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Live Demo: Create Custom Paper Profile

Lesson 26 from: From Capture to Print

Rocco Ancora

Live Demo: Create Custom Paper Profile

Lesson 26 from: From Capture to Print

Rocco Ancora

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Lesson Info

26. Live Demo: Create Custom Paper Profile


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Advantages & Pitfalls of Printing


Demystifying Color Management


Understanding Bit Depth


Best Color Space to Work In


Importance of Image Capture


Live Shoot: Natural Light


Live Shoot: Studio Lights


Lesson Info

Live Demo: Create Custom Paper Profile

Okay so I'm gonna show you how easy it is to create your own custom paper profile using this device here which is the ColorMunki Photo. This is a great device, I use this a lot when I travel because I can do my monitor profile with this and I can also do a very, very quick custom profile if I need to do that whilst I'm on the road and I'm printing at someone else's studio and I wanna get something printed or testing some new paper, et cetera, et cetera, this is a really cool way to go. We came for a walk with our table which is really cool I mean we're a moving table. ColorMunki, nice small device okay. It's relatively inexpensive. We launch the software, and I can do a couple of things. I can match my printer to my display which we're not going to do today. I can profile my display which we did in a previous session, but what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna profile my printer. It'll ask you two questions straight off the bat. Number one is would you like to create a new profile or do you wa...

