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B Twieg
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LR 4.2 convert or embed color profiles?

Nov 20, 2012 5:01 AM

Tags: #color #print #lr4

Costco print services use Dry Creek Photo profiles.  They ask that files be converted to color profiles  in PS and say that embedded profiles will be ignored by their digital printers. I wonder if I can do this in LR4.2 without going to PS CS6.

 

In Lightroom 4.2, we can choose color profiles in the print module or in the export dialog.   Do you know whether specifying a color profile in these will result in a converting or embedding of those files?  

 

Thanks,

Bill Twieg

Windows 7

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 20, 2012 6:20 AM   in reply to B Twieg

    Both, AFAIK.

     

    Lightroom will always convert the RGB numbers to suit the colourspace requested, and there is no way to tell it not to "tag" this output with that colourspace, even should you wish that.

     

    In my experience almost always when someone says "embedded / tagged profles will be ignored", they really mean: "everything will be treated as sRGB even if it is really not". A commercial printer dealing with the general public, is not likely to presume and require that all their customers from 9-99 years in age, will have the alertness, understanding, and wherewithal to have specially converted the submitted images in just the right way. Most digital cameras shoot sRGB JPGs, and most apps and programs in the consumer realm work to that also - so IMO, that will be the most straightforward, reliable assumption.

     

    I suggest using the supplied printer profile purely as a softproofing aid in order to preview how the particular equipment and paper used, will affect how the eventual print will look. Then adjust anything you are unhappy about in this preview, using a proofing copy in LR - before/after view (Y key) lets you compare against your prior on-screen edit. Then export this proofing copy (with its specific adjustments as informed by the profile), to sRGB colourspace and send that off for a trial print.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 20, 2012 7:38 AM   in reply to B Twieg

    If I understand correctly, the adjustments I make in the soft proofing copy "as informed by the profile" will essentially convert the file to the Costco printer profile.

    No, the profile is helping you to make the appropriate corrections, but these corrections are then saved into a standard colourspace (sRGB). The result is a completely standard picture, only one which has been adjusted so it deliberately looks a little "wrong", but wrong in just the right way so that when printed, it comes out looking "right".

     

    Analogy: like a gunsight fixed on top of a rifle, which you adjust for a given distance, so that the rifle is aiming deliberately high, instead of pointing directly at the target. But the bullet then actually shoots from the barrel in the normal way; it does not shoot from this gunsight. Softproofing is like using the sights, instead of eyeballing along the bare barrel.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 20, 2012 8:23 AM   in reply to B Twieg

    A number of years ago I submitted some test images to Costco as a test.

     

    Prior to submitting the images to Costco I converted them to the supplied printer profile generated by Dry Creek Photo.  The prints were just fine.  It is my understanding that at Costco they just "send the numbers" in the file to the printer and let the print heads go to work.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 20, 2012 8:48 AM   in reply to B Twieg

    B Twieg,

    "Softproofing" means that the program (in this case Lr) will display the photo very similar to what it will look like as print. But the color profile will not be changed by softproofing.

    "Softproofing" is a display "as if". Softproofing for sRGB gives you a display as if it was sRGB - without changing the color space of the image file.

    You change the color space in the Export Dialog under <File Setting/ Color Space>. Naturally this will only change the color space of the exported (duplicate) image, not of your original image file.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 20, 2012 9:21 AM   in reply to Bob_Peters

    Looking more into this, it seems that Costco in particular EITHER apply auto adjustments (standard service); OR where instructed (by checking "no corrections"), accept a specifically converted file which is used directly, as you say. In this special case, the printer profile is also acting as a "transport" format, besides its more usual role as an aid to adjustment.

     

    For clarity, I was trying to point out that softproofing to a particular printer profile in LR does not by itself convert the image to that profile. In order to do so, one would need to also select this printer profile in the LR Export options.

