Re: Seeking CM reference site

Chris Murphy <lists@...>

I don't think that because a profile is in PShop that that makes for an ICC
I don't think there is such a thing as an ICC workflow anymore than there
is a CTP workflow. Workflow is company specific and I think it's complex
enough that it defies naming conventions.

I've never
seen a working ICC color managed workflow. (At least one that works)
This is probably what Dan is referring to. I think he calls it "this
grandiose scheme of a full blown ICC workflow". The gradiose scheme
pretty much does fall apart because not every application uses ICC
profiles, or even if they do, don't color manage all file types.
QuarkXPress is a good example. It only color manages color builds you
make in QXP *and* TIFF files. It doesn't have a mechanism for dealing
with anything else.

Dan would consider this a flaw of color management, ICC, or the grandiose
scheme of whatever. I think that's unfair because it's not the fault of
color management. It *can* color manage other kinds of objects. The flaw
is with QuarkXPress, and actually it's just a lack of a feature. It's
certainly a major drawback, and one they are aware of, but it's not fair
to label an entire technology as a failure because a major application
doesn't have full implementation of that technology.

I believe that I can also embed a profile of my scanner in an RGB scan and
that the printer's color management software can use that info to do
something but I'm not sure what.
I think that because we've gone for years where people haven't gotten
training on basic color concepts, we are having these kinds of debates on
ICC color management because vendors are driving the idea down our
throats. The concept of printing inks and separation setups in Photoshop
isn't new and is pretty much the same idea as an ICC profile. The problem
is that as you introduce this idea to the average graphic arts
individual, they get lost because they weren't even previously aware of
the importance of accurate printing inks and separation setup. They would
obliviously leave it on defaults and hack away on the image using a
manual technique to fix what amounted to a bad separation.

So perhaps the resistance is the idea that ICC is twice as new; a.)
didn't know that color management has been around for a long time prior
to ICC, just that most people ignored the problem; b.) ICC is a newer
technology, and different UI than the old way of doing things.

I do not know how I would specify a synthetic color in this system though.
E.g. green type in Xpress or illustrator. By how it looks on screen?
You can do it in a conventional way if you want, without penalty or
making changes with settings. If you set an appropriate press profile,
and your monitor is calibrated/profiled, Illustrator and QuarkXPress will
show you a reasonably accurate representation of whatever CMYK (or RGB)
values you select.

From a really basic perspective, nothing is different except that you can
trust you monitor whereas previously everyone I've ever talked to says
they WANT to trust their monitor, but never do because it's always

And that is probably another level of resistance is that we are so used
to not trusting our monitors that the idea of trusting them seems really
unsafe if not impossible.

I believe that if I change my mind and go to a different print shop then I
would load a new profile which would then make my screen and Epson produce
the colors that I could expect to see from that other printer.
The "old" way of doing this would be to convert the image to Lab. Then
change your CMYK information to the new printing situation, and then
reconvert to CMYK. The "ICC" way of doing this would be to use
Photoshop's Profile To Profile (Photoshop 5) or Convert to Profile
(Photoshop 6) and go from one CMYK space directly to another by selecting
a FROM and TO profile. Of course, you can still do it the old way.

Some benefits of using ICC profiles comes from other applications that
can help this go faster. A conventional method would have you reseparate
everything in your layout, then update the QuarkXPress document. For
many, possibly most this isn't a big deal. For others it could mean a lot
of images. This CMYK to CMYK "repurposing" can be done with ICC profiles
in QuarkXPress directly without having to do it manually image by image
in Photoshop.

My complaint isn't that this doesn't work or can't be done which is what
it always seems Dan is saying because he never elaborates on the REAL
problem. That complaint is that it's complicated to know and remember
what things QuarkXPress can and can't do. For example if your layout
contains one EPS image, you may have no idea - but if you repurpose the
document for some other press, all images will be properly converted
EXCEPT the EPS files, and QuarkXPress will *NOT* warn you about this.

In order to have a fully functional QuarkXPress requires a $400 XTension
that allows it to not only work with EPS files, but deal with RGB ouput.
QuarkXPress 4 only converts images to an CMYK space. It will not convert
to RGB for RGB output methods. This is complicated and a totally
legitimate gripe. But the "blame" should be on Quark. Not color
management technology.

I thought that consultants would have similar lists of their successes.
I would think so to but apparently I'm not the only one that does a lot
of taking with printers and they just aren't up to a lot of action. The
six I've actually done work for I have NDA's with. Two gravure. Two
flexography. One newsprint/magazine. And one commercial sheetfed & web
(book publishing). With gravure and flexo they use profiles in prepress
and to customer who want them to both convert from RGB to CMYK (rare) and
more commonly to convert SWOP separated imaged and convert them for their
specific purpose (CMYK to CMYK conversion). They use monitor soft
proofing not for critical purpose, but to avoid printing out really nasty
images on an inkjet printer that's going to take a while (20 minutes) to
shoot out a proof. Newsprint/magazine has a batch processing piece of
software to convert RGB images from digital cameras to CMYK. Customers
are asked to separate using the supplied profile. The commercial printer
uses their profiles exclusively for proofing purposes.

Now recently I've refused to sign NDA's that prevent me from even talking
about success stories, and will only sign one's that deal with exactly
what all we did and how it relates to their specific workflow and
technology. It's been a real PITA to not be able to mention them by name
and give out referrals. But for now that's where it's at. Since I've
refused to sign NDA's I haven't had any printing companies as customers
for purposes other than just proofing. Too bad because it's a lot of fun
seeing this stuff work and save them a *LOT* of make ready time.

I would have that that after ten years this would be possible.
Keep in mind we only got the first application that really uses ICC
profile by design three years ago with Photoshop 5. I don't think the CTP
industry was making serious inroads only three years into an actual
viable solution.

Chris Murphy

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