Best way to profile monitor and printer for use with Photoshop?

Discussion in 'Photoshop Tutorials' started by John A. Stovall, Apr 5, 2005.

  1. I'm setting up a digital darkroom based on a 20 inch iMac with an
    Epson R1800 printer and an looking at the question of profiling my
    monitor and printer for use with Photoshop CS.

    I've considered getting a Colorvision Spyder2PRO for calibration of
    the monitor but don't see how this then plays with calibrating the
    printer. In fact for some things it appears I need a scanner to
    correctly calibrate the printer.

    What's my best way to deal with color management in this environment
    using Photoshop and any suggested references I should be reading?
    John A. Stovall, Apr 5, 2005
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  2. John A. Stovall

    Bill Hilton Guest

    John Stovall writes ...
    The Sypder will give you a very good monitor ICC profile but the
    printer profiles are a different deal. The Epson printers come with
    fairly accurate ICC profiles for the Epson papers, so you don't need to
    buy software/hardware to calibrate it unless you want to use 3rd party
    papers. Even then many of the better 3rd party vendors (Arches,
    Hahnemuhle, Moab, etc) provide profiles, though I've found these are
    often of poor quality. Best to get a really good test target and print
    it and see, that's what I do when evaluating printer profiles.
    The cheapest printer profile solutions use scanners to get the color
    info from the printed target (Colorvision, Monaco etc do this) but I've
    never seen any of these make really good profiles. Most of them are
    pretty bad, a waste of time, ink and paper. The scanner is the weak
    link and I would urge you to skip this or risk wasting a couple hundred
    bucks (been there, done that, threw away the T-shirt).

    I personally think the best relatively inexpensive printer profiling
    solution is the Gretag Macbeth Eye-One, which you can often find for
    around $1,000 bundled. It comes with a spectrophotometer that gives
    you much more accurate results than the consumer flatbed scanners and
    doubles as a monitor profiler. At one time (prior to the Sypder2) the
    Eye-One did a much better job on LCD monitors than the Sypder (which I
    have), though perhaps Colorvision has closed the gap with the newer
    Sypder. At any rate I think you can buy the Eye-One separately and
    calibrate your monitor and then if you need to calibrate printers you
    can upgrade to the option that includes printer profiling (check on
    this, I'm not certain and am too lazy to look it up).

    At any rate, I'd pass on the scanner solutions (or more accurately I
    wish I *had* passed on the scanner solutions). You might find that the
    Epson profiles are plenty accurate enough, which will save you a lot of

    Bill Hilton, Apr 5, 2005
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  3. John A. Stovall

    Bill Hilton Guest

    What's my best way to deal with color management in this environment
    Couple of sites worth reading re: color management ... basics of CM soft
    proofing, which is how many of us print ... eye one review,
    the package I mentioned before was the Photo bundle

    The book that talks in-depth about CM is probably "Real World Color
    Management" by Fraser, Bunting, Murphy. Maybe more than you want to

    Books like the "Photoshop Artistry" series by Haynes/Crumpler and "Real
    World Photoshop" by Fraser and Blatner spend a chapter or so on CM,
    explaining the basics pretty well.

    Also some good basic info on Ian Lyons' site about setting up Photoshop
    for printing, calibrating your monitor and using soft proofing. You
    can probably Google this.

    Bill Hilton, Apr 5, 2005
  4. Thanks this should keep me busy reading until my copy of CS2 ships and
    the R1800 gets here.
    John A. Stovall, Apr 5, 2005
  5. Bill:

    You mention below getting a good test target to print and
    evaluate your printer profiles.

    Could you pass along what target you are using. I too have
    spent the bucks to get a spectrophotometer (DTP-41) and
    I get what I think are excellent profiles.

    However, I'm always looking for better evaluation methods and
    I wonder what you are using for a printable target.

