What is an ICC profile ?
In concrete terms, an ICC (pronounce i.c.c.) is a file which contains the whole range of colors which can be reproduced or seen (it is called gamut) by peripherals such as screens, printers, or scanners.
As far as printers are concerned, an ICC profile enables their users to determine and foresee their performance when they are used with a definite type of ink and paper.
Why ICC profiles are usefull ?
Through the printing and analysis of an ICC target composed of color patches, an ICC profile is created. It defines what and how the printer can print.
Each measured patch is analysed according to several criteria : color, saturation, luminance, paper white temperature. Any optical bleaching agents contained in the paper are also detected.
Thanks to the analysis of the performances of your printer, each color can be printed with the proper hue and luminance ; and the colored dominances which sometimes appear on your printings, especially black and white ones, can be corrected.
The creation of a tailor-made profile will enable you to use your printer at full capacity.
- All the printable colors are calibrated and defined,
- The gradations are regular and show no color irregularities,
- You save on ink, on paper, and it’s also a time-saver.
How many profiles do you need ?
An ICC profile is created for one- and only one - specific combination between a printer, a type of paper, and a brand of ink. If one of them changes, the profile will not fit anymore.
For example, if you print your pictures on mat paper, and on glossy paper, you will need an ICC profile for the mat paper and another profile for the glossy one.
For example, if you print out a photograph on mat paper, using an ink the same brand as your printer, you will need a different ICC profile from the one you would use to print out the same photo on the same paper , with an adaptable ink.
Why is a specific black and white profile necessary ?
Each sort of paper gives off a specific white .Some of them are rather warm , others rather cold.
When you do black and white printings, the ink doesn’t cover the whole paper. In the parts covered with no or only a little ink, it is important to keep the paper white tonality.
If the paper white color isn’t faithfully kept, irregularities are very likely to appear in the gradations and on the brightest parts of the picture. The paper white tonality is not in keeping with that of the profile. You don’t get a coherent picture.
As far as black and white printings are concerned, the tonality of the profile has got to correspond with that of the paper white. A profile whose tonality in the grey range coincides with that of the paper white will therefore have to be created : a profile appropriate to black and white.