Thursday, August 02, 2007

Custom profiles

Today I am continung the colour management saga...

Getting a custom profile done for your printer using a particular paper allows you to get consistent colour results in your work. Unfortunately each profile only relates to one sort of paper and not necessarily even all the papers in the range. The profile I had done is for Hahnemuehle Photo Rag but will apply to some other papers in the Hahnemuehle range which have the same coating.

The major benefit of having a profile is that as long as your monitor is calibrated, it allows you to do so-called "soft proofs". This is a function in Photoshop (View>Proof Setup>Custom) which allows you to select the profile for your printer with the paper and to see on screen, with a high degree of accuracy, how your image will look when printed out. If you have a few different profiles for different papers, you can test which one you prefer. Even if you only have the one paper (like me at this stage) you can see what the print will look like without wasting expensive paper, and even edit it in the soft proof state. You do of course have to have a properly calibrated monitor for this to work (see here).

I should mention at this stage that almost all I've learnt about this has been through a Melbourne company, Image Science. Their website is well-written and thorough but understandable. The owner Jeremy is really knowledgable and helpful, and the support service he provides (to help dummies like me get their profile working properly!) is terrific! I'd also like to say that from what I've seen their prices are excellent! order to have a profile done, you download this image below:

It is provided with no colour profile and the next task is to print it on your desired paper.
Below is a photo of my print out. Remember, the colours you are viewing won't be exactly the same as me, because of differences between our monitors. Also, the camera I used has a colour profile of its own, and that will have impacted on the image!! Still, you should be able to see there is a significant difference between the colours as downloaded and as printed.

I posted this print-out off to Jeremy in Melbourne on a Friday morning and somehow he managed to email me my custom profile on Monday afternoon! Normally I wouldn't have expected mail from Brisbane to Melbourne to even arrive till Tuesday, so the turn around was brilliant.

Installing the profile is not hard, but I did have a bit more difficulty using it. You just have to be very particular about getting the settings right, but as I mentioned Jeremy very patiently helped me through this, and now I can say I am extremely happy with the results!

This is the soft proof using my new profile, and I am finding this relates extremely well to the printed image. So... at last....on to the fun part - my artist books...


  1. This looks VERY complicated and technical and I've skipped reading it as I get tired so quickly in front of the computer. Wanted to thank you for your comment though and had a look at your flickr-pages and esp. the light-pix, they are lovely. I found it very soothing and (subtly) entertaining watching those shadows move in my bedroom. When the blinds were up the foliage of the trees outside would be reflected on my wall and was ever so beautiful when the wind was rustling the leaves. I could never work out why this made all those undulating round shapes on my wall, but it did and it looked gorgeous.
    Hope you find a good way for concentrating on your artwork and finishing your masters. Maybe you have to prioritise really clearly and leave other stuff aside just for a while. It's difficult with family, I know, but maybe it has to be done, for your sake. Good luck with it!

  2. I agree with marjojo; it looks complicated but it also looks like you're well on your way to making a beautiful artist's book. Happy printing!
    Thanks for the 'tag' (it's been a while since I've visited my own blog). While I'm not one to participate in such things I appreciate that you thought of including me.

  3. Thanks for dropping by my blog again.
    Marjojo: I don't blame you for skipping this post! Unless you are planning to get a profile done, it does not really rate as fascinating reading. Yes, I do need to get really clear on my priorities. It is hard for me to make personal goals the top priority (or even second after my husband) but I think I am going to feel really cheated if I don't get to finish this off.I can feel an emotional slump coming....
    Peggy: I completely understand about the tagging. I have never participated in any sort of "chain" thing before, I really hate them usually. I've just found reading some of what people reveal so fascinating, it felt a bit different from the usual ones.

    Best wishes to you both!

  4. wow this looks amazing! thanks for the info too it's good to know. My printer drives me mad with the colour difference.

  5. Thanks Rabbit! Glad to know it's of help!