    Peter Johnson

    Peter Johnson, Apr 5, 2005

  6. Spent a week chasing my tail with it as well. Waste of time. Dont know
    what to do now tho. Have an HP Designjet which has its own cmyk rip
    and "color calibration".... pretty confusing, images done in photoshop
    get placed into InDesign and then sent to the Hp and its "rip".

    any suggestions for me?
    PeeVee_Hermann, Apr 5, 2005
  7. John A. Stovall

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Peter Johnson wrote ...
    The one I use is from Bill Atkinson, he gave them out at a 3 day
    advanced printing/Photoshop/LightJet 5000 class I took with him at
    Calypso Labs in Santa Clara. I doubt he'd mind sharing it since he
    spent thousands of hours making the Epson 9600/7600 profiles and gave
    them to Epson for free but I wouldn't feel comfortable sending it out
    without Bill's permission.

    Here's a jpeg of it (rotated 90 degrees and with his copyright added),
    you can probably create something similar with your own images. The
    one he gave us is about 5,350 x 3,960 pixels in Lab mode, the jpeg is
    no doubt suffering various mutilations and indignities during the mode
    conversion, downsampling and jpeg compression but you get the idea (I
    left a non-sRGB profile in it if you want to save it and open in

    The black to white gradient at the bottom (assume it's rotated back to
    vertical) is the first 'tell' if there are profile problems, often
    there's a color cast in part of the gradient and you know you have no
    chance at cast-free color since it's not properly grey-balanced. Some
    profiles I've tested didn't have solid black or white points so the
    printed gradient kind of fizzles out at the end points. Often this was
    tracked down to using the Photo black ink on the Epson Ultrachrome
    printers on matte/fine art paper instead of the Matte black ink, for
    example. It's not unusual to see abrupt shifts in the gradient instead
    of smooth transitions either. You can make a similar gradient for your
    own test pattern and it's definitely worth-while.

    The smaller color gradients also sometimes indicate abrupt jumps in
    tonality. One paper I tried from Moab did this with their supplied
    profile for an Epson 4000 and turns out they made the profile in
    saturation mode instead of rel col or perceptual, which explains why
    THAT profile sucked.

    There are high key and low key images in the top part of the file but
    the ones I look at most (after seeing if the gradients are smooth ...
    if they aren't then the profile isn't very good, I've found) are the
    two just above the copyright I added, the arch at Monument Valley and
    the aspens, since I have a lot of images from Utah, Arizona and
    Colorado with similar colors (I even shot the same arch) which I like
    to print. Often you see subtle differences in the reds, blues and
    yellows (especially yellows) in this part of the test print. Also the
    red tree with blue sky on the other side of the page looks quite
    different on different papers or profiles, depending on the gamut of
    the paper and profile accuracy. So it's a good test file for me and
    the kinds of images I print.

    Bill Hilton, Apr 5, 2005
  8. John A. Stovall

    Hecate Guest

    And if you're on a tight budget then get the Eye One for monitors only
    and use the canned printer profile. Then use soft proofing to make
    sure you're getting the out put you want.


    Hecate - The Real One

    Fashion: Buying things you don't need, with money
    you don't have, to impress people you don't like...
    Hecate, Apr 5, 2005

  9. Bill:

    Much thanks for the link and info. I have at least one of the images
    in my collection, the "photodisc" image (bottom right of your JPEG
    and perhaps another as well. I'll try and contact Atkinson and see if
    I can pry one from him.

    Again thanks

    Peter Johnson, Apr 5, 2005
  10. Bill:

    Me again: I quick Google search revealed that Mr. Atkinson has
    this image posted and can be downlaoded without restrictions.
    (4140 x5220 all 26 Mbytes.) Again thanks for the lead.

    Peter Johnson, Apr 6, 2005
  11. John A. Stovall

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Peter Johnson wrote ...
    Peter, do you have a link to this? I've had several people ask where
    they could obtain it. Thanks.

    Bill Hilton, Apr 6, 2005
  12. This is it I think.

    Go to:

    2. Download targets

    We use new enhanced targets from Bill Atkinson. (Readers who own an
    Eye-One can download the reference file and Bill's readme here)

    "Americans have plenty of everything and the best of nothing."

    John C. Keats
    American Writer
    John A. Stovall, Apr 6, 2005
  13. John A. Stovall

    Bill Hilton Guest

    John Stovall writes
    This is something different ... this is the profiling target that Bill
    created when he was profiling the Epson 9600/7600 3 years ago, it's
    just a block of color patches that you print out with the software and
    scan or measure back in, with the results being used by the software to
    generate the actual ICC profile. He used more patches than the other
    profilers, I think 918 instead of 529 or 729, for more accurate

    So you use this pattern just to generate the profile. To evaluate the
    profile's effectiveness visually you'd use something like Bill's test
    pattern with gradients and actual images that I linked to earlier.

