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Printing a color target on a Mac without third-party software.

 
Edited

SEE FOLLOWUP. THIS MAY BE IN ERROR.  (It used to be true...  :-)

A lot of folks think you need a third-party solution to print a color target on a Mac. You do not.

Run the (OS supplied) Colorsync utility.
Choose file open, and load your target.
Choose file Print...
Beneath the "Orientation" images, make sure "ColorSync Utility" is selected
Next to "Color:", choose "Print as color target".

All that said, I personally use PrintTool (for all my image printing) but it's nice to know that the option is built in to the OS.

 

Unfortunately Apple has not seen fit to offer a call to skip ColorSync and print images without color management. So what any app or utility has to do is follow the peril-fraught “null conversion” route. The OS default color space (which has changed, over time) must be tagged as the image color space, so that ColorSync will not change the image colors. 

There are a few other (non-end-user) details that can foul this process up that I won’t go into here, as this is not a developers list. But you need to be sure that whatever app or utility you use for printing targets is current, and giving people good target results, to assure that this delicate balance is functioning, and your target will be accurately printed, resulting in a valid printer/paper/ink profile. 

C. David Tobie

On Feb 16, 2018, at 11:07 AM, Tracy Valleau <tracy@...> wrote:

A lot of folks think you need a third-party solution to print a color target on a Mac. You do not.

Run the (OS supplied) Colorsync utility.
Choose file open, and load your target.
Choose file Print...
Beneath the "Orientation" images, make sure "ColorSync Utility" is selected
Next to "Color:", choose "Print as color target".

All that said, I personally use PrintTool (for all my image printing) but it's nice to know that the option is built in to the OS.

 

Thanks Charles.

That's what I used to think as well. Over the past decade, I've been thru it all, like most. But I've printed targets via Adobe CPU, Printtool and the ColorSync utility, and they are identical... at least by eyeball.

When I get back from my opening tonight, I'll put the spectrophotometer to them and take some spot readings to see if my "eyeball" confirmation is correct.

Tracy
www.valleau.art




On 16 Feb 2018, at 11:41, Charles D Tobie wrote:

Unfortunately Apple has not seen fit to offer a call to skip ColorSync and print images without color management. So what any app or utility has to do is follow the peril-fraught “null conversion” route. The OS default color space (which has changed, over time) must be tagged as the image color space, so that ColorSync will not change the image colors.

There are a few other (non-end-user) details that can foul this process up that I won’t go into here, as this is not a developers list. But you need to be sure that whatever app or utility you use for printing targets is current, and giving people good target results, to assure that this delicate balance is functioning, and your target will be accurately printed, resulting in a valid printer/paper/ink profile.

C. David Tobie

On Feb 16, 2018, at 11:07 AM, Tracy Valleau <tracy@...> wrote:

A lot of folks think you need a third-party solution to print a color target on a Mac. You do not.

Run the (OS supplied) Colorsync utility.
Choose file open, and load your target.
Choose file Print...
Beneath the "Orientation" images, make sure "ColorSync Utility" is selected
Next to "Color:", choose "Print as color target".

All that said, I personally use PrintTool (for all my image printing) but it's nice to know that the option is built in to the OS.


--
Tracy Valleau, moderator

Imagemakers

www.valleau.gallery

 

Have a great opening night tonight, Tracy!! Congratulations on such a fine exhibit!

Z


On Feb 16, 2018, at 11:49 AM, Tracy Valleau <tracy@...> wrote:

Thanks Charles.

That's what I used to think as well. Over the past decade, I've been thru it all, like most. But I've printed targets via Adobe CPU, Printtool and the ColorSync utility, and they are identical... at least by eyeball.

When I get back from my opening tonight, I'll put the spectrophotometer to them and take some spot readings to see if my "eyeball" confirmation is correct.

Tracy
www.valleau.art




On 16 Feb 2018, at 11:41, Charles D Tobie wrote:

Unfortunately Apple has not seen fit to offer a call to skip ColorSync and print images without color management. So what any app or utility has to do is follow the peril-fraught “null conversion” route. The OS default color space (which has changed, over time) must be tagged as the image color space, so that ColorSync will not change the image colors.

