Printer Profiles

A printer profile is always specific to the combination of printer, paper, ink, and printer driver settings (such as dpi or quality settings). Profiles for different types of printing paper vary significantly.

When profiling a printer, a target is printed using the printer settings, ink, and paper specific to the profile. Once the print has dried properly (which can take between one and 24 hours), the color values of the print are measured using either a spectrophotometer or a profiled scanner (although the latter is less accurate). The profiling software then produces the printer profile by comparing the known values of the target's color patches with the measured color patches in the print. Printer profiling kits, consisting of software and an appropriate measuring device (photospectrometer or colorimeter), do not come cheap. They start at about US$500.

Fortunately, you don't have to invest in a costly spectrophotometer and profiling software, as there are labs that can perform profiling for you. Simply search for "printer profiling service" using your favorite search engine. For more details on printer profiling, see section 3.7.

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