Jeff Ort on Color Management

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_A comment Jeff wanted to post, but my site wasn’t quite configured right_
I have been following your posts on color management, and I wanted to offer you a few thoughts. I have been implementing a color managed workflow since April of this year, and I have climbed the same learning curve that you are.
I accelerated it a bit by taking a 3 day seminar from Chromaticity in Michigan, and this really pushed us over into the “almost know what we are doing” category. Here are a few thoughts:

I have been following your posts on color management, and I wanted to offer you a few thoughts. I have been implementing a color managed workflow since April of this year, and I have climbed the same learning curve that you are.
I accelerated it a bit by taking a 3 day seminar from Chromaticity in Michigan, and this really pushed us over into the “almost know what we are doing” category. Here are a few thoughts:
1) There really is no magic to profiles. It is just math and science. The key for me was to think of a profile not as associated with a device (printer, scanner, or even paper) but more of a profile of a “scenario”. A printer profile is associated with this printer, with this ink, with this paper. A camera profile is associated with this camera, on this day, under this lighting. This is really the only way to use a profile with validity.
2) The most important part of the process in regards to printing is calibration and linearization of the printer (and the same could be said about scanners and other devices, but more so in printing). The only way a profile works is if the profile is applied after the printer is in a known state. Otherwise, you are just adjusting the colors from some unknown value to some other value. Without a RIP, calibration of a printer is difficult.
Linearization can be done by adjusting ink levels visually. I have a good test pattern to help with this if you are interested. One of the things to realize here is that the printer companies will set their ink limits high because they make money selling you more ink. This could actually degrade the color gamut, but it is good for the stock holders 🙂
3) I have used both the Optix Pro and the SpyderPro for my monitor calibration. The SpyderPro is completely adequate, and wonderful for the price. Unless you are painting your walls black and masking off your windows, the features of the software of the Optix Pro are mostly not going to be used. One interesting feature of the Monaco Optix software is it can be used to measure the lighting in a room. This would allow you to adjust the color for an area so that Coca-Cola red looks Coca-Cola red in a certain area. I have yet to use this feature though.
4) I evaluated Silverfast, but eventually found no need for it. I use the Nikon for negative and slide scanning, and find the included app to have all the same features. If you have Photoshop, I would use its color management software. I am curious how you are using it though?
5) I very rarely use profiles for photo scanning. The only time I use them is when I am scanning copy work of art. If I am scanning photos, I am going to be touching them up in Photoshop (levels, color, etc.) anyway, so it is an unnecessary step (unless your scanner is way-way off).
6) The most helpful book on color correction in Photoshop for me was “Professional Photoshop” by Dan Margulis. The chapter on sharpening and using the unsharp mask was worth the price alone.
7) Important concepts in Photoshop for color management are the differences between assigning a profile and convert to profile. Secondary is the rendering intent. If you are interested in a summary, I am happy to provide.
8) Generic profiles will give you good results; Custom profiles will give you the best results. Although we are closing down shop, I do have all the targets, charts, hardware and software necessary to create these, and I would be more than happy to share. The GretagMacBeth Spectroscan is an engineering device that is incredible to watch!

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