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I'm new to Affinity products and having a difficult time understanding how to assign a printer output profile within any of the Affinity apps. I want the Affinity app to perform the color conversion when printing, not the print driver. Coming from the world of Adobe, where this process is pretty straight forward, I cannot find a similar methodology in Designer, Publisher, or Photo.

Can anyone please explain to me how to tell an Affinity app that I want it to handle the color conversion, and to assign an output profile for my printer and paper, rendering intents, etc.? Typically, I use AdobeRGB as my working space. I do not want to have to do a manual conversion (menu: Document/Convert Format / ICC Profile...) from the working space to the printer color space before printing. I want the print process to handle the conversion on the fly.

I'm on v1.8.3 on all apps, MacOS v10.15.5

Thanks!

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I know on Windows the Affinity apps don't have the capability to send CMYK data to a printer. It might well be the same on MacOS.

If you want to properly control the colour handling for printing and dont want to rely on the driver/OS then you will be best served looking at other software, perhaps even a dedicated RIP.

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BofG, thanks for your reply.

As a photographer my workflow is almost 100% RGB, so I would rarely use the CMYK color mode. Also, using a RIP is a good thought, but I'd rather not have use an additional application when printing if I can avoid it.

I find it hard to understand that printer color conversion is not built into any of the Affinity apps. In other graphic apps that I have used, there are methods for setting print parameters like "Application Manages Color" or "Printer Manages Color" prior to initiating the print process. If I set "Application Manages Color", then I can assign my printer's output profile, a rendering intent, black point compensation, etc, and the app will automatically handle the conversion when printing and leave the original file in my working space (typically ProPhoto or Adobe RGB). Are none of the Affinity apps able to handle "Application Manages Color" when printing? With all of the color management capabilities that are built into these apps, like assigning and converting color spaces or soft-proofing, it's difficult to understand why they would not have included color conversion when printing.

What I am trying to avoid is having to do a manual color conversion because after converting to the printer's color space and then printing, I would have to remember to undo the color conversion. The only other solution that I have come up with so far is to use the Color Management setting in the printer driver and use ColorSync (Apple) which allows me to assign a printer profile, but there are no settings for rendering intent or black point compensation. This is an inferior solution and doesn't really work for me. 

Thoughts?

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I'm afraid I'm not a MacOS user, so I don't know how it is on there, but you can set a printer profile from the Affinity print options on Windows. It's not great, I think to be honest it's a bit broken as I have a spectrometer and generated calibrated ICC profiles for my printer and nothing I tried would output correct colours. I have to use the Windows colour management instead.

You can assign an ICC profile to the document rather than convert it. Again, what this does when printing directly is a mystery. It didn't result in correct colours for me.

Like you I wanted an all in one solution, but all I got was a stack of wasted paper and a lot of frustration. I'd advise pragmatism and just accept that Affinity isn't the best option to print from.

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Print dialog windows are not entirely up to a printing app but also influenced by the driver and the OS.

Since I am not printing photos any more I did not notice that I don't see the formerly known "Color" menu in the print options window any more. Even in the macOS Preview.app it doesn't appear. – But, odd, when I switch from my installed EPSON to another, a theoretical "General Postscript Printer" which I had created in macOS a while ago just to test, then the Color menu becomes added to the UI on the fly and offers profile selection + printer color management. I wonder why. – Can you select or create a "general postscript" printer, just to see if the missing menu appears, too?

APub print dialogs: (img. #1 is for Epson, #2-4  for General Postscript Printer)

1549879074_printdialogcolors0.jpg.f7c379f8cb4c7ec8f08f76b1b2eb2acc.jpg  231570910_printdialogcolors2.jpg.dd6b0b6881296350f0e5353090c41731.jpg

430268741_printdialogcolors4.thumb.jpg.e79e094964ea15124b665f819ef1bfeb.jpg


Apple Preview print dialog:

29065077_printdialogcolors3.jpg.6bf45954faec75d573207942e7db3da2.jpg


macOS 10.14.6, Macbook Pro Retina 15" + Eizo 24", Affinity in Separated Mode (documents merged)

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Thomaso,

Thanks for your input and providing screenshots.

It looks like your postscript driver is providing color conversion capabilities. If you can point me to the driver (virtual printer?) on the web, I'll test it out - pretty sure that I will get the same results as you.

I'm looking for something in Affinity's software that will allow me to make the color conversion settings before my file is actually handed off to the print driver, something similar to the way that Photoshop handles it (see below). When I get to the print driver dialog box, I simply want to tell the driver not to do the conversion (Epson: "Off: (No Color Adjustment")).

