Calibrating a Printer - AVS Forum
Display Calibration > Calibrating a Printer
ZandarKoad's Avatar ZandarKoad 07:07 AM 04-19-2012
Way off topic, but I'm just amazed at the absolute glut of information on display calibration when compared to printer calibration. It's hard to find an article that defines printer calibration as something other than head alignment. Anyone have any resources, forums, FAQs, etc in this regard? Specifically color management.

My prints are all greenish. I probably wouldn't notice if I hadn't been staring at a properly calibrated display for the last few months. So... I blame it on this forum. lol

wmwilker's Avatar wmwilker 07:51 AM 04-19-2012
Is this a desk top printer?
Google has a wealth of information by searching color management printer.
If this is a production printer you could try one of the printing online forums such as Print Planet.
A lot of times changing the preferences on the printer will give you the results you want. Try changing the color space from sRGB to Adobe RGB or vice versa.
You can find millions of ICC profile with Google if you want to try that.
sotti's Avatar sotti 08:59 AM 04-19-2012
Most printers don't have calibration controls (though some do).

So they rely strictly on ICC profiles. Luckily unlike displays, the ICC profile is in use for everything you print.

The best would be to use something like an i1 Pro and create a profile from a printed test swatches. But you'd need x-rites software to do that.
ZandarKoad's Avatar ZandarKoad 09:35 AM 04-19-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by sotti View Post

Most printers don't have calibration controls (though some do).

So they rely strictly on ICC profiles. Luckily unlike displays, the ICC profile is in use for everything you print.

The best would be to use something like an i1 Pro and create a profile from a printed test swatches. But you'd need x-rites software to do that.

I tried different built in profiles (Epson Vivid, Adobe RGB, etc), with little effect.

This is a desktop printer. Specifically, the Epson Artisan 835. The little information I've found on the web recommends to null all driver color management, and let the ICC do the work (lest you double color correct).

I have the i1 Pro and it's software... I'll play around with that. I suppose Spectracal doesn't do printer calibration software, correct?
ZandarKoad's Avatar ZandarKoad 10:21 AM 04-19-2012
Alrighty! Looks like printer calibration is an order of magnitude more difficult than display calibration. I watched all the training information on the i1 Share software... And I'm still totally lost. I'm guessing I need to find a test sheet to print (where??), then somehow either I or the software needs to know what those colors are SUPPOSED to be to then generate the corrective ICC profile.

I guess my biggest question is where I would find a test color sheet with known colors... I mean, I could make the sheet myself in Paint, but how would I tell the i1 Share program what color it SHOULD be? I might be able to manually enter in all six data points (Hue, Sat, Lum, Red, Green, Blue) for every single color I test against... Holy crap this is going to take all day.
Doug Blackburn's Avatar Doug Blackburn 10:18 AM 04-20-2012
It's even more complicated than that. To calibrate a printer correctly, you need a reflectance meter that has a built-in reference light source (that also needs periodic re-calibration). The best types of these are made so that you insert the paper so the read head is over the area of the page you want to measure. You typically then move a lever that lowers the read head onto the paper and the reading is made.

BUT... that's only the beginning. The paper you use will affect the calibration significantly. If you want really consistent results, you'd want to re-calibrate for each new batch of paper. And... if you insert the paper in different orientations (4 possible ways... "notmal", rotated 180 degrees, or bottom up vs top up), you'll get 4 different measurements because the way the ink hits the grain of the paper will change the measurement results. Also, if you use photo paper vs plain paper, calibration results will be very different. And lastly... any time you change an ink cartridge, the measured results will change so recalibration may be needed. It's nearly impossible to calibrate color laser printers that use powdered toner. Ink jet printers are more calibrate-able but the paper variable is fairly significant. If you use Deluxe Photo Paper for 2 years and the manufacturer changes to Ultra Deluxe Photo paper and stops making the old Deluxe paper, your calibration results will change. I used to work on systems that used dye transfer printers because each roll of dye (8.5x11 inch panels of cyan, yellow, magenta, and black dye on something similar to Saran Wrap) could be characterized and the end user could input the correction factor values without having to recalibrate the entire system. You don't get that sort of data with consumer-grade printers and ink, so you end up having to keep recalibrating whenever there's a variable inserted into the printing process.
ZandarKoad's Avatar ZandarKoad 06:37 AM 04-21-2012
I knew the calibration would change with new ink and paper, but that doesn't scare me so much. While I can imagine a new ream of the same brand and type of paper may have different characteristics, I doubt the resultant dE is bad enough to warrant recalibration for my purposes. I also have a CIS system installed, so I shouldn't have to recalibrate for new ink cartridges that often (just when I refill the reservoirs I guess).

As far as the lighting conditions, this did concern me. I suspect the calibration process (with my knowledge and tools) is going to take me 5+ hours for my first attempt. The lighting conditions are sure to change, unless I do all measurements at night, perhaps over the course of several days. I was under the impression obtaining a reference grade light source was not necessary, as the iShare software specifically states you can take an ambient light reading to correct for the measurement lighting conditions (so long as they remain stable).

