Profiling Your Printer

Most printer profiling packages offer several different print targets. The more color fields a target provides, the more precise your profile will be. However, this also involves more effort. Some profiling devices (such as DTP-41, DTP-70, or iliO by X-Rite [52]) can read printed targets automatically, but these are usually prohibitively expensive for most photographers. A standard spectrophotometer and ruler (like those provided with the ilXTrme kit by X-Rite) is usually sufficient for producing satisfactory results.

* We recommend that you spend a little extra on the PrintFIX PRO version, which includes a spectrocolorimeter and produces much better profiles.

Profiling a printer involves the following basic steps:

1. Select an appropriate, provided target (containing color patches with known color values), and print it using the printer, paper, and ink you want to profile.

Use the same printer settings for resolution, paper type, etc. that you want to profile, but don't make any print or Photoshop color corrections at this point. We recommend that you save these settings using a descriptive name.

2. Let your print dry for between one and 24 hours.

3. Evaluate the print's colors and use your profiling software to create an ICC profile. Most profiling software installs new profiles automatically, but you might have to install manually (section 3.8).

There are several ways to evaluate the colors in your target print:

A) Spectrophotometer

This is the most accurate method, but a good photospectrometer costs between $800 and $1000. We recommend the Eye-One Photo kit or the Color Munki kit by X-Rite, and we also achieved good results using the $550 Datacolor Spider3Print SR ([48]).

B) Dedicated chart reader

A chart reader is a small, dedicated scanner that reads the patches in a target print (like the one in the PrintFIX kit by Datacolor [48]).* A chart reader is much cheaper than a spectrophotometer, but is much less accurate.

C) Standard flatbed scanner for acquiring the patch values

This is probably the cheapest way to scan a chart. The accuracy of this method depends very much on the color quality of the scanner. The scanner itself needs to be profiled too, and profiling packages (such as MonacoEZcolor) scan a scanner target together with the printed target and internally profile the scanner first. This "profile-enabled scanner" then interprets the color values of the target chart's patches.

This is less expensive but also less accurate than method A. Its accuracy can be compared to that of canned printer profiles and is a cheap source of profiles if you are using a third-party ink or paper set that has no generic profile.

D) Send your a print of a specified target to a profiling service. Make sure you follow the instructions at the service provider's website accurately.

This is a reliable way to get high-quality profiles produced by experienced personnel. Processing usually takes two to three days plus mail turnaround, time and the cost per profile is usually between $35 and $8o.

You can also optimize your profile with a profile editor, which is often included with profiling hardware (such as X-Rite Eye-One Proof * and ProfileMaker Pro, or DoctorPro by Datacolor). Only edit profiles once you know what you are doing.

* As of version 3.3, all Eye-One packages include the Eye-One Match software which you can use to edit profiles.

Understanding Adobe Photoshop Features You Will Use

Understanding Adobe Photoshop Features You Will Use

Adobe Photoshop can be a complex tool only because you can do so much with it, however for in this video series, we're going to keep it as simple as possible. In fact, in this video you'll see an overview of the few tools and Adobe Photoshop features we will use. When you see this video, you'll see how you can do so much with so few features, but you'll learn how to use them in depth in the future videos.

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