     

    Softproofing does not always need to involve this explicit conversion; for example when printing direct from inside LR, it happens on-the-fly during the print process - and other commercial print services may stipulate sRGB or AdobeRGB instead of a printer profile.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 20, 2012 10:10 AM   in reply to richardplondon

    I'm fairly certain that Costco's Noritsu and Frontier printers do NOT look at the embedded color profile. They are setup to use sRGB profile images only.  Look at item 16 & 17 here:

     

    http://www.drycreekphoto.com/icc/using_printer_profiles.htm

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 20, 2012 10:52 AM   in reply to trshaner

    trshaner wrote:

     

    I'm fairly certain that Costco's Noritsu and Frontier printers do NOT look at the embedded color profile. They are setup to use sRGB profile images only.  Look at item 16 & 17 here:

     

    http://www.drycreekphoto.com/icc/using_printer_profiles.htm

     

    Perhaps I was just lucky but the Fujitsu printer I used for quite a few years at Wolf/Ritz gave consistently better results if I converted the source file to a custom profile I had made for that printer.  In fact, there were some source files that looked terrible if converted to sRGB and then printed.

     

    Ans as someone already mentioned, it is important to always specify "no corrections".

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 20, 2012 11:32 AM   in reply to trshaner

    AFAICT the screenshot example linked, shows save options for an image using "Frontier" profile as a colourspace, not sRGB. There are several different sets of guidelines available, referring to various different software versions and print equipment, and it's a little hand-wavy in places; or, better, it wants you to confirm some requirements directly with the print shop. The poster-printing advice suggests an individual-printer profile should be obtained, rather than just a model-specific one - I don't know how you find out, or ensure, what machine exactly will be used to print your particular order.

     

    Of more concern, there's an option to include or omit a profile tag in PS, but there isn't in Lightroom - which does so always. Surely this aspect of the pre-processing guidance cannot still be current... ?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 20, 2012 12:10 PM   in reply to B Twieg

    There may be steps you can include in a PS action, then package that into a "droplet", then add this to LR's export-actions folder. You can then invoke this droplet in the postprocessing section of your Export preset, which then subcontracts PS to do the necessary things hands-free. This sidesteps the need to use Edit-In, or to interact with the PS interface yourself, in this task.

     

    However, I will be very surprised if the inclusion of a profile tag in the JPG does in fact cause a problem... interested to hear your outcome.

     
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  • Andrew Rodney
    1,388 posts
    Apr 16, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 20, 2012 12:37 PM   in reply to B Twieg

    B Twieg wrote:

    In Lightroom 4.2, we can choose color profiles in the print module or in the export dialog.   Do you know whether specifying a color profile in these will result in a converting or embedding of those files? 

    Both convert and embed. But the options are different.

     

    If you use the Print module, you're 'stuck' with a JPEG but you can select the rendering intent and output sharpening (admittedly based on an ink jet output). The JPEG will be in the output color space with an embedded profile.

     

    If you use Export, you can do the same conversion but select a TIFF, 16-bit etc. But no option over rendering intent. I suspect the intent preference in the profile itself which is usually Perceptual.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 20, 2012 1:53 PM   in reply to Bob_Peters

    Bob_Peters wrote:

     

    trshaner wrote:

     

    I'm fairly certain that Costco's Noritsu and Frontier printers do NOT look at the embedded color profile. They are setup to use sRGB profile images only.  Look at item 16 & 17 here:

     

    http://www.drycreekphoto.com/icc/using_printer_profiles.htm

     

    Perhaps I was just lucky but the Fujitsu printer I used for quite a few years at Wolf/Ritz gave consistently better results if I converted the source file to a custom profile I had made for that printer.  In fact, there were some source files that looked terrible if converted to sRGB and then printed.

     

    Ans as someone already mentioned, it is important to always specify "no corrections".

     

    Exactly! If you do Soft Proof adjusting with a target printer profile you must also "convert" the image to that profile. Your LR Soft Proof adjustments are applied during Export along with conversion to the Costco printer profile (i.e. Color Space set to 'Printer Profile'), and it doesn't matter what profile is assigned, since the Costco printer always assumes sRGB.

     

    Andrew Rodney also pointed out that you have the option in the Print module to select Perceptual or Relative rendering, but not in the Export module. This option is available in the Soft Proof preview to determine which one is best to use in the Print module.

     

    And all of this is for naught if you forget to set 'Auto Corrections' to OFF during placement of your Costco print order.