I just don't want all my greys to be green.
ams2990's Avatar ams2990 07:03 PM 04-22-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZandarKoad View Post

I just don't want all my greys to be green.

You're clearly not used to seeing a properly calibrated printer. The manufacturer ensures that every printer is calibrated in-advance for all use situations. After all, the human eye isn't perfect. Who are you to question the printer? It clearly knows better than you what colors to put down.


ZandarKoad's Avatar ZandarKoad 07:19 PM 04-22-2012
I wish I wasn't so obsessed with accuracy. I think I may wait until I can afford a kit from X-Rite that will hold the i1Pro for readings. I also wish there was a Panasonic BDT-210 INKJET PRINTER.
wmwilker's Avatar wmwilker 06:22 AM 04-23-2012
Does the print driver have a preference to print gray with black only?
We have a couple of printers that offer that selection.
Doug Blackburn's Avatar Doug Blackburn 09:36 AM 04-23-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZandarKoad View Post

I wish I wasn't so obsessed with accuracy. I think I may wait until I can afford a kit from X-Rite that will hold the i1Pro for readings. I also wish there was a Panasonic BDT-210 INKJET PRINTER.

??? How is THAT going to work? What are you going to use for a light source and how are you going to keep that light source consistent? Any change in the color of light illuminating the page will drastically alter the meter readings. That's why x-Rite makes both reflective and transmissive (for printed page or film/transparency) measurement equipment... they have their own internal calibrated light sources. The only thing that would remotely allow you to use the i1Pro meter is something called a "viewing booth". This device has color temperature controlled lighting. They come in a variety of sizes. To use it for calibration, the room would have to be dark so external light doesn't alter the color temp of the light produced by the viewing booth. You place the page you want to measure on an easel in the viewing booth, turn on the light, long enough that it is stable, darken the room, then you could measure the page. A good viewing booth likely costs as much as an i1Pro meter though it has been a long time since I've priced one.
sotti's Avatar sotti 09:52 AM 04-23-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Blackburn View Post

??? How is THAT going to work?


I think he just ment the panasonic player is bit perfect, why can't he just buy a printer that is completely accurate.

A better analogy would have the printer as to a display, since that's where the bits turn into color, but it wasn't my analogy.
subraman's Avatar subraman 10:21 AM 04-24-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Blackburn View Post

??? How is THAT going to work? What are you going to use for a light source and how are you going to keep that light source consistent? Any change in the color of light illuminating the page will drastically alter the meter readings. That's why x-Rite makes both reflective and transmissive (for printed page or film/transparency) measurement equipment... they have their own internal calibrated light sources. The only thing that would remotely allow you to use the i1Pro meter is something called a "viewing booth". This device has color temperature controlled lighting. They come in a variety of sizes. To use it for calibration, the room would have to be dark so external light doesn't alter the color temp of the light produced by the viewing booth. You place the page you want to measure on an easel in the viewing booth, turn on the light, long enough that it is stable, darken the room, then you could measure the page. A good viewing booth likely costs as much as an i1Pro meter though it has been a long time since I've priced one.

Any idea what this is about?
The I1 Pro (1 or 2) has its own built in light source, Illuminant A in the original, so this makes no sense.
The kit the OP is talking about is an I1Io ($2k?)which is a table for automating the reading of hundreds of color patches in minutes. An alternative is the old Spectroscan/Spectrolino, which can often be found on Ebay for much less.
ZandarKoad's Avatar ZandarKoad 06:44 PM 04-24-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by sotti View Post

I think he just ment the panasonic player is bit perfect, why can't he just buy a printer that is completely accurate.

A better analogy would have the printer as to a display, since that's where the bits turn into color, but it wasn't my analogy.

I don't think he was responding to my BDT210 remark...
ZandarKoad's Avatar ZandarKoad 06:47 PM 04-24-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Blackburn View Post

??? How is THAT going to work? What are you going to use for a light source and how are you going to keep that light source consistent? Any change in the color of light illuminating the page will drastically alter the meter readings. That's why x-Rite makes both reflective and transmissive (for printed page or film/transparency) measurement equipment... they have their own internal calibrated light sources. The only thing that would remotely allow you to use the i1Pro meter is something called a "viewing booth". This device has color temperature controlled lighting. They come in a variety of sizes. To use it for calibration, the room would have to be dark so external light doesn't alter the color temp of the light produced by the viewing booth. You place the page you want to measure on an easel in the viewing booth, turn on the light, long enough that it is stable, darken the room, then you could measure the page. A good viewing booth likely costs as much as an i1Pro meter though it has been a long time since I've priced one.

I was under the distinct impression that the i1Pro could take an ambient light reading and compensate accordingly, primarily because that process is explicitly described in the iShare software tutorial. As to stability, I would just take all readings at night using the same light bulb.
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