It's hard for me to fathom that Affinity's software does not have this capability since they have color management features. Maybe they have a different way of handling it, and I just haven't figured it out yet.

Screen Shot 2020-06-12 at 5.18.14 PM.png

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It just occurred to me that the color conversion for printing could possibly be handled by a Soft Proof adjustment layer. Since the adjustment layer provides settings for assigning a printer profile, a rendering intent, and black point compensation, I believe if I execute the print job with the soft proof layer unhidden and turn off color management in the print driver, that this will render colors accurately. I'll have to test the process to know.

Is there anyone on this forum who has tried this and can weigh in?

Thanks.

The screenshot is from Affinity's Help document...

Screen Shot 2020-06-12 at 6.09.11 PM.png

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Ii is odd that on macOS it seems that you get the Color Matching view only when using a PostScript printer driver. On Windows you seem to get the equivalent "Color Management" view with any printer driver, as below, where color handling is specified to be done by the app and Premium Glossy ICC profile is chosen with perceptual rendering intent:

printdialog.jpg.915c70865669b412aff810def320fd69.jpg

But I have not tested whether what is defined here gets actually properly on the printer. It definitely does not, if you try to send CMYK data either by conversion here, or trying to send directly and letting the printer do the color management, everything gets converted to RGB probably using the sRGB profile, so I am not sure if same thing happens here). Whenever I have used Affinity apps for direct printing, I have chosen to convert the sources first to sRGB and then letting the printer to do color management so that sRGB is chosen on the driver as the expected color data, and correct media is selected on the driver. This way I have managed to get what I expect.

Using Soft proof Adjustment could be another way. At least it is worth a try. You can also use it layerwise and see if different media selections produce expected results. I am not sure however whether the adjustment layer works properly if the document color space is Adobe RGB as when sRGB is used as a softproof target profile, you get no visual change on screen, or when exporting a PDF:

softproof_adobergb.thumb.jpg.dfc6dd7a51b9fd1c1d64bfd37149226a.jpg

 

Here the first bar is RGB 255 0 0 without an adjustment, and second bar the same object with an sRGB profile applied using a soft proof adjustment, and as can be seen on the Adobe Acrobat screenshot (top right), the color value when the mouse pointer is placed on top of the second bar in the AdobeRGB version of a PDF export, is unadjusted Red 100% when it should show a less saturated red (note that the screenshot itself is converted to sRGB on the forum so the colors do not show realistically, but the red tall bars should not be identical). Much the same happens if you choose SC-P800 Standard as the ICC profile for the soft proof adjustment: I suppose "Standard" means here sRGB, but there is no clear visual change within Affinity workspace, nor in PDF export. For this reason I would convert the source documents to sRGB color space whenever trying to print anything from Affinity apps.

Note that if you are going to use Soft proof adjustment for conversion purposes, it cannot be hidden as it turns off the effect. Note too that if you are going to use it for the whole document (all layers), it must be placed topmost.

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2 hours ago, Lagarto said:

Ii is odd that on macOS it seems that you get the Color Matching view only when using a PostScript printer driver.

As I understand it (which is far from completely), the Mac Affinity apps rely on the multi-layered printing system architecture built into the macOS to print out documents. So among other things, both the "accessory" items selectable from the popup in the lower part of the advanced printing dialog (like application-specific options, scaling, color management, & so on) and in which of these "accessory" items any of these items can be found depend on what the print driver makes available to the printing system.

So for example, the color matching options will appear only if the driver for the selected printer 'tells' the printing system it can provide color matching options. If it does, they will be organized into accessory categories & named according to whatever the driver specifies, and some of them may appear only in combination with others.

Apple claims this makes including printing functions easier for developers & simpler for users, but in practical therms it means that users wanting to use any of the 'advanced' printing features offered by the macOS have to figure out how they can be configured with  each printer they use for each app they want to use them with, & even among printers of the same type from the same manufacturer the configuration & choices may be considerably different. >:(


Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4, Affinity Publisher 1.8.4; macOS Mojave 10.14.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 
1.8.4.186 & Affinity Designer 1.8.4.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

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15 hours ago, panelson3 said:

It looks like your postscript driver is providing color conversion capabilities. If you can point me to the driver (virtual printer?) on the web

The odd thing is formerly * I got the printer's color options from various apps. I don't know when/how it disappeared, I suspect macOS update, or/and an Epson driver update (which can update in 2 ways: via printer software and via macOS update).
* for many years and various printers since ~1998

I installed the Postscript printer in March 2020 when my Epson did not work after an entirely new clean macOS and app installation on a different macbook. So it was rather a coincidentally installed printer on the way to solve a problem. I did not use it yet and it is not related to any hardware (> virtual printer ?), I even don't know yet how I could make use of it, maybe when printing to PDF or a postscript file.

