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Faire calibrer son imprimante photo

 

Get your printer calibrated
Published on April 15, 2015 / Updated on October 15, 2018

 

Calibrating your printer yourself is certainly very rewarding but it is quite expensive (minimum £300). However, even using the same equipment, a remote printing ICC profile creation specialist can produce even better or more specific profiles. And this for less than £50... or even for free (Papiers Permajet) so why deprive yourself !

   
 
 

Free calibration with Permajet papers !


Permajet offers the calibration of your printer for the purchase of its paper. It's better than economic! Permajet is distributed in France by the well-known store MMF-PRO, in Pantin.

Exclusivity from this site: -10% on the whole range of Permajet papers - Your discount code : AF10PER.

 
     
 

 

 

What is the remote calibration procedure ?

Really very simple! There is no question to ask : once you have paid for the type of profile you want - or have gone to the page dedicated to Permajet papers (free calibration for the purchase of your papers) -, you will download the TIFF files of the test charts to be printed on A4 sheet. Once printed in strict compliance with the service provider's instructions (see below), let it dry a little in the open air and then send it to your service provider in a well protected envelope (cardboard).
Once the custom ICC profiles have been received by email and installed on your computer (How to install ICC printing profiles? below), they are ready to help you discover or rediscover your printer. Here are some important additional information to help you choose...

Printer calibration

As with a "homemade" calibration, the calibration of your remote printer begins with the calibration of your printer, i.e.: the calibration of a printer consists in printing a test chart after having chosen :

  • The printer;
  • the set of ink cartridges - when you have a choice -,
  • the paper,
  • the printing resolution,
  • and the right set of printing parameters (type of paper support : Glossy, Archival Mat, etc...)

To use this ICC profile, it will always be necessary to use this combination of paper/printer/ink. All speed, sharpness and other options, if used, should be carefully recorded in the settings to be chosen to re-use THIS ICC profile.

Choosing the number of patches and paper

CMP-color printer calibration patternDo not fall into the trap of overbidding on the number of patches. It is sometimes possible to choose to print more than 6000 color ranges?????? In theory, this is supposed to improve the accuracy of the profile but in reality, with the latest i1 Photo Pro 2, 2000 patches or an A4 sheet are quite sufficient (and are already huge!).
It is better, in my opinion, to choose about 2000 patches, cheaper, and calibrate more papers...

The impression of the test chart

For those who are not used to printing calibration charts and it will be difficult since you have not bought a calibration kit a priori, the really delicate but essential point for the success of this project is the right selection of the right printing options in the printer driver as well as the use of the right software to print these charts. The impression of the test chart is not made in any way. The reason is very simple : you must make sure that the driver of your printer will not modify the TIFF file by modifying the colors according to the manufacturer's presets, so it is very important that the test chart be printed directly, without any modification.

 

Very important ! It is therefore necessary to disable all color management - software and printer - when you want to print the TIFF file from a test chart. For this reason, the printing of the test charts must be done using the Adobe Color Printing Utility software.

Depending on the software you are going to use, this procedure may be different, but here is the most classic one, the one with Photoshop, taking into account a very important point : since Photoshop CS5, you MUST use a small Adobe Color Printing Utility software to print the chart WITHOUT calibration or modification. As a reminder, to work, the printer calibration needs to know how your printer handles colors without an ICC profile. It is therefore necessary to print the calibration chart without any profile, which is now impossible directly with Photoshop since the CS5 version. So here's how to proceed below....

   
 
 

Attention ! Impression of the test chart with Photoshop

Since Photoshop CS5 ! Since Photoshop has been upgraded to CS5, a printing option has disappeared. However, this option allowed us to print our printer calibration charts WITHOUT PROFILE. This is no longer the case but fortunately, Adobe has created a new small Adobe Color Printer Utility software that allows you to print the test chart file live. I describe the process below.

