the press?
I admit to still being a bit mystified to the whole color profile process even after years of using it and reading articles about it. I created our profile years ago to match 3m matchprint proofs, mainly just for Photoshop to display cmyk images as closely to those 3m proofs as possible. Photoshop is setup not to embed and ignore any profiles in images. Any print projects back then just went for the standard film/matchprint, and later the digital files sent directly to the printer without any regard for color profiles and it worked pretty well.
Since then I've been using it in Indesign and Illustrator as the main cmyk profile so everything displays the same, and the final print-ready pdf for our main internal projects goes to our commercial printer with the profile as well. I've tried the standard printer profiles that come built-in but they always look really off and way too yellow. Anything we have gotten commercially printed, or ended up in other outside projects matches up well regardless of included-or-not profiles, the only normal difference is the profile displays a little lighter than what gets printed but I prefer that anyway.
CMYK profiles are device-dependent, so the numbers you are feeding the laserjet are probably inappropriate for the device. Does HP provide any profiles? They won't be as good as custom profiles, but probably better than what you are using. And how are you calibrating the monitors? If you've calibrated to a device-dependent space that won't help, either.
My custom profile is only used for the working space. For the printer profile in the Print/ColorManagement/Options I set it to the HP supplied profile (hp color LaserJet CMYK v402). I've also tried other printer profiles but it doesn't change the output in any way.
My monitor isn't calibrated to any specific device, just using a Spyder3 with standard gamma/whitepoint/brightness targets.
Doing that displays the colors much closer to what is printing out, however it displays even brighter than my own profile. So the ink levels or brightness are displaying much brighter especially in darker areas on screen vs printed output where it all just turns completely black.
For example an area of C:65 M:58 Y:52 K:33 just comes out black on the printer.
It's not unusual for a monitor to show dark areas brighter than the print (I had a terrible time with this last summer on a project). You are, after all, looking at transmitted light vs. reflected light.
True, but this is so far off I can't really use this printer for any type of use besides what a dirt-cheap inkjet would see as it is now. The old Minolta printer wasn't the greatest print quality but the colors and levels were at least very similar to what my workflow looks like. I really feel like the printer is more than capable to output something that exceeds the old printer but there is a software issue somewhere that is holding it back.
I made a quick mockup to show the difference between what I want and what comes out of the printer:
That certainly looks like a profile mismatch.
Are you using a Postscript or PCL driver? And you might want to try the drivers from HERE: http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareDescription.j sp?lang=en&cc=us&prodTypeId=18972&prodSeriesId=3974355&prodNameId=3974 362&swEnvOID=219&swLang=8&mode=2&taskId=135&swItem=lj-78442-1
I am using the Postscript driver. Those drivers from the HP site are what I first tried, and after reading around some people had issues solved by using the several years newer drivers from Apple which is what I am on now.
Based on the common theme I'm seeing online that HP color printer support for Macs just sucks I think we will be returning this one and going with another brand. If anyone has any suggestions for a tabloid/networked color laser they are happy with I would be glad to hear about it.
One of the nice things about Xerox is the sales rep can send in your test file and they'll print it without attempting any kind of color management and send you the results. I started my shopping a week or so before the 7800 was availble, so I got prints first from the 7500 and they were very good (and the price was reduced to clear them out). When I got the 7800 prints of the same files a week later I was completely blown away. What had looked great the week before was only barely acceptable when compared side-by-side with the new prints.
This does not mean the 7500 is not a good printer -- just that the 7800 is amazing. I think it cost me about $800 more (and I bought the PhaserMatch calibration package which you can get with either model) than I would have spent on the 7500, and it will definitely cost more for supplies (It has separate drum units for each color), but it was my gift to myself and I have no regrets.
Peter this hits on an issue I have. My publishing company produces high quality color books. We scan in old comic strips and color correct them. I need a good printer to proof our pages before we send the files to the printer. We had an old HP 3800 and liked it. So, I recently got the 5225 and it sucks. So I thought I'd go up to the 5525, which has calibration software, but I'm gun shy about HP now. You say the Xerox 7800 is good. I've narrowed down my options to the HP 5525 or the Xerox 7800. Both have calibration, duplexing and tabloid size. Is the 7800 the way to go? I also think I'll get killed on toner. Can you tell me which is better?
I cannot tell you which is better. I've had no experience with the HP. I will say this though, the Xerox uses genuine Adobe Postscript and the HP uses emulation, and I'll personally never buy a ps printer that uses emeulation ever again after having had some issues in the past. Your mileage may vary.
I love my 7800, but the best advice I can offer is to prepare a file and make sample prints on both machines.
We ended up replacing the HP with a Xerox 7500n. Right out of the box the prints are about 95% color accurate along with much sharper and accurate text (the HP was maybe 65% accurate?). It is so much better quality compared to the HP and so much closer to finished print projects it is not even a contest. It looks to have double the print resolution and white text on a rich black background looks superb, compared to the high-compression jpg looking uneven blotchiness of the HP. Its like the Xerox is using a completely different printing technology or something its so much better.
I am having a bit of difficulty dialing in the last 5%. The prints are a bit light and the colors a little saturated using the default print setup in Indesign. Using the Proof print setting fixes the brightness and knocks the colors down perfectly, but neutral colors turn reddish. Changing among the different printer profiles doesn't seem to have any effect, nor changing the setting under Print/Color Matching/ choosing Colorsync or In Printer. Surprisingly there doesn't appear to be a printer profile to choose from specific to the Xerox.
There is the manual color correction under the Xerox print options but I don't want to have to go through that every time printing something.
Thank you Peter and Evil Lair for your advice. I asked both HP and Xerox to run test prints for me. I'm still waiting to hear back from HP. They acted like they'd never heard of such a request, but would try. Xerox had a local office near Seattle and a rep not only agreed to run 3 pdf's for me, but he dropped them off at my office. They were spot on, whereas the HP I initially had, the 5225, was terrible. I hoped the HP 5525 would be better, if only because it had calibration capabilities, and the 5225 did not. Well, we went and got the Xerox 7800 DN. We may spend more on toner over time, but we get the results we wanted. Not only will it be great right out of the box, but I can adjust the individual ink densities if I need to.
I find it hard to believe my needs were so unusual. And buying a printer without first seeing a print is like buying a car without driving it. I even tried to get some manufacturers to give me names of happy customers, but they all balked, which seems counter-productive to me.
I hope my experience will help others out there.