To create this General Postscript printer I did not download anything but just used the Apple > System Prefs > Printer > Add ... and its various options. I just tried to repeat the procedure but can't get this "general" again (¿because it is installed already?). Unfortunately I can't remember whether I got it via the "Standard" or the "IP" section.

Here some steps were you can look + try ... I only get access to the printer software pulldown menu when I select my existing Epson (the installed General Postscript Printer does not appear there at any menu/submenu to me):

180050657_macOSaddprinter.thumb.jpg.e9516125ad14e63cd73eb3f5c177d8e3.jpg

 

 

 


macOS 10.14.6, Macbook Pro Retina 15" + Eizo 24", Affinity in Separated Mode (documents merged)

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1 hour ago, R C-R said:

So for example, the color matching options will appear only if the driver for the selected printer 'tells' the printing system it can provide color matching options.

Interesting, EPSON manual says it is up the the app!

epsonmacoscolorsync.jpg.b23329ab66c539e7950e73878a944824.jpg

So, if ColorSync is not supported then there are no other options left on macOS than letting the app handle everything:

epsoncolormanagement.jpg.54835c6f5088f095ac93f3a74f6e42fc.jpg

As it is, I would recommend using sRGB document color mode and Soft proof with media profiles.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/13/2020 at 2:14 PM, R C-R said:

both the "accessory" items selectable from the popup in the lower part of the advanced printing dialog (like application-specific options, scaling, color management, & so on) and in which of these "accessory" items any of these items can be found depend on what the print driver makes available to the printing system.

So for example, the color matching options will appear only if the driver for the selected printer 'tells' the printing system it can provide color matching options. If it does, they will be organized into accessory categories & named according to whatever the driver specifies, and some of them may appear only in combination with others.

I doubt that the options are related only to the driver software for a specific printer – I rather assume each app needs to code/enable access to each of the drivers options in its own printer options window. Appearently in Affinity "just" the UI wasn't programmed to allow/show all possible settings. This feels like a bug to me, in particular because of being a design/image/color related set of apps.

For instance in Acrobat I always (since years, for various printers and before Affinity, too) have a lot more color options. That made me decide years ago to print only from PDFs, even the print options from InDesign appeared different, and even if both apps belonged to the same CS cloud version (with their common, 1-spot (Bridge) setup for color management). 

Here some of my current old "Acrobat X Pro" (v.10, ~ 2012) print options, which don't appear at all when printing from Affinity, with the same Epson printer selected:

1191852144_Acrobatprint1.thumb.jpg.27d85ad04adc7829113caa27eaf18bed.jpg

1314485792_Acrobatprint2.jpg.0e4daa9dd980a2868aee167dc8f4387b.jpg

220395575_Acrobatprint3.jpg.61645bff3509eabc2535441aa6422117.jpg

 

Edited by thomaso
EDIT: not "all profiles on my mac" but RGB only

macOS 10.14.6, Macbook Pro Retina 15" + Eizo 24", Affinity in Separated Mode (documents merged)

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Thank you everyone for your input, feedback, and suggestions.

Your posts clearly identify and focus on the issue that I am trying to avoid, using the operating system (Windows or Mac) and the printer’s driver to perform the print color conversion. As you have clearly noted, there are inconsistencies in how print color conversion is handled depending on OS and selected printer. This is why having the app perform the conversion is important. It provides a consistent way of converting the color from the working space to the printer’s color space prior to handing off the job to the print driver (where color management is turned off).

It’s interesting, Logarto, that the Windows print dialog provides a section for handling color conversion. If I were to guess (and I could be wrong on this), Windows is doing the conversion, not Affinity.

Thomaso, thanks for trying to figure out the postcript printer. Again, this process would use the print driver to do the conversion.

It is hard to understand why the Affinity apps don’t seem to provide this feature since they already have color management capabilities built into each app, unless they have a different way of handling it that I am not aware of. There is nothing in their documentation or on their website that I can find that describes this process. I’ve done web searches, and watched YouTube videos and found nothing that describes how to print. It makes me wonder if they don’t care about individuals doing their own printing (is no one doing their own printing anymore?).

I’m going to test my theory on using a Soft Proof adjustment layer. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Thanks again for your input.