Adobe Color Printing Utility

Logo Adobe Printer UtilityDownload Adobe Color Printer Utility for MAC SuivreDownload Adobe Color Printer Utility for PC  Suivre

 
     
 

Original file on the left - A print with ICC profile would have given a print very close to the original (neutral print as on the original) and with a dominant without profile on the right.


Print the test chart(s) with Adobe Color Printer Utility

Its use is very simple, which may surprise you the first time. Indeed, once downloaded (links above), simply launch Adobe Color Printer Utility and it opens directly your browser (Finder on Mac OS or Windows Explorer). So you don't feel like you've opened a particular software. Go and get your "Mirexxx.tiff" file from your hard drive (probably in the "download" folder). Then, there is normally nothing to set in the print menu Menu > File > Print Setup.... Then open Menu > File > Print and adjust the settings of your printer's print driver :

Here is an example with the driver of an Epson 7800 printer with an Epson Premium Glossy 250 paper when printing the test chart provided by the calibration kit manufacturer :

   
   
 

1 - Printer - Choose the printer model from your list of printers.

2 - Choose the right paper medium (2) - You have two options :

  • The brand of your paper is the same as that of your printer - Choose from the drop-down list the paper you want to calibrate,
  • You use paper from a brand other than your printer's -
    a) Choose the same "type" of paper from the drop-down list as your paper. E.g.: Permajet Oyster Satin paper is the "same" as Semi-Gloss at Epson.
    b) Check the correspondence table on the website of the manufacturer of your paper. All reliable paper brands have one. You will see that sometimes there are very large "similarities". Who said it was sometimes the same paper with a different packaging?!

Attention ! This choice of "type of support" determines only the inking rate. If you use paper from the printer's brand, your paper will be in the drop-down list. If you use another brand, choose the same type of paper as at Epson in this example. Indeed, all the brands have the "same" paper ranges : Premium gloss, Archival matt, baryta, etc.

3 - Color settings (3) - Be sure to disable the printer's color management. We are trying to measure the defects, the characteristics of the printer WITHOUT color management. This menu will not find in the same place depending on the brand of your printer.

   
  Sur Mac, dans le menu "Concordance des couleurs", les deux options seront grisées.
 

4 - Quality - Choose the printing fineness. I create two profiles at 1440 dpi and 2880 dpi but I admit I'm not sure there's a difference when making the ICC profile, but I prefer the shape of the prints printed at 2880 dpi in the skies in particular.

You can also choose the speed without, in my opinion, having an influence on the calibration. But note that I never check "Thinner details" because I have a bug on my 7800 Epson when I print my panoramas in a very large width.

Printer characterization

Photo Printer Calibration ChartThe procedure is, once again, very simple and quick if you do not count the time during which the print should be allowed to dry, ideally 24 hours. Dyes or pigments must be well stable to achieve the ICC profile. Even when an eye couldn't see the difference, a spectrophotometer would still see it !
It consists in measuring or having measured by spectrophotometer the L*a*b* colors of each patch in order to compare them with the CMYK reference values (also contained in the software). All differences will be contained in the ICC profile of this printer for this paper/ink/resolution pair. But the huge advantage of this option - remote service provider - is that you do not have to worry about anything and it costs you very little or nothing at Permajet !

You send your A4 sheet(s) to your service provider and he will read the color ranges to create your ICC printing profile, with perhaps some variants, especially for black and white profiles.

 

  Printing of the three A4 sheets of Christophe Métairie's Expert option (cmp-color.fr).
 
 

What about black & white printing ?  

Basically, the calibration of a printer is done once and for all: color and black and white. The purpose of calibration is to neutralize the dominant colors, all of them. There is therefore no specific calibration to be done for black and white printing... in theory. Indeed, manufacturers' test charts are more created for Colour calibration. Experienced service providers create their own test charts to further improve the calibration of black and white prints using all color inks. They then say that their charts are balanced around the grey axis and this brings a real plus on black and white prints.



