More Beginner ICC Profile Questions

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by RegRoy, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. RegRoy

    RegRoy TPF Noob!

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    To clarify:

    1. Is the end goal of software and hardware calibration of a monitor to generate a custom ICC profile for the device?

    2. And once you've installed the ICC profile, it is safe to assume that all profile-aware software will "know" to use it? Once I've installed the profile in my device settings for my monitor, it is safe to assume that when I'm working in lightroom or photoshop that the profile is being "used" and that the colors I'm seeing on the screen are consistent with the profile?


    3. If you've taken the trouble of getting an ICC profile for your monitor, is it a waste of time to print to a service that doesn't have an ICC profile for their output printer? Someone here recommended mpix.com, (thank you)and looking at their site they only mention having an ICC profile on their end for soft proofing? If my monitor is calibrated, but I don't have the print company's ICC profile, what's to say that the prints won't come out poorly with Mpix.com as they have for me with Walgreens and CVS?

    Thank you all again for your help and your patience.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2010
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    1. Yes

    2. No. The requirement is that a specific program is a) colour aware, and b) quizzes the Windows Colour System for the profile to use. Photoshop and Lightroom do this. Other programs like Firefox 3 and ACDSee Pro will require you to manually select the colour profile. The vast majority of programs (internet explorer, windows picture and fax viewer on windows XP) will just flat out ignore it. You need to know which program you can trust.

    3. Yes / No. It depends on the printer. Some printers (especially inkjets like your mass produced Fuji units) will have a tendency to have very compressed dynamic range and colour gamut. CMYK printers especially have problems with deep blues, reds and greens. On printers like this it's far more important to have an accurate softproofing (since there will be such big differences) between the screen and the print. MPIX print using a light / chemical metal halide process. This produces a very wide colour gamut with about as much dynamic range as you can expect on photo paper, and when you softproof with one of their ICC profiles you're not going to have anywhere near as big a change as you would with your run of the mill mom and pop lab's ICC profiles.

    Also a quick google shows MPIX hands over (or at least used to) their ICC profiles if you call their support line.
     
  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    You can download the Mpix ICC profiles at the very bottom of this Mpix Support page:

    Mpix.com - Help

    RegRoy.

    Since you are now an Mpix forum member and are also getting guidance for Moose, why not also add emailing Mpix customer support to your list of resources?
     
  4. RegRoy

    RegRoy TPF Noob!

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    I did download the mpix.com profiles. What I didn't understand originally is that if someone is going to take the time to calibrate a monitor, why (based on what I've learned here) on earth would you not soft proof? It seems to me to be a bit of crap shoot if you are going to go through all that trouble to make your monitor as accurate as possible and then not have as much control as possible over the output.

    It seemed strange because mpix has the soft proofing info at the very bottom of the page and they make it seem like soft proofing is for advanced users (whereas people on this fourm seem to encourage you to get started with it early if you want to get the job done right).
     
  5. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There's the important bit of that post. We encourage it because a lot of the members who started out here knowing nothing have photography as their most meaningful hobby / source of income.

    It IS advanced. It is advanced in that a large majority of the people do not dedicate the time and effort to do it and then either a) don't care, b) complain about the quality of the results, or c) does something proactive about it. Most people will fall into a. You have come here asking for advice on how to improve your result. I have the feeling you're heading towards c :)

    A friend of mine has a DSLR, several lenses, several flashes, comes out shooting with us on the weekend and then goes home, tweaks the entire day's shots in Lightroom in under half an hour, then runs off to K-Mart to print photos in bulk for 19c each to put on her fridge. Other people will spend days finetuning a single photo and then go get it printed for $40, and then spend another $100 getting it framed.

    Take a guess who of the above examples owns a calibrator and soft-proofs their photos. Photography isn't the same to everyone, but if you care about prints, and care about controlling the quality of your print to the n-th degree then calibration and soft-proofing is a must. Many people here are just those kinds of people. Equally many (probably more) aren't, and just haven't shown their faces in these threads :lol:
     
  6. RegRoy

    RegRoy TPF Noob!

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    Your're right -- and now it makes sense to me.

    And thanks again to everyone for taking the time to help me out and answer my million questions!
     

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