ICC profiles: printers vs monitors

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by PhotoGramly, Aug 10, 2017.

  1. PhotoGramly

    PhotoGramly TPF Noob!

    May 29, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    From what I know, an ICC profile is primarily used to see how an image will look when printed on a specific paper type by a specific printer. It's also my understanding that color calibration tools create a custom ICC for one's monitor/viewing device. So would I be correct to assume that a monitor's ICC isn't something you would use to softproof your image and then send to a printer? But since they're both ICC profiles do they work together (or need to be made to work together) somehow?

    I definitely missing something here, anybody able to help me figure this out?

  2. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Nov 27, 2011
    Likes Received:
    St. Louis
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit

    There are two basic types of ICC profiles: device dependent and device independent. An example of a device independent profile would be a color space tag for an image file -- sRGB.

    The two profiles you've asked about are both device dependent profiles. The devices are obvious here: a display profile and a printer profile. The purpose of a device profile is to characterize that specific device. Take your display; you have a color that you want to see on your display. Your image software (LR for example) is going to send that color to your monitor. Your monitor calibration device has tested your monitor and determined that when that color is displayed an adjustment is required to get the color right (the profile contains this info). LR reads and processes the profile and makes the appropriate adjustment. This is part of the process of calibrating a display. Both physical adjustments are made to the display (brightness for example) and the display is profiled and a device dependent ICC profile is saved. Your photo processing software needs to use that profile.

    To print your image we need the same thing we needed for your display: a device profile -- got to characterize the printer. A printer ICC profile is going to do the same thing the display profile does and yep we need them both and your image processing software needs to use them both.

    Normally you don't need to worry too much about the display profile. When you calibrate your display the calibrator saves the ICC profile in the expected location and informs the OS that's the default display profile. Your image processing software (eg. LR) knows where to find it and does so by default.

    Printer profiles typically require a little more input from you. Since printer profiles are needed for each different paper you use your software can't just assume a default and you'll need to specify the profile. When you soft proof an image you specify the printer profile and your image processing software uses both the printer profile and your display profile. If you're doing your own printing then you need a device like the XRite Colormunki Photo that can profile the printer. If you're sending out your prints you can contact the print company and inquire about ICC profiles for soft proofing.

    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
    • Informative Informative x 1

Share This Page