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ICC color profiles and the world of color management Print E-mail

Every day someone writes asking for help saying they can't get adequate color on their fine art prints.

In most cases it is not the fault of their printer, it is a result of (or lack of) a RIP, color management software tools, and a need of ICC profiling software such as Profiler from Monaco Systems. This software works with X-Rite color measuring tools (we use the DTP41UV).

Color Management books

In other words, we all need to improve our color management skills. This page on Color Management is the most difficult to write because the subject is endless and the learning curve is steep. I am still stuck halfway up the learning curve myself. The sRGB snafu of Adobe Photoshop version 5 does not help the situation either. Don't worry, everyone else is confused as well. Fortunately Photoshop versions 6, 7, and CS take care of some of the problems. If you are into fine art giclee prints, never, never ever use sRGB. Set your camera, your scanner, and your Adobe Photoshop preferences to Adobe 1998 (don’t worry about the date; that is the correct modern setting for the year 2004 too).

Another tip is not to go low-bid on color management software and measurement instruments. If you are a company and you need to train your staff on color management, go straight to the person who runs all the color management at the FLAAR facilities at Bowling Green State University . Brent Cavanaugh can come to your place anywhere in the US or Canada and train you on the spot.

Gretag Macbeth Color Managment RIP
GretagMacbeth, ORIS RIP at GraphExpo 2004 tradeshow

Brent is a choice for a consultant also if you have questions about color management for large format inkjet printers or printers such as Durst Lambda or LightJet.

A lot of the headache of color management can be eliminated if you start with the proper basics. This means don’t buy low-bid. Be sure your printer, inks, and papers come from a value-added dealer who can assist you also with color management.


Stick with GretagMacbeth or X-Rite instruments

A good way to prepare yourself is to get basic tips and clues on color management from Nicholas Hellmuth’s own personal experience. He had to struggle through color management just as you are now doing. To share his experience he has written two reports: one is included with the RIP Series of FLAAR Reports. The other is included in the FLAAR training course on digital photography.

X-Rite and Monaco Profiler color management tools
FLAAR has twogiclee print ateliers: one at Bowling Green State University, and one at FranciscoMarroquin University. FLAAR at BGSU uses X-Rite and Monaco Profiler; BGSU itselfhas X-Rite and GretagMacbeth both.

Last updated May 4, 2004 .

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