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Author Topic: Any alternative to i1p?  (Read 846 times)

Jeff-Grant

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Any alternative to i1p?
« on: September 13, 2017, 11:53:01 PM »

I suspect that I have asked this before but it's probably worth another run. Given the strong antipathy toward i1p, what are the alternatives? I tried DropRGB a while back and didn't see anything that would make me pay for a licence above whay I have already paid for i1p. From memory, it had less options and little documentation.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Any alternative to i1p?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2017, 01:55:36 AM »

BasicColor has a product I hope to be able to test one of these days. I don't know it, so can't recommend versus i1Profiler. The one thing X-Rite has been very good at is buying out the competition.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Any alternative to i1p?
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2017, 08:26:39 AM »

Though the learning curve is a little complicated, ArgyllCMS is the logical choice.  It's free and it can do anything you need in terms of color management.  There is an excellent tutorial on how to use the software with a ColorMunki (the extrapolation to an i1 Pro is simple enough) here:  https://www.ludd.ltu.se/~torger/photography/argyll-print.html#toc0
 there is also very good support through a listserve and Graeme Gill, the developer, is active on LuLa.  Argyll website is here:  http://www.argyllcms.com/index.html
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Jeff-Grant

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Re: Any alternative to i1p?
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2017, 08:32:03 AM »

It may just be an age thing but I can't bring myself to the thought of a command line driven app. This is coming from someone who was an IBM assembler programmer for many years and still supports programmes written in it. Additionally, I will not use any app that won't support an io or DTP70, and I think that Argyll falls into that category.
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aaronchan

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Re: Any alternative to i1p?
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2017, 09:31:19 AM »

CoPrA from colorlogic
But the only one I know who uses it is Andrew Rodney.
I'm not sure how does it compare to the i1P but I'm trying to get a demo version and test on it.

digitaldog

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Re: Any alternative to i1p?
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2017, 10:22:53 AM »

CoPrA is good but I'm not sure it's 'better' than i1P which makes very good profiles despite it's glacial update pace, lack of features from the past (ProfileMaker Pro, etc). Unless you have money burning a hole in your pocket, I'd stick with i1P.
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Andrew Rodney
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Jeff-Grant

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Re: Any alternative to i1p?
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2017, 06:28:53 PM »

Thanks folks, it looks like nothing has changed. Back to i1p it is.
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Any alternative to i1p?
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2017, 07:15:22 AM »

CoPrA from colorlogic
But the only one I know who uses it is Andrew Rodney.
I'm not sure how does it compare to the i1P but I'm trying to get a demo version and test on it.
I guess you have to download something to learn about the price.  I just spent several minutes on their website and couldn't find the price of any of the modules.
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aaronchan

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Re: Any alternative to i1p?
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2017, 07:55:58 AM »

I guess you have to download something to learn about the price.  I just spent several minutes on their website and couldn't find the price of any of the modules.

http://www.rpimaging.com/colorlogic-copra.html

Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Any alternative to i1p?
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2017, 08:55:30 AM »

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Ethan Hansen

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Re: Any alternative to i1p?
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2017, 12:52:28 PM »

I've spent time with a few profiling applications. For commercial support, the only serious contenders are i1P, CoPrA, and BasicColor Print. All the rest are orphanware at best. There are lower-end products such as the X-Rite ColorMunki or Datacolor SpyderPrint however these are not in the same league as i1P, et. al.

First, do you need RGB profiles only or are CMYK (and,  if you're appropriately crazy, multicolor)? I can't recommend i1Profiler for anything other than RGB. Either of the other two commercial products easily outperform i1P for CMYK and Argyll does a better job still.

My experience with CoPrA is that it handles out of gamut colors distinctly better than does i1Profiler. Tonal separation is improved and hue angle shifts minimized. On the flip side, i1Profiler tends to give smoother shadow and highlight tones with fewer artifacts or bands. Depending on the image, CoPrA can be either spectacular, colorimetrically more accurate but with more jarring visual flaws, simply horrible or a combination of the three. Interestingly, many of CoPrA's RGB profiling flaws are not apparent with CMYK profiles.

You do need to pony up for more than the basic package to obtain useful functionality. The “M” version at $1650 is the lowest one I recommend as it allows using custom profile settings. I see little point in the “L” flavor, particularly at $5K, since it only adds DeviceLink support. Argyll has more DL functionality and it’s free. The ability to do serious profile tuning only arrives with the “XL” version at $9K. Yes, printer profiling is a niche market but that’s serious cash.