     

    Message was edited by: trshaner Note to set LR Export 'Color Space' or Print 'Color Management' to 'Printer Profile'

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 20, 2012 2:49 PM   in reply to trshaner

    Assuming the Costco printer profile is “smaller” than the sRGB profile (i.e. the number of colors the printer can render is a subset of what the sRGB display profile can display), from the discussion, here, it would seem that you should soft-proof to the Costco-printer profile and then export and embed sRGB and remember to turn off Auto Corrections at the Kiosk.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 20, 2012 5:18 PM   in reply to ssprengel

    What you say seems logical, but the Dry Creek instructions say to convert to the printer profile and make sure Auto Correct is OFF. So who's correct and why?

     

    I've done most of my Soft Proofing in PS and always convert to the Costco printer profile before saving to JPEG, and all of my prints so far have been near perfect in exposure and color rendering. But I've never needed to make large Soft Proof adjustments to any of my images. All of my small prints are Exported to sRGB without any adjustments or Soft Proof and they look equally good.

     

    I've also verified that all of my prints have Auto Correction turned off with N N N N on the back.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 21, 2012 5:17 AM   in reply to trshaner

    the Dry Creek instructions say to convert to the printer profile and make sure Auto Correct is OFF. So who's correct and why?

    Oddly, I yesterday read some instructions for my nearest Costco (with links pointing to the Dry Creek articles that have been already discussed here) stating

     

    "Please do not embed profiles in the file you submit - silver halide mini-labs discard these. Please supply the files in standard sRGB only."

     

    in contradiction with the Dry Creek information, while perpetuating the same ambiguity about tagging vs softproofing vs conversion

     

    http://watford.costcophoto.co.uk/about/icc.printer.profile

     

    The page reads authoritatively enough IMO, until you get to the last para about DPI, and start to maybe reconsider it all... (smile).

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 21, 2012 5:51 AM   in reply to richardplondon

    richardplondon wrote:

     

    the Dry Creek instructions say to convert to the printer profile and make sure Auto Correct is OFF. So who's correct and why?

    Oddly, I yesterday read some instructions for my nearest Costco (with links pointing to the Dry Creek articles that have been already discussed here) stating

     

    "Please do not embed profiles in the file you submit - silver halide mini-labs discard these. Please supply the files in standard sRGB only."

     

    in contradiction with the Dry Creek information, while perpetuating the same ambiguity about tagging vs softproofing vs conversion

     

    http://watford.costcophoto.co.uk/about/icc.printer.profile

     

    The page reads authoritatively enough IMO, until you get to the last para about DPI, and start to maybe reconsider it all... (smile).

     

    And it gets worse...

     

    The past portion of "3. Profile conversion:" contains the following information.

     

    "To do the colour conversion, go to

    Image/Mode/Convert to Profile (for Photoshop 7 or CS)
Edit/Convert to Profile (for Photoshop CS2).

    Select the destination profile (make sure you select the lab you are sending the work to!), and ensure "Intent > Relative Colorimetric" is set.

    Save the work as sRGB JPG without any embedded profiles."

     

     

    So we are to convert to the printer/paper profile for the store in question and then save the file as sRGB.  Huh?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 21, 2012 6:22 AM   in reply to Bob_Peters

    “Convert to Costco profile, save as sRGB w/o embedding a profile” would be equivalent to:  “Convert to Costco profile, convert to sRGB profile, save w/o embedding a profile.”

     

    If that is what you’re supposed to do, then the conversion to the presumably small Costco profile allows PS to make sure everything is within the printer gamut and then converting to the slightly larger sRGB profile gives the printing software a standard starting point for its work, not matter which paper and printer model is being printed to.  This suggests the printer, itself, is calibrated to sRGB, but limitations of the paper might cause things to be out-of-gamut with sRGB as the input so the initial conversion to the printer’s profile trims away any paper-specific out-of-gamut colors.

     
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  • Andrew Rodney
    1,388 posts
    Apr 16, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 21, 2012 7:00 AM   in reply to ssprengel

    Look gang, if you're going to deal with such labs, you need to talk to those running them machines and find out what workflow they will 'force' on you or not.

