ColorNews Issue #3

Editing Profiles, How & When

C H R O M i X C O L O R N E W S

Issue #3
June 28, 2001


Welcome to the third issue of ColorNews, a periodic (hey, we're
trying for monthly!) update on all things related to Color
Management. Please let us know what your interests are so we can
address these concerns in our coming issues.

ColorNews covers newsworthy items including new product
releases and updates, and interesting, informative web sites. Each
issue will include a feature article covering an aspect of color
management such as profiles, workflow, and so forth.

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Table of Contents

1. Color News
2. New Releases
3. ColorFAQs - this month's FAQ is on Why and How to Edit Profiles,
and Who Should Do It
4. ColorNews Administration (feedback, subscriptions, etc.)

Color News

- CHROMiX (yes that's us) just announced our exciting rebate program for ColorTron users
who are interested in GretagMacbeth's Eye-One. Save up to $250 off list price by trading
in your ColorTron for the new Eye-One. For more information go here:

- Studion has shipped their hotly anticipated ColorBlade software plug-in for Photoshop.
Introduced at Seybold Seminars San Francisco last August, ColorBlade won a Hot Pick
award and deservedly so. ColorBlade uses a unique color appearance model to make
stunning CMYK separations using your normal profiles. You can also divide your
image into panes to compare multiple profiles at once. Check out our site for more
information, it is available now for $189.

- Bruce Fraser has once again written two interesting, highly informative articles
on what color really is and describing how and why we see the colors we do. See

- Pantone has posted their seminar schedule for the remainder of 2001.
They will be offering their "Communicating with Color" seminar in cities from
Seattle to Miami - to find one near you see:

- To answer a question we received that many of you may have wondered about -
ColorVision WILL work with Adobe Elements. "The current (2.07) version
will work just fine, but attempting to use the Preview function will produce
an error (not a crash, but Elements will scold you). The new 2.1 version
will also work fine, and the Preview feature will not be shown, since the
new code knows that it's running in Elements, and that Preview will not work.
Better to completely hide any features that are non-functional."

We are always happy to answer any and all questions you might have.

New Releases

As mentioned in earlier issues of ColorNews, BestColor has released
an update to their designer edition. Version 1.1 is now available for
download at Version 1.1. can be profiled but you will
need special instructions - please contact us for more information.

GretagMacbeth's release of their new Eye-One color solution has been
very successful - check out this fabulous new product in our store at:

They've also upgraded ProfileMaker Pro to version 3.1.5 in order to add Eye-One
support while fixing some minor bugs.

Quick Question....

Some feel ColorNews would benefit from HTML formatting, others swear by the old
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a minimum of graphics and spruced up with text formatting and friendlier links. Some
things are tough to describe with text alone and would require linking to our site to
display the graphics. Cumbersome at best!

How do you feel? ColorNews is read by thousands of people and we care about your preferences.

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Thanks for helping out!


Each month, our President Steve Upton will take time to answer questions
we receive on a regular basis. If you have specific questions or
comments, please see below for how to make submissions.

This Month - Why and How to Edit Profiles, and Who Should Do It

by Steve Upton

Hey, wait a minute - isn't that a different topic than was mentioned
last issue? Yes, I changed my mind. What more can I say? One of the
reasons we put off the gamut FAQ is the issue of displaying graphics in
email. Send in your comments regarding the "Quick Question" above and help us out!
Tune in to future issues for more information regarding device gamuts and

What is it with profile editing?

Many people think of profiles as black boxes that simply convert
color and if you don't like it... tough. In fact, there is a lot of
information in a profile and those of you who use our ColorThink
software have realized a few of the ways you can see this information.

When might I edit a profile?

Well, you might edit profiles when they either:

1) Produce the wrong color when used for output - for instance, a
test print appears too yellow.
2) Produce the wrong color then used for simulation - for instance,
if you are using a CMYK press profile to proof on screen or on
another printer and the colors look wrong.

If I have these problems, does that mean I should edit the profile?

Not necessarily. When I gave a presentation at last December's GATF
Color Management Conference in Phoenix I was tasked with the topic of
profile editing. In fact, I spent most of my time describing the
different things you can (and should) do to avoid editing profiles.

Overall, I have found that when you print well, measure well, and use
good-quality equipment and software, you generally get good profiles.
In most cases when we have trouble with profiles we can solve the
largest issues by going back and reprinting the target (perhaps with
better RIP linearization), or by remeasuring.

Profiles do not always show exactly what we want and so we are left
with the option of editing.

