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This chapter is from the book

Generic Profiles

Today, most color devices come with device profiles created by the manufacturer. These are known as generic, or canned, profiles because they represent averaged data from a particular device model as it behaved at the factory. Manufacturers typically follow the process described in the preceding section and in other chapters in this book to create profiles for their devices.

While generic profiles are convenient, the challenge is that they're, well, generic. Each physical unit of any given make and model of device is going to be slightly different from the others, and environmental factors and the age of the device also affect the device's color reproduction capabilities. Generic profiles do not factor in such unique characteristics. In some cases, generic profiles aren't bad, particularly those for some desktop printers that are linear in response (they perform as you expect them to) or have built-in calibration utilities. Some printer manufacturers include different profiles for the various types of ink and paper combinations they manufacture. Using these profiles will definitely improve the predictability and accuracy of color reproduction. But for other devices, such as displays, generic profiles will have minimal impact on the results.

Obtaining Generic Profiles

The easiest way to acquire generic profiles, as just explained, is from device manufacturers. Scanners, displays, and printers typically come with generic profiles that are installed automatically with the device software. In some cases, however, you may need to download the profiles separately. Some vendors make profiles available for download from their Web sites, including profiles for different printer paper and ink combinations.

There are other ways to obtain generic profiles. Most imaging applications include a set of profiles for common working spaces and devices. A good place to start is with Adobe Photoshop, which is likely to be the most common color management application you'll use.

Adobe Photoshop ships with a variety of profiles, including these:

  • Adobe RGB (1998)
  • Apple RGB
  • ColorMatch RGB
  • U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2
  • U.S. Web Uncoated v2
  • U.S. Sheetfed Coated v2
  • U.S. Sheetfed Uncoated v2
  • Euroscale Coated v2
  • Euroscale Uncoated v2
  • Japan Standard v2

Another way to obtain generic profiles is through profiling services, service bureaus, and printers that have profiled their devices and presses and have made those profiles available on their Web sites. Other services offer a repository of profiles for different offset and digital photo printers. Dry Creek Photo, for example, offers a database of profiles at www.drycreekphoto.com for digital photo printers around the country—a useful resource if you outsource image printing.

Finally, there's—you guessed it—the Internet. A variety of Internet sites offer profiles, typically a combination of free and for-sale profiles. For example, the Seattle firm Chromix has an area on its Web site (www.chromix.com) where you can find and download profiles for a variety of devices, including printing presses.

Installing Generic Profiles

If you decide to use generic profiles to get your color management workflow rolling, choose one of the methods described in the preceding section to obtain one or more profiles for devices in your workflow and then perform the following steps to install them:

  1. Download the profile or profiles from the Internet to your computer, or if the profiles come as part of an installer, double-click the installer to install the profiles.
  2. If the profiles are not part of an installer, right-click the profile and select Install Profile.

03fig01.jpgFigure 3.1

After you complete the installation, you can use ColorThink to verify that the profile installed correctly.

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