BasicColor Print offers intriguing options. (Full disclosure: The last version of BC Print I used was from almost two years ago). There are a number of gamut mapping and compression options that allow tweaking the profile to accommodate a wide range of inks and papers. BC Print makes for more visually pleasing prints on low contrast or gamut substrates than does i1P. Taking a cue from ProfileMaker and Argyll, BC Print includes software compensation for UV brighteners. Not quite as accurate as the OBA module in i1P for a single specific light source, but a hell of a lot easier and faster. It also allows adjusting for arbitrary illuminants.

Licensing of BC Print is an archaic PITA. The software code ties the software to a single computer. No moving the i1P dongle or i1Pro to another system and proceeding. Instead the license needs to be transferred “permanently”, which requires manual intervention by Basiccolor. Making matters worse, the license tends to fail randomly, can't be preserved when upgrading o/s or system hardware, etc. Dongles are available in theory, but good luck finding a vendor.

aaronchan

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Re: Any alternative to i1p?
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2017, 01:37:43 PM »

I've spent time with a few profiling applications. For commercial support, the only serious contenders are i1P, CoPrA, and BasicColor Print. All the rest are orphanware at best. There are lower-end products such as the X-Rite ColorMunki or Datacolor SpyderPrint however these are not in the same league as i1P, et. al.

First, do you need RGB profiles only or are CMYK (and,  if you're appropriately crazy, multicolor)? I can't recommend i1Profiler for anything other than RGB. Either of the other two commercial products easily outperform i1P for CMYK and Argyll does a better job still.

My experience with CoPrA is that it handles out of gamut colors distinctly better than does i1Profiler. Tonal separation is improved and hue angle shifts minimized. On the flip side, i1Profiler tends to give smoother shadow and highlight tones with fewer artifacts or bands. Depending on the image, CoPrA can be either spectacular, colorimetrically more accurate but with more jarring visual flaws, simply horrible or a combination of the three. Interestingly, many of CoPrA's RGB profiling flaws are not apparent with CMYK profiles.

You do need to pony up for more than the basic package to obtain useful functionality. The “M” version at $1650 is the lowest one I recommend as it allows using custom profile settings. I see little point in the “L” flavor, particularly at $5K, since it only adds DeviceLink support. Argyll has more DL functionality and it’s free. The ability to do serious profile tuning only arrives with the “XL” version at $9K. Yes, printer profiling is a niche market but that’s serious cash.

BasicColor Print offers intriguing options. (Full disclosure: The last version of BC Print I used was from almost two years ago). There are a number of gamut mapping and compression options that allow tweaking the profile to accommodate a wide range of inks and papers. BC Print makes for more visually pleasing prints on low contrast or gamut substrates than does i1P. Taking a cue from ProfileMaker and Argyll, BC Print includes software compensation for UV brighteners. Not quite as accurate as the OBA module in i1P for a single specific light source, but a hell of a lot easier and faster. It also allows adjusting for arbitrary illuminants.

Licensing of BC Print is an archaic PITA. The software code ties the software to a single computer. No moving the i1P dongle or i1Pro to another system and proceeding. Instead the license needs to be transferred “permanently”, which requires manual intervention by Basiccolor. Making matters worse, the license tends to fail randomly, can't be preserved when upgrading o/s or system hardware, etc. Dongles are available in theory, but good luck finding a vendor.

Dear Ethan,

Thanks for your detail reports.

Quick question:
I saw that CoPrA can make gray scale profile for printer.
What is it exactly compare to RGB and CMYK profile?

Thanks
Aaron

Jeff-Grant

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Re: Any alternative to i1p?
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2017, 05:50:56 PM »

Thanks Ethan. That's the best explanation of the differences I've ever read.
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digitaldog

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Re: Any alternative to i1p?
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2017, 09:59:37 PM »

There are a number of gamut mapping and compression options that allow tweaking the profile to accommodate a wide range of inks and papers.
It appears that way in i1Profiler except so many of the sliders don't appear to do much of anything.  ;D
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Andrew Rodney
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Doug Gray

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Re: Any alternative to i1p?
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2017, 11:14:00 PM »

It appears that way in i1Profiler except so many of the sliders don't appear to do much of anything.  ;D

The Contrast slider can have a huge impact. The default (centered) produces a rather small "S" curve in the L* and when you move it up to 50 (max) the "S" curve is only slightly stronger. However, move it down to -50 and the "S" curve inverts. Strongly.  High key and low key contrast goes way up and the midrange contrast is strongly reduced. The difference between the two curves at max and min is close to 10 dL*.

Don't know why they did this. I would prefer stronger "S" curves rather than strong, inverted "S" curves which don't really have much application. They make most images look washed out but with weirdly rendered and contrasty highlights and shadows.

