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juliep

ICC profile useage in CMYK printing

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I have what I hope can be a yes / no answer type question.

I've created an ICC profile (sRGB) after monitor calibration, great.

I want to send photos to an external printing house (as a photo book) which uses a CMYK (FOGRA39) profile.

Can I simply export the photos using the ICC CMYK profile they use or is there more to it?

Is soft proofing necessary? (I'm not really sure what it is but have seen some tutorials on it).

What about document -> assign an ICC profile?

I'm using AF v1.8.0.486 Beta.

thanks so much

Julie.

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Well usually the printers convert the photos (basic sRGB) into the CMYK profile they use in order to print them at the best quality possible for them. So you should first of all ask that external printing house how they handle images and how you have to prepare and send them in.


☛ Affinity Designer 1.8.3 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.8.3 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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Thanks for the help. I still haven't made the photobook but am ready to do it now......

I have watched lots of videos & read lots of forum entries but remain confused.

I guess I want to know a point by point list of what to do.

The jpgs I have were exported using the ICC profile I created when I last calibrated my monitor.

In the past the images have always looked very dark (not sure if that relates to not having calibrated my monitor back then>????).

Do I need to add a soft proof layer using the FROGRA39 profile, make adjustments & then remove soft proof layer then re-export using the FROGRA39 profile?

 

Here are some comments I got from their helpdesk:

We tend to print slightly darker than what is presented on screen as the light source behind computer monitors helps brighten the images more, but once printed - It becomes more darker.

Any images with Shadows will also be darkened when printed.

You can have the images as RGB and our Software would convert them to CMYK.

If you have vivid colours such as bright magenta or bright cyan, please note that they will print a lot more darker when converted to CMYK.

Our software allows PNG and JPEG files to be used.

Any help would be gratefully received. I guess I'm after a workflow on converting a lot of images to add to the photobook so they'll print as they appear on my (calibrated) screen.

Thanks again

Regards,

Julie 

 

 

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I assume that you have Affinity Publisher?

  1. Create a new document using CMYK/8 and set Coated Fogra 39 as its color profile.
  2. Import (place) your JPG documents in sRGB mode.
  3. If you add text in black, use C0, M0, Y0, K100.
  4. Export using PDF/X-3. This way your photos stay in RGB color mode, and everything else will be in CMYK mode, and black text will be black only. The document will have the color profile the printer asked embedded so they colors will convert as expected to CMYK.

Do not use Color Proof, it does not work well and just causes confusion and is not needed. You basically already see a pretty realistic estimation on what you will get when your document is in CMYK color mode. As your photos are in RGB mode, you can also export digital PDFs from your photobook and get the full color gamut of the photos (on print, as you were informed, the saturated and vivid colors will get less so).

 

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Hi,

No, using Affinity Photo.

It's a simple photobook with jpeg photos added.

In the end, I want to end up with jpgs that will end up looking like they do on my screen.

I want to know if I can just export them using the printer's ICC profile or if I have to lighten / brighten them to make up for them appearing darker (plus magenta issues).

Last time I made photobooks with this company, I didn't have a calibrated monitor so not sure how much difference that makes???

Thanks

Julie.

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9 hours ago, juliep said:

It's a simple photobook with jpeg photos added.

If you are just handing out JPG files, you should keep them as RGB files (using sRGB color profile) so there is no need to try to process them in any way for print, just use standard adjustments to see that they look good on the display, and when saving (exporting), make sure that you use high quality (low compression) settings and do not unnecessarily sample down the images.

If you are going to print a lot of photos, I'd suggest that you first create some test sheets with different kinds of images (ones with lots of shadow details, ones with saturated and vivid colors, grayscale images, etc.) with different kinds and levels of standard adjustments (Level / HSL / Color balance, etc.) applied to them, and then compare the printout with what you see on the display. 

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Thanks so much for your replies Lagarto. I really appreciate it :-).

I have exported them using the embedded sRGB (????) profiles I create when I calibrate the monitor. I always using the highest quality. I've included a graph of the profile (created another one just now) so it's close to sRGB

I just looked at a photobook that I created using professional photos (my wedding!). On screen (through AP), they're perfect. In the photobook they're a bit darker as the print lab person said. this was done before AP so I am assuming they were sent to me using sRGB & were provided as jppegs.

Because of that (guess proofing in a way?????), maybe I will just lighten the photos I put in the book & even bring up the shadows more? Does that seem about right?

Thanks again so much

Julie.

Untitled.jpg

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P.S.......what use is this FROGRA39 profile? Should I export the images using that????

Thanks, Julie 🙂

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2 hours ago, juliep said:

Because of that (guess proofing in a way?????), maybe I will just lighten the photos I put in the book & even bring up the shadows more? Does that seem about right?

If you can open photos you earlier printed with the same printer in Affinity Photo and compare them against the printed ones, you'd have some reference for making adjustments, but if your display is properly calibrated you should be able to trust that what you see is approximately what you'll get (keeping in mind what was said about shadows often getting a bit darker and vivid and saturated colors getting vivid and saturated), and make minor adjustments accordingly.

