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Black and white print linearisation with i1Profiler and QTR

Using a spectrophotometer to create linearising ICC profiles

In our recent article about using ColorPort with the i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer, Keith looked at using the device to read in linearising targets for the QTR software package.

This shorter article follows on from that one and covers reading in the targets with X-rite's i1Profiler software.

There are lots more explanatory details in the ColorPort article, which I'd suggest reading first, if you are relatively new to the process.

There are downloadable target files and target images for the targets associated with this article.

digital B/WFYI: I've set up a LinkedIn group (~6500 members) for people interested in all aspects of Digital Black and White photography: Digital Black and White

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Using i1Profiler

It seems that i1Profiler will allow you to measure test targets without licensing, and supports any i1 Spectrophotometer.

I'd thank Scott Martin of Onsight for pointing out this feature of i1Profiler to me, and his work in alternative process printing.

I've looked at its many profiling features in the recent i1Photo Pro 2 and i1Basic Pro 2 reviews. All our i1Profiler related info is on our i1Profiler overview page

Using QTR

QuadToneRIP (QTR) is a splendid bit of shareware from Roy Harrison that provides a wealth of B&W printing capabilities for Epson printers, including those set up with third party 'grey only' ink sets.

However, the part of the software I'm looking at using is the part that creates specialist greyscale 'correction' profiles. These are ICC printer profiles that correct for non-linearity when printing.

Note - in the past I've looked at doing this same process with the ColorMunki Photo and SpyderPrint devices

They are made by printing patches of different grey levels and noting how the measured value compares with what was in the test image (or target).

Measuring the Target with i1Profiler

You'll need to have the latest version downloaded from X-Rite. You can install it without needing any additional software license. i1Profiler at X-Rite.

Download the i1Profiler targets collection [zip file]

There are 21 and 51 patch targets that fit landscape (L) or portrait (P) oriented A4 (and letter) paper.

The 'K' versions are for the i1Pro 2

21 step target for i1Pro 2

Whilst the 'Ki1' versions work with the i1Pro (and i1Pro 2)

21 step target for original i1Pro

With each file, there is an accompanying text file that contains data about the target layout.

The i1Pro 2 can read both formats, but the i1Pro needs the bigger patches and spacer gaps.

The target reading function in i1Profiler is very picky about file formats, and wouldn't have anything to do with the eye-one target files included with the QTR package.

The files are greyscale ones in the Grey Gamma 2.2 colour space.

I've chosen this to make it easy to use them in a B&W print correction workflow where you are printing via a printer's B&W print mode (see the ColorPort article for more about this).

Once you're ready to measure your test strips, you need to open up i1Profiler and put it in 'Advanced' mode.

If you are using just the downloaded version, with no software modules licensed, the you won't get the green tick (the licenensing info is stored in the i1Pro 2 I'm using)

advanced mode

You are going to be using the 'Measure Reference Chart' function.

measure reference chart

The first thing to do after opening the measuring function, is to tell i1Profiler what target you used.

define chart for measurement

Here, I've selected the 'P' version of the 51 step target - you can leave all the targets and info files in their folders. There is no need to save them anywhere special (you can do, but I wanted to keep this process simple).

reading in target data

If you're curious, open up the target files in a text editor...

The 51 step target appears.

loaded target patch data - greyscale ramp

Since I'm using an i1Pro 2, I select it as the measuring device.

chpoice of measuring instrument type

After calibration of the spectrophotometer, I read in the data, one line at a time.

For targets like this I've created them for strip reading mode.

I've selected M0 mode (equivalent to an unfiltered i1Pro)

The paper is a new warm glossy coated cotton rag paper I'm testing. It's entirely OBA free and has a really nice look to it. I'll have a review in a week or so...

measuring patch data

The display above, shows target/measurement pairs after I've completed the scanning.

Next, save the file in i1Profiler CGATS CIELab format (another text file - open it and see your measurement data.

savung files in correct format

To create a QTR profile, just drop the measurement file onto the QTR-Create-ICC-RGB script.

Here's the output from the script.

measured curves from paper after running QTR scripy

A Dmax of 2.7 is what I'd expect from this paper. Note the crunched up blacks - one of the reasons I was looking at using a QTR profile. Once again there is more about this on the associated ColorPort article.

If you wanted to, with the i1Pro 2, you could save data in M0, M1, M2 modes. Deciding what measurements are appropriate for what paper and inks is a matter for further experimentation.

Buying the i1Basic Pro 2

We make a specific point of not selling hardware, but if you found the review of help please consider buying the i1Pro 2, or any other items at all, via our links with Amazon or B&H
Amazon UK link / Amazon Fr / Amazon De
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i1Basic Pro 2 from B&H Photo

Conclusions

I've been using MeasureTool for several years with my old i1Pro to create correction/linearising profiles and curves.

Since MeasureTool is no longer supported I was glad to find out that i1Profiler also offered measuring functionality in its unlicensed form.

At the moment ColorPort doesn't offer specific i1Pro 2 support, so using i1Profiler is the only way to get the different 'M' modes

What's described here should be thought as some initial experiments with i1Profiler functionality - it does a lot, but is rather thin on documentation in some areas. I'd welcome any feedback from anyone using this package.

Comments/Questions? Feel free to ask

Article History - first published June 2012

Other information and articles on this site

I've recently reviewed two of X-Rite's i1Pro 2 packages, if you're looking for more profiling and colour management information.

i1Pro and i1Pro2 spectrophotometers

See also our Articles and Reviews sections

The views in this article represent those of Keith Cooper.
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