     

    There is NO reason one can't profile any of the above mentioned devices and use a profile. I've built them, I've used them. But the shop HAS to have a front end that will accept that data, embedded profile or not. If the front end is setup to only assume sRGB, forget custom or supplied output profiles. The lab isn't allowing you to use them. It's the lab's restriction, not the hardware.

     

    The 'just send sRGB' workflow is a silly one for a large number of reasons but the biggest one is these devices do not, repeat do not produce sRGB. There is no such thing as an sRGB printer. The only output device that can actually produce sRGB is an emissive display and if you want to get technical, sRGB is a theoretical color space based on a P22 CRT display in a very fixed behavior.

     

    As for gamut, well it's bigger and smaller than sRGB in areas, much like the disconnect we see when we plot working space and output profile spaces in 3D**

     

    Find out what the shop will accept hopefully NOT sRGB. If they tell you they can take an output color space, get the proper profile, soft proof so you can pick the correct rendering intent (something you simply can't do with the silly sRGB workflow), embed the profile (if the shop accepts this output space, they don't care about the embedded profile). Done.

     

    ** to point out that this discussion of gamut in terms of how to hanlde this data is separate and how gamut affects all processees, you might want to view this:

     

    Everything you thought you wanted to know about color gamut

    A pretty exhaustive 37 minute video examining the color gamut of RGB working spaces, images and output color spaces. All plotted in 2D and 3D to illustrate color gamut.

     

    High resolution:http:digitaldog.net/files/ColorGamut.mov

    Low Res (YouTube): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0bxSD-Xx-Q

     
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  • Andrew Rodney
    1,388 posts
    Apr 16, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 21, 2012 7:04 AM   in reply to ssprengel

    ssprengel wrote:

     

    Assuming the Costco printer profile is “smaller” than the sRGB profile (i.e. the number of colors the printer can render is a subset of what the sRGB display profile can display), from the discussion, here, it would seem that you should soft-proof to the Costco-printer profile and then export and embed sRGB and remember to turn off Auto Corrections at the Kiosk.

    It's just a waste of time trying to soft proof, or for that matter do anything color management related when a shop demands sRGB for a device that doesn’t output sRGB. Gamut has nothing to do with it. If you simply look at the difference in sRGB and said output device in 3D, or just soft proof both ways (wait, you can't soft proof sRGB in terms of rendering intent), you'll see a vast difference. There's a difference visually WITH the correct output profile in just Perceptual versus RelCol, so if you can't use the output profile, how could you even pick that important option? Soft proofing without using the profile setup for the soft proof to convert is a waste of time and a huge leap of faith.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 21, 2012 7:59 AM   in reply to Andrew Rodney

    Thanks Andrew, that was my undertstanding as well – Also for pointing out that the Noritsu and Frontier printers have areas that are outside the sRGB gamut. For anyone interested you can create the 3D wire models here:

     

    http://www.drycreekphoto.com/tools/printer_gamuts/gamutmodel.html

     

    You'll need to download a VRML plugin to use it. Here's one of the Costco profiles showing the area that falls outside the sRGB gamut:

     

    Costco Printers to sRGB.jpg

     

    You can see an area in the Green (-a) region that falls outside the sRGB gamut, which will not render properly if you send sRGB profiled files (i.e. Export from LR's ProPhoto RGB to sRGB) to Costco.

     

    Here's my take on Costco's Noritsu & Frontier printer workflow.

     

    Normal processing is with Auto Correct ON, which expects sRGB profiled images with no adjustments. With Auto Correct ON the sRGB image is converted by the printer using the printer profile for the selected paper type. It apparently also applies some kind of Auto Contrast and perhaps Auto Color Correction for white balancing. This analysis is based purely on print results obtained using standard sRGB images with Auto Correct ON.

     

    With Auto Correct OFF the printer does not apply any Contrast or Color correction and a printer profile is not applied to the image. If this is correct then it is absolutely necessary to "convert" your images to the Costco printer profile for the target paper type after making your Soft Proof adjustments. You should also preview different rendering intents in Soft Proof as outlined on the Dry Creek website. PS has more options using 'Customize Proof Condition' than available in LR.

     

    The best analogy I can think of is Auto Correct On = "Managed By Printer" and Auto Correct OFF = "Managed By Application" (i.e. PS or LR).

