[scribus] Colour Profiles

John Beardmore John at T4sLtd.co.uk
Sat Sep 5 11:56:06 CEST 2009

Hal V. Engel wrote:
> On Wednesday 02 September 2009 02:29:18 pm Gregory Pittman wrote:
>> On 09/02/2009 04:35 PM, davecs wrote:

>>> I have been searching, without success, for colour profiles for my
>>> monitor and printer. The monitor is an LG W2242S, and it is displaying a
>>> photo exactly as I want it printed. The printer is an HP Photosmart 7760.
>>> If I don't use colour profiles, the dark parts of the print are far too
>>> dark, meaning that slight shadows across someone's face, which look quite
>>> natural on my admittedly cheap monitor, come out too dark, and detail is
>>> obscured. However, if I do use the default ICC profiles, the photo comes
>>> out darker still, with a horrible red cast as well.
>>> I've looked on the internet, HP site, etc, and cannot find an ICC
>>> profile. What would be nice is a program where you can visually adjust
>>> your onscreen image to match what comes out the printer, so that settings
>>> can be recorded and next time the printer compensates.
>> I think you've got it a little backwards. Having your monitor calibrated
>> is a bit tricky, and really the monitor is a visual aid, which you hope
>> to match to printed output. Fiddling with the colors using an
>> uncalibrated monitor is generally bound to give bad results. If you
>> cannot find some kind of baseline profile from the monitor from the
>> monitor's manufacturer, you would have to buy the equipment (hardware)
>> to do this yourself -- 
> This is in fact the only way to get your monitor calibrated and characterized 
> correctly.   The reasons that monitor manufacturers seldom make profiles 
> available is: 
> 1. Users can change various settings that will make the profile invalid.
> 2. Monitor characteristics change over time which means that monitors need to 
> be re-calibrated and re-characterized periodically (perhaps weekly for CRTs 
> and monthly for LCDs).
> 3. There is significant sample to sample variation in the monitors as they roll 
> off the assembly line.
> 4. Monitor vendors have no control over the viewing conditions where the 
> monitor is used.
> In other words any profile you get from a monitor vendor is or will become 
> invalid.  
> You can get measurement devices that will allow you to calibrate and 
> characterize your monitor for as little as $50 plus shipping.  This is 
> inexpensive and allows you to ensure that your monitor is properly setup.   
> Why not bite the bullet and do it the right way?  

This isn't so bad if you always work in the same darkened room. More 
messy if you work on a laptop as you travel around and use a couple of 
CRTs in a normal office when not travelling.

Basically, unless you have a dedicated and dim workspace, this isn't for 
you, however much you might like to play with the calibration tools.

>> there is free software to help with this. If you
>> check the online docs about color management you will find more details.
>> http://docs.scribus.net/index.php?lang=en&page=cms
>> For photos, there should be an ICC profile for the image file that you
>> want to use, and you can set this in Preferences in Scribus.

So are we saying that for every digital camera that ships, the 
manufacturer should provide a profile which we should select with 
Scribus ?  If so, what file extension are we looking for ?  I'm not 
aware of having one, but happy to look.  What if we use pictures from 
multiple cameras ?  Would we not then need to apply a profile per picture ?

>> One mistake some make with local printers (ie, one attached to your
>> computer) is to use the "Printer" setting for the Color tab in PDF
>> Export. You really should use the Screen/Web setting most of the time.
> This might be true if you are using a printer with the Windows or OS/X 
> manufacturer supplied drivers using the default driver settings since these 
> drivers by default assume sRGB input.  However you will always get better 
> results if you have and use a good custom or semi-custom profile for your 
> printer.  Keep in mind that good profiles are:
> 1. Media (paper and ink) specific.
> 2. Driver specific.
> 3. Driver settings specific.
> 4. Printer specific.

OK -  but again, the paper and ink issues alone make this implausible 
for those of us that aren't professional printers.

Again this brings me back to the notion that for many people, having 
something like the Gimp Tools->Colour Tools->Adjust Curves control to 
adjust printed output would be really handy if the bulk of material in a 
document is too light, too dark etc.

> For Windows and OS/X drivers some printer vendors and third party media 
> vendors (ink and paper) make OK semi-custom profiles available for free.  For 
> example Ilford (they make paper) has profiles available for many printers for 
> Ilford papers that are of fairly high quality.

OK, but for those of us that are not career printers and just want to 
write a report and print 10 decent copies for a client as well and as 
cheaply as they can, we're going to laser print on some reasonable 
quality generic 100 gsm paper like DCP Clairfontaine, probably using 
third party toners etc to keep operating costs as low as possible.

>   I have in the past used these 
> profiles on Windows with my Epson R2400 printer with good results.  Epson and 
> MediaStreet also do this.  In addition if MediaStreet does not already have a 
> profile available for your combination of printer and media (assuming that you 
> are using either a paper or ink from MediaStreet) they will work with you to 
> create the profile and you will end up with a free custom profile. If your 
> printer/paper/ink vendor does not make these available you will need to create 
> a custom profile or switch to a combination of printer and media for which 
> these profiles are available if you want free profiles.  

What MediaStreet do is interesting, but they refer to "Inks for Current 
Desk Top Printers". I don't see any reference to toners, and although 
they say "up until now their market focus has been in the USA", they 
don't follow that up by saying that they are now focussing elsewhere.

> Creating your own profiles requires some fairly expensive gear ($400 entry 
> level) and a significant amount of effort (fairly steep learning curve).   In 
> most cases that do not involve high volume printing this expense and effort is 
> not justified since there is another alternative.  For many users it makes 
> sense to use a printer profiling service to create these profiles.  There are 
> services that will do this for as little as $25 per profile.

>> You might also check your printer settings in your OS.
>> Setting Printer is for when you take your work to a commercial printer.
> Or you have a good profile for your printer and media and know how to use it.

I'd be entirely happy to set things up by eye. For the work I do this 
would be perfectly adequate.

I find it quite frustrating that whenever I want to improve colour 
rendition I'm told that I must use CMS, that it's a steep learning 
curve, and that I have to buy particular printers, inks, papers 
calibration equipment etc.

What I'd like is a means of colour management that may well sacrifice 
some accuracy, but is quick to use, and can be used with any printer, 
but gives acceptable results at a cost, and for an amount of effort, 
that is appropriate to the size and requirements of small jobs that 
don't need perfect colour, but would benefit from colour that isn't 
totally uncorrected.

Cheers, J/.
John Beardmore, MSc EDM (Open), B.A. Chem (Oxon), CMIOSH, AIEMA, MEI
Managing Director, T4 Sustainability Limited. http://www.T4sLtd.co.uk/
Energy Audit, Carbon Management, Design Advice, Sustainable Energy
Consultancy and Installation, Carbon Trust Standard Registered Assessor
Phone: 0845 4561332   Mobile: 07785 563116   Skype: t4sustainability

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