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Author Topic: May 2011: Printing the Same Colors in Qimage Ultimate and PhotoShop  (Read 22121 times)
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« on: May 18, 2011, 08:20:16 PM »

May 2011: Printing the Same Colors in Qimage Ultimate and Photoshop

 

Background

Since both Qimage Ultimate and Photoshop are popular photographic applications, I often handle questions related to getting a color match between the two programs when printing photos.  I'm not sure why you would want to print photos from Photoshop if you have Qimage Ultimate but maybe you've just upgraded your printing from Photoshop to Qimage Ultimate and you want to see the similarities and differences with respect to color management to get up to speed quickly with Qimage Ultimate.  In this article, we'll cover the steps to get a good color match from Photoshop CS5 (and more recent editions of Photoshop) and Qimage Ultimate: the instructions are similar for the old (retired) editions of Qimage as well.

 

The basics

Qimage Ultimate and Photoshop will print visually identical color in both color managed mode (application manages color) and non color managed mode (printer driver handles color) provided you do two things: set both the program settings and the printer driver settings identically.  In concept, it is that simple.  There are two steps in any photographic printing process.  The first is how the software (Qimage Ultimate or Photoshop) sends image data to the driver and the second is how the driver interprets that data.  Get both in sync, and you get identical color: that is, choose the same (comparable) settings in Qimage Ultimate and Photoshop and make the same selections (paper type, quality, color, etc.) in the driver.  Let's take a look at how to do the same thing in both programs.

 

Color Managed (use this option if you have an ICC profile for your printer/paper/ink)

Printer Driver Settings

We will handle the color managed workflow first.  This is the workflow where you have an ICC profile for your printer, paper, and ink.  You might have an ICC profile for a certain paper that installed with your printer driver or one that came with a pack of third party paper that had profiles for your model printer along with instructions.  First keep in mind that a printer/paper/ink profile is useless without instructions on how to at least set the driver settings!  Without those instructions, you won't know whether the profile is designed for the highest quality setting, the next to highest setting, somewhere in the middle, and you won't know how to set color-affecting options like "high speed" mode and other options.  The first step in getting a good color match is to use "File", "Printer Setup" in Qimage Ultimate and "File", "Print", "Print Setup" in Photoshop and make the exact same selections in the driver: select your printer, then select properties and select the proper paper type, quality level, and turn off color management in the driver by selecting "None" for color matching (Canon and HP) or "No Color Adjustment" (Epson printers).  Again, take notes on the selections you make so that you can repeat the exact same selections from both Qimage Ultimate and Photoshop.

Potential Pothole #1:
With respect to printer driver settings, remember that Qimage Ultimate remembers the last driver settings that you used and also allows you to save/recall an unlimited number of setups that include both program and driver settings.  Photoshop does not allow for this facility so don't assume that it remembered all your driver and program settings.  When in doubt, check them out!

Program settings

Now that we have made the exact same selections in the printer driver, we must ensure that both Qimage Ultimate and Photoshop send exactly the same data TO the driver!  We do this by making comparable settings, telling both programs that we are using color management and identifying the profile and rendering to use with that profile.  Here's how we do that:

In Qimage Ultimate:

  1. In the Printers and Settings tab on the main window, drop down "Printer Profile" and select "Choose New Profile": the "Color Management" dialog will appear.

  2. On the Color Management dialog that appears, click the "..." button next to the printer profile file name and select the profile (ICC file) for the printer/paper you are using.

  3. On that same dialog, check "Relative Colorimetric" intent as a first choice for photos.

  4. Leave "Black Point Compensation" selected at all times.

  5. Click "OK" to save the settings, then click the "Print" button (upper right of main window) if you are ready to print now.

In Photoshop CS5:

  1. Click "File", "Print": the "Print" dialog appears.

  2. On the top right of the print dialog, drop down and select "Color Management".

  3. Under "Color Handling", select "Photoshop Manages Colors".

  4. Drop down "Printer Profile" and select the same file you selected in step 2 in the Qimage Ultimate instructions above.  Note that Photoshop only shows the description inside the ICC profile while Qimage Ultimate shows both the file name and description, so be sure the description in Photoshop's drop down matches the description shown next to "Prtr ICC" in Qimage Ultimate.

  5. Select the same rendering intent as you did in step 3 in the Qimage Ultimate instructions above: example, "Perceptual".

  6. Leave "Black Point Compensation" selected.

  7. Click "Done" if you are just setting things up or click the "Print" button to print immediately.

Potential Pothole #2:
Since Photoshop is an image editor, you may have modified the photo you are currently viewing.  Have you saved those changes?  If you edit/change/convert an image and then print in Photoshop, remember to save those changes before you print the file with Qimage Ultimate, or you'll be printing two different files!

