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Author Topic: The end of profiling?  (Read 21683 times)

ashaughnessy

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The end of profiling?
« on: July 27, 2015, 02:56:22 am »

Ctein has put a blog post on the online photographer blog - http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2015/07/are-profiles-obsolete.html - about getting to the point where custom monitor and printer profiles are obsolete. I'm happy to imagine this for monitor profiles but can't see how the printer can know what paper you're printing on when you're using a third party paper?
What are the views from here?
Anthony
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Mark D Segal

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Re: The end of profiling?
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2015, 08:56:43 am »

I think it depends - worth testing. That said, I can see it perhaps being OK, depending on the printer model, using OEM papers for which the printer is specifically profiled ("Printer Manages Color" must be using its own profiles internally), however for third-party papers I would expect a custom profile to perform better.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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digitaldog

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Re: The end of profiling?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2015, 10:07:30 am »

Ctein has put a blog post on the online photographer blog - http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2015/07/are-profiles-obsolete.html - about getting to the point where custom monitor and printer profiles are obsolete. I'm happy to imagine this for monitor profiles but can't see how the printer can know what paper you're printing on when you're using a third party paper?
What are the views from here?
Anthony
Sounds like nonsense to me. First, proof of concept what a custom profile provides. Below is the canned profile versus my custom profile (without post optimization which will improve it further). The canned profile is from a new Epson P600 on luster paper, this is one of Bill's Ball's found on my Gamut Test File (http://www.digitaldog.net/files/Gamut_Test_File_Flat.tif ). Look at the blue ball printing nearly completely black! Is that what Ctein feels is proper output?



The situation is far, far worse with displays! They not only need to be calibrated and profiled on a regular basis, one size of calibration absolutely doesn't fit all! If your goal is a soft proof that matches a print, that's simply not going to happen out of the box or without proper display calibration for that goal. YMMV.

Sounds to me like an article to be controversial to funnel web traffic? Because I don't see a canned profile for a very good and new printer producing output that rivals a custom print profile and there are many other examples one can see on a print besides this egregious blue printing black problem!
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Mark D Segal

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Re: The end of profiling?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2015, 10:33:39 am »

Hi Andrew - while I'm not surprised in principle, I find the size of the disconnect between the canned and the custom profiles to be unexpectedly large. You say you tested with Luster Paper: was that Epson Premium Luster or whatever it is called these days? And can I assume in both tests you had the reference paper in the printer driver set to that paper, and you used the same and most fitting Rendering Intent?

I ask because of some logical considerations that may or may not be correct: (1) when the printer is set to Printer Manages Color, presumably it is selecting under the hood the same paper profiles that Epson provides to people who want to manage colour with Epson papers from their printing application; (2) we have seen how Epson's canned profiles have been dramatically improved over the years; (3) these printers are said to be manufactured to a high degree of performance similarity from unit to unit, <supposedly> making it far safer to use canned profiles nowadays than was ever the case in the early days of inkjet printing. Now, if all three of these propositions were correct - please weigh-in on me - the extent of difference shown in your example shouldn't be there. OR, what it could mean is that the Epson profile for this paper and printer (and perhaps others) just isn't all that good to begin with, or printer variance from unit to unit is larger than one may assume, hence the far better rendition with a well-made custom profile. Over to you.

For third party papers I wouldn't even try relying on a printer manufacturer's canned profiles. Even the paper manufacturers often don't do themselves a service with their canned profiles for their own papers, though that too has been an improving story over the years.
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digitaldog

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Re: The end of profiling?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2015, 10:41:07 am »

Hi Andrew - while I'm not surprised in principle, I find the size of the disconnect between the canned and the custom profiles to be unexpectedly large. You say you tested with Luster Paper: was that Epson Premium Luster or whatever it is called these days?
Epson Premium Luster yes. Test it yourself.
Further, Ctein has us believe that the answer is to use Printer Manages Color. First, I printed using that suggestion and yes, the blue ball is black just like using the canned profile! I need this new print to dry down but so far, it looks very much (to be identical?) as using the canned profile. So the idea that using Printer Manages Color is something useful or special doesn't wash on this end. IF it uses another profile or process to print, how does Ctein expect us to soft proof? So, Printer Manages Color isn't anything useful that I see, potentially worse actually than Application Manages Color IF there's a difference as we can't  soft proof.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2015, 02:53:23 pm by digitaldog »
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Richowens

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Re: The end of profiling?
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2015, 10:47:31 am »

  Did any of you actually read AND understand Ctein's post?

  I suggest you do so and you will see that the post really applies to his situation and equipment.

  Just try rereading before jumping to conclusions, then all may be more clear.

 Rich
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Mark D Segal

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Re: The end of profiling?
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2015, 10:55:11 am »

Andrew: Yes I thought of the soft-proofing question too, but then concluded - in my mind of course - not on paper yet - that if the printer is using those same OEM paper profiles for the management of colour, one can load the appropriate Epson profile into one's soft-proofing utility and carry on.