nt to optimize, we'll talk about optimizing a profile in a minute, an existing profile? Well what I wanna do is I wanna create a new profile, I'm gonna start from scratch. Then it'll ask you to choose your printer, and the printer that we are gonna do today is the P800 Epson which is that one here. Then it's gonna ask you for a paper name which is gonna be very important because we want then the profile to reflect the paper that we've used and it's gonna be easy to enter recall. The paper that we're gonna do now is the Rag Photographique which is this one here by Canson which is one of the images that I showed you earlier. The paper name here is Canson Photo Rag. Nice small name so I know what it is and I'm gonna hit next. Then it says to profile your printer, ColorMunki requires you to print a measure two color test charts. The first test charts provides information about all color regions that your printer is capable of producing. I've already printed that earlier and this is what it looks like. That is what your printer is gonna print out first. If I was to click onto this and hit print, okay, let's configure. We bring up our print dialog here, P800 Platine. Paper size is gonna be 13 by because that's what we're profiling. Now mind you if I had A four paper, I could've done the same, this fits on an A four sheet of paper, okay, I'm just using the bigger sheets just for you guys to see it better. Then down here I go into printer settings. In the printer settings, now I know the substrate for this because I've looked it up on the website, and the setting for the Epson printer for the P800 is going to be, I'm going to change the sheet feeder there to fine art, it's going to be the fine art paper, the velvet fine art. Velvet fine art simply tells the printer how much ink it's going to lay down because different papers require different ink loads to achieve that maximum density of color. It's a real balance between the surface and how much ink the printer is laying down because you don't want a situation where you're over-inking the paper because that, you can run into all sorts of trouble with that. We're gonna try with velvet fine art. Now what happens with this through the ColorMunki software, you'll notice that the color mode, off, no color management. We're not attaching a profile to this, we're not doing anything like that. What it's going to do, it's going to print the colors exactly by how that printer is interpreting the color itself with no profile, so no translator. The software is sending a certain signal for a certain color and the printer is printing it because essentially what we wanna do, what we wanna establish with this software is the characteristics of the printer and how it interprets a certain color because it isn't going to be exact, there is going to be a difference, and that's what the profile is going to do. Once the profile is created, then it says, "Okay, I noticed that on this particular test, "you printed this particular shade of green this way." Well I really want that green to be this way, so the profile goes, "I'll tweak the settings inside "to give you that amount of combination of color "to produce a specific shade of green." In a nutshell, that's pretty much what happens. I'm not really sure if they talk like that but you know, if they did, it'd be awesome. I'm gonna say I've already printed my target and I would hit next on this. I'm just going to relaunch this again because we made it print and it doesn't like that. Choose a printer, P800. Canson. Next. I've already printed my target so I hit next. The first thing the thing is gonna ask me here, the software, is to calibrate my device and there's a button here or there's a dial, and I rotate the dial into that position. So we rotate it into that position here, there it is. Once I do that, I hit the calibrate button and the machine is going to calibrate itself. We just wait a few moments for it to do that. Can we take a question? When it's done, it's done, it's done. Then it tells you to move that dial onto the measuring position, which is there, sorta down below, and when I've done that, I hit next. Then it'll come up with this dialog and it's basically telling you that you need to measure or run this device along the actual the paper a certain direction and for best results, I start with the white part of the paper, okay here. I move across and finish at the white point of the paper. I hit the button and I run it across. I release the button, and if I get that the all clear, it will move onto the next one. Let's do the next one. Hit the button on the white. Then we hit the button on the white again. Then we hit the button on the white. If you've done something wrong like you've gone too fast or you've gone outside the lines, then the yellow enclosing line will go red and it'll tell you to do it again. Okay so once we've measured that and it's all successful, we can click next. What the software is gonna do, it's gonna generate a second patch for you to print based upon the readings that were received by the first part of the read, so it takes a couple of seconds to do. I might take a question while that's thinking about it. For sure. Can you say something about storage and shelf life of the various papers? You've said a couple things about how long they last. I've had some that don't work at all after certain storage time, so obviously quality and price comes into play for some folks. Absolutely. When you store these papers here, you need to store them in a dry place and away from moisture. Paper, being organic, and you know it's cotton at the end of the day, it will absorb moisture. It's not a good thing. Another thing that's gonna make them go off, these ones here, is a lot of people just store their paper like that, just in the plastic. UV affects the paper obviously over time. Keep them in a dark, dry place. The dark, dry place is its own box, so keep them in the box, keep them in there, and they should not go off. Good quality papers will last you a very, very long time. Especially if we're talking about an archival paper that is going to be around for a very long time, we're talking about something with 200 years plus archival permanence, then these definitely aren't gonna go off. When we talk about this 200 year life expectancy, it doesn't mean that after 200 years, your image is going to disappear, it doesn't quite work like that. A lot of people think it does, you know? 200 years, oh it's gone, that's it. You're walking one day and the print's gone. You go, "Where is it?" It's gone, it's 200 years, today was the end of this, the day. What happens is when we talk about the 200 years it means that that is the time spent approximately of how long it takes before we can start to see noticeable difference in the gradation of the print quality. That's what we're talking about, we're not talking about prints disappearing. It sounds like it does have to do with a lot of the quality of paper and all that sort of stuff. We'll talk about that in lessons to come, but yeah, that's probably what would be the case. One more related question if you can take it. Lula asked, "How do you preserve prints against humidity?" How to frame printed photos in countries with humidity, so if someone's printing these somewhere where the humidity's 90% ambient, how do you, is there a way to do that, protect them? In boxes like this, what I would do in countries like that because I've got a lot of friends that live in the tropics. You put those little silica bags inside the paper and you just leave it and the paper will remain. Also using things like, taking moisture out of the air through air conditioners and that works to treat as well through environments where images are gonna be displayed. I know that with framing itself, framing, as long as it's, it's probably framed archivally and it's sealed accordingly, you're not gonna get a lot of the effect of the moisture coming in as well. These are little tips of what's gonna make things last. Getting back to our profiling, once I've done the first one, I print the second one, which we're not gonna do today and we're not gonna read today. I would print the second one and then what I would do, once again, is I would read the second test again exactly the same way as I done it, and that's it, the profile