There are a few other (non-end-user) details that can foul this process up that I won’t go into here, as this is not a developers list. But you need to be sure that whatever app or utility you use for printing targets is current, and giving people good target results, to assure that this delicate balance is functioning, and your target will be accurately printed, resulting in a valid printer/paper/ink profile.

C. David Tobie

On Feb 16, 2018, at 11:07 AM, Tracy Valleau <tracy@...> wrote:

A lot of folks think you need a third-party solution to print a color target on a Mac. You do not.

Run the (OS supplied) Colorsync utility.
Choose file open, and load your target.
Choose file Print...
Beneath the "Orientation" images, make sure "ColorSync Utility" is selected
Next to "Color:", choose "Print as color target".

All that said, I personally use PrintTool (for all my image printing) but it's nice to know that the option is built in to the OS.


--
Tracy Valleau, moderator

Imagemakers

www.valleau.gallery


 

Typically, if all the patches, not just the saturated ones, appear identical to the eye, you’re all set. 

C. David Tobie

On Feb 16, 2018, at 12:30 PM, Steve Zmak <Steve@...> wrote:

Have a great opening night tonight, Tracy!! Congratulations on such a fine exhibit!

Z


On Feb 16, 2018, at 11:49 AM, Tracy Valleau <tracy@...> wrote:

Thanks Charles.

That's what I used to think as well. Over the past decade, I've been thru it all, like most. But I've printed targets via Adobe CPU, Printtool and the ColorSync utility, and they are identical... at least by eyeball.

When I get back from my opening tonight, I'll put the spectrophotometer to them and take some spot readings to see if my "eyeball" confirmation is correct.

Tracy
www.valleau.art




On 16 Feb 2018, at 11:41, Charles D Tobie wrote:

Unfortunately Apple has not seen fit to offer a call to skip ColorSync and print images without color management. So what any app or utility has to do is follow the peril-fraught “null conversion” route. The OS default color space (which has changed, over time) must be tagged as the image color space, so that ColorSync will not change the image colors.

There are a few other (non-end-user) details that can foul this process up that I won’t go into here, as this is not a developers list. But you need to be sure that whatever app or utility you use for printing targets is current, and giving people good target results, to assure that this delicate balance is functioning, and your target will be accurately printed, resulting in a valid printer/paper/ink profile.

C. David Tobie

On Feb 16, 2018, at 11:07 AM, Tracy Valleau <tracy@...> wrote:

A lot of folks think you need a third-party solution to print a color target on a Mac. You do not.

Run the (OS supplied) Colorsync utility.
Choose file open, and load your target.
Choose file Print...
Beneath the "Orientation" images, make sure "ColorSync Utility" is selected
Next to "Color:", choose "Print as color target".

All that said, I personally use PrintTool (for all my image printing) but it's nice to know that the option is built in to the OS.


--
Tracy Valleau, moderator

Imagemakers

www.valleau.gallery


 

OK.. I really DO have to leave for my opening reception in an hour, but  I had to try this again, since it's been several years since I actually ran the test... and it appears I spoke too soon.
PrintTool printed the target just fine.
Adobe CPU failed, leaving indistinct color patches. Perhaps this is related to High Sierra? 
ColorSync showed the "Print as Target" this morning, as I checked before posting, but now, an hour or so later, with the exact same sample image, "Print as Target" is suddenly grayed out.

I really have been printing and teaching for over a decade, and have made hundreds of profiles using the i1Profiler software. 
This behavior is something I've not seen before, but again: it has been several years since I checked it.

This will teach me to test -again- before posting!

And... Charles 1) feel free to post developer/geeky stuff here. At least for myself: I have 40 years of coding experience, so I'm ready for it.  If you happen to know why I'm seeing what I'm seeing, as above, please post it. I won't be back until 10 PM or so tonight, but I'll tackle it tomorrow. My curiosity is up now!

Meanwhile: all I can verify that works right now, under MacOS 10.13.3 is PrintTool, and I apologize for any confusion I created.

 

Most of the geeky stuff has to do with tricks to strip an existing profile from an image to set it to the proper default profile, and other tinkering to get the app to be successful in printing the target correctly. But there are end user tricks related to this, such as saving the file out from Photoshop with no profile, or with the OS default. Which might make it printable from the ColorSync Utility  as a color target again...

