Printer icc profile editing in Eye One Match
Printer profile editing in Eye One Match
You can now edit ICC printer profiles from your Eye One, how and why?
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The latest Eye One Match software from GretagMacbeth (V3.4) includes the ability to edit printer icc (icm) profiles that you have created.
Keith has had a look at the software to see how it works and why you might want to use it.
2012 – Note that the currently shipping profiling product from X-Rite (i1Profiler – full review) does not support profile editing any more. You may still find copies of older software/hardware, but do check if they will run on your chosen computer system.
2015 – Profile editing is no longer supported in any X-Rite product that runs on current hardware. I have a copy of OS X 10.6 (server) running under Parallels that can still run old software. There is a nice collection of open source profile editing tools at www.color.org/opensource.xalter
The profile editing software comes as part of the Eye One Match software and needs to have a licensed device attached to your computer, in order to use it.
In some ways this storing of license details makes using my Eye One a bit easier – I can have the software installed on several computers (and my laptop) and use the device with whichever may be most convenient.
You’ll have to check with GMB what particular software packages include icc profile editing.
Note – see the current X-rite range of products at the end of the article.
Plugging in my Eye One Display did not work with the software (as I’d expect), but my Eye One spectrophotometer did.
I believe that the basic Eye One Design package does not include the editor, but I was unable to find a clear example on the GMB site comparing what software/options you get with each package.
Note that this is from a GMB Marketing email I received a few months ago:
“All Eye-One Photo, Proof and XT owners since December 15, 2004, will appreciate the fact that the Editor software flag is already preprogrammed on your Eye-One device.
Eye-One owners who purchased prior to December 15, 2004 can add on the new Editor module by simply purchasing an access code.”
If all is well you will see the profile editor option enabled in the start screen.
The green ‘blob’ shows the profile editor is selected.
The whole process is pretty straightforward. You select a profile and a reference image, make some adjustments to different aspects of the profile and create a new version of the profile to use.
First choose which profile to edit – I’ve selected one here for an Epson 890 that I’d profiled.
Note how the Eye one Match software has also checked that my monitor profile is valid (green tick).
Now comes the question as to which profile in your printer profile to edit?
Printer profiles contain two profiles, one for printing and one for soft proofing. Normally you will want to start by getting the print to look right. Note the useful help text to the right, which explains the difference and what to do.
I’m showing how to go about fixing the print side of things, but editing for soft proofing is done just the same way.
In order to see the effects of the edits during editing you need a test image. This image needs to cover a full range of colours and be good enough to show details where your profile needs changing.
In general, do not use one of your own photos! you are just compounding potential sources of confusion and error.
A lot of work goes into making good test images…
First of all I’ve loaded one of the Kodak test images (more info and description). I sometimes use these for printer testing. It’s OK, but is in the sRGB colour space, so may not show up any problems in the areas where the gamut of the Stylus 890 exceeds sRGB.
GMB supply a test image in Lab colour which works well, but do remember that significant parts of the image may be outside the gamut of your printer. How it prints will vary with your profile and the rendering intent you use.
In case you were wondering how much of the image is out of gamut, it’s shown below (reduced and converted to sRGB for web use).
The bits of the image that are out of gamut for my Epson 1290, using Epson dye inks on Epson PGP paper show up as grey.
Whilst this gamut display is useful, always remember that it shows up colours that are ever so slightly out of gamut in exactly the same way as ones that are massively out. This has been a complaint about Photoshop for many years – not a problem, but do remember it.
If you mouse over the image you can see the increase in gamut when using Epson K3 UltraChrome inks on the same paper in an Epson R2400.
The image below is from screen grabs of Photoshop CS2, using soft proofing to look for out of gamut colours. The accuracy of this is dependant on the profiles containing the correct gamut information — both profiles used below are Epson ones.
(original image from GMB)
You will probably need a print of your test image to check for errors that you hope to correct by editing your printer profile. Remember that you need consistent viewing conditions for true comparisons.
Editing your profile
There are four aspects of the profile you can adjust:
- Grey balance
- Colour correction
It’s probably best to make the biggest changes first, although you could do them in the order above if you like.
Variations are displayed, showing the changes to the output profile. You can move the sliders by clicking on the image that is more like what you want. The examples below show how the different adjustments are made.
Clicking on the image at the right results in a brighter print, while clicking the top image bumps up contrast.
The image that you select then becomes the centre image for subsequent editing.
Here, I’ve moved the grey balance to the red, and clicked on zoom button (button at the left) to see a larger version of the image.
Now, I’ve used the compare button to see a ‘before and after’ view — you can see the red tinge to the greys in the lower image.