Rich - why should I read something before commenting on it? What purpose does that serve? JUST KIDDING. Yes, of course I read it, and the stuff he's using is no different from that of a great many other people. But as individual conditions and requirements can vary that is why a started my initial response with "worth testing". And Andrew did and got the outcome he got.
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digitaldog

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Re: The end of profiling?
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2015, 10:56:46 am »

 Did any of you actually read AND understand Ctein's post?
Yes. How many points need to be dismissed?
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First is monitor profiling. You only need one monitor profile for each color temperature you work at.
Only if you use one paper...
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For printers, you have a custom profile for every paper you use, although you can often get away with one profile for each category of paper (matte, canvas, glossy, etc.).
That doesn't even deserve a comment, not for this audience.
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We really are talking about “printer-managed color,” as Photoshop refers to it. Profiling is turned off entirely. No custom profiles, not even the canned profiles that get installed with your printer software.
The output test I did would suggest otherwise but the fact is, the print is as bad as using the canned profile. And as I asked Mark, if no profile gets installed or presumably used (is that what he's implying?) how do I soft proof?
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I'm using Photoshop, under Mac OS X, with Epson 3880 (a 6-year old design, it's worth noting) and P800 printers.
I'm using a 3880 and a close brother, the P600 and both produce the same ugly black ball among other issues from the canned profile.
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I did extensive tests of my best custom-made paper profiles (which may not be the best in the entire world, but they are pretty damn good) against printer-managed color. The printer won.
He needs a better custom profile, a better set of images to test profiles.
Yes, I read it. I don't agree and my output doesn't either. You and other's can do your own tests and report back. A reference image is available for anyone who wishes to use for testing (http://www.digitaldog.net/files/Gamut_Test_File_Flat.tif   http://www.digitaldog.net/files/2014PrinterTestFileFlat.tif.zip)
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digitaldog

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Re: The end of profiling?
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2015, 11:01:34 am »

Andrew: Yes I thought of the soft-proofing question too, but then concluded - in my mind of course - not on paper yet - that if the printer is using those same OEM paper profiles for the management of colour, one can load the appropriate Epson profile into one's soft-proofing utility and carry on.
I believe that's what's happening. I can ping Dave P or my contacts at Epson but does it matter? IF It uses the same profile as I suspect it's just as bad as selecting the profile with Application Manages Color. It shows that Ctein may not understand what's happening here and clearly, he's missed soft proofing IF it's different. So that's some data points to dismiss this article. Note too, when selecting Printer Manages Color we have the option to pick a rendering intent. That would further suggest that Ctein's idea that this process is different or better or special or doesn't use an ICC profile doesn't wash. But like you, I'm not positive because I've never needed to deal with Printer Manages Color. I have no reason to.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: The end of profiling?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2015, 11:11:01 am »

Andrew - his article made me wonder about who doesn't understand what regarding the processes under the hood when Printer Manages Color. Let us stick with the Epson case alone for a moment. Epson's driver includes separate profiles for each of the Epson papers that said Epson printer model can use. And let us recall we are dealing with a huge range of papers from the widest gamut luster to the narrowest gamut matte, different finishes, textures, ink receiving characteristics, and what not. Therefore, for the printer just to know how much ink to lay down on the paper and what recipe to use for optimizing printed gamut, it MUST use a separate profile or equivalent for each paper the user selects under Printer Color Management. Someone will need to educate me that it works any differently from this. So yes, great idea to ping both Dave P and your Epson contacts on this matter - best to get it clarified from the folks who for sure know the internals.
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digitaldog

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Re: The end of profiling?
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2015, 11:20:34 am »

Andrew - his article made me wonder about who doesn't understand what regarding the processes under the hood when Printer Manages Color.
I think I do better now.

Printer Manages Color, select ColorSync Radio button, you get the profile used as if you selected Application Manages Color and selected the same profile. That's why the ball is black in both cases. So that path is worthless.

Printer Manages Color, select Epson Controls, Adobe RGB as Ctein recommends, you get a different result. First off, blue ball isn't black but it's not close to the quality of my custom profile here and elsewhere. Colors clip to Adobe RGB (1998) which is unacceptable for reasons I don't have to get into and you can't soft proof! Green's suffer as expected, sever banding of magenta balls, throughout Granger Rainbow, saturated colors in the blankets in the image show no detail etc. Using Epson Controls and Adobe RGB (1998), certainly on my Gamut Test File which is in ProPhoto RGB produces an inferior rendering in many areas compared to just using a good custom profile on the ProPhoto RGB data.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2015, 02:52:36 pm by digitaldog »
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digitaldog

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Re: The end of profiling?
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2015, 11:31:23 am »

 Just try rereading before jumping to conclusions, then all may be more clear.
So far, only one person here has jumped to conclusions!  ;D
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Richowens

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Re: The end of profiling?
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2015, 12:01:14 pm »

 
  Andrew,

 Over the years I have learned a bit about color from your articles and for that I am grateful.

 You made way more about a simple "this size fits me" article, by Ctein, than was in the article.

 I did not mind too much your posturing and rambling on, but your last post was unnecessary and childish.

