Search: for:

CHROMiX ColorNews Issue #22 - Color Times 7 - a summary of the seven ICC profile types

SmartNote: 50018
Type: ColorNews
ColorGeek factor:

Welcome to ColorNews, a periodic update on things related to Color Management. We are striving for a regular consistent newsletter of high value to our customers. Please let us know what your interests are so we can address these concerns in our coming issues.


C H R O M i X C O L O R N E W S

Issue #22 December 7th, 2005


A few Quick Notes of Interest:

** GretagMacbeth is having a 50% off ONE-DAY ONLY sale on ProfileMaker v5.0.5 Publish Plus TODAY ONLY and then for ProfileMaker v5.0.5 Photostudio on 12/14. See details below.

** CHROMiX is releasing ColorThink Pro!! See details in CHROMiX News below.

** GretagMacbeth is offering a 50% savings off ProfileMaker v5.0.5 UPGRADE until December 20, 2005. See Ad below.

** CHROMiX is offering an INCREDIBLE deal on the X-Rite Monaco Optix XR Pro. See ad below.

** TRADE in your old measurement device and get up to $200 off your next GretagMacbeth Eye-One purchase! For more details or the coupon: Click here

**The Eye-One Customer Loyalty Program (CLP) will end January 31st, 2006 so, if you've thought about upgrading, better act fast! This program is designed to help Eye-One Pro customers upgrade to the new RevB Eye-One Pro (shipping since April 2005), and the new software modules. Depending on when purchased, you could get 30%, 40% or 50% off your upgrade. Give Sales a call for details, or go to: Click here

** "Color Times 7 - a summary of the seven ICC profile types" - an article by CHROMiX President Steve Upton


Table of Contents


1. CHROMiX News
2. Color, Product & Industry News
3. Shows and Events
4. Tech & Education Notes
5. "Color Times 7 - a summary of the seven ICC profile types" - an article by CHROMiX President Steve Upton
6. CHROMiX Open Box items for sale
7. ColorNews Administration (feedback, subscriptions, etc.)




Since our last ColorNews Issue #21 on October 18th, 2005, much has been happening at CHROMiX:

* At last, the moment you've all been waiting for - ColorThink Pro is shipping December 16! Special thanks to all of our trusted friends and beta testers who have helped us bring this amazing product to the market. This product takes profile analysis to a new level.

Here are the highlights:

- New underlying architecture allows integration across tools, supports up to 10-channel profiles everywhere!
- Graphs have more detail, automation & features. Can be saved as images or movies.
- Profile Inspector adds gamut volume, inking statistics, dot gain and curve analysis.
- The NEW Color Worksheet is the centerpiece of ColorThink Pro - it allows analysis of your entire workflow at once to make it easier than ever to isolate all color issues.
- The NEW ColorSmarts Guide acts as your color consultant by performing tests and automating tasks.
- Powerful and enhanced profile linking capabilities. Create device-link and abstract profiles from ANY multi-profile combination. Includes clean-black links.
- The NEW and revolutionary ColorCast technology modifies existing profiles to have powerful built-in proofing capabilities. Use multi-channel profiles in Photoshop for soft and hard proofing with NO plug-ins!
- And much more!

To see more product details, check out this link to the product sheet: Click here

ColorThink Pro is available for $399. Upgrades are available for previous versions of ColorThink. See website later this week for details.

* And, finally, we wish a heartfelt goodbye to Mike Cummings, who is leaving CHROMiX at the end of December. Mike has been an outstanding team player and has been the backbone of the Support and Profile Production departments of CHROMiX. He is pursuing his life-long dream of teaching high school science. We wish him much happiness and success in his new life, and hope we see him from time to time hanging around CHROMiX. We'll sure miss Mike's sharp mind, his wry humor and, of course, his sick jokes.

