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I am exploring the use of ICC profiles in photo processing and printing. I have had some success, but am not sure that I fully understand why. Here is what I understand (or think I do); perhaps some more experiences users will provide me with some insight. I understand that ICC profiles describe the color space that individual devices are capable of reproducing and are applied so that one device may match another. If so, then in my system there are three devices; 1) the camera/lens. 2) the display and 3) the printer. My lack of understanding is where these should be applied to a photo file. It is possible to assign a profile to a raw file prior to development. This option asks for the "output" profile. Should this be the printer profile? That is the eventual output device, but applying it here before development has not produced a good result.

I suspect that output profile means output from the development process, so at this point would apply the "camera/lens" profile. Then when printing, apply the "printer" profile as the "output" profile. The "display" profile only effects the display, how the camera/lens profile is represented on the screen and does not change the file. BUT - as a printer, wouldn't I want the screen to represent how the file will print so the printer characteristics can be accommodated while editing the file? Using the above procedure gives very good matching results, but it does not display the image as it will be printed.

I hope I have adequately described my question. Anyone have some insight on this issue?

Thanks & Best Regards to All - DK  

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How about starting with this Affinity tutorial:

Color management

Duration: 05:23
Learn how your custom monitor profiles are used, and explore setting up document color profiles and working in wide color spaces.

https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/tutorials/photo/desktop/video/332654440/


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

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@DKRooms I don't have any experience with developing RAW files so I can't add much there.

For getting your screen to match the print output, you need two things:

1. A properly calibrated screen (this is the display profile, it's handled by the OS and once set up you don't touch it). Usually done with a 'spider' type device. A common mistake is leaving the brightness as default - manufacturers set this to be "hey look at me on the shop display" bright. Turn it way down, then calibrate (ideally the tool will have an ambient light sensor to allow you to match screen brightness to ambient levels). A white screen shouldn't be much brighter than a sheet of paper beside it. It takes a lot of getting used to, but it's worth it.

2. A soft proof adjustment layer at the top of your layer stack. This should apply the printer profile. You must turn this off before printing.

When you print, you select the printer profile in the print colour management.

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Thanks BofG - I find it confusing that there are multiple places where you can apply a profile. So far, I have had the best results by not assigning a profile prior to development. After development, I use the "assign ICC profile" function under "Document" to assign the camera profile. The when printing, I assign the printer profile as the output profile. The results are very good, matching the output print to the original color checker. I did think that assigning the printer profile to the file prior to development would create a display image that more closely matches the printer output. This still seems technically to make the most sense to me, but the results do not match as well. Experimentation continues. Once again, thanks for your input.

Best regards - DK

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Colour management is a complex thing, to be honest I've recently been looking at buying a good book on the subject, and having taken a peek at a few I've realised my knowledge on the subject has lots of holes!

From what I do know, i think you have some things mixed up. Your camera profile is an input profile - so it should be used to get the colour data into the PCS, as I say I've not done development but it would make sense at that stage. At the end of that step you should have a file with a "general" profile (D50/sRGB or suchlike), with it's profile having taken the correct colours from the PCS (profile connection space).

When working on/viewing the file, you should not need to assign or convert the profile. To see how it will print you need a soft proof adjustment layer using the print profile (and the rendering intent).

At the print stage, turn off the soft proof and use the print profile to drive the printer.

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