Printing targets

Each combination of printer & paper & Ink type needs a separate profile.

It is alleged that manufacturers change recipes for ink and paper, and some people advocate reprofiling inkjet printers regularly.
However..........advice from calmer sources is that you only need to reprofile an inkjet printer when your eyes tell you something has changed. Obviously this is most likely to be noticed after you change paper or ink supplies but not every time you replace an ink cartridge or buy an new box of the same paper.

Although Inkjet printers are rather non-linear it is believed that they are relatively stable (they do not vary so much with time). Laser printers apparently behave differently.

Preparing the printer

Inkjet printers do have a habit of misbehaving when their nozzles are clogged-up.
This is sometimes only noticeable either because the print colours are strange or by
using a magnifier to search for "banding".

I recommend using the printer utilities to make certain that nozzles are not blocked (plain - inexpensive! - paper is OK for this), and any nozzle alignment utilities before printing the targets. If the printer is malfunctioning while the target is printing then the printer profile may be impossible to create or just plain "wrong" (unless the printer malfunction continues indefinitely).

How to print

The targets need to be printed without your PC software or printer drivers adding colour management controls or adjustments to them. I prefer to do this from Photoshop because Photoshop is VERY explicit = when you tell it "don't colour-manage" it really does follow your instructions!

If you are using a "RIP" package other than the printer driver, of course, leave this as part of the workflow, with any adjustments you are happy with, but remember that the printer profile will assume that you have changed nothing in the workflow between the time you created the profile and the time when you will be using it.

  1. Open the target file In Photoshop and leave it as "untagged RGB", use print space (from "print with preview" menu) as "same as source" - source should read "untagged RGB".
  2. Turn off ALL colour management options in the printer "properties", but do select paper/media which is a good match for the paper in use.

    By this I mean: if, for example, I am using Ilford Galerie Classic, I follow Ilford’s instructions and select "Epson Glossy film" in the printer driver, but I do not follow the "-5 magenta" instruction, I simply turn off all colour management. options in the printer driver.
    Again, for example, if I am using Hahnemuhle William Turner (a coated matte "art" paper) I select "Epson Matte Heavyweight".

    I am told that selecting the "paper" in the printer driver affects the quantity of ink which is squirted at the paper during printing.

Profile naming

You need to specify the name you want for the profile, you will be unable to change this easily after the profile is created. Software packages using profiles (unfortunately) superficially often appear somewhat perverse by ignoring Operating System (e.g.Windows) filename. Embedding the profile name inside the profile probably makes the profile more "platform independent" meaning that it can be more easily used on non-windows platforms (Apple - Mac, Sun etc.). The name of the profile you will see from Photoshop is embedded inside the profile file, so you need to decide what name you want Photoshop to display internally before creating the profile file.
If you simply edit the (Windows) filename this will not change the way Photoshop reports the profile because Photoshop reads the embedded profile name. I usually use the name of the Paper - e.g. "Galerie Classic".
Notes
  1. For Epson I also select best quality print (1440 or 2880 dpi) and "High quality halftoning" not "high speed".
  2. This only works for colour printing, if you want to get smooth gradation of greyscale then let the printer work in colour.
  3. Clogged nozzles or empty cartridges should be obvious from your prints. I normally check the print nozzles (using the utility) before a printing run.