What part of the profile can I edit?

When you edit a profile, you have the capability of editing
individual tables within the profile. Each of these tables contains
input curves, a look up table (LUT), and output curves. (At least,
printer profiles are like this, and most editing is of printer

Why does this matter?

When proofing, how do you know whether to edit the proofing part of
the press profile or the rendering part of the printer's profile, since
both are in use?

Well, if you are building and testing your profiles
methodically, then you should have already tested your printer
profile's rendering capabilities and edited it as required. Then you
know for sure it is your press profile's proofing transforms. To test a
profile, print a known-good RGB image from Photoshop using the
profile. If you like what you see then the issue is probably with
your proofing profile.

If a profile editor allows you to move curves - for instance lightness,
saturation, CMYK or whatever - then you are probably editing the input
and output curves I mentioned.

If an editor allows you to do "selective color" editing, then you are
probably altering the information contained in the lookup table.
Selective color editing will allow you to make the reds less orange, for
instance, without altering any of the other colors.

A good profile editor will allow you to select:

- which rendering direction you want to edit - output or input
- which table you want to edit for that direction - perceptual,
colorimetric, etc.
- editing by curves - for color-cast removal and so forth
- editing selective colors - for those remaining color problems that
may persist.

A good profile editor will also save edits along the way for further
tweaking and testing.

Now, which are the best editors?

Kodak Profile Editor is one of the best - unfortunately you must
purchase the full package in order to get the editor.
Monaco's is also good - again not available outside their package and
is only works on their profiles.

How do I know which editor is best for me?

A) For the person who wants to edit profiles but not necessarily
learn new software and a new user interface, I recommend:

Kodak Custom Color ICC - this operates as a Photoshop plug-in, but the
representative image file can actually be edited in any application.
Most Photoshop moves can be used to alter the file - good for people
really familiar with PS and not really willing to use another
application. This application should not be confused with the
above-mentioned Kodak software. Custom Color ICC is available outside
the full package for $395.

Color Vision's Doctor Pro - works in a similar fashion to Custom
Color. The edits are stored as actions and then "re-lived" by the
software when the actual profile edit takes place. This program is
also quite capable and good for people who are PS literate. It does
not have the ability to isolate the edits to just the input or output
side of the profile but ColorVision is working on this issue. It is
priced at $259.

| A D V E R T I S E M E N T
| CHROMiX ColorThink - Your brain on color!
| If you haven't seen ColorThink yet, you're missing the full
| picture! ColorThink is the color management toolset that
| picks up where the other tools leave off. Manage your profiles
| individually or in sets, scan and fix problem profiles (including
| profiles imported from PC's to Macs). Graph profiles in 2D and 3D.
| ColorThink is $129 in our store and is now available as a free demo.
| <>

B) For the person who wants to edit profiles and doesn't mind a new
User Interface, I recommend:

GretagMacbeth's ProfileMaker Pro Editor. A good editor all-around,
with the only drawback being that you cannot save edits in as
flexible a way as I would like. Like most GretagMacbeth software, it
has a clean interface. One of the nicest features is the "scrubbing"
or "windowshade" effect it has for viewing your changes. A slider
appears over your reference image with the changes acting as an
overlay that you can move on and off your image. It allows you to
zoom into an area (shadow detail, for instance), make edits, and then
see where they take effect. It is priced at $479:

A mainstay in the editing arena is ColorBlind Edit. It is perhaps one
of the most powerful editing tools but suffers from an interface that
is difficult for many color management experts to grasp, much less
"normal" users. That said, it does allow you the ability to edit
almost every aspect of a color profile, and also allows you to save
your edits in different ways and even apply them in batch mode (with the
server version of Edit). It is priced at $495.

If you are interested in the Kodak or Monaco editing solutions,
please contact us directly for more information. As I mentioned, they
are also quite capable but have some limitations.

There are several less expensive packages around but, from what I
have seen, they only allow editing of the curves and, even worse, do
not allow differentiating the edits between rendering intents or
input/output direction.

I think their creators expect that users at that level might not
understand the arcane parts of profile editing. I would counter with
the argument that people at that level should not be editing
profiles. They should learn more about what's involved and then use a fully
capable tool. Editing profiles is something that should be undertaken with care,
and the person doing the editing should have at least a basic understanding of how they work.

Also, if you are editing a profile, don't forget to test with multiple
images that span the range of imagery you typically print. What may
appear to be a small color shift on one print can really mess up



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ColorNews is edited by Carolyn Hobart (hobart(at)

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