Using a good profile for your media is key to digitally printing with consistency and color accuracy. Let’s assume you have files in RGB standard working spaces, and that your printer has been optimized with proper ink limits, linearization, and total ink coverage. Now you’re ready for the printer ICC profile. There are three ways to get the profile:
- Manufacturers’ Free Profiles. Many manufacturers offer free ICC profiles for their media. These can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s Web site and are offered for the most common media, printers, inks, RIPs, and RIP settings.
One problem with such profiles is that, even with the same components and settings, color might look slightly different due to variables and settings. For example, the manufacturer’s printer might have a slightly different linearization than your printer. Another problem is that profiles may only be available for the most common media, printers, and settings.
- Your Own Color Management System. If you use a lot of unusual media or settings, or simply want the best color match on your own system, you may benefit from a color profiling setup. Getting into printer profiling is easier and more economical than ever before. You’ll need a color measurement instrument and software. The most economical instruments are handheld scanning ones like X-Rite’s Eye-One and Pulse. These will suffice for one to several profiles per day. If you need to do more than a few profiles, an automated instrument like X-Rite’s i1 IO, i1 iSis, or DTP70 can read charts unattended.
You will also need a profiling program to go with the instrument. X-Rite’s programs include i1 Match, an entry-level program aimed at designers and contenti creators and ProfileMaker Pro and MonacoPROFILER, both advanced programs with more settings.
- Profiling Services. If you need an occasional profile, or one that is technically challenging, a profiling service may be the best route. Services like Chromix’s Profile City (www.chromix.com), Cathy’s Profiles (www.cathysprofiles.com), and those from local or regional dealers may offer instruments and expertise not otherwise accessible.