1 hour ago, juliep said:

P.S.......what use is this FROGRA39 profile? Should I export the images using that????

No. It is a CMYK profile for coated paper and would be useful only if you prepared a CMYK publication that has the JPG (RGB) photos placed in. The printshop seems to use this profile for the actual print job but if you only hand out photos, they expect them to be in (s)RGB format (this is the most common workflow so photos are very seldom nowadays converted to CMYK beforehand; they get normally converted only at the time the final print output is created).

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Brilliant! Thanks so much for clarifying this!

I have compared photos in AP to how they print them & yes a bit darker, more shadows & more saturated so using that as a baseline, I will adjust all the photos to make them less of those things & keep them exported using the profile I created most recently!

Time to get to work!!!!!!! 🙂

Thanks, Julie 🙂

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The only way a printshop would not convert RGB to CMYK is if they were printing on a wide format printer. My 44" Epson 9900 has 11 colours (12 including a matte black) and handles RGB beautifully. Of course they are not going to be printing photo books like this. I am assuming this is a perfect bound photo book? Either way your files will be converted. A print shop may say they use a certain profile but it does not mean it is going to print like your screen. Not sure how many you are ordering, but if it is that important to you I would be getting colour proofs. Most likely the job will be printed digitally and they can spit out print ready proofs very quickly and easily, of course you will pay for physical proofs. This will be your best indicator and guide to what you need to change. I would be adjusting everything in CMYK on your end. Even if your screen is not calibrated to anything you will spot differences in colours that just cannot be achieved with CMYK. Sending over RGB files with super vibrant colours may leave you disappointed, which again is why you should get physical proofs if it is that important.  

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The photobooks are 12" square & bound:

https://www.photobookshop.co.uk/custom/photobooks/photobooks?rpid=16

I realise that CMYK isn't going to be as good as sRGB but that's what they do & the prices are very good.

Am only ordering one as it's a photobook from a holiday so not that important. I'll see how this one goes & then amend the next one accordingly.

I've created a macro to increase brightness & lift shadows so am applying that (with some individual tweaking) to the photos I'm going to use.

I'm exporting them using the ICC profile I created to suit the lighting here.....so close to sRGB (per the screenshot above)

What do you mean by 'adjusting everything in CMYK' Does that relate to exporting or via a filter?

Thanks

Julie.

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As the printshop already has instructed you that sending RGB JPGs is ok, I really would do so rather than seeing the trouble of converting your photos first to CMYK (or seeng the troube of exporting them to CMYK), and remembering to embed the color profile. But you could ask the printer to make sure. Their workflow is probably optimized for getting RGB photos as that is what most people do (and cannot even do otherwise).

If you want to have an approximation of the device color space, I'd advise you to use the Soft Proof Adjustment layer on top of the photo, using the Coated Fogra 39 color profile with "Perceptual" rendering intent and "Black point compensation checked". You can then toggle on and off the soft proof layer at will, to compare the source and approximated printer rendering.

If you do make adjustments, remember to keep the Soft proof adjustment as the topmost layer. And remember to turn off the Soft proof adjustment layer before making the final production JPGs! 

(BTW. Just a word of warning: do not use the "Gamut Check" of this feature, it does not work well and would just mark much of the colors out of gamut, and make a fuss of something that you do not need to worry about; CMYK color space is narrower than sRGB, but you should not make your images blander to accommodate to print color gamut; the printer color profie takes care of this, and you can concentrate on seeing that the photos look good on your screen in their native color space.)

softproof.jpg.75b04ff80084b3b3a697d1518dbecbcc.jpg

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Thanks again Lagarto. I did have a go at that yesterday but had used the gamut check & couldn't seem to fix it so great advice. I'll look at it again! Thanks so very much! 🙂

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15 minutes ago, juliep said:

The photobooks are 12" square & bound:

https://www.photobookshop.co.uk/custom/photobooks/photobooks?rpid=16

I realise that CMYK isn't going to be as good as sRGB but that's what they do & the prices are very good.

Am only ordering one as it's a photobook from a holiday so not that important. I'll see how this one goes & then amend the next one accordingly.

I've created a macro to increase brightness & lift shadows so am applying that (with some individual tweaking) to the photos I'm going to use.

I'm exporting them using the ICC profile I created to suit the lighting here.....so close to sRGB (per the screenshot above)

What do you mean by 'adjusting everything in CMYK' Does that relate to exporting or via a filter?

Thanks

Julie.

If I am working editing a picture that will be printed, in Photoshop I change the colour mode to CMYK and use that as my base. I will see if that bright vibrant blue changes colour immediately and be able to contact the client and let them know they are not going to get what they see on their screen. I will also make some adjustments while the image is CMYK, again this will be a better representation of what I will get when printing because it is in CMYK rather then RGB. In many cases you will not notice a huge difference in terms of colour. I like this method because I see it right away. The print shop is going to convert it at some point which may be fine as I am sure you will at least get a PDF proof. 