C. David Tobie

On Feb 16, 2018, at 2:13 PM, Tracy Valleau <tracy@...> wrote:

OK.. I really DO have to leave for my opening reception in an hour, but  I had to try this again, since it's been several years since I actually ran the test... and it appears I spoke too soon.
PrintTool printed the target just fine.
Adobe CPU failed, leaving indistinct color patches. Perhaps this is related to High Sierra? 
ColorSync showed the "Print as Target" this morning, as I checked before posting, but now, an hour or so later, with the exact same sample image, "Print as Target" is suddenly grayed out.

I really have been printing and teaching for over a decade, and have made hundreds of profiles using the i1Profiler software. 
This behavior is something I've not seen before, but again: it has been several years since I checked it.

This will teach me to test -again- before posting!

And... Charles 1) feel free to post developer/geeky stuff here. At least for myself: I have 40 years of coding experience, so I'm ready for it.  If you happen to know why I'm seeing what I'm seeing, as above, please post it. I won't be back until 10 PM or so tonight, but I'll tackle it tomorrow. My curiosity is up now!

Meanwhile: all I can verify that works right now, under MacOS 10.13.3 is PrintTool, and I apologize for any confusion I created.

 

First: Charles - you are correct and I am wrong.

It was several years ago that I had used ColorSync's "Print as Target" and now, despite stripping off the TIFF image profile, I cannot get that menu selection to even activate. (I'm using page 1 of a 1600-patch cart generated by i1Profiler.) Using the Colorsync scripts, after removing the profile, I verified that the image type was "RGB", which according to Apple's help file, should enable the "Print as Target" but it does not. (High Sierra 10.13.3).

So I can't even test it.

Print Tool prints the obviously correct chart, with each single patch showing the slightly lighter/darker tonality. (It looks just like my 99% ARGB monitor, too.) Printing to an Epson 9890.

At one point, (see previous post)  I was confounded by ACPU. It too used to print just fine, but  was printing obviously incorrect patches. The tones are off; there are runs  of 5 or 6 contiguous patches of identical color. The obvious conclusion is that it's running thru some kind of profile somewhere, but I was positive that the driver was properly set. Then I had an "aha" moment: the driver was set to 16-bit, but the .tif was 8-bit. Unchecking the 16-bit box corrected the output, and ACPU began printing correctly.

At this point, I'm giving up, and offering my sincere apologies to the  reader(s). What used to work (ColorSync Print as Target) just fine over the years is no longer working, at least on my system.   I'm frustrated to not understand -why- it no longer works for me, but right now, I need to get back to work!

(The opening at the Triton was a success, BTW.)

 

Congrats on the opening. 

Only one further comment on your description of printed color targets. You use the word “obvious” a number of times, but a correctly printed color target may not actually be the one that looks obviously correct. 

My experience is that correctly printed (and therefore uncorrected) targets often look rather dark and dense, while those which have been (incorrectly) run through a profile tend to be brighter and prettier. 

So be careful in your descriptions of what printed targets should look like, as that will vary, depending on the native state of the driver, the inks, the paper, and the media setting; all of which will be corrected for in the final profile. 

However, the rule of thumb is that profiles correct for excess density quite nicely; however they can’t fix raw output that’s too weak and washed out initially, since they can’t add what’s not there. So the safe side to err on (in the case of the end user, typically by media setting) is a denser darker target print. 

C. David Tobie

On Feb 17, 2018, at 1:46 PM, Tracy Valleau <tracy@...> wrote:

First: Charles - you are correct and I am wrong.

It was several years ago that I had used ColorSync's "Print as Target" and now, despite stripping off the TIFF image profile, I cannot get that menu selection to even activate. (I'm using page 1 of a 1600-patch cart generated by i1Profiler.) Using the Colorsync scripts, after removing the profile, I verified that the image type was "RGB", which according to Apple's help file, should enable the "Print as Target" but it does not. (High Sierra 10.13.3).

So I can't even test it.

Print Tool prints the obviously correct chart, with each single patch showing the slightly lighter/darker tonality. (It looks just like my 99% ARGB monitor, too.) Printing to an Epson 9890.

At one point, (see previous post)  I was confounded by ACPU. It too used to print just fine, but  was printing obviously incorrect patches. The tones are off; there are runs  of 5 or 6 contiguous patches of identical color. The obvious conclusion is that it's running thru some kind of profile somewhere, but I was positive that the driver was properly set. Then I had an "aha" moment: the driver was set to 16-bit, but the .tif was 8-bit. Unchecking the 16-bit box corrected the output, and ACPU began printing correctly.

