Custom printer profiling - fix your colour management issues with a profile from Pure Profiles

6. Density Charts

When the profiling charts are printed, one of the most important settings is the paper \ media type as this controls how much ink is put down on the paper. On the whole, the recommended setting by the paper manufacturer is the right setting to use, but in some cases we find the recommended setting doesn’t work as well as it should (especially with third party papers). In most cases, this results in too much ink being put down, and the resultant profile suffers. This can be corrected quite easily by using a different paper \ media type in the printer driver, and reprinting the profiling charts. In the case of too much ink, changing the setting to a setting that is the next step closer to a matte paper usually helps (so for a glossy paper, change the setting to semigloss or lustre).

If you are using third party paper or ink, then we would recommend testing for the correct paper setting. Even if you’re not, it still doesn’t mean you’re using the best setting, so it may well be worthwhile running the test. The test is a little technical though, and does involve some examination of the printed charts in order to choose the best setting (although we’re always happy to receive the printed charts and choose the best option for you). For that reason, we do say this stage is OPTIONAL. In the majority of cases it won’t make a difference, and if you don’t do this stage, then the worst that will happen is that we come back to you and say the charts were printed too dark, and you need to try another setting. So if you feel a bit overwhelmed by this stage, then please move on to the printing the charts chapter.

Using the Density Charts to find the optimal media type setting

For more tutorial videos showing the profiling process broken down into the 5 steps, please go to our Videos page.

Printing the density charts

If you’re up for the challenge, then you need to download our density chart from our Downloads page. There are two available – a 360ppi chart that is designed for Epson printers, and a 300 ppi chart for other printers. This chart needs to be printed out using the same instructions as printing the profiling charts (so no profiles or colour management should be applied to it during printing - full instructions on doing this can be found in our Step-by-Step guides). I would recommend printing this chart out using a select few of the paper \ media types in the printer driver – if the problem is with glossy paper, try other glossy and any semigloss\lustre settings.

PLEASE NOTE : The following instructions are for the Windows operating system. Mac instructions can be found in our latest Mac guide for the Adobe Colour Printer Utility on our Downloads page

Paper Type setting for the Epson R2880 style driver

Epson SP1400 style driver

Canon IP4500 style driver

HP 5900 style driver

Please note you can also change the positioning of the charts on the paper, so you can alter that to print the chart a number of times on the same page. It is important to keep the size the same as the original density chart (as with the profiling charts), so please make sure any scaling options are set to 100%.

Analysing the density charts

Once you have a few charts printed, you can then compare them to see which gives the greatest detail (and I would definitely recommend doing this in the daylight as this will remove any colour casts caused by indoor lighting). To do this, please check the following...

1) On the greyscale patches on the bottom, you do not want to lose too much detail in the blacks. Ideally you should have at least a noticeable difference between patch 5 and 10.

2) In the block of crosses to the left of the “profile code” text, you need to check for ink bleeding. This is where too much ink is put down, and bleeds into the crosses. The more distinct the crosses are, the better.

3) Keep an eye out for mottling (where the colour patches are no longer a patch of plain colour, but instead look mottled) – this indicates too much ink is being used, and you must choose a setting which does not show this anywhere.

4) As you use less ink, you’ll also lose some of the colour gamut of the printer (the more saturated colours will no longer be printable). So whilst you want to find a chart that satisfies points 1 to 3, you don’t want to go the other way and lose too much colour. Please keep an eye on the colour gamut (the blocks on the left, and the chart in the middle), and make sure you still have strong, saturated colours in there.

Hopefully you should find a setting that satisfies all 4 points. Do not be concerned about colour casts at this time, as the profile will correct them. If you are unsure, you are more than welcome to post the charts to us, and then we can advise which setting to use. Once you have decided on a setting, then you can now go to the chapter on printing the profiling charts. When it comes to setting the printer driver options you can now use the best paper setting (please note you will also have to use the same setting when printing using the final profile).