is created. That's how simple it is. I would print this, I would read it, I would hit next, it would store it on the operating system where it needs to be and then when I print, I recall the profile depending on the name I've given it for that particular paper stock, and we print and you'll get some pretty good results with this device here. Now let's go back in history a little bit longer, little bit more I should say because if I say to optimize existing profile, I can choose, say, a profile already that I have on the system. Let's have a look at, say, let's pick up one and I'll show you what we do, here we go. This one here. Assuming I wanna do that one there and I wanna optimize the profile for a particular image, I would say load image and I would navigate to an image, let's do that now. Let's go into documents here, actually let's do desktop. Where are we? I'll just choose an image, there's lots of images here. Let's have a look, gonna pull ... That's it, let's pull an image that I have, let's just say this black and white image, let's open that. It will load the image even though this a black and white, what it will do, it will generate unique color values or shades for that particular image. Then what you would do is you would read that again and rename the profile something else, optimized for that particular image, and you will get a paper profile that not only is customized to your printer, but it's image specific for that particular image and you could store that profile within the folder where your master profile is, so anytime you print that image, you will print it with consistency customizing that particular image there. I'll show you an example of an image that was done like that. Black and white image here that looks almost three dimensional in nature. In fact, I'm gonna put it up on the, we're gonna put it up on here so we can view it a little bit better, in our viewing booth. We have an image that's black and white and almost three dimensional in appearance with incredible shadow details right through, this is on an art paper and art papers really struggle to get nice shadow details. Normally you get that clumping of ink because of the heaviness. Customizing that profile and doing a couple little tweaks which we'll talk in the next section on how we maximize that tonality to achieve these ultimate results, and of course viewing it here in this booth, beautiful daylight, and that's how all of this will print. On the big printer that I showed you earlier, if the request from the photographer was that they wanted a 40 by 40 inch print, the first thing I would do is, and it's, say, for an exhibition or for a specific client, I would customize a profile for that image, optimize it, I would print an image this size to make sure I'm getting the tonality that I want, and then from here, we're gonna go huge. Because the last thing I wanna do is print a 40 by 40 inch, that's a lot of paper and very expensive, only to find out that it's not quite what I want. If the photographer isn't happy or I'm not happy and then we need to reprint it. That is how easy it is to create your own custom profile, and that's one way of doing the custom profile, but there are other ways of doing custom profiles and we start to look at the world of the X-Rite i1Photo Pro 2 where all of a sudden, the number of patches that we're using could increase exponentially. I normally, when I do my profiles on this machine, I'm doing 2,552 patches, so it's gonna give me a very, very comprehensive look at what, you know, how the printer is interacting with this particular paper, and we read them on this automated machine which I'll show you in a second and we're gonna get a far greater result especially if we are doing very large prints where we want that incredible tonal gradation, we're gonna see it with a custom profile made like that. How would that software look? Well okay, the i1 profile interface is very, very simple. We go into, you know, profiling down here which is printer profiling. This also does a projector and a display, so it's a multi purpose unit. We wanna profile an RGB printer at the end of the day, remember they're using CMYK inks but it's still an RGB printer because we're sending RGB information to the printer itself. Roberto, you have a question? Before you move on, I wanted to just do quick pause because the profile you just did, if you create a 2, patches of color profile, then what is the difference between that, can you explain more, like from that, will customize profile for that specific image? Like if you're doing something important, do you go through the trouble of doing both profiles, the paper profile plus a specific image profile? Or is the paper profile with the 2,500 patches good enough? What's the main difference you know? We're gonna explain why doing the 2,500 patches is gonna be more comprehensive through this software here because of it allows you to emulate a lot of other viewing conditions and so on and so on, and we're gonna get to illuminance a little bit later, it's gonna take into effect, optical brightening agents of the paper, and so on and so on. With this program, not only I can do 2,552 patches, but I can then take that comprehensive profile and optimize the profile with an image as well where we take unique color value of the image and get even more accuracy, which is image specific. Imagine you're a fine art photographer and you're doing fine art landscapes and you do a limited edition of a series of images. What you will want to do and what you would expect from a printer is consistency because if I'm ordering a print today, I want it to be the same print that I'm ordering in three weeks time or indeed, maybe a year's time before I sell another piece, and I want consistency in a limited edition because it's about, you know, the perceived, you know, quality that you're gonna be getting across the board. What you will do, this is what I would do, is I would do the comprehensive profile for the paper, which I would already have. I will then take the image that he wants to print, I would optimize the profile for that particular image, and I would store that particular profile for his image with the image file, so every time I want to print his image on that particular paper stock, I will use that profile so I'm guaranteed consistencies each and every time for that particular image. Okay, am I making sense? Does that expand the gamut that you can print of that image in the paper, or is it just for consistency? It's for consistency, but it's also very much getting color specific accuracy for certain tones because once you import the image, that's what you're actually doing. You'll see now when we move on with this. RGB printer, now I'm gonna run the 2,552 patches. You can name the number of patches that you're going to do. I mean, you can certainly do more, but really, you get to a certain point where adding more is not really gonna give you any more as far as accuracy. The next phase, so once we've detected the 2552 patches, we go on onto printing those patches. Now I've printed those on A four paper but before you do that, up at the very, very top, we select the measurement mode. The measurement mode is very, very important and you've got M zero, M one, M two, measurement. What I like to do is a jewel scan of M zero, M one, and M two, and optical brightening additives. M zero measures and simulates a standard illuminate which is tungsten. M zero measurement doesn't have any UV content, so there's no UV content live in that measurement. M one, the illuminant emitted form the measurement device resembles D50 standard, which is what we calibrate to, and M two excludes the UV that might be present. It's taking all these measurements based on the different lighting and the different, how it's reacting to all of these things and it's measuring and it's being extremely, extremely accurate, and it is including that in the measurement data. Once I've done that and I've printed it, this dialog will come up, and you gotta make sure that you're up on jewel scan, M zero, M one, M two, which is what we're gonna be doing, and there it is. Once I do that, I hit scan and off it goes. It starts to read the patches, there it goes. It takes a little bit of time to go through and read all the 2,552. Once