Consequently, CHROMiX has an in-house Seattle, WA job position to fill. Follow this link for more details: Click here


Color, Product & Industry News


The Eye-One IO from GretagMacbeth is due to start shipping (from Europe) the week of December 5th. This is the long awaited X/Y scanning table that will automate scanning target charts using the ever popular Eye-One Pro spectrophotometer. CHROMiX has been testing the IO, and we were amazed at the speed when using the new RevB Eye-One Pro device. In our tests, we found that the IO scanned an IT8 target in just over 2 minutes - and was so quiet you couldn't even hear it running!! The IO can be used with any Eye-One Pro device but, to obtain this speed, the rev B version is required - see the GretagMacbeth Customer Loyalty Program for details about upgrading your Eye-One. The Eye-One IO is compatible with the latest version of Match and the soon to be released ProfileMaker v5.0.5. List price is $1995. CHROMiX has a Pre-Order special of $1795 UNTIL IT SHIPS, at which time the price settles in at $1895.
Click here

GretagMacbeth has released ProfileMaker v5.0.5, a free upgrade to v5 owners. The new version boasts unmatched profile quality with new and improved gamut mapping! The new features include: new perceptual and colorimetric rendering intents, improved details and modulations, improved handling of out-of-gamut colors, increased smoothness for color transitions, 5 times faster calculations for multicolor profiles, supports NEW Eye-One iO automated scanning table, and more. To highlight the new version, GretagMacbeth is also offering TWO ONE-DAY SALES in December on two v5.0.5 versions: Publish Plus on 12/7 (TODAY!) and Photostudio 12/14. See details below.

Integrated Color Corporation, suppliers of ColorEyes products, is the worldwide exclusive distributor of stand-alone display software created by Integrated Color Solutions (ICS). This means that you will see ColorEyes Display and not basICColor Display marketed and sold in the US market according to a recent press release. For more details Click here

ColorBurst Systems has started shipping the Windows versions of their popular X-Proof and X-Photo RIP software. The Windows version includes the queue-based workflow from their Mac software, plus a few extras, including image preview and crop, Firewire support, and support for Epson, Encad, HP, and Roland printers with full 8 channel printing.

ColorBurst Systems has extended their support and SWOP Certification beyond the Epson Stylus Pro 4000, 7600, and 9600 to now include the Epson Stylus Pro 4800, 7800, and 9800 printers.

Epson has posted new, improved ICC profiles for the Stylus Photo R1800, the Stylus Photo R2400, and the Stylus Photo 2200. According to Epson, these new print profiles are free and provide more accuracy for both Color and B&W than the profiles that originally shipped with these printers.

Eizo has started shipping a new FlexScan model that may be of great interest to many graphics professionals. The FlexScan S2410W is a 24.1" model that boasts 14-bit color processing and much more. For more: Click here

GretagMacbeth Customer Loyalty Program is a huge success! The Loyalty Program is designed to help Eye-One Pro owners upgrade to the new RevB Eye-One Pro (shipping since April 2005), and acquire the additional software modules not previously available in their original Eye-One Pro purchase. Users can enjoy savings from 30% to 50% off the new Eye-One Pro packages. For more information go to: Click here

Adobe has posted update v1.0.3 to both the Windows and Macintosh editions of Adobe Bridge. According to Adobe, the new version delivers improved reliability. Mac version: Click here Win version: Click here

Digital Domain has released v2006.200 of Qimage, the company's RAW conversion/printing/browsing application for Windows. Improvements include a new look for the thumbnail browser and an instant preview feature.

