3 Replies Latest reply on Apr 1, 2010 3:45 PM by Printer_Rick

    which color profile to work with

    borisbastoss

      hi,

       

      since recent i'm working with linux open source software for my DTP, which has been posing some problems, especially concerning my colors. This has nothing to do with Linux but with the fact that i don't know a lot about color management (though do find it interesting)

      I have a hard time understanding (visualizing) the actual workflow of color management.

       

      What i understand so far: When i import an image in my DTP software (Scribus), that image may have an embedded color profile (RGB) or may not. When it doesn't, the software assigns a profile to it, through the color engine (Litlle CMS). I assume it does this automatically? Otherwise I am able to assign my own profile to it, directly in Scribus. But what color profile do i assign when i export to PDF, to send off for printing? What is important to take into account regarding the commercial printer?

      I've calibrated my screen using the Spyder 2 Express software, and the software has created an .icm profile for that screen. This .icm profile is automatically installed in the directory and thus also in Scribus. But when i assign this profile to my file and i export to PDF, does my commercial printer on the other side of town recognize this profile? Shouldn't i be exporting in a standard ICC profile, like Adobe RGB(1998)?

      This is the part where it's hard for me to understand what to do with the profile my Spyder has created.

       

      My sole objective however is to see on my screen as exactly possible as what comes out of the printer on the other side of town.

       

      Thank you for your help.

      Bart

        • 1. Re: which color profile to work with
          John Danek Level 4

          You're not alone, whether in Linux, OSX, or Windows.  Computer manufacturers thought it would be easy for people to understand the logistics of setting up an accurate color workflow.  A sort of consumerization of a highly technical technology which has many, many variables. I'm going to take a stab at your situation eventhough you're using an application I'm not familiar with.

           

          1.)  When you create a profile for your monitor in the process you used to calibrate it, that profile is saved in your CPU where your monitor can access it for rendering images consistently.  But that's as far as it goes.  You should not be using it in your file prep.

           

          2.)  It's an industry deception to tell consumers they can match their monitor in their prints.  It's a logistical impossibility because of the differences in reflectance ( paper ) vs. transmissive ( video ) delivery and variables.  However, you can get close with today's technologies.  There simply are no printing presses that are exactly the same, never mind color monitors, proofers / RIPs.

           

          3.)  There are industry standards in place for particular printing scenarios.  Photographic print workflows are different than Process Printing workflows. But, if your concern is producing accurate files that can be interpreted and printed accurately at any printer out there, you are looking at an "Open Loop" workflow ( where your file will go anywhere ).  You have ultimately a lot more control in a "Closed Loop" workflow, whereas you are creating files to be printed in-house with known variables.  But, your case is Open Loop.  So, your application's color setup should be similar to Adobe's color setups where RGB = Adobe RGB; Bitmap Rendering Intent = Perceptual; CMYK = SWOP v2 ( Coated / Uncoated depending on paper ); Vector Rendering Intent = Relative Colorimetric; Use Black Point Compensation; Dot gain based on paper/press/screening technology.

           

          4.) The settings in your application ( see #3 ) should go with the PDF export operation.  Confirm color settings in PDF export dialogs ( if any ).  Most importantly, confirm with the actual print vendor before sending the file what their requirements are.  Communication early on in the process will save a lot of headaches later on.  In the last few years, standardization and PDF file prep has become more mainstream and a bit more understood.  So, most vendors are on the same page.  But, you can't assume anything and it's best to contact the vendor early.

          • 2. Re: which color profile to work with
            gator soup Level 4
            This is the part where it's hard for me to understand what to do with the profile my Spyder has created.

             

            Color-managed applications only use the monitor profile for one thing: to display the Source Space (your file's true color) on the monitor (the monitor profile has nothing to do with how the file prints — the monitor is only "proofing" the color for you).

             

            This monitor "proofing" process is done in the Color Management System (CMS CMM) through a SourceProfile-to-MonitorProfile Conversion.

             

            The Source Space (profile) remains independent of the display and print spaces.

             

            When you print the same thing needs to happen — the process needs to CONVERT the Source Space to the Print Space.

             

            My sole objective however is to see on my screen as exactly possible as what comes out of the printer on the other side of town.

             

            That success will rest solely on three things, assuming your monitor is accurately profiled and you are viewing your true color in a color-managed application:

             

            1) Your printer honors your embedded profile (or you Convert to his profile before delivering your color).

            2) Your printer Converts your file to his Print Space (and his print profile is good).

            3) Your file does not contain out-of-gamut color that can't be reproduced on the media he is printing on.

             

            I believe we can expect the monitor to reasonably 'match' the print if we train our eyes to interpret what we are looking at.

             

            I will recommend you use the Working RGB-CMYK profiles you understand — sRGB and US Web Coated SWOP v2 are the safest bets in my opinion.

             

            Try this new spin on the subject: www.gballard.net/photoshop/pdi_download/

            • 3. Re: which color profile to work with
              Printer_Rick Level 4

              borisbastoss wrote:

              But what color profile do i assign when i export to PDF, to send off for printing? What is important to take into account regarding the commercial printer?

              Just to be clear, in a properly color managed workflow, you do not assign at the PDF export stage. You would either preserve all profiles, or convert to a destination profile. The term assign would lead some to believe there is false profiling going on but I realize that is not what you meant.

               

              You must contact the commercial printer to find out whether to convert to his destination color, or instead perform no color conversion and preserve your current source color spaces.

               

              Hopefully he can provide you with a destination ICC profile which fully describes the print condition. In that case, you can convert to this color space when you export. After PDF creation you can view the destination color with an ICC compliant PDF reader to soft proof the print result.

               

              I am not familiar with the applications you have mentioned. Adobe apps have a way of previewing destination color while still in the source space. It is called Proof Setup. You may or may not posses a tool like this. If you do you may be able to soft proof before PDF creation.

               

              Also I am not sure if you are using Adobe Acrobat to view your PDF output. Whatever you use, it needs to honor ICC profiles to render accurate soft proofs.

               

              As already mentioned, your monitor profile is for your soft proofing purposes only. It is not a source color space or a destination color space, and should have no involvement in PDF output.

               

              borisbastoss wrote:

               

              My sole objective however is to see on my screen as exactly possible as what comes out of the printer on the other side of town.

               


              It can be difficult to get an extremely accurate soft proof. You need the destination ICC profile, and the proper tools for your display to translate this color space for you to see. If your printer is using the SWOP (Specifications for Web Offset Printing) standard or GRACoL, then there are ICC profiles you can download from the IdeAlliance website:

               

              http://www.idealliance.org/industry_resources/branding_media_and_color/g7

               

              Bear in mind, if the printer specifically tells you not to convert and to include all source profiles, this is called a late binding workflow (relatively rare). Late binding is progressive, but the problem is that you can't soft proof in the print color space. Even though the idea behind any color conversion is to preserve appearance, there are many source RGB colors that cannot be reproduced in print (referred to as out of gamut colors). Examples are vibrant blues, greens, oranges, and violets. You probably won't encounter a late binding printer, but without a destination ICC you just have to trust him to do the best possible conversion to move the job to his output device, whatever it may be.