Producing a simple printer profile with ArgyllCMS

Started Mar 31, 2012 | Discussions
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Apotheker Regular Member • Posts: 493
Producing a simple printer profile with ArgyllCMS

Now after weeks of experimenting and many wasted pages and initial worthless profiles I finally managed to get really good profiles with ArgyllCMS. In fact I created a workflow for a "simple" printer profile with just a single sheet of A4 photo paper being consumed to get this profile....and the result is far better compared to the 2 sheets Spyder3Print (High Quality Profile + greys). I am using my a Colormunki now.

Advantages:

-no blue to purple shifts (known problem with the Spyder3Print)

-very neutral b/w prints (much better compared to the profiles produced with my previous Spyder3print High Quality Profile + Greys workflow, needing 2 sheets of photo paper) even with printers without grey ink, like my Canon MX850 using Inktec CLI-8 refill ink.

-produces a more than satisfactory printer profile for non-critical work (most won't even see any difference with profiles produced with much higher count patches and certainly see a improvement produced with the "High Quality + greys" profiles generated with the Spyder3Print).
-very fast reading using the Colormunki (strip reading).
-uses just 1 sheet of A4 photo paper

Workflow:

targen -v -d2 -G -e4 -g64 -f306 -R standard_profile

printtarg -v -iCM -h -a0.84 -b -T360 -m3 -M3 -P -pA4 standard_profile

This will produce a target with 306 patches with 64 composite grey steps and compressing the 18 rows containing 17 patches into a single sheet of A4 without comprimising on readibility with your Colormunki device (ruler needed to align your Colormunki). The example name used here is standard_profile (but you can use any any name you want).

I never was really able to get true saturated blue's without the shift towards purple using the Spyder3Print (except cheating the target with the known +10 in hue in the blue channel, but this will sometimes create artifacts in some colour slopes from bright blue towards dark purple area's, albeit this is only visible in test images containing artificial non real-life pictures). Also the b/w-prints were rather pinkish using the Spyder3Print software, even if you use the grey target to neutralise any colour casts.

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Crazy about printing, profiling and refilling printer cartridges

stormyboy Contributing Member • Posts: 738
Thanks

I appreciate you typing all of this out and posting it.
Tom

Apotheker OP Regular Member • Posts: 493
reading the test chart + creating the profile

To initiate the chart reading command type in:

chartread -v -H -B -T0.4 standard_profile

To create the profile, first put a copy of AdobeRGB1998.icc into your working directory (found in: Windows/System32/spool/drivers/color ) and type in:

colprof -v -qh -i D50 -o 1931_2 -S AdobeRGB1998.icc -cmt -dpp -DPROFILE_NAME standard_profile

notes: DPROFILE_NAME is the Description of your desired internal profile name (for example: DSihlX_Inktec_CLI-8_Canon_MX850, which will result in an internal name of "SihlX_Inktec_CLI-8_Canon_MX850").

The processing take up a few minutes, so please be patient (even on my relative fast Core i7-2600 machine).

After this you can rename the obtained standard_profile.icc into the name of the description given during the colprof command.

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ddushko Forum Member • Posts: 94
Re: Producing a simple printer profile with ArgyllCMS

Apotheker wrote:

-no blue to purple shifts (known problem with the Spyder3Print)

-very neutral b/w prints (much better compared to the profiles produced with my previous Spyder3print High Quality Profile + Greys workflow, needing 2 sheets of photo paper) even with printers without grey ink, like my Canon MX850 using Inktec CLI-8 refill ink.

I really do not want to start a Munki vs Spyder thread, but do you think that the better results you get are because of the ArgyllCMS, or there is also something related to the hardware. I mean, according to your experience (I think that you also have a Spyder available), will it be possible to modify your workflow at the reading point - import readings from the Spyder (I know that this has to be done manually in one of the files) and then generate the profile. In this way probably the blue-purple problem and the neutral grays can be addressed also with the Spyder.