 

Potential Pothole #3:
Not all profiles are created equal.  Qimage Ultimate and Photoshop will only produce (visually) identical color if the photo itself has a proper profile embedded in the image, and the printer profile you are using is a valid profile.  Unfortunately I see a lot of malformed profiles in this business: profiles that have jagged or non-continuous data, profiles where the black points don't match in the forward and reverse transforms, invalid tone curves, etc. 

If you've done the above and you are still not getting a match between Qimage Ultimate and Photoshop with respect to color, run this simple test.  Print two copies of the same image in Photoshop, one with Perceptual intent and Black Point Compensation on, and another with Perceptual intent but Black Point Compensation off.  Compare the two prints.  Are they different in color?  If so, you know you are dealing with a corrupted (malformed) printer profile.  This is because perceptual intent already handles scaling of black so black point compensation should do nothing (whether on or off) if you are using Perceptual intent.  If the BPC-on and BPC-off prints are not identical for Perceptual intent, it is likely that Photoshop is trying to do some error correction on the malformed profile.  Qimage doesn't do error correction and presents the results exactly as specified in the profile, so this can cause a difference in color.  Reference: http://www.color.org/AdobeBPC.pdf (see section 6.2).

Other data corruption can also cause differences when a profile is not up to par so it is important to check with the printer/paper manufacturer to be sure you have the latest version of the profile and that it was intended for the printer and driver version you are using.

 

Potential Pothole #4:
If you are using (recalling) a saved printer setup in Qimage Ultimate and you are having color matching issues, it is possible that you have updated your printer driver and the (old) saved settings are no longer valid in the new driver you are now using.

If you update your driver to a new version, we suggest that you click "File", "Printer Setup" in Qimage Ultimate and drop down and select your printer (model) from the list (select it from the list again even if it is already selected): this will clear all the printer settings and reload defaults for the new driver.  Then recreate your printer driver settings and resave them to "refresh" the settings under the new driver version.  Do not load a previous setup made under the old driver because some settings may not be consistent/valid.  Start fresh with a new driver version.

 

Non Color Managed (use this option if you do not have an ICC profile for your printer/paper/ink)

Printer Driver Settings

When we don't have an ICC profile specific to our printer, paper, and ink, we may use a non color managed workflow.  Here we basically defer to the printer driver and we let it handle color as best it can.  We do this by enabling color management in the printer driver itself.  The first step in getting a good color match is to use "File", "Printer Setup" in Qimage Ultimate and "File", "Print", "Print Setup" in Photoshop and make the exact same selections in the driver: select your printer, then select properties and select the proper paper type, quality level, and turn on color management in the driver by selecting "ICM" for color matching (use "Host ICM" if you are using an Epson driver and that option is available).  Again, take notes on the selections you make so that you can repeat the exact same selections from both Qimage Ultimate and Photoshop.

Program settings

Now that we have made the exact same selections in the printer driver, we must ensure that both Qimage Ultimate and Photoshop send exactly the same data TO the driver!  We do this by making comparable settings, telling both programs that we are going to defer color handling to the printer driver.  Here's how we do that:

In Qimage Ultimate:

  1. In the Printers and Settings tab on the main window, drop down "Printer ICC" and select "Let printer/driver manage color".

  2. Click the "Print" button (upper right of main window) if you are ready to print now.

In Photoshop CS5:

  1. Click "File", "Print": the "Print" dialog appears.

  2. On the top right of the print dialog, drop down and select "Color Management".

  3. Under "Color Handling", select "Printer Manages Colors".

  4. Click "Done" if you are just setting things up or click the "Print" button to print immediately.


  Epilogue

When referring to the information in this article, keep one basic thing in mind: Qimage Ultimate and Photoshop will produce visually identical color as long as I do two things: (1) duplicate all settings in the printer driver exactly in both programs and (2) duplicate the color management options inside both programs.  If you have a printer ICC profile for the printer, paper, and ink you are using, you'll want to choose the printer profile in Qimage Ultimate and Photoshop and let it do the work, while turning color management OFF in the driver!  Conversely, if you do not have an ICC profile, you'll want to let the printer/driver manage color by selecting the "Let printer/driver manage color" (Qimage Ultimate) or "Printer Manages Colors" (Photoshop), while turning color management (ICM or "Host ICM") ON in the driver.  Finally, if you are trying to get a (printed color) match between Photoshop and Qimage and you are having trouble, be sure to refer to the potential potholes listed above.
 

Mike Chaney, author, Qimage, Profile Prism, FlashPipe, TT Dyno

« Last Edit: March 23, 2019, 11:27:38 PM by admin » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2015, 01:21:53 AM »

This is a great tutorial, thank yo so much for this.
 There are many like me who work with both Qimage and Photoshop and would  like a simple comparison list as why we qimage is the best piece of software for all you photographic printing jobs.



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