6 Replies Latest reply on Nov 11, 2009 10:49 AM by jethrodesign

    Using SilverFast & Scanner to Calibrate Printer?

    jethrodesign Level 1

      Hi, we need to upgrade our scanning software for a large scanning project we have coming up (rarely scan anymore). I was noticing on SilverFast's site that they have a new feature called 'Printer Calibration' that is supposed to be able to calibrate and provide an ICC profile for printers using a properly calibrated scanner.

       

      You can read about it here:

      http://www.silverfast.com/highlights/printer-calibration/en.html

       

      - I'm wondering if anyone has any opinions or experience with this?

       

      I'm aware that it's probably not on the same level as high-end profiling software and hardware profiling devices, but these also cost into the thousands of dollars. This solution, if it could even get us 'in the ballpark', would be worth the extra $100-200 they charge for it and a decent IT8 target.

       

      We do have a couple inkjets here (a low-end Epson & a large-format HP) that would probably work decently with it. But we also have a Xerox Doc12 laser printer with a Splash RIP that we use for most things. So far, I just edited the default profile for the Xerox to get it closer, and it is definitely better than it was. But this was just 'eyeballing' it and making manual adjustments. Anything that could get us a closer match would be worth it, I believe.

       

      Thanks! Just don't want to throw the extra $$$ down the drain if it's completely worthless.

        • 1. Re: Using SilverFast & Scanner to Calibrate Printer?
          erikvlie

          Calibrating a printer using a calibrated scanner is possible, but it is limited. SilverFast's printer calibration is strictly limited to using the standard RGB printer driver of the printer. The printer driver itself is the limiting factor, as it will decide how the RGB-color space will be separated into CMYK and the extra colors.

           

          Proper CMYK profiling with ink limiting, etc is impossible and multi-color printers are not supported by SilverFast.

           

          If you want to get slightly better results than just visual correction, SilverFast is an option, but is there any reason why you shouldn't be using one of the color profiling services out there?

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Using SilverFast & Scanner to Calibrate Printer?
            jethrodesign Level 1

            OK, thanks. I read a little about using it, and how you have to disable all color control and management in the printer drivers. But I just assumed they were gearing this toward standard inkjet printers as that is what most people would commonly have.

             

            Our solution uses a true hardware RIP to separate and manage colors for our laser printer, so it is more of a 'true' CMYK printer. I would have just had to disable the color management in the RIP to run the calibration target (which I believe it has the option for), then I assumed it would help generate a more accurate profile then my 'eyeball-adjusted' one. The process seems fairly straight forward as long as the printer drivers' color management can be completely taken out of the equation.

             

            And we have long desired to have someone come out and do this properly, using the right software and equipment, but it's just a large expense (the people I was talking to were quoting $1000/day, and desiring to come out for multiple days).

             

            Since we're just scanning black & white prints right now, we may just use the SilverFast LE software that came with the scanner for now. I was just trying to decide if adding the 'printer calibration' feature was going to be worth the extra $100 or so.

             

            - On a similar note, though, would this solution work decently for our large-format HP DesignJet 800PS?

            This printer by default had a built-in controller card with a PostScript RIP. But the card died and is $500-600 to replace. So we can now only print to it from our 'token' PC using the standard non-PostScript printer driver (GL/2?). We have to convert all files to PDF and use Acrobat on this machine to print. And with the PS out of the equation, the color is not all that great. Wondering if we could actually profile this workflow and make it work decently?

             

            THANKS!

            • 3. Re: Using SilverFast & Scanner to Calibrate Printer?
              erikvlie Level 1

              I can't tell if it will work with the HP, given that you no longer have Postscript to drive the printer...

               

              I fear that if you're using a GPL driver that messes up the colours, profiling won't do much good. If it's the driver that is making the colours go all wrong, a profile won't help, but that's my opinion and it's not based on any true knowledge or experience; just a hunch so to speak. Sorry for not being able to help you out with that one.

              • 4. Re: Using SilverFast & Scanner to Calibrate Printer?
                jethrodesign Level 1

                Well, I did notice yesterday that in the GL/2 print dialog for the HP, there is an option in the 'Color Management/Color Matching Method' to choose "Managed by Application".

                 

                - Would this seem to imply that the application (Acrobat in this case) would handle all color management, and not the printer driver?

                 

                From my understanding, this is what's necessary to create a profile for the printer w/ SilverFast. Then I imagine we would convert all color to this created profile for this printer when creating the PDFs, and print to the printer with the setting to allow the application to manage color, correct?

                 

                I'll see if I can get any help from HP on this, but I'm not hopeful. The printer is quite old.

                • 5. Re: Using SilverFast & Scanner to Calibrate Printer?
                  erikvlie Level 1

                  Well, I did notice yesterday that in the GL/2 print dialog for the HP, there is an option in the 'Color Management/Color Matching Method' to choose "Managed by Application".

                   

                  - Would this seem to imply that the application (Acrobat in this case) would handle all color management, and not the printer driver?

                   

                  "Managed by application" means that colour matching is routed through the operating system's colour management system or through Adobe's proprietary colour management system, but that doesn't mean per se your colours will be output correctly by GL/2. I know this happens when you're using Postscript, but I don't know if this is the case with GL/2.

                   

                  Why don't you just try that out --or are you using expensive paper (I know ink is expensive too, but at some point you'll have to see for yourself how colours are handled anyway...

                   

                  From my understanding, this is what's necessary to create a profile for the printer w/ SilverFast.

                   

                  Yes, well if you are going to profile a printer --regardless of which product or technology you are going to use-- you always have to bypass the printer's built-in way of handling colours. You will also have to turn off any colour management inside the application used to print the colour target (don't use Acrobat for that --use Photoshop instead and turn off all colour management in the print dialogue).

                   

                  Then I imagine we would convert all color to this created profile for this printer when creating the PDFs, and print to the printer with the setting to allow the application to manage color, correct?

                   

                  You would select the profile in the print dialogue when outputting your PDF and colours would be output correctly. That is how it would work with Postscript, yes. As I said: I don't know if this is also the case with GL/2. I assume it is, but am not sure. Non-Postscript drivers may do stuff that I don't know about.

                   

                  Even with an old printer, HP should be able to tell you if colour management works the same with GL/2 as with Postscript, no?

                  • 6. Re: Using SilverFast & Scanner to Calibrate Printer?
                    jethrodesign Level 1

                    Thanks for the reply. We ended up going ahead and ordering the software since we had to upgrade the scanning software anyway. We should be getting the target in the mail in a few days. So we'll have to install a PC version of SilverFast on our laptop here to run the calibration for the printer. We'll see how well it works.

                     

                    I did email HP asking about this and if there are any drivers that would work from Mac, but haven't heard back. Not sure if I will.