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Old Oct 16, 2006, 10:01 AM   #1
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I contacted MPIX about whether they had printer profiles. I received a couple of .ICM files, one for their metallic paper, one for the E-surface paper.

I'm a little unclear whether I can use these as Prtr ICC's or not. MPIX says to use them for soft-proofing, and to provide files in sRGB color space. Here are their words:
"Because each order can be viewed by a different technician we have no way to match colors from order to order or how they may appear on your monitor. The only way to accomplish this is to be calibrated to our printers and select the 'no color corrections' option located in the 'order summary' were files are sent directly to the printer without any adjustments."

I asked for clarification, and they said, "This means that you have the option to select "Do Not Color Correct" and they should turn out fine as long as you have been calibrated to our printers." They also sent a PDF document showing how to set up soft-proofing in Photoshop.

So in (say) Photoshop, you soft-proof with a the provided .ICM profile then output the image file in sRGB and send it over to be printed with color correction off. By doing so, you have a chance of getting something close to what you saw onscreen (assuming profiled monitor and soft-proofing set up correctly).

But I don't always work in PS, mainly I use Capture One to process RAW images into JPEGs. I would like to be able to output them in AdobeRGB color space, then use Qimage to prep the files for whichever printer or lab I want to use.


My question:

1. Instead of using such an ICM for soft-proofing, would I be off-base to open the non soft-proofed AdobeRGB file in Qimage, output it using the provided soft-proof .ICM as the Prtr ICC, and get it printed with color correction turned off?

-- mike elliott
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Old Oct 17, 2006, 2:35 PM   #2
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It's difficult to tell with only the information provided to, but from the info you've given, your assumption would appear to be correct: use the .ICM in Qimage's Prtr ICC and print to files.

Mike
http://www.ddisoftware.com
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Old Oct 17, 2006, 9:39 PM   #3
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Thanks, Mike. I will do so and report back. Others may want to use MPIX and their profiles with Qimage.

-- mike elliott
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Old Oct 25, 2006, 7:08 PM   #4
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I'm back.

The short answer is that it works: though MPIX's instructions only address using their .ICM profile for soft-proofing, the same profile can be used as the printer profile and the prints come extremely close to the soft-proof image.

Here's what I did:

I opened a RAW file, a portrait, in Capture One Pro (CO), and "developed" it to three files: one using MPIX's .ICM profile, one using my local Costco's Noritsu's .ICC profile (from drycreekphoto.com), and one as a generic Adobe RGB file.

I opened the generic one in Qimage and printed it to file twice, once with the MPIX profile, once with the Costco profile. I also printed the image to my R2400 using its custom profile (profile from cathysprofiles.com, very nice).

To MPIX I sent the two MPIX-profiled files (one from Qimage, one from CO), and did the same with Costco, using the the Qimage and CO costco-profiled files. In all cases I specified that color-correction be turned off.

With ll the prints are back and while the skin tones are quite similar, there are significant differences between the MPIX, the Costco, and the R2400 images especially in areas with saturated colors. The tomato-red sweater on the model turned a deep wine in the MPIX prints. The Costco and R2400 prints are quite a bit more similar.

Comparing the files created for MPIX by CO to those created by Qimage from the CO-generated Adobe RGB file, there is really no difference, except that I forgot to turn off Qimage's sharpening so it added additional sharpening to that already performed by CO when it created the Adobe RGB file. It's the same for the Costco prints: the CO-generated file and the Qimage-generated file are super-similar except, as before, Qimage sharpened an already sharpened picture. This normally would not be a problem because CO seems to do a fine job creating mini lab-ready files using their profiles, so Qimage doesn't need to be in the workflow, unless I want to take advantage of some of the cool tricks that Qimage can do.

Anyway, back to the question of whether using MPIX's profile for printing will result in prints that look like their soft-proofed version. CO doesn't presently have soft-proofing per se (that will be added in version 4), but if a profile is loaded as the Working Space it comes close -- their tech support guy calls it "pseudo-proofing".

So, using MPIX's profile as the working space, I reopened the RAW file in CO and compared the MPIX print to the image that CO was displaying, and it was an almost exact match -- deep wine for the tomato-red sweater; and when using the Costco profile as the working space, it matched the Costco print; likewise for the R2400 print. (Prints viewed under Chroma 50 lamps, monitor profiled to 5200K, close enough for me.)

So as far as I can tell, even though MPIX only addresses using their .ICM profile for soft-proofing, it should also be used as a printer profile if an accurate match to the soft-proof image is desired.

I hope this is helpful to others who are dealing with mini-lab profiles -- it really doesn't have much to do with Qimage.
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Old Nov 12, 2006, 8:09 PM   #5
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Very helpful and informative post. Much appreciated. I already have Qimage, have just discovered Mpix, and just acquired Capture One. Good timing.
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