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custom ICC profiles

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 6:10 pm
by Jonathan221
Is it worth building custom ICC profiles from Color Checker charts for non-standard lighting? C1 comes with base characteristics for daylight, flash, portrait and tungsten and I’ve read that they’re very good. But what is recommended for LED, fluorescent or mixed lighting?


Re: custom ICC profiles

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:07 am
by Paul_Steunebrink
Curiosity: what software do you plan to use for creating the profile?

Re: custom ICC profiles

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:52 am
by Jonathan221
I hadn’t quite gotten that far :-).

I take it this is something I probably shouldn’t bother doing?


Re: custom ICC profiles

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 5:00 pm
by brianmerwin

So there are a few things to mention.

First - there are a few tools available for creating custom ICC profiles, but realize it can be a finicky process and time consuming because you essentially need to create a new profile and tweak it every time the lighting scenario changes.

Secondly - Realize that for mixed lighting an ICC profile isn't going to solve anything. The lighting is the problem there.

How you approach creating the profiles depends primarily on how fast you need to work, and your budget.

Assuming you're shooting color checker charts (and ideally something with more than 24 color patches) you can either investigate Argyll CMS (which is free, but it's quite complex and time consuming to get the hang of).

Alternatively you can download the specs for your specific color checker to a spreadsheet so you know what the values are supposed to be, bring the image in to C1 and then make color adjustments by hand using the color editor. From there you can save out an ICC profile directly from C1. Even more time consuming, but at least the interface will be familiar to you and you already own the software.

Now if you need a much more high speed option and you've got a budget you can look in to basICColor, PictoColor inCamera Between the two I'd recommend basICColor.

X-Rite used to have an application that would generate ICC profiles, but they've discontinued it and they've basically jumped on the DNG profile bandwagon with Adobe so unfortunately your options for Capture One compatible profiles are pretty limited at this point.

What I see most commonly is either people are creating the profiles by hand within Capture One or (much less frequently) basICColor.

I'm currently experimenting with Argyll CMS because... I'm a nerd, but there's nothing smooth about it. Once you've convinced it to spit out a reasonably decent data you still have to do some manual editing before you get a usable ICC profile.

Frankly, most people don't do this because it's a pain in the ass and close is usually good enough. I'm not suggesting that you don't investigate, but if you're already 95% of the way there, realize it's going to take a lot of effort to get that final 5% and often clients aren't interested in paying for that extra effort.

Good luck & let us know what you come up with.

Re: custom ICC profiles

PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 5:39 pm
by Scott Mitchell
Hi Johnathan,

Thought I would chime in here on how I process my files. Most of the time I find a custom profile is not needed because the white balance usually does a good job as long as you have it in an area that is exposed to all the lighting conditions. Typically I place a grey card and a GretaMcBeth DC color checker in my shots. Its meant for a flatbed scanner but I've found it is more accurate than other color cards.

When I absolutely need to create a custom profile (typically for products that will be printed at some point) I use my GretaMcBeth card. When placing the card I try to keep it as straight as possible and in the center of the frame. Reason for this is it can be difficult to create a profile if the card is angled. Once the card is shot, I open the raw file and crop out the card so that it fills the frame completely. I also have to save out a separate file, typically a tiff. Once the file is saved I then import the file into Monaco ProfileMaker. This software is what creates the profile. Its very simple, select the file you created, highlight the crosshairs and create profile. File naming of custom profile can be important as well if you are creating multiple profiles for each lighting scenario. That way you don't get confused when you end up with all sorts of different profiles. I tend to use the job description plus the date.

After creating the custom profile it needs to be placed in your profiles folder: User>Library>ColorSync>Profiles Once placed I then open the raw file in photoshop without changing any raw settings and apply the custom profile. Then I convert to Adobe which then gets converted to 1483 or p1190d (CMYK).

I've found that most of the time it works, but there is always a chance that it won't. Sorry for the ambiguity. I've found when applying a custom profile it tends to open up the shadows creating a very flat image, but I'm at a much better starting point for pre-press. We have been quite successful by not having to go through more than 3 rounds of color because of this. Its important to note that the reason I do this is because I have a hard time trusting the softwares' adjustments for color accuracy. Ultimately, we use photoshop to do any fine tuning so i've been told to NOT apply any adjustments in C1. Not to discredit C1 by any means. Its a wonderful software and can do an array of adjustments. We just find that it's less destructive to the image work in photoshop.

Hope this helps!