Apple has begun shipping Aperture, Digital Photography software. Aperture supports the RAW formats from leading digital camera manufacturers (Canon, Nikon) and provides optimized support specifically for Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II, Canon EOS 20D, Canon Digital Rebel, Nikon D2x , and the Nikon D50. Key features of Aperture are: advanced RAW workflow, professional project management, powerful compare and select tools, nondestructive image processing, versatile printing and publishing, and more. For more: Click here




December 8-10, 2005, SGIA Digital Expo and Conferences, Phoenix Civic Center/Convention Center (Halls A&B), Phoenix, AZ. The SGIA Digital Expo will showcase the best digital imaging suppliers have to offer for equipment, consumables, technologies and ideas so you bring home new applications and techniques, and even new approaches to the marketplace. This show is for you if you are a user of digital imaging technology to print and/or produce end products such as POP, displays, signage, outdoor advertising, labels/decals, banners, posters, textiles, garments, interior design items, nameplates/dials/panels or fine art/serigraphs. Click here

January 9 - 13, 2006, MacWorld Conference and Expo at San Francisco's Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA. This is the #1 event for Mac users and devotees in the world. Click here


Tech & Education Notes


It seems everyone has a forum or a blog to tune into for more information. Some are good and some are overwhelming. Here is a list of the ones we watch the most, if it helps:

CHROMiX ColorForums (our favorite) Click here

ColorSync Users Forum Click here

Rob Galbraith Photography Forum Click here

Edmund Ronald's Monitor-Calibration Photofeedback Click here


"Color Times 7 - a summary of the seven ICC profile types" - an article by CHROMiX President Steve Upton


Though we tend to use three different profile types - those for scanners, monitors and printers, the ICC has actually created a total of 7 different profile types. Each has its own capabilities and situations for best use. Here's a quick summary of the 7 profile types and how they may be useful in your workflow:

First there's the device profiles. These are the profiles we typically think about when we think of ICC profiles. This includes:

Input Profiles: eg RGB->Lab Monitor Profiles: eg RGB<->Lab Print Profiles: eg Lab<->CMYK

Device profiles perform 1/2 of the conversion when converting from one device to another. For instance, a scanner Input profile converts from RGB->Lab and then a press Print profile converts the rest of the way from Lab->CMYK. Used together they convert your scanner RGB file to press CMYK.

Monitor and Print profiles can convert color in each direction. So if you have a Lab color value you want to output on a printer, the Lab->CMYK portion of the profile gets used. If you have a CMYK value that you want to convert into a color (eg proofing CMYK values) then the CMYK->Lab portion of the profile is used. You may have noticed that the Input profile is the only profile listed with a single-direction arrow ->. Input profiles have the distinction of containing only device->Lab capabilities. When you think about it this make sense as you'll want to convert from a scanner's RGB values to Lab values but you won't have a need to convert from Lab colors to the scanner's RGB - there's no ability to output anything on a scanner after all.

If you are confused about the difference between device values (like RGB and CMYK) and colors (like Lab) please see my "Color of Toast" story in the ColorSmarts section of our website. Click here

There are several other profile types that don't get used as often but can be quite powerful. They are:

Device Link profiles (eg CMYK->CMYK) Abstract profiles (eg Lab->Lab) Space profiles (eg Lab->LCH) Named Color Profiles (eg Pantone 256 = Lab(x,x,x))

Device Links

Device link profiles are a unique and power type of profile with their ability to convert directly from device colors to device colors. This means a direct conversion from CMYK to CMYK can be performed by one link profile and so they are not applied in pairs like normal device profiles.

Typical link profiles are created by permanently combining the two device profiles from a transformation into a single hard-coded link file. This link performs the same transformation in the same way as the original two-profile combination and it also contains the CMM's (hopefully) correct math that was used to create it. This additional component can make link profiles effective in RIPs that do not convert color reliably due to some flaw or limitation in their internal CMM.

Device link profiles left in this basic condition are quite useful but if additional processing is applied to them they become essential to certain conversions and effects. One common effect is to tune the portion of the profile responsible for K-only conversions so they produce K-only results. This black-preservation ability is coveted by those who have the need to convert from one CMYK space to another but do not want to have K-only colors converted into 4-color grays. ColorThink Pro is able to create device link profiles with clean K conversions.