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16 minutes ago, juliep said:

Thanks again Lagarto. I did have a go at that yesterday but had used the gamut check & couldn't seem to fix it so great advice. I'll look at it again! Thanks so very much! 🙂

You're welcome.

I paid a visit to your printshop web stie and their workflow is pure RGB, basically created to accept JPG from camera, so really, to save yourself from lots of futile work, just keep the photos in RGB:

https://support.photobookshop.co.uk/index.php?/PhotobookShopcouk/Knowledgebase/List/Index/1/i-am-getting-started

Our software supports most files and photos from your digital camera. Our software also supports scanned images. We recommend using a DPI setting of 300 DPI if you want to use scanned images or photos. We recommend using using JPEG or PNG photo files f...
 

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Posted (edited)

As I am brightening them up, I'd adding a soft proof layer & weirdly, when I untick the soft proof layer, the images are actually lighter. I'd have expected the opposite? (ie they print darker than expected to ticking the soft proof layer should show the image on the screen as it will print). Do I make any sense?

Is it still ok to export them using the calibrated profile or should I change that to sRGB? (I think they're pretty close to being the same anyway?)

Edited by juliep
wrote the wrong thing, plus needed clarification

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19 minutes ago, juliep said:

Is it still ok to export them using the calibrated profile or should I change that to sRGB? (I think they're pretty close to being the same anyway?)

Please note that the RGB proflle in your Preferences > Color should be sRGB. Your calibrated profile should basically only be used as the operating system's display color profile (which the calibrating sofware typically automatically does).

When you open your photos, and your Affinity app RGB profile is sRGB, the photos will typicaly be automatically assigned the sRGB profile. Many photos might have sRGB color profile already embedded in which case that would normally be used instead of your Affinity app default.

23 minutes ago, juliep said:

the images are actually lighter. I'd have expected the opposite?

It depends. "Lightening" might also be a result of colors getting less saturated and vivid, so the appearance may get blander. Btw, I just compared the color proof features of Affinity Photo and Photoshop and they work similarly so I get similar results when using Coated Fogra 30 with sRGB photos. Just ignore the "Gamut Warning" of Affinity, it is buggy and shows e.g. most of the shadow areas as out-of-gamut colors (completely differently than Photoshop).

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Thanks everyone for your help.

I sent the print company some images - looking right on the screen, after soft proofing & after some brightening etc.

They liked the brightened one best but suggested some contrast being added.

I then sent them some more with various %s of brightness / shadows & contrast so once I know what works for them, I can then set up a macro  & see how the first book goes.

They said that as a rule of thumb, increasing brightness by 10% seems to work.

thanks again for your help!

Julie 🙂

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You're welcome.

6 hours ago, juliep said:

They said that as a rule of thumb, increasing brightness by 10% seems to work

It is often best to do this by slight adjustment of midtones using the Levels or Curves adjustment (rather than using the the Brightness / Control adjustment).

Btw, the out-of-the-gamut warning related to Soft Proof (in Affinity apps) seems to show the warnings using the "absolute colorimetric" rendering intent (even if this, too, deviates from the warnings shown by Photoshop with an identical rendering intent, profile and photo). So it basically shows the colors in the source that will be clipped (set at the edges of the printer color space) if Absolute Colorimetric rendering intent. is used. As conversion to the device color space is basically never done this way by photo services (but rather by using relative colorimetric or perceptual rendering intent), trying to get rid of the gamut warnings by making own adjustments (which are typically a combination of desaturation, brightening of shadow and midtones, plus adding contrast to counterbalance these adjustments) would typically result in blander outcome than letting the automatic conversion do the job. Photoshop, that adjusts the out-of-gamut warnings according to the rendering intent of the soft proof, is much more useful in spotting out the problematic colors because it takes into account the effect of printer conversion and only shows the colors that will be clipped based on the conversion that will actually take place; for most photos very small areas would then be shown as being out-of-the-gamut.

But manual adjustment may be quite useful with photos that have some single out-of-gamut spots, or much continuous  tones at the edges of the device color gamut as in such cases automatic conversion may produce in less than ideal results. The soft color proof itself (without the gamut warning) is still useful as on a calibrated display it shows realistic enough approximation of how an adjusted image will look when printed.

Other kinds of manual adjustments made based on what is seen on a calibrated display are of course useful. They are also often aesthetic adjustments made based on personal preferences, rather than purely technical ones, so one should be able to trust in what one sees.

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Thanks Lagarto.

I created another version with the midtones raised a bit - pulled the middle of the curve up in a curve adjustment.

I sent that version to the printers as well. (They're in Australia so won't see the emails for a few more hours) so hopefully they can tell me what works & can then use a macro to make those adjustments & maybe tweak here & there.

I'm sure my photos are much better than when I last made a photobook! New camera, AP, calibrated monitor.......now to get to work!!!!

Thanks again - you've been great!

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