Create ICC profile with X-Rite i1 or other spectrophotometer

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Create ICC profile with X-Rite i1 or other spectrophotometer

Post by zedonet »

This tutorial is about creating a color profile with your own color measurement instrument (spectrophotometer) and your own profiling software. The necessary steps are described for the X-Rite i1 spectrometer and the i1Profiler software. The procedure with other equipment is similar. If your profiling software cannot print directly with PrintFab, you will also find a tutorial in the same forum section that describes how to print the color profile chart from Photoshop.

An ICC profile is used to describe the color reproduction for a specific combination of paper and ink and to enable color-accurate printing. This is important e.g. if you want to print with a FineArt paper for which the PrintFab driver does not yet contain a suitable profile - or if you are using a different ink (compatible ink cartridges, refill ink, sublimation ink, etc.).

Attention: You need at least PrintFab Home L or PrintFab Pro

For PrintFab Home and if you don't have access to a spectrophotometer, we recommend the ZEDOnet color profile service - see our homepage

1. Open the "PrintFab Toolbox" app and create a new profile entry

Open the color profile management with the buttons "Open toolbox for selected printer" and "Manage color profiles". Then create a new color profile with the "New profile..." button.
First select paper type and print quality and the ink saturation limit:

printfab-mac-profile-1.png (70.68 KiB) Viewed 70198 times
  • In the "Type of paper" setting, select the paper type used, such as "Matte Inkjet Paper", "Glossy/Semiglossy Inkjet Paper" (also for glossy FineArt paper "Baryta"), "FineArt Paper" (for matt artist paper "Photo Rag ", "Canvas", etc.).
  • The print quality is preset to the highest quality. A slightly lower may be sufficient. It is recommended print the profile chart with the same print quality as subsequent prints with this profile.
  • The default setting (250 or 300 depending on the printer model) is recommended as the ink saturation limit. If necessary, you can also print a ink limit test row and check up to which amount of ink the printout is still good - if there is too much ink, the color bleeds.
Then give the profile a name. Later you will find the profile under this name as "Media Type" in the print dialog. You can fill in the other fields freely:

printfab-mac-profile-2.png (54.49 KiB) Viewed 70198 times

Finally, confirm with the "Ok" button.

2. Print the color profile chart

Now start the software i1Profiler, select the printer and start the "profiling" process with the button of the same name (the "Advanced" mode was enabled in i1Profiler):

i1profiler-mac-0.png (34.8 KiB) Viewed 70198 times

You can set the number of fields as you like, for example with the i1Pro2 measuring device you can start with 714 fields so that all color fields fit on one color chart page.

i1profiler-mac-1.png (70.4 KiB) Viewed 70198 times

You can reduce the field width until all fields fit on one page.

i1profiler-mac-2.png (61.68 KiB) Viewed 70198 times

Then press the "Print" button, select the PrintFab printer and open the "Settings":

printfab-mac-printdialog-1.png (156.66 KiB) Viewed 70198 times

On tab "Main", select

"Media Type"="<name of the newly created profile>"

now you will see a message "You have chosen an incomplete media profile without color data!", i.e. PrintFab will print in unprofiled mode with the quality level that you previously selected. The "Quality" setting is frozen (but may show a different value).
You can now confirm with "Ok" and print the profile chart with "Print".

If you want to re-print a color chart later after you have already imported the ICC profile in PrintFab, you must select "Intent"="No correction (print profile chart)" on the "Color" tab.

3. Measure color profile chart

Then measure the profile chart line by line.

i1profiler-mac-3.png (100.91 KiB) Viewed 70198 times

4. Generate color profile

In the following dialog you can make various settings for color profiling:

i1profiler-mac-4.png (53.3 KiB) Viewed 70198 times

You can first create an ICC profile with the basic settings and create a test print. If you save the page data with "Save", you can later generate additional profiles with different settings, e.g. if gradients are not smooth, move the "Smoothness" slider to the right.

5. Import the color profile

To import the color profile, go back to the color profile management of the "PrintFab Toolbox" app, press the "Import color data..." button and select the ICC profile.

6. Print with PrintFab and the color profile

The following PrintFab settings are important

Tab "Main":

printfab-mac-printdialog-2.png (63.28 KiB) Viewed 70197 times

Quality - it is best to choose the same quality as when printing the profile chart
Media Type - name of the newly created profile

Tab "Color":

printfab-mac-printdialog-3.png (54.11 KiB) Viewed 70197 times

Intent = "Perception" or "Perception Photo" or "Saturation"
Mode = Color (RGB)
Color space = sRGB

("Perception Photo" has a bit more contrast, "Saturation" is recommended if the document contains strong colors that would otherwise be printed too pale)

In section "Color Matching" of the macOS print dialog, the settings "ColorSync" and "Profile"="Automatic" are correct.

If you are printing from Photoshop or Illustrator, select "Printer Manages Colors" in the application's print dialog.

The ICC profile can also be used in Photoshop for soft proof or directly in the print dialog. In this forum area you will also find a tutorial that describe the integration of the ICC profile into Photoshop and other workflows such as the creation of CMYK ICC profiles.
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