At this point, I'm giving up, and offering my sincere apologies to the  reader(s). What used to work (ColorSync Print as Target) just fine over the years is no longer working, at least on my system.   I'm frustrated to not understand -why- it no longer works for me, but right now, I need to get back to work!

(The opening at the Triton was a success, BTW.)

 
Edited

Thanks, Charles.

By "obvious" I mean that I have printed probably 300 targets over the past 4 or 5 years; maybe more... so I'm comfortable looking at them by now.

However, "obvious" means that two or more adjacent patches are distinguishable from one another. Every patch should be "obviously" different from the one before and the one after it. ("Obviously" I'm talking about ordered (graduated) targets here, not random patches.) If there are 1100 patches on a single sheet, you should be able to see 1100 distinct patches.

In fact, one of the reasons I print ordered targets is precisely to quickly see any errors. One or two indistinct patches could be attributed to the paper/ink/density, but seven or eight patches in a row looking exactly the same, as if it were one large single colored rectangle, indicates a problem. Print an 8-bit target with ACPU set to 16-bit and you will see what I consider "obviously wrong."

You are correct that a target print isn't exactly "sparkly" even on RC paper.

Having printed hundreds of these things; having taught it in graduate school, and having started such printing in 2003, I may I take too much for granted when expressing myself... or I expect others with the same level of experience (or more) to understand the assumptions I make. For that I apologize.

All that said, I greatly appreciate your skill and experience, which not only corrected me about the latest version of ColorSync, but inspired me to print a few more sheets to see what was going on.

Thank you for that! :-)



Tracy
www.valleau.art




On 17 Feb 2018, at 18:01, Charles D Tobie wrote:

Congrats on the opening.

Only one further comment on your description of printed color targets. You use the word “obvious” a number of times, but a correctly printed color target may not actually be the one that looks obviously correct.

My experience is that correctly printed (and therefore uncorrected) targets often look rather dark and dense, while those which have been (incorrectly) run through a profile tend to be brighter and prettier.

So be careful in your descriptions of what printed targets should look like, as that will vary, depending on the native state of the driver, the inks, the paper, and the media setting; all of which will be corrected for in the final profile.

However, the rule of thumb is that profiles correct for excess density quite nicely; however they can’t fix raw output that’s too weak and washed out initially, since they can’t add what’s not there. So the safe side to err on (in the case of the end user, typically by media setting) is a denser darker target print.

C. David Tobie

On Feb 17, 2018, at 1:46 PM, Tracy Valleau <tracy@...> wrote:

First: Charles - you are correct and I am wrong.

It was several years ago that I had used ColorSync's "Print as Target" and now, despite stripping off the TIFF image profile, I cannot get that menu selection to even activate. (I'm using page 1 of a 1600-patch cart generated by i1Profiler.) Using the Colorsync scripts, after removing the profile, I verified that the image type was "RGB", which according to Apple's help file, should enable the "Print as Target" but it does not. (High Sierra 10.13.3).

So I can't even test it.

Print Tool prints the obviously correct chart, with each single patch showing the slightly lighter/darker tonality. (It looks just like my 99% ARGB monitor, too.) Printing to an Epson 9890.

At one point, (see previous post) I was confounded by ACPU. It too used to print just fine, but was printing obviously incorrect patches. The tones are off; there are runs of 5 or 6 contiguous patches of identical color. The obvious conclusion is that it's running thru some kind of profile somewhere, but I was positive that the driver was properly set. Then I had an "aha" moment: the driver was set to 16-bit, but the .tif was 8-bit. Unchecking the 16-bit box corrected the output, and ACPU began printing correctly.

At this point, I'm giving up, and offering my sincere apologies to the reader(s). What used to work (ColorSync Print as Target) just fine over the years is no longer working, at least on my system. I'm frustrated to not understand -why- it no longer works for me, but right now, I need to get back to work!

(The opening at the Triton was a success, BTW.)


--
Tracy Valleau, moderator

 

Imagemakers

www.valleau.gallery

 

Well shoot: I have not printed ANY "profiles" - I've printed TARGETS to create profiles. (I've noticed that after 70, the old brain isn't what it used to be...)  Sigh.