As for the neutral slider, it changes the way paper white is brought in to neutral. The effect is quite strong but only over 75 (3/4 of the slider) when pretty noticeable differences start occurring.

They only affect the Perceptual Intent.  There is also a "smoothness" slider which doesn't work smoothly but does affect all Intents. On the profiles I've tested it only produced 3 variations when set at intervals of 10 from min to max. Patch size was 2553 and likely different with different patch qtys. Can't say I've seen any definitive difference in profile quality unless pushed to max where they deteriorate rapidly. Max smoothness might be good for profiling something like laserjets which have very lumpy gamuts. Speculation, as I haven't tested it on laserjets.

« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 11:21:25 PM by Doug Gray »
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digitaldog

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Re: Any alternative to i1p?
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2017, 01:23:12 PM »

The Contrast slider can have a huge impact.
Some sliders do have an impact, some very little and most use a scale within the slider that makes absolutely no sense. If you have a slider that runs from 0-100 and one creates a profile at zero and 10, there should be a difference by far! That isn't the case with all such sliders in i1P. Just a sign of poor engineering and design. 
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Andrew Rodney
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Doug Gray

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Re: Any alternative to i1p?
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2017, 01:36:33 PM »

Some sliders do have an impact, some very little and most use a scale within the slider that makes absolutely no sense. If you have a slider that runs from 0-100 and one creates a profile at zero and 10, there should be a difference by far! That isn't the case with all such sliders in i1P. Just a sign of poor engineering and design.

Completely agree. The sliders aren't documented and what they do affect differs a lot on each end of the range.  And what about the grossly overlapping text on the chart printouts? Maybe it's a Windows specific problem? Sure it makes no difference in the quality of the product but it looks awful and might discourage people from buying the product. It's also a trivial fix.
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Ethan Hansen

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Re: Any alternative to i1p?
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2017, 07:58:43 PM »

Dear Ethan,

Thanks for your detail reports.

Quick question:
I saw that CoPrA can make gray scale profile for printer.
What is it exactly compare to RGB and CMYK profile?

Thanks
Aaron

Both CoPrA and BasicColor Print make grayscale profiles. Neither one is terribly sophisticated. The profiles are built from sets of neutral patches rather than the full color (RGB or CMYK) measurement set. This omits much useful information and tends to push the output to use primarily black ink rather than mixing inks to maximize tonal separation.

Epson's ABW mode is an example of an approach that uses full ink output capability rather than focusing on K only. We tried a different approach, creating profiles that perform an RGB to B&W conversion. Tonal separation improves and toning effects can also be applied. We never rolled this out to general usage as photographers tend to be a picky bunch, preferring their own B&W conversions to the canned variety.

All this shows the stagnation in mainstream commercial printer profiling. Progress over the past 15 years has been marginal at best, and this is reflected in the system requirements for profiling apps. Pretty much any processor built since 2004, minimal memory, etc. Perhaps it's just me, but I would expect that anyone willing to invest thousands of dollars in profiling a printer likey has image requirements that merit more than a system from 15 years ago.

Rhossydd

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Re: Any alternative to i1p?
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2017, 04:31:24 AM »

Perhaps it's just me, but I would expect that anyone willing to invest thousands of dollars in profiling a printer likey has image requirements that merit more than a system from 15 years ago.
If it worked well 15 years ago and still does now, what's the problem ?
Printer profiling (at least for the RGB inkjets we talk about here) has worked very well for that time. There's a lot of merit in big investments not being depreciated quickly.
Remember the fuss here when X-Rite/GMB wouldn't update iMatch for a particular Mac OS update and left owners needing an expensive software upgrade to be able to continue using their i1Pros ?


To get back to the OP;
"Given the strong antipathy toward i1p"
I think that comes from the dreadful lack of documentation from X-Rite and the steady stream of usually very minor bugs in each edition.
However with some perspective; Profiler delivers excellent profiles very easily and has done since first release.

Ethan is correct in saying that profiling software has stagnated, but I'd say in the same way word processing software has. It does the job and there's really not much(any?) room for significant improvement.
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digitaldog

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Re: Any alternative to i1p?
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2017, 10:41:21 AM »

If it worked well 15 years ago and still does now, what's the problem ?
One of the problems is, functionality we had in older products from the same company are gone in i1P. Today as well as when the replacement package was introduced years and years ago. Development is stagnant. Documentation is nearly non existent. Bugs abound and pop up in nearly every new build after older bugs are sometimes fixed. Some stuff doesn't work!
There is room for improvement like supporting the PRMG with V4 profiles.
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Andrew Rodney
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