 

 

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Thomaso, I had the same issues when printing from InDesign. I had to gen a PDF and print from Acrobat which did a better job of providing accurate print results. I could never understand why that problem existed since the Adobe apps all use Adobe color conversion engine, AdobeACE.

I had the thought of exporting out of Affinity apps to a PDF and using Acrobat to print, but it’s just adding more steps to the workflow.

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Thomaso, thanks for the ColorSync information. This is not method that I prefer. As stated, I would prefer that the app do the converting. Also, sRGB, being a relatively small color space, is great for the web or viewing content on a screen, but is not that good for printing. I would prefer working in AdobeRGB as a “print graphics” working space and converting to a color using an ICC profile made specifically for the printer/paper. I would rarely use sRGB as a working space, unless I’m working with someone else’s file and they have already converted down to sRGB.

 

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7 hours ago, Lagarto said:

Ii is odd that on macOS it seems that you get the Color Matching view only when using a PostScript printer driver.

What makes you assume the necessity of a Postscript driver? I'd think postscript is not a general requirement for correct colors (e.g. print of a plain image) but gets relevant only in case of additional transparency and flattening (adjustments, filters, effects, blend modes etc.).

2 hours ago, Lagarto said:

I would recommend using sRGB document color mode and Soft proof

Why sRGB for documents, not AdobeRGB or ProPhotoRGB for instance? – Additionally for CMYK print PDFs it appears more useful to me to have the document in CMYK, too, just because of 100 K and CMYK colored objects (and swatches).

I haven't tried Soft Proof adjustments yet but to me it appears like a weird compromise: you need to add a layer before printing to each single document – instead selecting a saved custom profile setup in the print options window. I also wonder why soft proof gets activated as a separate layer at all. Layers have a specific order/hierarchy, that doesn't make sense for soft proof (does one want to soft proof specific layers only?).

To me Soft Proof is kind of a viewing option, like preview (Apub), outline mode (AD), the transparency checkerboard pattern or guides and grids: for better control about objects when working and delivered by specific visibility – but not to output them. (though one might want to output guides, grids or even outline mode (like wireframe in CAD).

So I'd rather recommend to request (up to demand/claim) an improvement of print options in Affinity to get access to all available options of the installed printer drivers. It just doesn't make sense to circumvent the slimmed Affinity print options UI with extra compromises. Feels a bit as if Affinity would work by default in grayscale only and would need separate objects/layers to achieve color. (It reminds me to the "K Only" button which appears to be implemented like an extra compromise since APub treats grayscale images as rgb)


macOS 10.14.6, Macbook Pro Retina 15" + Eizo 24", Affinity in Separated Mode (documents merged)

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53 minutes ago, panelson3 said:

I’m going to test my theory on using a Soft Proof adjustment layer. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Thank you, I am interested in your experiences! (though I still think soft proof is not a proper offer when printing in Affinity apps)

I just noticed that you can add a soft proof layer to the asset panel. This can make it easier to test different situations, as assets are saved with the app and are thus also available for other documents. – Don't know why it is shown as a red rectangle in the assets, I had only the soft proof layer selected when choosing "Add" from the panels menu.

2015637806_softproofasAsset.jpg.9835066ed2703ff149a0ac8dc9a82dd0.jpg

 


macOS 10.14.6, Macbook Pro Retina 15" + Eizo 24", Affinity in Separated Mode (documents merged)

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31 minutes ago, thomaso said:

What makes you assume the necessity of a Postscript driver?

It was just because of your post, and knowing that OP cannot access these options having the mentioned Epson printer installed, and because I could not check this physically on a Mac. But as I later checked the manual it is clear that the options are available for other printers, as well.

31 minutes ago, thomaso said:

Why sRGB for documents, not AdobeRGB or ProPhotoRGB for instance? – Additionally for CMYK print PDFs it appears more useful to me to have the document in CMYK, too, just because of 100 K and CMYK colored objects (and swatches).

I was referring to this specific case, photo printing on the mentioned Epson printer. The default for this printer seems to be that the color data is expected to be sent using sRGB profile. In addition, Affinity Soft proof Adjustment does not seem to work properly in Adobe RGB document mode, as demonstrated in my post. Also, it seems that this printer cannot produce color gamut beyond sRGB so no colors are lost because of reverting to sRGB even if the images may initially have a larger color gamut.

I suppose Soft proof is most useful in tasks like logo design, in case you're initially working in RGB mode. You can use different target profiles to see how the colors look. As a print tool it is of course clumsy, but what else is available then, if the only ways to handle the colors on macOS according to the Epson documentation are ColorSync (which is not available), and application (behavior of which is not documented and which obviously can only be found out by testing)...  

