In 2010 I bought a ColorMunki and have used it to successfully produce profiles for monitors and printers alike. Until recently I was using Apple’s Tiger (OSX 10.4.11) on a G5. I have two Canon printers, and A4 and A3 Pro.
Recently my G5 tower gave up and I acquired a new 27 inch iMac. This, of course has Lion (OSX 10.7.2). And this is when things started to become ‘interesting’.
For those who don’t know, the ColorMunki software produces its own targets (colour patches) and you print direct from the software.
The colour management path is quite different in the two operating systems. The issue revolves around the setting in the printer dialogue under “Color Matching” (see screenshot below).
When printing from Photoshop, using ‘Photoshop Manages Colors’ the “Color Matching” option is greyed-out in the printer dialogue although the “ColorSync” radio button is selected (but greyed).
When printing using the ColorMunki software there is a choice of “ColorSync” or “Canon Color Matching”. This is, of course, counter intuitive – we don’t actually want any colour matching. Using “ColorSync” you can then choose from a list of profiles. Leaving it on “Automatic” the driver seems to select a profile of the Canon paper type selected in the driver (it is listed underneath the menu – see screenshot below).
So what “Color Matching” should you select in the printer dialogue ?
In brief, there is conflicting advice – but advice which concurs with Eric Chan’s ‘null transform’ workaround.
On their website X-Rite ColorMunki advise using “ColorSync” and selecting the “Generic RGB” profile.
Datacolor/Spyder’s advice is more specific as to printers and operating systems. The most up-to-date operating system they refer to is Snow Leopard 10.6.3 and they say to use the “sRGB” profile.
So I have conducted some tests.
I have printed targets selecting the following profiles under “Color Matching”:
1. ColorSync – Generic RGB profile
2. ColorSync – sRGB profile
3. ColorSync – ProPhoto profile
I have also a target printed under Tiger to compare them with.
In addition I used the print dialogue to export a PDF of the target which I rasterised in Photoshop (CS5). When importing it had as its “Mode” set as sRGB (whatever that means) and had an sRGB profile attached. I discarded the profile and opened it as a ‘non colour managed’ document. I saved it as a tiff and then printed it using Adobe’s ‘Color Printer Utility’ (designed for printing targets without colour management). For ease of reference I will call this test print the “PDF target”.
So, what did I find ?
Well all the targets are different. We can disregard the ProPhoto target as that was wildly out (much too light). The Generic RGB target was slightly darker than the other three so can we safely eliminate that one ? That leaves the remaining three:
a. sRGB target
b. Tiger target
c. PDF target
There are slight visual, and measurable, differences between all the three. There are slight differences in hue and lightness.
So my question is this:
Which of the three targets will most closely replicate the conditions under which Photoshop prints ‘Photoshop Manages Colors’ so I can get accurate prints ?