The grey balance adjustments only affect parts of the profile with very little colour (the greys).
Global colour corrections, like those below, affect everything.
For corrections like this, you can have a 5 or 9 image view.
You can go back and forth between the various edit options until you are satisfied, and are ready to create your new (edited) printer profile.
Saving the profile
Profiles have internal names which you should make use of to record the profile settings.
Once you have more than a few profiles, you -will- curse yourself if the contents of the name do not tell you what basic settings you used for the print :-) Write it down somewhere, and try and come up with a meaningful naming system!
You can save the edit settings as well, if you need to apply them to several profiles.
Just because you have changed the internal name, the profile file name is not altered, so trying to save gets this very helpful reminder.
A file is saved?
May 2010 X-Rite annouce new profiling software for Q4 2010 – i1 Match and ProfileMaker Pro will be superseded by i1Profiler later in 2010. We have some notes and press info in the X-rite information section of the Northlight blog. For purchases after April 1st 2010 here will be free upgrades, along with other offers when the software is available.
Sept. 2008 X-Rite and the i1 range
From Sept. the range is simplified to two options. The functionality is the same as we have reviewed, but exactly what you get varies. As a result of this rationalisation, the i1Photo, i1Photo SG, i1Proof and i1XT have all been discontinued, and the i1 range now consists of:
- The i1Basic – i1Pro measuring device with monitor profiling software
- The new i1XTreme – professional monitor, RGB and CMYK printer, camera, scanner and projector profiling, plus profile editing
With the i1XTreme you can calibrate and profile:
- Monitors – LCD, CRT and laptops
- RGB output devices
- CMYK output devices
- Digital projectors
- Digital cameras*
*Requires Digital ColorChecker SG Chart – available separately.
So, there you have it. You just open the printer profile, modify it, and save a new version.
But … consider just one thing before you rush off to create lots of versions of your freshly created profiles …
- Each one needs testing — that means more prints, a good test image, waiting for prints to dry, repeatable viewing conditions, and the ability to critically evaluate results.
It is worth considering whether your starting profile was the best that could be produced,
- Was the paper properly dry?
- Was the printer working at its best?
- Are the measurements OK?
- Did you select the best printer media settings?
- Might you need a bigger target (more patches)?
- Did you pick the best rendering intent?
- What viewing conditions did you use
- Are you sure your colour vision is OK?
If, after that, you feel a profile could be improved, then give it a go. I’m just saying that profile editing should probably not be your first move if you are not quite happy with what you are getting.
If you’ve looked at the adjustments in the screen shots above, you may have wondered how you actually decide on a correction to a particular fault?
One thing you can do is to try and duplicate the fault on your display, note the settings, and then apply the opposite changes. A simple version would be where your print was not saturated enough, so you desaturate the reference image until it looks similar to what you are getting, then apply the opposite amount of saturation increase.
If this sounds a little hit and miss, then you have probably got the right idea. One other way to try is to make several test prints at fairly large adjustments to see if they are going the ‘right way’. You could then try versions with more subtle variations.
— you have got enough spare ink and paper?
The software is easy to use and has good clear help information to guide you along. The whole Eye One Match application is well thought out and designed, and this new addition is not out of place.
I’d have liked to be able to resize the application window to make better use of my large monitor, but the image size is not a problem (the screen shots in this article have been reduced in size).
My biggest question would be the overall utility of editing profiles in the first place. I’ve heard several real experts in the field of printer profile generation say that they hardly ever do it.
As long as profile editing is not your first move when trying to find out why a particular profile is not giving optimal results, then this application should help.
Do remember though, that an improvement in one aspect of a profile may harm other areas — you are just going to have to experiment a bit.
One time when you might want to alter a profile is when you know that the viewing conditions are going to affect how the print will look.
An example would be the difference between daylight and tungsten lighting. Correcting for this is a feature of higher end profiling packages.
With this profile editor, you are going to just have to experiment with the colour balance yourself.
It would be nice to see a few of these ‘higher end’ features find their way into Eye One Match – not the full range of options in the ‘Pro’ packages, but enough to allow advanced users to explore some options.
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For information about printers, paper reviews and profiling (colour management) see the Printing section of the main printers and printing page, or use the search box at the top of any page.
All colour management articles and reviews are indexed on the main Colour Management page - please do let Keith know if you've any questions, either via the comments or just email us?
Some specific articles that may be of interest:
- Why don't my prints match my screen? A short article showing why there is more to getting your prints to match your screen, than just calibrating your monitor. It's the vital first step, but you do need to consider some other factors for best results.
- Why are my prints too dark - some basic suggestions to this common problem.
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