Other device-link effects take advantage of the device to device capability of a link profile. This capability means a "null" profile can be created that does absolutely nothing to the CMYK data that flows through it. Then, certain device-space edits such as individual channel curve bumps or ink-reduction effects can be added to the link. One ink-reduction effect we built into a client's profile converts any colors that have total ink levels over a certain amount to K=100, C=30. Any files sent through this profile have no conversion applied if their inking is OK but as soon as pixels are discovered with high ink levels they are corrected. It's fast, simple and it's effect can be created in no other way with no other kind of profile.

A few other points about device links:

- only one rendering intent is available, that which was selected at the time the link was created. - links cannot be embedded into images - the rendering intent encapsulated in the link is selected in the 'default intent' field in the profile's header. - a profile sequence tag in link profiles documents the profiles used to create the profile.

Abstract Profiles:

If device links convert from device to device then abstract profiles are the opposite; they convert from Lab to Lab. Where the device link's domain is device-space edits, abstracts are all about Lab-space (color) edits. Contrast bumps, increasing saturation, and gray or sepia effects are just a few examples of simple color edits than can be captured within an abstract profile.

But, like link profiles, a little ingenuity and number crunching and the real power behind abstract profiles can be released. The complex effect of a photographic process such as cross-processing can be captured in an abstract and applied to any image. Color differences between two systems can be also be captured and used to either correct one of the systems or recreate the effect somewhere else (such as the feel of a certain photographic film type). We are just beginning to scratch the surface of the powerful capabilities of these profiles.

Unfortunately Photoshop does not support the use of either abstract or device link profiles. Luckily, in the case of abstracts, we have a solution in ColorThink Pro's new ColorCast technology. ColorCast allows an abstract profile's effect to be embedded into another profile such as the Adobe RGB working space. The result is a "normal" RGB device profile that Photoshop can apply to any image, performing the function of the original abstract profile. sneaky!

Abstract profiles are also not allowed to be embedded into images.

Space Profiles:

Sometimes there's a need to convert between a non-device color space and Lab. An example of this would be the converting of Lab colors to an alternate color space that warped colors for some effect or other purpose. These profiles are quite rare, you are not likely to come across them in normal workflows.

Named Color Profiles:

If all other profiles are like math formulas, Named Color Profiles (NCPs) are like lists or palettes. The NCP profile stores a list of colors where each color contains a name, Lab color value and (optionally) device values. NCP profiles are supported in some color utilities and also in Mac OS X as palettes in the color picker. Unfortunately they are not supported in the major publishing applications from Adobe, Quark etc. Perhaps some day NCP profiles will gain wider support and we will finally have a standard method of storing and using color palette lists.

ColorCast Profiles:

OK, you caught me. ColorCast profiles are not part of the ICC standard. In fact, ColorCast profiles are 'normal' device profiles (typically printer) which have been altered with a special color effect such as proofing a 6-color press.

ColorThink Pro uses our patent-pending ColorCast technology to build profiles that allow many profiles to be used in places where they are not typically supported such as 6-channel profiles in Photoshop. ColorThink calculates the effect of proofing with a complex profile and then embeds this effect into either a working space or print profile. The profile appears to the system as a normal RGB or CMYK profile so it can be applied for soft and hard proofing in Photoshop without the need for any additional software plug-ins.

In Summary

Though the three types of device profiles are the most commonly created and used in photographic and graphic arts workflows it is worth learning more about the extra profile types as they have capabilities that can solve some sticky color problems easily and with high quality results.

Thanks for reading,

Steve Upton
December 6, 2005

For previous ColorNews articles follow this link:
Click here


To submit questions or feedback to CHROMiX, email us at colornews (at) Please include your name and email address in all correspondence (email, phone, fax etc).

To subscribe, email colornews(at) with "subscribe" in the subject.

Entire Contents of CHROMiX ColorNews (c)2005 CHROMiX, Inc.
CHROMiX, ColorThink, ColorNews, ColorSmarts, ColorGear, ColorForums and are trademarks of CHROMiX Inc.
All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.
CHROMiX ColorNews is intended as an informative update to CHROMiX customers and business associates. We are not responsible for errors or omissions.