Can you comment shortly on this. Thanks in advance.

ddushko

Apotheker OP Regular Member • Posts: 493
Re: Producing a simple printer profile with ArgyllCMS

Actually I do not know where the problem is. It could be problem both in the hardware as well the software. I sold my Spyder3print, so I cannot comment on the hardware, but comparing the created profiles the Colormunki is way better, even with the standard workflow using the Colormunki software. Now I am gradually understanding the ArgyllCMS software, the profiles get even better.....at the expense of a few pages of photo paper.
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ddushko Forum Member • Posts: 94
Re: Producing a simple printer profile with ArgyllCMS

Thank you, Apotheker!

ddushko

JJ Winkel Senior Member • Posts: 1,387
Thanks to share your efforts ...

I have the Datacolor Spectrocolorimeter #1005 and also use the Spyder3print 421 sw that supports it.

I usually also use the 225 colours + greys that I have squeezed onto one A4 sheet, but the spectro being manual I reckon that using the expert targets is too much time consuming.

Do you know if the #1005 is supported by ArgyllCMS appl. and if I can use your commands ?

Any hint about the newer Spyder4 spectro's quality ?

I'd like not to change the spectro just now, as I rather prefer to get one in the future that also allows VP calibration.
Thks.
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JJ.

Apotheker OP Regular Member • Posts: 493
Re: Thanks to share your efforts ...

Actually I do not think your Spyder3Print is supported by ArgyllCMS software and since it is a one step reader (the older version), reading patches will be very cumbersome and slow.

See this link: http://www.argyllcms.com/doc/ArgyllDoc.html

No Spyder3print is mentioned...

Actually reading a single sheet 306 patches test chart takes about slightly more than 1 minute (after some excercise to master the right way of swiping and speed).

Actually I am more than happy to have my Spyder3print replaced by the Colormunki Photo. It is much faster, much more accurate....but the standard software to create the targets is a bit paper wasting, but I use the miniature version to create my profiles, by compressing the targets into just 1/4 of a single sheet of A4 paper. This way you can produce a very good and optimized profile with a single sheet of A4 paper. My workflow allows you to optimize your profile twice to get a really good and very accurate Colormunki profile. Using the standard workflow will consume 4 sheets of paper...
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JJ Winkel Senior Member • Posts: 1,387
Re: Thanks to share your efforts ...

Actually Spyder3print is the name of the application software, the spectro's name is #1005, but you're right it is not mentionned in the Datacolor list of supported spectros by ArgyllCMS.
I just sent a mail to Graeme to have it confirmed.

Even being manual spot reading I was able to read the 507 patches fairly comfortably, if not very fast by using my setup described here :
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1003&message=38756869

But I also read that the Colormunki photo can calibrate VP's, so maybe it's Colormunki time after all ....
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JJ.

Guillermo Shashte Contributing Member • Posts: 761
ArgyllCMS vs x-rite

Profiles made with x-rite products no-longer can be freely distributed or made for resale. Does ArgyllCMs have similar commercial restrictions?

Has anyone compared quality of ArgyllCMS and x-rite profiles (Profilemaker and the newer i1profiler)?

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GS

Guillermo Shashte Contributing Member • Posts: 761
Re: ArgyllCMS vs x-rite

Guillermo Shashte wrote:

Profiles made with x-rite products no-longer can be freely distributed or made for resale. Does ArgyllCMs have similar commercial restrictions?

Found the answer for the question above. How about my second question?

Has anyone compared quality of ArgyllCMS and x-rite profiles (Profilemaker and the newer i1profiler)?

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GS

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GS

Apotheker OP Regular Member • Posts: 493
Profiles created by you are yours and it is up to you what do do with it...

An abstract:

"...Note that unlike many commercial ICC profiling tools, the profiles created using Argyll, are not subject to any claims or restrictions of Argyll's author(s), but are assumed to be the copyright property of the person who gathers the characterization data, and causes the profiles to be created...."

You can restrict the usage of the profiles created with ArgyllCMS or decide it will be public property and can be freely used by others...
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Crazy about printing, profiling and refilling printer cartridges

Petruska Veteran Member • Posts: 7,925
Re: ArgyllCMS vs x-rite

I can't comment on ArgyllCMS, but this weekend I ran profiles using my I1PRO with ProfileMaker5 and the new I1Publish, along with a Spyder using Spyder4, and my old discontinued Xrite Pulse Color Elite using the Color Elite Software (729 patches) and using ColorPort 1728 patches converted in ProfileMaker5 and there was no noticeable differences in my details test prints, except for the Spyder profile.

