Profiling a lab

Explorer ,
Jun 21, 2022 Jun 21, 2022

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A commercial printing lab I use, the color is off a little, most labs are pretty close but this one is a tad warm. How do I send them profile corrected files so that the prints are clean and free of their color bias - so that they match any other prints I make or a lab makes. I/We use sRGB jpg's and I have a color corrected workflow using monitor profiles and paper profiles with x-rite software and hardware. How about sending them lab a color chart, to print on matte canvas, and then profile that chart - how do I convert the color space of an image to that paper profile so i can send it to the lab and have the color be neutral? 

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Community Expert ,
Jun 21, 2022 Jun 21, 2022

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Without direct input and cooperation, this isn't going to fly. 

First, they MUST output the color targets with no color management, any automatic corrections or anything that would affect the output day in and day out. A profile profiles a fixed condition. If the conditions change, the profile is invalid. 

Next, the lab must accept the image data you then send, converted to that output profile; will they or do they demand something (ugh) like sRGB? 

Best you might be able to do, and this will only work IF the output is consistent day in and out is make a layer adjustment to address the tad warm output and use that on top of your sRGB or whatever RGB Working Space document to adjust to this bias. But a profile you make? Very unlikely. 

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Explorer ,
Jun 21, 2022 Jun 21, 2022

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digitaldog - that's right - thanks for clearing it up - maybe another less perfect solution, although still calibrated, is to send them not a x-rite color chart, but a macbeth color chart to print, and then read the grey swatch and apply the color difference to each file - not really sure lol - I dont want to guess at the warmness, it could be magenta, red, or yellow bia or a little of all three. 

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Community Expert ,
Jun 21, 2022 Jun 21, 2022

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Right, send them (multiple times, over a course of weeks or even months to check consistency visually) something like a color reference:

http://www.digitaldog.net/files/2014PrinterTestFileFlat.tif.zip

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Explorer ,
Jun 22, 2022 Jun 22, 2022

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"do they demand something (ugh) like sRGB? " What other choice do I have?  Its the industry standard for professional labs. It seems to work for a huge amount of artwork on metal, paper and canvas. Otherwise print everything in house. I have An Epson P7000 mostly printing on canvas, if I shoot, process and print in Adobe RGB, the Adobe RGB will have more colors and be more realistic than the same with sRGB?

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Community Expert ,
Jun 22, 2022 Jun 22, 2022

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If they demand sRGB, well you either send them that or find another lab. sRGB is about the worst RGB Working Space for output to print. It isn't an industry standard for print, it's the lowest common denominator for labs that are not really very concerned with the highest quality output from digital originals. Otherwise yes, print yourself and fully control the process, or find a better lab (not easy, they do exist) and yes, you'll likely pay more. 

As to WHY sRGB isn't ideal....

 

The benefits of wide gamut working spaces on printed output:

This three-part, 32-minute video covers why a wide gamut RGB working space like ProPhoto RGB can produce superior quality output to print.

Part 1 discusses how the supplied Gamut Test File was created and shows two prints output to an Epson 3880 using ProPhoto RGB and sRGB, how the deficiencies of sRGB gamut affect final output quality. Part 1 discusses what to look for on your own prints in terms of better color output. It also covers Photoshop’s Assign Profile command and how wide gamut spaces mishandled produce dull or oversaturated colors due to user error.

Part 2 goes into detail about how to print two versions of the properly converted Gamut Test File file in Photoshop using Photoshop’s Print command to correctly setup the test files for output. It covers the Convert to Profile command for preparing test files for output to a lab.

Part 3 goes into color theory and illustrates why a wide gamut space produces not only move vibrant and saturated color but detail and color separation compared to a small gamut working space like sRGB. [/i]

High Resolution Video: http://digitaldog.net/files/WideGamutPrintVideo.mov
Low Resolution (YouTube): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLlr7wpAZKs&feature=youtu.be

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Explorer ,
Jun 22, 2022 Jun 22, 2022

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"It isn't an industry standard for print," I was referring to wedding and portrait and labs that well anyone with a commercially available printer, has to use sRGB. The difference in time and equipment to switch from Adobe RGB to sRGB has to increase sales enough to justify the cost. You said yourself the differences cant be seen on a monitor. I understand for publishing and books and magazines it is the standard. That is different everything from wall art and metal prints and albums and framed photos. Those customers are quite happy with sRGB images and with the higher quality 12bit and 14bit cameras and printers the results can be stupendous. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. The chart and video from your site popped up for a second and then went away without downloading or displaying anything but the Utube link worked. Cheers.

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Community Expert ,
Jun 22, 2022 Jun 22, 2022

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The difference can't be seen on an sRGB gamut display. It can on a wide gamut display of which there are millions and print. 
You can stick with sRGB everything which is fine with me but it's suboptimal. 