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45 minutes ago, panelson3 said:

This is not method that I prefer. As stated, I would prefer that the app do the converting.

Yes, I understand this perfectly. But I cannot understand why this interface is not available on macOS. On Windows version of Affinity apps the interface is basically same that you have in Photoshop. It is just that I am not sure if this works as expected (and cannot check it at the moment as I am out of office). In lack of this interface Soft proof might be useful as a workaround.

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10 minutes ago, Lagarto said:

On Windows version of Affinity apps the interface is basically same that you have in Photoshop.

This seems to confirm my suspicions that it is a bug not to have color printing options in the Mac versions of Affinity. - Agree?


macOS 10.14.6, Macbook Pro Retina 15" + Eizo 24", Affinity in Separated Mode (documents merged)

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1 hour ago, Lagarto said:

Interesting, EPSON manual says it is up the the app!

It says it is up to the app to support ColorSync. I know for a fact that the Affinity apps support ColorSync with some printers, for example my ancient Canon MP 620:

1892687249_printdialogforCannon620.jpg.4afc994c3f84d31e412f961ca78dccac.jpg

I even managed to create a fake non-functional IPP printer using the "Generic PostScript Printer" software built into macOS:

1039063862_fakeIPPprinter.jpg.35db8b6df989148c855b190053a3b18f.jpg

It also enables a Color Matching option with ColorSync & "In Printer" options, just like for the Canon printer & as shown in the step 3 image from that Epson manual. (I have more screen captures documenting this stuff but the forum software keeps giving me -200 errors when I try to add them so either trust me on this or wait while I see if I can add them later.)

So, while I am not certain about the exact cause, I doubt it is because the Affinity apps do not support a choice of ColorSync or printer color management (because they do). More likely, the cause is a corrupt or misconfigured driver.


Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4, Affinity Publisher 1.8.4; macOS Mojave 10.14.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 
1.8.4.186 & Affinity Designer 1.8.4.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

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2 minutes ago, thomaso said:

That seems to confirm my suspect that not having color print options in the mac versions of Affinity to be a bug. - Agree?

Hard to tell because it may well be that on Windows the whole color management feature in context of the Print dialog box is buggy (much a user interface without actual functionality as it seemingly offers also CMYK conversions without ability to actually send CMYK data to the printer...) So therefore it may just be appropriate that the feature is missing on macOS. I have tested this feature only once on my photo printer (an old Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II) and at that time I got best results by keeping things as simple as possible, converting images to sRGB and sending straight sRGB (no media profiles) if using the "app handles color" option, and no printer color adjustments or ICM if using the "printer handles color" option. From the printer driver, I only specified general print settings + proper media selection (which seems to automatically pick the correct media color profile).

I'll have a look on this again once I'm at office but do no want to waste much paper and ink for testing, because I do not personally use direct print feature often (but typically print from a PDF using Adobe Acrobat). 

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20 minutes ago, R C-R said:

More likely, the cause is a corrupt or misconfigured driver.

Yes,, it appears so, or possibly a problem related to Catalina.

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41 minutes ago, Lagarto said:
1 hour ago, R C-R said:

More likely, the cause is a corrupt or misconfigured driver.

Yes,, it appears so, or possibly a problem related to Catalina.

These both don't fit sufficiently as culprits to my experience of getting print color options in Acrobat while missing them in Affinity for the same printer. The driver obviously does offer its features to apps. Possibly apps read the driver's info differently. An app could ignore certain code given by the driver, or misread and therefore decide to ignore available options. Another possibility could be the app reads the driver's info correctly but fails in showing the according UI for any, then possibly app-internal, reason. – Just a snippet from Microsoft for printer driver development: Here simply spoken 4 flags need to get set/read which require communication between driver and app:

Quote

Controlling Color Management

Color management for a printer can be controlled by an application, the system (GDI), the driver, or device hardware. The driver determines which component is managing color correction by examining flags within the BRUSHOBJ and XLATEOBJ structures that are passed to its implementations of graphics DDI drawing functions. The following flags are defined:

 
Flag Definition

BR_DEVICE_ICM in BRUSHOBJ

XO_DEVICE_ICM in XLATEOBJ

Color management is being performed by the driver or the device.

BR_HOST_ICM in BRUSHOBJ

XO_HOST_ICM in XLATEOBJ

Color management is being performed by the application or the system (GDI).

https://docs.microsoft.com/de-de/windows-hardware/drivers/print/controlling-color-management

 


macOS 10.14.6, Macbook Pro Retina 15" + Eizo 24", Affinity in Separated Mode (documents merged)

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