[argyllcms] Re: RGB Printer Profiling / Issues with Blacks and Shadows

  • From: Andreas Hebeisen <fotografie@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: argyllcms@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 2 Aug 2011 17:11:14 +0200

Hello again

Thank you, Phil and Alan, for sharing your thoughts about this.

First, an important correction to my first message.
Meanwhile I realized that I've soft-profed/printed sample 4) accidentally with 
the wrong profile, namely the profile created with Eye-One iMatch software 
instead of the mentioned ArgyllCMS-Profile.
Therefore I've got the same black level as with sample 1) and it has nothing to 
do with the render intent but only with the differences between the two 
So the issue with the lost shadow details is expected behavior when using the 
"Relative Colorimetric without BPC" ... nice demonstration that BPC is quite 
useful with this render intent. ;)

But this also means that the issue with "black not being real black" with 
ArgyllCMS-generated profiles remains.

Thanks to Phils and Alans answers, I realized that I also had the problem with 
the silently added sRGB-profile, which has also been described here:
Because I've always used EyeOne iMatch to print the targets, I never faced this 
problem in the past. But now, printing the TIFF-files generated by ArgyllCMS 
"by hand", it also got me caught.
So I did a rerun of the complete process (which I describe below) but now 
printing the targets with the Adobe Color Printer Utility mentioned by Phil.

Unfortunately, the issue with the blacks remains.
When I look at my test prints made with the ArgyllCMS-Profile, the colors look 
nice, but as a whole, everything looks like the printer wasn't throwing all the 
ink out he usually does with every other profile/paper/settings combination I 
used to work with.
It looks dull like a print done on a plain A4 laser printer paper without 
special ink jet coating. The potential of the EPSON Enhanced matte paper isn't 
really played out. It's like driving while forgetting to release the handbrake.

In numbers; here are the Dmax values of the square black field in the top right 
corner of the mentioned evaluation image, printed on EPSON Enhanced Matte Paper:

EyeOne iMatch Profile: 1.6 or more (as expected with matte papers an K3 ink)
ArgyllCMS Profile: 1.33 or less

Here are the steps I used to create the new profile with ArgylCMS:

1. targen -v -d2 -G -f1764 -g128 2011_V6-0_3800mk_Epson-EMP_EMP_1440_0_8bit
2. printtarg -v -ii1 -t360 -pA4 2011_V6-0_3800mk_Epson-EMP_EMP_1440_0_8bit
3. Four target sheets printed with "Adobe Color Printer Utility".
   Color Settings to "Off (No Color Adjusment)" in the "Print Settings"
   part of the printing dialog.
4. Letting the papers dry for something between 1 and 2 hours.
5. chartread -v -H -T0.4 2011_V6-0_3800mk_Epson-EMP_EMP_1440_0_8bit
6. colprof -v -qu -i D50 -o 1931_2 \
        -S /Library/Application\ 
Support/Adobe/Color/Profiles/Recommended/ProPhoto.icm \
        -cmt -dpp -f 2011_V6-0_3800mk_Epson-EMP_EMP_1440_0_8bit
7. Printing the evaluation image from Apple Aperture with render intent set to 
Perceptual and
   another print with render intent set to Relative Colorimetric with activated 

The AgryllCMS settings used above were inspired by: 

My issue also appears when I use much simpler settings as used in this guide:

And again, for those who like to take a deeper look, all the files (except the 
TIFF-images) generated with the commands listed above, downloadable from here:

@Alan: Is it possible that you can send me the settings of your 
profiling-workflow and printer-settings you're using with the Hahnemuehle Matte 
Papers? This way I can make another try with settings known as working and 
delivering a Dmax I also like to see.

Thanks again.

On 01.08.2011, at 13:28, Andreas Hebeisen wrote:

