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ICC Profile that Won't Soft Proof?

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  • ICC Profile that Won't Soft Proof?

    Recently I contacted a printer manufacturer to request ICC profiles for their printers.

    Here's what they wrote:
    Our graphic workflow uses ICC profiles when converting and preparing the job for printing. Since we use ceramic pigments which are not CMYK oriented the conversion process is unique. Unfortunately we do not have soft proof work process to provide at this stage.” (English is not their native language.)

    They seem to be saying that they DO use ICC profiles, but that if they give them to me I won't be able to soft proof with my own software. My understanding is that ANY valid ICC profile can be used for soft proofing. Am I wrong?

  • #2
    You would select an ICC profile that works for your machine to display the colors appropriately using your inkset and your paper. But that is not necessarily what you are going to see when they print your piece. Especially where true earth pigments are used...

    ICC profiles are made specifically for the machine, media and ''inks'' being used. They are usually keyed to a matching system of some sort (in the US, it is Pantone coated most often.) The ICC profiles tell the machine what pattern to lay down the ink colors in order to come closest to the matching system on the specific media being printed. If I feed vinyl media into a solvent printer, I use the ICC profile for the vinyl. If I switch the media to wallcover, the ICC profile is changed to the wallcover profile. If I use the vinyl setting on the wallcover, the coatings on the media may be significantly different and will react differently to the inks being laid down. It would sort of be like selecting the photo paper profile for your desktop inkjet, then feeding plain paper into it, only worse.

    The ones used for porcelain will not convert properly to regular inkjet printer as they have profiled the ICC profile to work with their specific earth pigments, which, in true porcelain work, happens not to include a true magenta. Some placed do indeed have print-to-paper proofing capabilities. In this case the ICC profile uses the porcelain result as the standard, and color is keyed to the abilities of the pigments being used. I know of places that can do this and they do not hand out profiles.

    Their ICC profiles are home-grown and proprietary.

    Soft proof is usually a digital proof. Not happening.
    If you mean soft proof as in on paper rather than porcelain, you should be able to get that from your vendor.

    It's either that or rely on fire tests on blanks to be sure your critical colors are being hit. But most often, there is seldom enough time given before due date to go through that process. Porcelain finals with fired proofs = 6 to12 weeks depending on the quantity and number of final firings needed for the finished pieces.
    Last edited by PrintDriver; 05-01-2017, 07:22 AM.


    • #3
      Hi Seedpress and welcome to GDF.

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      • #4
        The printer manufacturer in question is Dip-Tech. Their printers use ceramic inks, but they are printed on glass and fired in a tempering oven. Their process is called “in-glass” printing. They build their printers from scratch. They are VERY expensive. A few competitors are nipping at their heels. It is a fascinating technology that may be a better archival choice than the best giclee. It doesn't look as good, though.

        I'm having a few samples printed now. But I can't soft proof. They have a very limited color pallet at the present stage. But that is rapidly improving. I think one of the three companies may be finally approaching the ability to do process color, but not yet.

        Dip-Tech's R.I.P. software has some soft proofing built in. But the clients of the fabricators have to use old-fashioned hard proofing. I'm trying to motivate Dip-Tech and one of their competitors to provide a soft proofing workflow for clients of the fabricators. It's an uphill battle!. They would do well to study how other wide-format printing technologies have brought the client fully into the soft proofing loop, which has increased profits, sped up the workflow, boosted customer satisfaction, and improved profits. Keeping ICC profiles proprietary is backward and stupid.






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