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Explorer ,
Jul 08, 2022 Jul 08, 2022

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"it's suboptimal.." This is simply not true. You're not selling 8x10's to retail customers so you don't need to keep costs within a range. It is not better just becasue it is Adobe. In theory, yes, in practice, nope. Lenses, cameras, editing, printers, ink, profiles, they all affect the final color but if you and your customer cant tell the difference or are not impressed its a waste of time. There are a lot of image qualities that are more important than the color space for a successful image. "Wow what a beautiful print, did you print that in Adobe RGB by any chance?" said no one ever. Customers don't care, they don't even know what they don't care about becasue all they see is an image that affects them and that is all that matters.  

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Community Expert ,
Jul 08, 2022 Jul 08, 2022

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Not a color managed workflow = suboptimal.

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Expert ,
Jun 24, 2022 Jun 24, 2022

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It is feasible to make an ICC profile for a lab's output. I've done it.

But as Digitaldog wrote the Lab has to cooperate and the line has to stay consistent. 

Maybe test a few labs until you find one you like.

 

Of course if your own display screen has a bluish tint then an accurate print WILL look too warm compared. 

 

I use this Adobe RGB testimage - you can convert to sRGB if that’s what they specify, many labs fun such as Fuji Frontier and that accepts only sRGB. 

 

Want to be sure all the ducks are in a row? 

Have you ever wondered how to KNOW whether your screen [or printer] is ACCURATE and not just 'pleasing'?
If so please check this out: http://www.colourmanagement.net/products/icc-profile-verification-kit

 

I hope this helps
neil barstow, colourmanagement net :: adobe forum volunteer:: co-author: 'getting colour right'
google me "neil barstow colourmanagement" for lots of free articles on colour management

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Explorer ,
Jul 08, 2022 Jul 08, 2022

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I hold the print next to the screen for comparison - the top labs are very close.

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Community Expert ,
Jul 08, 2022 Jul 08, 2022

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What type of lighting are you using to illuminate the prints?

 

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Community Expert ,
Jul 11, 2022 Jul 11, 2022

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LATEST

Generally, when set up right, the screen's viewing environment is too dark for print viewing, there are standard recommendations for this. [more below]

This means that if your room light is bright enough to view a print correctly [500 ± 125 lx] then the light in the room is far too bright for screen viewing [ambient illumination shall be less than, or equal to, 64 lx and should be less than, or equal to, 32 lx].

Many Pro users work around the need to compare print to screen by using a light booth / photo viewing booth near the screen in a room with very subdued light. 

 

"ISO 12646

Softproofing

For a comparison of a printed proof and an on-screen soft proof ISO 12646 applies and specifies as follows:

The viewing booth should have an illuminance value of 500 ± 125 lx and a color temperature of D50.

[a dimmable viewer allows for this level of luminance

This viewer luminance allows for a more reasonable working display screen luminance in the region of 110 - 120cdM2]

 

A little on ambient light:

INFLUENCE OF THE VIEWING ENVIRONMENT

Colours (and even white painted walls which may include optical brightener) in the area surrounding the viewing surface will affect the operator's perception, which is why the standard prescribes neutral - grey, low-reflection ambient conditions. The reflectance of the coating of the display screen viewing environment is of great importance. Of course, surfaces within the light-booth also require this same low reflectance grey finish.

 

 

ISO 3664:2000 extract

Viewing conditions – Graphic technology and photography. This International Standard specifies viewing conditions for images on both reflective and transmissive media, such as prints (both photographic and photomechanical) and transparencies, as well as images displayed in isolation on colour monitors. It is not applicable to unprinted papers.

 

Ambient conditions

Extraneous light, whether from sources or reflected by objects and surfaces, shall be baffled from view and from illuminating the print, transparency, or other image being evaluated. In addition, no strongly coloured surfaces (including clothing) should be present in the immediate environment. Walls, ceiling, floors and other surfaces which are in the field of view, shall be coloured a neutral matt grey, with a reflectance of 60% or less.

 

Surround

The surround and backing shall be neutral and matt, The surround shall have a luminous reflectance between 10% and 60%. For many applications, a mid ­grey of 20% reflectance is convenient and is recommended where no other condition is defined. However, whatever value is selected, it is important when images are being compared that the surrounds for each are similar. The surround shall extend beyond the materials being viewed on all sides by at least 1/3 of their dimension.

 

 

ISO 3664:1999(E)

4.5.4 Ambient illumination

When measured at the face of the monitor, with a cosine corrected photometer and with the monitor switched off, the level of ambient illumination shall be less than, or equal to, 64 lx and should be less than, or equal to, 32 lx. These limits must also be achieved when measured in any plane between the monitor and the observer.

 

I hope this helps
neil barstow, colourmanagement net :: adobe forum volunteer:: co-author: 'getting colour right'
google me "neil barstow colourmanagement" for lots of free articles on colour management

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