Many who are interested in digital photography have become aware of the power of using ICC profiles to ensure accurate color in digital images from start to finish. Software is readily available (if a bit expensive) to allow calibration and/or profiling of monitors, scanners, and printers, however many of these solutions fall short of providing all the tools necessary to create quality calibration/profiles for all your devices including your monitor, scanner, printer and digital camera. "Profiling" involves developing a description of how a particular device responds to color using color test targets with known values. The resulting description is called an ICC profile and is used to describe how a particular device responds to the raw data in a digital image (JPEG, TIFF, etc). In contrast to profiling, "calibration" allows a less precise, visual adjustment of device parameters in order to establish some baseline operation. An example of calibration would be "equalizing" RGB gains on a monitor using visual input from the user.
Profile Prism is capable of developing accurate ICC profiles for digital cameras, scanners, and printers by actually measuring color performance of the device with respect to a known set of colors (using one of the included reference targets). Creating an ICC profile for a monitor requires the use of a colorimeter that attaches to the screen and performs actual measurements. Use of colorimeter-based monitor profiling solutions is far more accurate than any visual monitor calibration tool that requires input from the user, however, even the cheapest monitor profiling colorimeters are about three times the cost of Profile Prism. Fortunately, many monitors respond quite well to a simple calibration without needing to develop a specific monitor ICC profile. Profile Prism is in the category of profiling tools that allows you to perform a monitor calibration via user input and does not offer the ability to profile via a colorimeter at this time.
The following outlines Profile Prism's capabilities with respect to input/output devices:
|Type of device||Profile Prism solution|
Full color management involves more than just creating a calibration or profile that describes how your output devices (monitor and printer) respond. ICC profiling is like translating one language to another. To be able to do the translation, you need to know both the language you are translating from and the language you are translating to! Given a scanner, some test prints, and a little time with your favorite printer profiling software for example, you can create a profile that describes your printer's color response. This however, is only half the story. To truly close the loop on color management, you need a profile for the input device (camera or scanner) as well. Many of the newer digital cameras on the market (especially those that support EXIF 2.2) conform closely to sRGB color space. Other (usually more expensive) cameras actually allow you to specify the color space in which images are stored (sRGB, Adobe RGB, etc.). In these cases where the color space of the images is known, creation of a custom camera profile is normally not necessary. In other cases where the color space is unspecified or where a custom camera profile is desired in order to obtain a better (more accurate) profile, Profile Prism gives you the power and the tools to create quality camera profiles. With Profile Prism, you have a single cost effective tool that allows you to close the loop on color management by allowing monitor calibration as well as creation of ICC profiles for your camera, scanner, and printer in one easy to use software package!
Note that Profile Prism is a comprehensive tool that allows you to calibrate your monitor and create ICC profiles for digital cameras, desktop (flatbed) scanners, and printers. It is beyond the scope of this document, however, to explain how to utilize these profiles once they are created. It is assumed that users are familiar enough with ICC profiles to be able to utilize a profile generated by Profile Prism in ICC compliant software such as Qimage.