P. S. it is also true that some custom ICC profile manufacturers such as Christophe Métairie offer you specific ICC profiles for black and white printing. Not only do they balance the greys, but in addition, Christophe offers you variations of rendering more or less hot/cold that are similar to the rendering of silver papers.
It is worth noting that Christophe's reputation for quality custom profiles is well established. He's been doing this for ten years and knows all the papers on the market !

 
   
 

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Installing and using ICC profiles on your computer

When you receive your ICC profiles, all you need to do is install them on your computer to be able to use them from PhotoshopLightroom or Photoshop Elements. The procedure is different on PC and MAC.

On PC

The easiest way is simply to right-click on the profile name and click on "Install Profile". It will automatically move to the next location :

  • Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7
  • Windows 8/10 : C:/Windows/system32/spool/driver/color
  • Windows 95/98 : C:/windows/system/color

On MAC OS

There is no equivalent to right-clicking > install a profile on Mac OS. It is therefore necessary to place the profiles in the following folder :

  • Mac OS 8/9x : System > Color Sync
  • Mac OS X : MAC OS HD > User (your name > Library > ColorSync > Profiles

Use ICC printing profiles

I describe in detail how to use ICC printing profiles with Photoshop, Lightroom and Photoshop Elements on these different pages :

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Custom ICC profiles online : a few selected providers

For those who do not want to invest in a printer calibration kit because of the cost or because they only use one or two types of paper and are convinced, despite everything, of the interest of working with custom profiles, there are several sites that offer to do it for you. The quality/price ratio is unbeatable - Try it and adopt them well ! Please note that the Permajet paper brand offers free calibration of your printer for the purchase and use of its papers.

ICC printing profiles offered !

 

Papiers Permajet / MMF-Pro

Free calibration!


 

Calibrating your printer with Permajet papers | Free



Permajet papers, distributed exclusively by MMF-PRO in France, offer a free service for calibrating your printer remotely - Permajet ICC profiling Service 

I regularly use these papers with those of the brand of my 7800 Epson printer for their excellent price/quality ratio.  - Read my review 

Exclusivity from this site: -10% on the whole range of Permajet papers - Your discount code : AF10PER.

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ICC printing profiles for a fee | Budget from £20 à £50 

Observation ! As if by chance, all these companies work with X-Rite solutions, so the quality is undeniably there. I let you choose among these four companies while wink at Christophe Métairie's expertise and experience, particularly in the production of high-quality black and white ICC profiles, which are mentioned here first :

 

CMP-COLOR profiles

From 19,95 €



 

cmp-color.fr - Christophe Métairie has been making custom printing profiles for you for fifteen years now with the latest X-Rite calibration equipment. His experience with papers is undeniable and valuable, especially for ICC profiles for black and white printing but in an RGB flow. Remark ! Christophe creates his own calibration charts to optimize black and white calibration.

I have tried the Expert Color and Black & White Pack and I warmly recommend it. High quality ICC profiles. Really very beautiful !

   
 
 

Number of patches: my advice !

Today it is the same with the number of color patches to print to calibrate your printer as with the number of colors your TV is able to display : the overbid !

If you have the choice, printing 3/4 A4 sheets will already be enough : this usually represents 2000 coloured areas. That's exactly what you need to cover your printer's gamut ! Even with a single sheet of 225 patches, I got amazing results with the SpyderPRINT 5.

 

 
     
   
  Spectrophotometer buying guide...
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Through these tips pages I will help you to properly calibrate your photo printer to get the "right" colors...
 

- Calibrating a photo printer ?
- Self-calibrate your photo printer
- Get your printer calibrated

 

- How to get your photo printer calibrated ?
- Installation and use of profiles
- My selection of service providers

 

- How to calibrate your monitor?
- Best colorimeters buying guide
- Best monitors buying guide


 

Calibrate your photo printer with the best quality/price ratio: i1 Studio !

Read my full review...  

Amazon Good Deals £338.67

Calibrate your monitor with the best
quality/price ratio: Colormunki Display !

Read my full review...

Wex Good Deals ! £99.00

   
 

 

     

 

 

 

   

 
 

 

       

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