The Spyder just doesn't do a good job compared to the others, as stated the blues go to purple.

The bottom line is that the Pulse (729 patches) is so easy to use and quick I have no reasons to use any of the other combos.

Bob P.

Apotheker OP Regular Member • Posts: 493
Re: ArgyllCMS vs x-rite

Petruska wrote:

I can't comment on ArgyllCMS, but this weekend I ran profiles using my I1PRO with ProfileMaker5 and the new I1Publish, along with a Spyder using Spyder4, and my old discontinued Xrite Pulse Color Elite using the Color Elite Software (729 patches) and using ColorPort 1728 patches converted in ProfileMaker5 and there was no noticeable differences in my details test prints, except for the Spyder profile.

The Spyder just doesn't do a good job compared to the others, as stated the blues go to purple.

The bottom line is that the Pulse (729 patches) is so easy to use and quick I have no reasons to use any of the other combos.

Bob P.

The amount of patches for pulse: 729 is based on 9 steps in each RGB direction (9x9x9=729=9^3). A similar quality profile, which is called here "expert_target", (maybe even better) can be obtained by using the following targen command:

targen -v -d2 -e8 -g128 -f918 expert_target

This will include 128 composite grey steps to improve/neutralise b/w printing and still leaving more than enough patches to cover the 9^3=729 patches (9 steps in each RGB direction), leaving an extra of 918-729-128-8=53 patches to be randomly spread to obtain extra information, but which is in practice not necessary and hardly noticable to most of us.

By using the following printtarg command these patches can be exactly fitted into 3 pages of A4 and can be read with the Colormunki:

printtarg -v -iCM -h -a0.84 -b -T360 -m3 -M3 -P -pA4 expert_target

In practice and after some practice it is possible to read these 3 pages in just 5 minutes.

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Guillermo Shashte Contributing Member • Posts: 761
Re: ArgyllCMS vs x-rite

Looks like those could be easy steps to follow for newbies now that you have mastered the profile making process and are willing to share you experience.

Using an eye-one, what arguments need to be changed?
What arguments need to be changed to increase or decrease the number of patches?

And finally what arguments need to be changed to print the patches on 24x11", 36x11", 44x11", etc. paper roll?

Thanks
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GS

irvweiner Contributing Member • Posts: 705
Re: ArgyllCMS vs x-rite

Excellent work!! Much appreciated!

Buried in the sea of posts questioning Datacolors blue--> purple shift was the revelation of some bugs or 'manipulation' of the prgm code for correction. I tried to find the posts of that time for you but the 'ocean' was too deep.

Another reason for the superior paper profiling performance can be due to the fact the Munki is a spectrophotometer and the Spyder is a colorimeter.
Different 'photons' for different folks!!

irv weiner

Apotheker OP Regular Member • Posts: 493
Re: ArgyllCMS vs x-rite

The amount of patches are determined by the targen command:

targen -eX -gY -fZ your_desired_profile_name

where X=amount of white patches (if not specified, the standard value=4)

where Y=amount of composite grey steps to neutralise b/w-printing. Set this to 64 for standard quality and 128 for high quality profiles
where Z=total amount of patches (standard set to 836 if not specified)

For example:

targen -e8 -g128 -f918 expert_target

will produce a target with 8 pure white patches (will be averaged to determine the paper white) with 128 composite grey steps and in total 918 patches with the give name expert_target

Note: the maximum amount of patches before there is actually a decrease in quality is 3000. Even with just 306 patches the ArgyllCMS will produce much better profiles compared to the "High Quality 225 patches + greys workflow" of the Spyder3Print software.

For the printtarg command just give it a try and see what the options are by typing printtarg -v

You can run it several times to see what the result is using different parameters to compress as much patches into a given paper size without compromising in readability.
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Ethan Hansen Senior Member • Posts: 1,186
Re: ArgyllCMS vs x-rite

Guillermo Shashte wrote:

Profiles made with x-rite products no-longer can be freely distributed or made for resale. Does ArgyllCMs have similar commercial restrictions?

No - As I'm sure you have found already. At least one reputable profile supplier is now using Argyll for their work.

