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For practical reasons, creating ICC profiles requires Unlike Photoshop, using an editor will
making some assumptions about the true behavior of not affect the numerical colors values in
the device that’s being profiled. Tweaking the color that the image file; instead, it uses the image
results from such a profile requires good software. as a visual guide, and the alterations
take place in the ICC profile.

Fine-tuning your ICC profiles One of the most powerful profile editors
I’ve used is Kodak ColorFlow Custom
Color Tools v3.1. This Photoshop plug-in
allows me to edit profiles with the
To truly profile the behavior of an RGB conversion, the numerical color values Photoshop tools I know so well. First, I
output device such as a printer, you’d that are sent to the printer. Even the select Custom Color Profile Edit from
need to measure 16.7 million color best profiling packages sometimes yield the import menu, which brings up the
patches. Besides its being a totally results that make it necessary to edit dialog you see in Figure 1.
unreasonable task, it would probably one of the profile tables to get more Then I select the profile I wish to edit, as
make the resulting profile larger than accurate results. A printer profile might well as an image to display as a reference,
many image files. Therefore, ICC produce excellent output, but poor soft
Figure 1
profiling software samples far fewer proofs that don’t accurately reflect the
color patches, then makes a number of prints when viewed properly under a
assumptions to complete the profile. light box. Never alter a display to match
In general, good software packages a print. The correct solution is to edit
sample 300 to 1,200 patches, and can then the ICC profiler table that affects the
build well-behaved printer profiles. Occa- appearance of images onscreen.
sionally, you’ll want to make minor tweaks Sometimes the printer profile is off.
or improvements in the color that results To detect such problems, test print a
from such a profile, and this requires representative group of diverse images.
using good profile editing software. It’s Perhaps there’s too much yellow in the
important to remember that editing reds. Like Photoshop, a good profile
profiles is not a fix for poorly built profiles. editor will allow you to selectively color
ICC printer profiles relies on two correct the reds alone. In fact, most profile
tables to control color; one affects the editors prompt you to open an image
onscreen soft proof, and one affects the and use it as a guide to editing the profile.

Figure 2.

xx • March 2005 • Professional Photographer • xx

the one that the ColorFlow tools will use to further edits are needed, I simply call profile editor on hand. There are other
reflect the edits in the ICC profile. When the up the appropriate adjustment layer, profile editors on the market, some with
image opens, the software adds a vast num- tweak the edit, build a new profile, and powerful tools and capabilities not
ber of colored pixels in a strip across the output another test print. found in the Kodak’s. But I rarely need
bottom of the document (Figure 2). Kodak Because ColorFlow Custom Color Tools to make radical modifications, and
calls this strip of tiny color patches a Tracer, uses multiple adjustment layers for edits, ColorFlow Custom Color Tools
and it’s a Kodak-patented technology. it affords precise control for minute edits. generally fulfills my needs. My software
All my edits are applied to these patches The other major benefit of ColorFlow is a prerelease version; the release of the
and used to create a new edited profile. Custom Color Tools is that I can independ- market version is pending. Keep an eye
I work in Photoshop adjustment layers to ently edit either the preview or the output out on this product’s pricing and
apply each edit to the profile. The adjust- table, and edit one or all of the rendering availability at n
ment layers can then be used as individual intents. ColorFlow Custom Color can

edit lists, allowing me to make as many edit input, monitor, and output profiles,

It’s important
edits to the profile as necessary. so it’s quite flexible. I use it mostly to
When I’ve finished editing the image, edit output profiles for printers.
I simply select the Custom Color Profile I do want to point out that profile to remember that
Export menu item, which calls up a
standard save dialog where I can save
editing isn’t a process every user needs to
rush out and try. But when the time comes
editing profiles
the edited profile name and location. I when your custom ICC profile isn’t fulfilling is not a fix for poorly
test the profile by printing a sample; if it’s potential, it’s good to have a reliable built profiles.

xx • March 2005 • Professional Photographer • xx