[argyllcms] Re: Workflow for printing at photo lab

  • From: Ridouan Agarad <ridouan@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: argyllcms@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2012 03:12:40 +0200


I don't know whether there's a argyllcms tool that does what you want (cctiff might, but it only applies .cal files in reverse), but what you could do in Photoshop is to ASSIGN the photolab's profile (make sure to NOT convert) and then subsequently convert to AdobeRGB (or any other desired profile). This should (in theory, depending also on the photolab's profile) perform a 'reverse' transformation and you'd end up with the file as you wanted. Whether you'd actually go down this road is another question... Personally I'd avoid this kind of image maiming as the plague.

Having said that, I do think it's managing symptoms and not tackling the actual cause. A profile's task (one of them atleast) is to perform a translation into a printer's capabilities, the profile should work for you, instead you performing needless work to make the profile work. Being pure guesswork, I'd say that your photolab's profile is either incorrect/incomplete/wrong or the printer they're using has a very narrow gamut and/or a colorcast that's unfixable through the use of a profile. One way to 'debug' your photolab would be to take one of the countless images found on the net people use for judging profile/printer quality and send it to them unmodified (as an example, see http://www.normankoren.com/printer_calibration.html).

As for the AdobeRGB photolab requirement, there's nothing wrong with that, you'd be hard pressed to come up with real-life examples that would not be sufficiently covered by AdobeRGB, so don't worry about that! The alternative would be an even larger colorspace, such as ProPhotoRGB, but that wouldn't make sense (for printing) to be honest...

Finally, if I were you, I'd have a good chat with the photolab people about the quality they deliver(ed) and if they can't come up with a satisfactory solution (one that does NOT involve screwing around with profiles) I'd switch photolabs! The only use you *should* have for their profile is to softproof with; to get an idea of the output you are going to get from them... Good luck!

On 24-03-2012 10:07, Daniel Bachler wrote:

I have a question regarding the workflow when printing at a photo lab.
Here is how I usually work: I shoot with a digital DSLR, either in Raw
or as AdobeRGB Jpegs. I edit them in Lightroom and/or Photoshop
(Monitors calibrated and profiled with argyllcms XYZ Lut + swapped
matrix), export them as jpegs with full quality in Adobe rgb (the
profile my photo lab recommends for prints) and send them to the lab.
Since Lightroom did not have a soft proof capability until a few days
ago I did not bother to go into photoshop to check a softproof for
most of the photos. Usually this worked pretty well.

But just today I got a batch of prints where the colours are pretty
far from what I wanted. The motive is a portrait with low saturation
and a skin colour that is relatively pink. In the print the colours
show a lot less saturation and the skin looks blueish. I just checked
the new lightroom 4 soft proof as well as photoshop's soft proof (with
the profile provided by my photo lab) and if "Simulate Paper Color" is
turned on the image looks very much like the print - lower saturation
and skin tones and highlights that are shifted into the blue part of
the spectrum.

I guess the "correct" way to handle this problem would be to convert
the photos into the target colour space (the profile my photo lab
provides) with a perceptual intent and submit this to the lab. If I
understand the basics of colour management correctly (big if ;) ),
then this should counter the colour shifts introduced by the paper
colour (which I think is the whitepoint?) as best it can.
Unfortunately all the labs I know here in Germany only accept sRGB or
AdboeRGB files as input.

So here comes my question: Is there a tool/workflow in the argyllcms
toolchain that I can use to create an AdobeRGB Jpeg that has "photo
lab compensation" applied to it? So that I could not bother
softproofing every photo in lightroom and instead just export them as,
say, 16 bit tiff in ProPhoto RGB, send it to the argyllcms tool and
get "photo-lab compensated" AdobeRGB Jpegs out of it?

Any thoughts on the matter would be greatly appreciated.

Best regards,

Daniel Bachler
phone, address: http://www.danielbachler.de/contact

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