Has anyone compared quality of ArgyllCMS and x-rite profiles (Profilemaker and the newer i1profiler)?

We use our own profiling code, as it gives results that no other product (yet) matches for RGB profiles. That said, we always evaluate what other software can produce both to see if we should switch back to using commercially available code and what improvements our own algorithms can use. WE do, however, use both i1Profiler and ArgyllCMS for making CMYK and n-color profiles. Our algorithms are incredibly compute-intensive in three (R, G, and B) dimensions and are intractable in 4 or more.

The best summary I can give of i1Profiler is that it combines the profile output of X-Rite's MonacoProfiler with ProfileMaker Pro's ability to handle arbitrary targets. TX-Rite also included some of the ColorMunki functionality of making an initial profile from a small patch set, then optimizing it with additional targets. The latter is of limited or no use if you have an instrument capable of measuring a reasonable number of patches in the first place. (Preemptive note to the nitpickers out there: Yes, I know i1Profiler offers additional improvements - freedom from scum dots in CMYK profiles being at the top of the list - but the basic beast is MonacoProfiler output with a PMP front-end).

I'll limit the comparison to RGB profiles (assuming from comments above that these are the ones of interest). Argyll is capable of making exceptional profiles, but getting the best requires subtle tweaks to the target and parameters depending on the characteristics of the printer and paper. If you have time and paper to burn, or only need profiles for a single printer on just a few paper stocks, ArgyllCMS is hard to beat. Best performance typically comes from targets of 2000 - 3000 patches for inkjet printers. Epson printers need targets at the high end of the range, HP at the low end, and Canon somewhere in the middle. If you use a RIP with really good pre-linearization, a 2000 patch target is fine.

i1Profiler is much more of a turnkey solution. It has multiple adjustment sliders, all with a 100 step range, that make some difference to the output. The granularity is silly; you will be hard-pressed to see the difference between profiles made with any of the adjustments at 10 points apart. A key drawback, however, is that X-Rite eliminated ProfileMaker's software algorithms to compensate for optical brighteners. If you have an i1iSis, you can use the hardware compensation module. It works. It is also an absolute PITA to use in practice, particularly if you are making more than one profile or are working with an output technology such as inkjets that require drying time for inks to stabilize. Your only alternative for profiling papers containing higher levels of optical brighteners is to use a UV-cut instrument. These introduce accuracy problems that I'll leave to another discussion.

The profile quality from i1Profiler is, overall, very good. For papers that have no or low levels of optical brighteners, I rate RGB profile performance as being at least as good as Argyll produces. The difference is that i1Profiler gets you there in one or two passes (often a soft-proof is all that is needed to make adjustments rather than hard copy) and a 1500 patch target suffices.

Papers with high OBA levels are another matter. If you use an iSis combined with the optical brightener compensation module, i1Profiler gives dynamite results. A UV-cut instrument produces profiles that, in all cases we evaluated, were certainly no better than Argyll's and tended to show weird behavior in dark blue shadows where the invented data from UV-cut devices became significant. i1Profiler profiles made with non-cut data have the problems you expect: a distinct yellow cast to highlights as the profile "compensates" for the blue color the instrument read for the paper base. Argyll wins by a landslide here.

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Guillermo Shashte Contributing Member • Posts: 761
Re: ArgyllCMS vs x-rite

Ethan Hansen wrote:

I'll limit the comparison to RGB profiles (assuming from comments above that these are the ones of interest). Argyll is capable of making exceptional profiles, but getting the best requires subtle tweaks to the target and parameters depending on the characteristics of the printer and paper. If you have time and paper to burn, or only need profiles for a single printer on just a few paper stocks, ArgyllCMS is hard to beat. Best performance typically comes from targets of 2000 - 3000 patches for inkjet
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Thanks for your reply.
Yes, I am interested only in RGB profiles.

Assuming that I start with a target of 3000 patches for Epson Wide Format printers.
What should I expect if I am not able to do the subtle tweaks?

Any pointers on how to go about doing those tweaks would br greatly appreciated.

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GS

Guillermo Shashte Contributing Member • Posts: 761
Re: ArgyllCMS vs x-rite

Thanks for your reply. Gives me a good start.
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GS

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