> Hello there.
> On my quest to find a affordable solution which lets me use my 
> 1ipro-Instrument also with OS X Lion, i've stumbled upon ArgyllCms.
> Which will hopefully also be supported on OS X Lion some time in the future; 
> something Xrite obviously isn't willing/able to do for my existing software 
> Eye-One Match 3. At least not for an reasonable amount of money.
> Ironically, I'm facing the same problems which I already had to deal with 
> when I started working with Eye-One Match 3 some years back.
> Luckily, i found this article
> http://people.csail.mit.edu/ericchan/dp/i1GamutMapping/index.html
> which unveiled a hidden feature within the software allowing me to get the 
> results I intended.
> First some details about my working environment:
> OS: Apple Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6.8)
> Instrument: Gretag/Xrite eye-one-Pro, Rev. D
> Printer: Epson Stylus Pro 3800
> Paper/Media type: Epson Enhanced Matte Paper
> Color Matching Settings in printer driver while printing test charts: Epson 
> Color controls
> Color Settings in Epson printer driver while printing test charts: Off (No 
> Color Adjustment)
> ArgyllCMS: latest version, 1.3.3
> For all my testing I use the A4 printer evaluation image from Uwe 
> Steinmüllers site.
> It can be downloaded here (scroll down to the bottom of the page):
> http://www.outbackprint.com/printinginsights/pi048/essay.html
> My version is converted to my working color space, which is ProPhotoRGB, but 
> besides that, i didn't change anything in the file. I'm doing all the soft 
> proofing and printing from Apple Aperture, using the profiles generated with 
> Eye-One Match and ArgyllCms. Aperture offers the render intents Perceptual 
> and Relative Colorimetric, with and without Black Point Compensation.
> For creating my very first ArgyllCms profiles, I used the steps described in 
> this post:
> http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=53408.msg436392#msg436392
> Except that I went with the ProPhotoRGB source profile instead of AdobeRGB.
> Since the author of this post created a profile for the Hahnemuehle Bamboo 
> paper, which I also use from time to time, I figured this would be a good 
> starting point.
> Except that I'm using Epson Enhanced Matte paper at the moment. Mainly for 
> going easy on the budget while tampering with a new software and cranking out 
> tons of test prints. ;)
> And finally the problem:
> When I print the evaluation image mentioned above, I don't get the blacks and 
> shadow details I'm looking for on this matte paper. The problem already shows 
> up in the softproof view of Aperture and remains when the (matte black) ink 
> hits the paper.
> In the attached image, I've tried to visualize the problem. It contains a 
> crop from the bottom left corner of the evaluation image with different 
> profiles and render intent settings.
> Image explanations and comments from top to bottom:
> 1) Profile created with Eye-One Match 3, set to "NewGamutMapping L0.3" using 
> the trick in the article I've mentioned at the beginning.
> The render intent was set to "Perceptual" which always seemed to give me the 
> results I've wanted in the past years using profiles created this way.
> Blacks: With this profile/setting combination the maximum possible Dmax with 
> the used ink/paper combination can be reached.
> A crucial criteria, as everyone printing on matte Fine Art Papers probably 
> figured out.
> Shadow separation: pretty good; on a printed sample, I'am able to distinguish 
> between patch no. 10 from the surrounding black with ease. 
> 2)  Profile created with ArgyllCMS. Render intent: Perceptual.
> Blacks: lousy, as one can see in the image, the black is more of a very dark 
> grey, than really black.
> I didn't bother measuring the Dmax since this is obviously pretty far away 
> from what this print/ink/paper combination is able to deliver.
> Shadow separation: slightly better than with 1) but with black being dark 
> grey not really a surprise.
> 3)  Profile created with ArgyllCMS. Render intent: Relative Colorimetric, 
> Black Point Compensation ON
> Blacks: as lousy as with 2), on paper even worse
> I didn't bother measuring the Dmax since this is obviously pretty far away 
> from what this print/ink/paper combination is usually able to deliver.
> Shadow separation: slightly worse than with 2)
> 4) Profile created with ArgyllCMS. Render intent: Relative Colorimetric, 
> Black Point Compensation OFF
> Blacks: great, that's the way I like it. But only on paper, in the soft proof 
> view, I see little difference while turning BPC on and off.
> Shadow separation: not really existent, on paper, even patch no. 24 isn't 
> really separated from the surrounding black!
> Besides those findings, I have to mention, that everything else is as 
> expected.
> Good color match to (eye-One Match calibrated) screens, nice saturation etc.
> For my eyes, the color looks best with Relative Colorimetric and BPC turned 
> off.
> But this has also to do with the darker blacks and therefore more contrast in 
> the print.
> A little side note: When I use Apples Color Sync Utility to compare the two 
> profiles mentioned here, the ArgyllCMS profile never reaches the bottom of 
> the given space, as the eye-One profile does. Seems there is a connection 
> between what i'm struggling with and what ColorSync shows. Or ist this just 
> coincidence? Am I confusing two different things here?
> Whatever.
> At the moment i'm _really_ looking for deep, really dark blacks the way I get 
> them with sample 4) but with the shadow details on a level close (or even 
> better) to the ones in 1).
> I've played around for hours with different settings, searching the internet, 
> performing all kinds of CMS voodoo rituals I'm aware of; but non luck.
> Still stuck to "not-really-black" blacks and lousy shadow separation.
> Any help out there?
> Someone else must have seen this before or am I going mad?
> Thanks for _any_ help in advance!
> Cheers
> Andreas Hebeisen
> P.S. For those who want to analyze my issue, you can download the ti3-File 
> and the created ICC-Profile from this URL:
>  http://home.ggaweb.ch/files/mail/2011/2011-08-01_profiles.zip
> I've also included the mentioned ICC-Profile I created with Eye-One Match 3 
> for the same printer/paper/ink combination.
> The attached images are also downloadable from there in the original 
> resolution:
> http://home.ggaweb.ch/files/mail/2011/Profile-Comparisons-by-Print+Softproof-Preview-in-Aperture.jpg
>  http://home.ggaweb.ch/files/mail/2011/ColorSync_Profile_Comparison.jpg
> <Profile-Comparisons-by-Print+Softproof-Preview-in-Aperture.jpeg><ColorSync_Profile_Comparison.jpeg>

Other related posts: