Custom Profiles for the Epson 3800
I’ve been printing on my Epson 3800 for several months now — learning how to use it optimally and producing a few nice prints. Since prints never look exactly like they look on screen, even with color proofing, I’ve gotten in the habit of first printing on small sheets of cheap paper (10×15 cm Epson Premium Glossy). I’d then look how the print differs from the image on screen and try to correct the difference on an adjustment layer. I’d play some with the lightness, contrast or saturation, and after two or three tests I’d have a print that matches the image on screen very closely. I would then make larger prints on more expensive paper (A4 or A3+ Ilford Smooth Pearl). The new adjustment layers go in a separate layer group that can be turned on or off, depending on if I am making a paper print of a JPG for viewing on screen.
But I’d noticed a strange thing. Certain bluish hues would print very well on Epson Premium Glossy, but would exhibit a subtle color shift towards green when printed on Ilford Smooth Pearl. I know that different papers have a different look, but this was something different. But what was it? If prints on Epson Smooth match the colors on screen very well, but prints on Ilford Pearl have a color shift, it must be that the standard Ilford profile does not match my printer very well. (Or is it the other way around?)
I’d already found Eric Chan’s excellent pages dedicated to the Epson 3800 and was pleased to see that he is offering to build custom profiles for $20 US for any one paper. So I printed his targets on my printer and mailed them to him. This morning I received Eric’s profiles and printed an image that previously exhibited the color shift. Guess what — it prints perfectly with Eric’s profile!
The differences between the two images are quite subtle, and both look good in their own right. But only the second one looks like it looks on my screen and like it was in real life. So thanks Eric!
Can you tell me what rendering intent you use? Also, what do you use for hardware monitor calibration, what type of screen, what is your target luminance and whitepoint. I am curious to see what settings other epson users use.
My prints are very close using an eyeone2 90cdm/2 target, 6500K, standard 2.2 gamma + ilford canned profiles and my R2400 using ICM, no management and relative colormetric, but my soft proofs look a bit more saturated. Any ideas?
I’ve already written a few things on the topics that you mention. Check out Monitor Calibration and The Importance of Soft-Proofing. I do not use just one rendering intent — I try different ones for each image. And in the end it’s never a perfect match, that’s why I experiment first with the cheap paper, till I find the necessary adjustments.
Oh, one more thing. I do use “Let Photoshop adjust color” and “no color management” in the Epson driver. You are doing the exact opposite: Photoshop performs no color management, but the Epson driver does ICM. Your way is probably just as good.
I do have it set up so that photoshop handles colors and the printer under ICM setting is on no color management, the comma after ICM in my previous post was meant to be a colon (ICM: no color management).
Thanks for the reply, I’ve tried multiple intents as well. I usually will make a non visible text layer with all the print settings on my printable version of a file (profile, intent, paper, etc). I will read your links, great blog BTW.
Is, for example, the profile provided by Ilford (and, inferentially, those by other paper-makers) relevant? Useful? How does it compare to Chan”s?
yes, Ilford’s profile is of course good and relevant, but I was noticing this slight color shift in the blues and magenta colors, so I decided to try Eric’s custom profile. With the custom profile I’m not seeing these unwanted color shifts.
In the end, Ilford’s profile is for one particular printer that the profiled (or maybe an average of 5 or even ten printers), but it is not for YOUR printer. And a custom profile is specifically for the printer that you have in your digital darkroom. It takes into account all peculiarities of that one particular piece of hardware.
I’m sure if Eric was taking $50 or $100 for a custom profile I would not have done it, but for $20, I’m quite happy with my investment.