it finishes that sheet, it'll tell me to load the next sheet, et cetera, et cetera. I love watching it go from then because it's really, really cool. You can get other automated readers that will do things like dee-ah-siz, which is an X-Rite product as well, you just feed the paper through it and it'll read it which is really, really cool. Once you've done that, as it's reading, it's measuring and comparing. You've got the differences in there of what it's sending to the printer to what it's reading and what it's sending to the device, so it's got, you know, it works out your delta E value which is basically your differences in measurement. Once it's finished of course then it'll ask you about the illuminant, in other words the conditions in which you have created this profile for. In here, I normally pick the standard illuminant which is D50, or you could pick D which is for cooler lighting I guess. You can be as particular as measuring the illuminant with the device, so if the printer's gonna be hung in a certain area with certain lighting condition, I would measure the color temperature of that and it would map it out and it would create a profile specific to that particular viewing condition because as we spoke about earlier in the color management side of things, it was all about the color perception, how light being reflected back into our eyes, different color temperatures of light affects our images, but you could really be that particular about it. Once that happens, once you've put in your illuminant, your standard illuminants are all in there and then you can do your own reads, you go into the final section. This one here, I just normally leave as default which is basically your rendering intent and everything else, so I leave that as large to optimize quality. Size A to B and B to A, remember we talked about the LAD values in a previous section. Leave that and we name it a significant name. The way I name my profiles, printer first, so it's the short color P800 is the printer, underscore Canson platine is the paper, underscore premium photo luster, PPL, which is the ink load that the printer's gonna have, underscore 2880, which is the actual resolution that the printer created that particular test shot with. Once I do that, it will give me a three dimensional representation of what the actual profile looks like and it'll store it in the appropriate folder and I can recall it back. Certainly, this is a very, very advanced way of profiling, very, very advanced and if you're starting out in printing, like I said the best way to go about things is to begin with the canned profiles from the manufacturers because they are quite good and they are pretty accurate. Moving on to in your progress with printing, we can do something like the ColorMunki where you'll stiLl get color accuracy but it's a lot simpler and it starts getting your head around your own custom profiles and then moving on from that, getting external companies to make a profile for you, which use instruments like this to create that. We create profiles as well. You know, photographers, we send out test charts, they print them, we give them instructions, they send the charts back, we read them and email back the profile for a particular printer and paper combination. That's basically it. Installing profiles is very, very simple. If you're a Mac user, the profiles will always save in the color sync folder on the profiles, and that is where the profile lives. If you're a Windows person, there is Windows/system32/spool/drivers/colors or simply copy that profile, if you downloaded off the internet or if someone's sending you a profile because they've custom made it for you, tell them to send you the profile, put it on your desktop, right click, and install profile, and it'll go directly where it needs to go because Windows recognizes that as a color management profile and it'll go where it needs to go. That's the wonderful world of paper and profiling and I can't wait to put everything together and actually do a print because that's gonna be really exciting. Don't you normally, when you're not teaching a class, have to wait before measuring the printing targets? Absolutely. Do the colors change as they dry? And how long do you wait? Yeah absolutely. With the ColorMunki, it comes in with a built in timer so it'll tell you when you can measure the next one. It gives you a 12 min span of measuring. Personally, when I'm doing my profiles, I will print, if I'm doing profiles, I will print in the afternoon, read them the next morning. I will let them sit overnight for the color really to stabilize because I want maximum accuracy, yeah? And that's what I recommend that you do. Even though the ink will be dry visually, you just want that ink to be stable and not to change. Anything from four hours upwards is really good, that's just, I'm just anally retentive like that, just need it to be accurate. I will leave the test targets overnight and then read them the next morning just to make sure that they have degassed and they have stabilized. Well it's certainly cool to hear about how you do it because you're the guy winning the awards. (laughs) It's the right way, I guess. Francesca asks, "When making a profile, is it better to use "a larger patch test or is the one you printed good enough?" Well it depends on how accurate you want that profile to be and the color volume depending, once again, on what you're printing. The more patches you have, the more comprehensive that profile is gonna be for that particular paper. Having said that, you're still gonna get really excellent, excellent results from the ColorMunki Photo but certainly, when you look at the canned profiles which are really averages of lots of profiles and that's how paper manufacturers create these profiles, they're really accurate as well. There's many different ways of going with paper profiles, but it depends on what you're printing, how you're printing it, and the final resting place of the image. If you are doing exhibition work or you're just printing for yourself, you know? How far into it do you wanna go and is the viewer gonna see subtle differences in color? Great. Do you need to match the paper with the printer capability? There's a couple questions inside that one, right? Like if you buy super expensive nice paper like you showed then run it through a cheap inkjet printer and then vice versa. Well if you're buying papers like this which is really expensive and you're running it through your home Epson that prints like, yeah you're not gonna get the results because the ink sets and the weights being designed and also the profile, there's no way you're gonna get a profile for just an office printer. Photo printers are specific, they are called photo printers. This is what these are, like the Epsons and other brands of course. You need to get a photo printer specific to get the best out of your fine art papers. We have a question from St. Lucia in the Caribbean. "Great class as always, my question for Rocko, "what about the use of UV protective sprays? "Should we use them and if yes, "how should we apply the sprays in terms of distance, "where to hold the cam from the print?" The only protective spray I like to use is the Hahnemuhle spray and it's a satin spray. You gotta be careful with sprays because a lot of the times, sprays do alter the visual appearance of the print. The best way for, if you're really worried about UV, is to use UV inhibiting glass when you frame the image. It is a little bit more expensive, but then you're not gonna be interfering with the surface of the paper itself. Certainly you can use, and once again Hahnemuhle makes some incredible coatings for the paper itself. You can roll stuff on, you can do all sorts of things, but it does change the characteristics and properties of the way the paper looks and feel. My best bet is to simply just do glass because the only time the print is gonna be effected by UV it's when it's displayed out in the open. If it's in a dark drawer, UV's not gonna be a problem. If it's in a book, it's not gonna be a problem. UV glass, if you're really worried about that, is the best option.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Rocco's Photoshop Actions
Rocco's Printer Evaluation Files
Color & Luminosity Seperation Action

