Last Updated: 30/03/2016
camera profiling and scanner profiling
profiling the "input" side
An ICC input profile, a camera profile or scanner profile is used by colour management savvy software such as Photoshop to adapt incoming images on the basis of accurate assessment of the input device's characteristics. Click here for lots of info about ICC profiles, how they work and are used.
Big advances in the colour management targets and camera profiling software mean that the accuracy of reproduction of colour and tone using digital cameras can sometimes be significantly improved.
Why? In many cases, in what seems to be an attempt to appeal to the majority of buyers, the camera manufacturer's engineers have apparently "optimised" their capture process to give, automatically and without user approval, what might simply be called "pretty pictures". To achieve this, contrast may have been enhanced, colour saturation boosted, even colour balance adjusted. Al in an attempt to automate a pleasing appearance. This is, perhaps, useful for someone working fast with, say, people photography, where processing time is limited and where decent acceptable results are needed immediately, but, when accuracy is required rather than decent and acceptable, especially if, say, products or garments are included in an image, then this default optimisation can be way less than ideal.
Unfortunately, industry feedback shows that, for many, buying consumer level input profiling gear and trying to optimise the system can be a good route to disappointment, especially if accuracy is the goal rather than "pleasing images". My experience with a number of fine art reproduction specialists including Christie's the auctioneers [report here] means that I can advise on the process and even come in and help get your own system sorted. Please click here to email for more information.
As well as a service to provide scanner set-up (optimisation of scanner settings) and ICC scanner profiling on site, I also offer a remote scanner profiling service using high-end input profiling software.
This work is really best done working on site, perhaps as part of training in scanning techniques, because, like cameras, scanner software can include "optimisation" settings which can be less than ideal for "accurate" workflow. However, if you are familiar with your scanner and have some idea how to get the most out of it, as well as how to avoid any auto-corrections during scanning, I can make you an input profile remotely.
Unfortunately, since the targets I need to scan are pretty fragile and very expensive, I can't let mine out on loan - So, the remote profiling service normally involves you purchasing a scanner target. Please click here for info about the Hutchcolor targets. (As an example, the 35mm transparency HCT is about 180 UK-Pounds.) A good scanner target is not a one use per year item, it's a pretty useful tool to have around to keep tabs on scanner performance. I prefer the Hutchcolor targets for optimal scanner profiling but there are also less sophisticated targets from others at lower prices.
My remote scanner profiling service may sometimes require a bit of phone support time to help in scanner set-up as well (perhaps one or two x 15 minute sessions) just so you learn how to get your scanner settings right - for the ultimate results from your images using the profile. The process may also be iterative, step-by-step requiring more than one profile to be made. Actually making the profile is pretty easy - it's the analysis of the scanned target as well as the profile and results, plus setting up of your scanner that takes the experience, so, of course I offer help with this on the phone.
please click here to contact us, for details of my charges.