     

    I'll try to verify this with my local Costco Photo Lab manager.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 21, 2012 12:37 PM   in reply to trshaner

    Just talked to my Costco Photo Lab Manager (Ocean, NJ) and he agrees that the image file should be converted to the printer profile. For this Costco location there is also a note concerning use of the profiles - Note: This lab has multiple printers. Request your profiled RA-4 prints be run on the Noritsu 3411. The Costco manager said that when you select Auto Correct OFF the print job automatically gets routed to the Dry Creek profiled Noritsu 3411 printer.

     

    I'm going to run a LR4 test anyhow using a ColorChecker Passport image 1) Exported to sRGB, 2) Exported to Costco Printer Profile 'Color Space' with no additional adjustments, and 3) Exported to Costco Printer Profile 'Color Space' with Soft Proof adjustments, and 4) Exported to Costco Printer Profile 'Color Space' with Soft Proof adjustments and profile not embedded.

     

    I'll post my results.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 21, 2012 4:48 PM   in reply to trshaner

    Here are the Costco print test results when compared visually to the actual ColorCheckerPassport target patches. The six grayscale patches reproduced the same on all four prints with very little difference between them. Most of the colors were also very accurately reproduced on all four prints, with the sRGB print the least accurate. The differences observed between prints were very subtle and confined primarily to two patches in the ColorChecker target. It's unlikely you would be able to detect significant differences in a posted scan here of all four prints side-by-side.

     

    1) Exported to sRGB

    The worst of the four prints, but not bad at all. The Blue and Purplish Blue patches had slightly less saturation and were slightly color shifted (i.e. less of a purple tint).

     

    2) Exported to Costco Printer Profile 'Color Space' with no additional adjustments

    The 2nd best print with more saturation and less color shift (i.e. less of a purple tint) in the Blue and Purplish Blue patches.

     

    3) Exported to Costco Printer Profile 'Color Space' with Soft Proof adjustments

    The best print of the four with virtually identical Blue and Purplish Blue patches.

     

    4) Exported to Costco Printer Profile 'Color Space' with Soft Proof adjustments and profile not embedded (unassigned using PS)

    (Identical to #3 print, as expected)

     

    This test is limted to the gamut represented in the ColorChecker Passport traget patches, but it's clear "conversion" to the Costco profile after making Soft Proof adjustments in LR or PS provides the best print matching results – What you see is what you get! In addition this test indicates you should get more than acceptable rendering with most prints when sending sRGB profiled images from LR without any Soft Proof adjustments. This correlates with my Costco print results.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 22, 2012 7:17 AM   in reply to B Twieg

    The conversion can be done in LR with no need for further editing in PS, since removing the embedded profile is not necessary (i.e. profiles are ignored).

     

    There are some limitations to doing the conversion in LR, as Andrew Rodney mentioned here. The Print module allows you to choose Perceptual or Relative rendering during the conversion to Costco profile, which you can preview using Soft Proof. Since Costco only accepts JPEG files you should use a 100 Quality setting to prevent any visible compression artifacts.

     

    As Andrew Rodney mentions, if you are sending the file to a photo lab for wide gamut inkjet prints (i.e. using their printer profile) do the profile conversion using LR Export (or PS) to a 16 bit TIFF file. Unfortunately Costco only accepts JPEG files for printing posters on their Epson 7880 (8-color) wide gamut poster printers, but they do provide profiles for the two paper types available. Here are Dry Creeks instructions for using the Costco printer profiles for poster orders:

     

    http://www.drycreekphoto.com/icc/CostcoPosterPrinters.html

     

    WARNING: Step #4 at the above link indicates that you must NOT embed a printer profile for poster prints made on the Epson 7880 inkjet printer. As silly as it sounds it will be necessary to remove the LR embedded color profile using PS or other photo editing application.

     

    4. Convert your images to the appropriate printer profile, then save the image as a maximum quality jpeg without embedding the profile. The driver used for the Epson printers can give unpredictable results if a printer profile is embedded in an image.

     

    Message was edited by: trshaner Added note for Epson 7880 concerning embedded profiles

     
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