How to do it

The four basic steps to profiling a printer:

  1. Establish the device driver settings that deliver the most neutral and most linear result without profiles. This is the process of ‘linearisation’.

  2. Print a target print (these are the ‘known values’) using those settings.

  3. Read the targets patches using a spectrophotometer to establish how the printer interprets those ‘known values’.

  4. Build a profile to describe the relationship between the device’s colour and the desired visual colour.
    Once the profile is made and loaded into your system directory it can be used to ‘correct’ the print on the fly. It is essential that the same settings that were used in the printing of the target files be used in all subsequent prints.

The options for printer profiling are:

Method

Benefits

Downside

Scanner based
Profiles
Rating:

• Can be used to produce a profile for media or inks sets that are not supported by your printer manufacturer.

• Nowhere near accurate results.
• Multiplication of errors by bringing the data through another device carries its own baggage
.

Manufacturers
Profiles
Rating:

• Produced with professional equipment.
• A good starting point.
• They’re free.

• Every printer is different and is used under different conditions (humidity, temperature, etc) and will produce different results with the same profile.

• Inks supplied to different countries have different origins and are therefore not consistent.

Colorvision / ColorMunki / PrintFix / Huey type solutions
Rating:

• Produces profiles specifically for use on your printer.

• Can be used to produce a profile for media or inks sets that are not supported by your printer manufacturer.

• May give better results than manufacturer’s profiles.

• Inconsistencies in the lamp mechanics can mean inconsistent results.

• Suitable to advanced amateur level only.

Canned profiles
Rating:

• Produced with professional equipment.

• Can be bought on-line.

• Will generally give better results than manufacturer’s profiles.

• Tend to be just replacements for manufacturer’s profiles (i.e. their paper/ink combinations)

• Every printer is different and is used under different conditions (humidity, temperature, etc) and will produce different results with the same profile.

• Inks supplied to different countries have different origins and may therefore not be consistent.

• Can be as expensive as custom profiles.

Remote Profiling
Rating:

• Less expensive than on-site profiling services yet delivers the equivalent results.

• Produces custom profiles specifically for use on your printer.

• Can be used to produce a profile for media or ink sets that are not supported by your printer manufacturer.
• Will always give better results than manufacturer’s profiles.

• Uses the most up to date equipment & technology.

• Only pay for the service when you need it.

• Relies on the customer to assess the printer linearisation and to get the settings right before printing patches.

Buy professional profiling equipment
Rating:

• Produces custom profiles specifically for use on your printer.

• Can be used to produce a profile for media or ink sets that are not supported by your printer manufacturer.

• Will always give better results than manufacturer’s profiles.

• Produce profiles as you need them.

• Any decent profiling software is expensive – look to spend $5,000+ for the good stuff.

• A lot to learn. You know how long it took you to get what you wanted out of Photoshop – expect the same.

Professional profiling services
Rating:

• Produces custom profiles specifically for use on your printer.

• Can be used to produce a profile for media or inks sets that are not supported by your printer manufacturer.

• Will always give better results than manufacturer’s profiles.

• Uses the most up to date equipment & technology.

• Only pay for the service when you need it.

• You’ll have the benefit of their experience and training.

• Can be expensive if you need to have many papers profiled.

Profiles can also be made for dye-sublimation, laser and solid ink printers. There are some limitations with these printers, but you can still make dramatic improvements to your output.

Profiles can be made to emulate a particular proofing process or just produce the best results possible using your printer’s broadest colour gamut.

 

 

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