Ratings and Reviews

Roberto Valenzuela

I honestly consider many courses to be great, but optional. However, this course by Rocco Ancora is a MUST! It helps the photographer complete the circle of being a photographic artist. Our job doesn't end at the edit, it ends with the print. When your clients can hold and enjoy your creative vision physically, that is when the magic of being a photographer happens. I have been so fortunate to travel the world teaching and meeting some of the best photographers in the world. That being said, I can say with confidence that nobody can teach this combination of Photoshop retouching / fine-art printing better than Rocco Ancora. I believe in this class so much, I traveled to Seattle to attend this course to be part of the live studio audience. I have never done that before. But that's how important I consider this material to be. I am so happy I took the time to go and learn from the man himself. Now, I will get this course to watch it, dissect it, study it, and practice it. Very excited to see how the knowledge in this course will propel my career further. --Roberto Valenzuela

a Creativelive Student

I was fortunate enough to attend this class in person and got to experience Rocco's prints in person. The quality is absolutely breathtaking and a game changer, Learning these skills will really help my business in a number of ways. In the past, I have had a difficult time convincing clients to purchase typical lab prints through my studio, as opposed to buying them through Walmart or Costco where the quality was "close enough." Rocco's method that he shared in this class creates three dimensional images of unmatched quality and images that just jump off the page. The knowledge from this course will empower me to help run a sustainable business and thrive as a photographer. You would be foolish to not learn these methods and incorporate them into your business. Highly Recommend!!

April S.

I have invested time into learning Lightroom and Photoshop, my own gear, and my particular photographic style, but the one thing I am really lacking is a solid understanding about preparing an image for print, and the various print options (e.g., paper types). When I saw this course come up on the CL schedule it caught my eye immediately so I RSVP'd for the live broadcast. I was at work when it started and couldn't watch at that time. I do listen in from work sometimes, but after 2 minutes of listening to this course I realized it was one I really needed to watch closely and focus on. So, I stopped the stream after a couple minutes and bought the course. I have never done that before. I always wait and watch as much as I can in the initial broadcast (or rebroadcast) to decide if a course is one that I really should spend for. I knew right away though that Rocco was presenting the very information I was lacking and needed, and I wanted it! In addition, it was clear to me after looking him up online that he's a consummate professional with lots of experience and his delivery style even in just the couple of minutes that I listened reflected that. I already have X-rite ColorMunki Display and Colorchecker, a good monitor, and I have a photo printer (Canon Pixma Pro-100) but I'm lacking that technical understanding of color and know I'm not using my resources to their fullest. I use my Canon Pixma to test-print images before uploading to the print service I use. My method isn't ideal since the service uses different printers and ink, and paper depending on what I choose, but at least I have a much better idea of what my image file will give me in print form. After Rocco's course I believe I will be much better equipped to prepare my images and choose the options best suited to each image. I'll still test print if only because it's fun to see something on paper, but I expect the results I get from the print service to be much better once I really know how to put this knowledge to work for me.

Student Work