  Rich

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Richowens

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Re: The end of profiling?
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2015, 12:05:15 pm »


  Mark,

  I apologize, I failed to understand your first post properly.

 Rich
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torger

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Re: The end of profiling?
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2015, 12:15:50 pm »

Uhmmm... could someone give an example of printer + paper combination where "no profile" (I guess manufacturer-provided ICC profile?) actually works?

It surely hasn't worked out for my Canon Pixma Pro-1. Here's why: computer monitors are often preconfigured with high saturation and contrast to impress laymen in the stores when comparing to other monitors. Then papers profiles are the same, high saturation and contrast, and perhaps if you use an uncalibrated wide-gamut screen in store-show-impress-mode and tune your image on that screen and then print it with the impress-mode manufacturer paper profiles, they may cancel out and you actually get something that is somewhat similar to what you have on screen.

To me it seems like it can only be some narrow use case with very specific screen, printer and paper combination you could get away without profiling.

If manufacturers really wanted to provide experienced users with accuracy rather than providing exaggerated saturation and contrast to the laymen we could probably do well with canned printer+paper profiles. I'm less sure about screens due to sample to sample variation, they would need to make individual factory calibration (which I guess they may do on some high end screens that cost like 2-3 times more).

I don't think printers/papers have the same sample variation issue, if they had it would be pretty hopeless (imagine recalibrating for each new ink tank or paper roll...), which means manufacturer ICC profiles could be good, but the ones I've tested (from Hahnemuhle, Canon, Canson etc) are all designed not for accuracy but for exaggeration. This is a deliberate design choice and I guess it's due to the commercial reality -- if they would make accurate profiles, beginners and laymen would print and compare to the competition and find their paper to be "dull" and then buy the competitor paper with the contrasty profile instead.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2015, 12:20:58 pm by torger »
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digitaldog

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Re: The end of profiling?
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2015, 12:55:02 pm »

Let us stick with the Epson case alone for a moment. Epson's driver includes separate profiles for each of the Epson papers that said Epson printer model can use. And let us recall we are dealing with a huge range of papers from the widest gamut luster to the narrowest gamut matte, different finishes, textures, ink receiving characteristics, and what not. Therefore, for the printer just to know how much ink to lay down on the paper and what recipe to use for optimizing printed gamut, it MUST use a separate profile or equivalent for each paper the user selects under Printer Color Management.
Yes, indeed, more ammo that this article is either aimed at photographers who prefer to shoot JPEG and sRGB mindset or the author is not doing his due diligence.
I can only speak of my own experiences based on what I'd think is better testing methodology. I produced three prints from the P600, two variations I've tested on my 3880 (I didn't try Printer Manages Color using Ctein's settings for so many obvious reasons). In both cases, using reference images designed to test what a profile does, the custom profile was vastly, visually superior to the canned profile. Unlike Ctein, I've actually provided photo's (albeit not ideal) to illustrate the differences. I've also pointed out that using his now preferred process (Printer Manages Color), we clip to Adobe RGB (1998) on a printer we both know exceeds that gamut and we can't soft proof. So this 'technique' is probably well suited to the 'just shoot JPEG in sRGB' crowed. That's fine if you fall into that camp.

Ctein either needs someone to build him a much better custom profile and/or provide him much better test files for detecting problems with output profiles. I'm using essentially the same printers he mentions so the disconnect in our findings isn't due to that.

I'd be happy to photograph the same blue ball using his suggestions compared to my custom profile, or show the entire print. But better, each person should do their own testing and view the prints with their own eyes. The differences I see between the three possible print processes are not at all subtle.
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torger

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Re: The end of profiling?
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2015, 01:26:49 pm »

Here's a simulated comparison between custom profile (to the left) on semi-gloss paper, compared to the original image (center) and the "standard" (=canned) profile to the right.



While only a simulation it represents well what I see on paper. That is that with my own custom profile I get very good match screen vs print, and with canned profile there are many quite obvious errors (although I'm sure some consider them small), for instance, wrong hue of the blue sky, wrong hue of the neutrals (b&w), too high contrast, too high saturation here and there.
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David Mantripp

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Re: The end of profiling?
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2015, 01:59:49 pm »

Actually that was the second WTF moment I've come across this week. The first was Ming Thein insisting that the best way to calibrate a monitor is to use Apple's Display control panel calibrator, because, if I understood him correctly, that way you get a profile that matches your eyesight.  He charges $80 for that kind of gem....
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Iliah

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Re: The end of profiling?
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2015, 02:01:21 pm »

Retina factory state on a set of sRGB colours - dE 14. After calibration and profiling - dE 3.2.
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digitaldog

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Re: The end of profiling?
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2015, 02:05:08 pm »

Actually that was the second WTF moment I've come across this week. The first was Ming Thein insisting that the best way to calibrate a monitor is to use Apple's Display control panel calibrator, because, if I understood him correctly, that way you get a profile that matches your eyesight.  He charges $80 for that kind of gem....
Used 'the Google' found him but not anything about using the control panel. Can you dig up a URL, I'd love to see it. TIA.
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