    Bill Hilton, Apr 6, 2005
  14. Peter Johnson, Apr 6, 2005
  15. what is the "canned" printer profile? Some generic printer profile Eye
    One supplies? How are you supposed to soft proof with that? I thought
    soft proofing used a specific printer profile..... I'm confused,
    pardon me
    PeeVee_Hermann, Apr 6, 2005
  16. John A. Stovall

    HCB Guest

    It sounds like you are starting from scratch on digital imaging. If
    true, my suggestion is DON'T mess with calibration or color management
    at this stage. I have arrows on my back (and Bill has some too, it
    seems) to prove what a treacherous and painful endeavor it can turn out
    to be. Instead, learn the other aspects of digital imaging and PS
    fundamentals first. Then if you are still unhappy with your results and
    know FOR SURE that the problems are caused by a lack of calibration or
    color management, go down that path will make it easier. This is
    contrary to the common wisdom these days, but consider the following:

    - Before v5, there was no such thing as color management in PS. Yet
    beautiful digital work were made.
    - Even today, I continue to see exquisite digital work from seasoned
    photographers who don't use color management or profiles.
    - The first inductee to the PS Hall of Fame Margulis is very skeptical
    about color management (or the way it is done). Check out his web site.
    - Many problems are NOT due to the lack of or poor color management at
    all, and color management CANNOT fix many such problems. Yet these days,
    those giving advice (on the Net, or in a store) want to jump to the
    conclusion that that is the problem without any accurate diagnosis. "Oh,
    you must calibrate the monitor first!"
    - There is NO easy way to diagnose if a problem is due to the lack of or
    poor color management UNLESS someone with color management expertise can
    SEE the actual results at your workstation.
    - Color management as it is implemented and at this stage is still very
    crude, and the vendors do not make it easy for their customers. Just
    think about the numerous cryptic setups it takes in PS and in Epson to
    print correctly with a profile.

    I can think of more, but I'm out of breathe. Now I'll run before being
    showered by the rocks.

    A good site to get you started is:
    HCB, Apr 6, 2005
  17. John A. Stovall

    Clyde Guest

    I don't use any of those expensive tools. I use Adobe Gamma to calibrate
    my monitor. OK, it is a professional level ViewSonic CRT that is very good.

    I used to use the standard Epson ICC profiles with Epson paper, but it
    was never quite right. (R800 printer) I now use Ilford paper with their
    downloaded profiles. Ilford paper is excellent paper and their profiles
    are spot on.

    The point is that I get on paper what I see on my monitor. That's all
    you need in color management.

    Clyde, Apr 6, 2005
  18. John A. Stovall

    TOYOTA Guest

    In spite of the miss-information being displayed by some in this thread,
    ColorManagment is not primitive at thie stage, but well implemented and is a
    great way to get truly excellent prints.

    Buy the Fraser book and read. If you think you are going to get good printer
    profiles with a scanner based solution, go ahead and believe that myth.
    Garbage in equals garbage out. No colorimeter or sanner can yield the needed
    informaiton to generate accurate printer profiles.

    Also for my money you can take the present generation of LCD monitors and kiss
    them off. CRT's are cheaper and much better. Someday, LCD monitors may be
    useful for photowork, but certainly not now.

    TOYOTA, Apr 6, 2005
  19. John A. Stovall

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Pee Wee writes ...
    Using a rip means you're bypassing Photoshop and it's color management
    flow for printing. I'm a bit surprised if you say you're sending cmyk
    images to the Designjet, is that what you meant? The rip should do the
    conversion from RGB. Only advice is to read the instructions that came
    with your rip or try to find someone who is using the same one and ask
    them, I guess.
    Bill Hilton, Apr 6, 2005
  20. John A. Stovall

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Pee Wee asks ...
    No, it's the ICC files that come with the printer software specifically
    for that printer. Eye One has nothing to do with it, the ones for the
    printer he mentions come from Epson.
    Install the printer profiles and point to the right one for the paper
    you're printing on.
    Bill Hilton, Apr 6, 2005
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