Understanding Color Profiles in Microsoft Windows XP
This chapter will help you understand the differences between generic and custom profiles; obtain and install generic profiles for your devices; determine your printer's native color space; compare profiles from different sources to understand the differences in their gamuts; and print a target file for a company that will create profiles for your printer.
This chapter takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.
Profiles represent the color reproduction capabilities of your color-imaging devices. Because they are used by color management systems and applications to ensure predictable and accurate color reproduction, the quality and accuracy of your profiles are critical. Chapter 1 described what profiles are and what they are made of. In this chapter, we will explore the differences between generic and custom device profiles and look at the options for acquiring both types.
The Profile-Creation Process
The process of creating device profiles varies from device to device and with the software you use, but the basic concept—device characterization—is the same regardless of the device.
In device characterization, color values from the device are measured with a dedicated instrument such as a colorimeter. Specialized software compares the measured values to the device-independent values of those colors and stores this information in a profile. The idea is to measure a wide range of colors—far more than you may think the device can reproduce—so that the software can determine the gamut of the device.
The profile-creation process can range from quick and painless to involved and complex. The ease of the procedure depends on the type of device being profiled, the tools being used to create the profiles, and your own knowledge level—it helps to understand some color-science terminology. In Chapter 4, we will walk through the characterization process for several types of devices to create custom profiles. But for now, we'll focus on understanding and obtaining generic profiles as well as custom profiles created by third parties.