building n-channel profile for EFI XF

good morning. im lookin all over the net for a pretty specific question answered…

i would like to use XF for photo printing. so large gamut. and controll over all inks.

they have a HT driver for my Z3200ps that controlls CMYK+RGB…

the program itself is limited to a ECI2002 chart.

so… i did a lin with XF. no probs.

now i would like to build my own 7channel profile… using colorport for my DTP20 and profilemaker.

i print out the patches from a TIF that EFI recognizes as CMYK+RGB. CM turend OFF…
i can read it and build the profile. it looks ok in 3d…

i can patch it to the lin as well… but… when trying to print. efi states… no profile…

has anybody done an n-channel profile before??

thnx :unamused:

I have a few suggestions, some of which I hope will be helpful…

Firstly, at the risk of stating (asking?) the obvious, what did EFI/Fiery support technicians reply when you asked them? I’m guessing/hoping they are the best place to go for this type of info as they made the product. If you haven’t asked them, why not? They also have their own EFI specific forums too, but no idea how useful it is.

What version of XF are you using? Is it Colorproof XF v4.5 or v5.0? I am currently using Colorproof XF v4.5 with my 3880 & so far have been getting reasonably good results when profiling in RGB mode, selecting Photography in the profiling options, not Proof. I have no idea what version you’re using or how old it is but v4.5 definitely isn’t limited to ECI2002 testchart as there is also EFI’s own chart as well as IT8.7/3 & IT8.7/4 charts.

Regarding your process - what do you mean when you state “HT driver for my Z3200ps that controls CMYK+RGB”? Does HT imply Halftone/CMYK printing? If so, why aren’t you profiling in RGB mode, since you want the best photographic output, not necessarily the most accurate colour, as in proofing?

With the linearization you are performing, I can’t see that it can be of any use, or even used at all when trying to create your actual profile with any other program than Lintool/ColorManager, EFI & Colorproof’s own profiling app. You can’t actually use the linearization you create with XF until you have also created a (in their terminology) media profile (ICC profile) using Lintool/Color Manager. I’ve no idea how you are printing out the "TIF that EFI recognizes as CMYK+RGB. CM turend OFF… " but it will not be using or referencing the EFI linearization file you created earlier. This only happens when printing from the Lintool/Color Manager app in XF.

This also leads on to your problem with patching the profile to the linearization file - actually the other way around, lin patches to profile but it doesn’t matter. Either way, I’m guessing that more than likely this is happening because you haven’t used Lintool/Color Manager to create the profile. And why aren’t you using Lintool/Color Manager to create your profile in the first place? What is your reasoning behind trying to do half the job in XF & the other half in ProfileMaker?

Finally, I’ve never created an n-channel profile but I can’t see why it should be any different from creating an RGB or a CMYK profile - just printing charts, selecting options & reading patches. Shouldn’t be any more difficult than any other profile.

I would definitely suggest you try the entire process from start to finish with just 1 app, be it XF or ProfileMaker/ColorPort. Really, I think EFI support would be your best place to ask but not until you have tried creating your profile using XF & Lintool/Color Manager. Also, try doing it in RGB mode rather than CMYK+RGB/n-channel/CMYK+n.

Good luck!

"They also have their own EFI specific forums too, but no idea how useful it is. "
they handle all their support through this specific forum where my thread has been unanswered since monday.

so to start off: thank you very much for taking the time!

im using 4.0 … but this shouldnt be an issue here… because there is no RGB driver for my printer… only the HT one.

“why aren’t you profiling in RGB mode”… as i just said… this is the only mode supported.

"This only happens when printing from the Lintool/Color Manager app in XF. "

No. the way i discribed is the way to do it. you print your testcharts with CM off. lin of course is always turned on in that mode. thats the way it is done and efi recommends, too

"What is your reasoning behind trying to do half the job in XF & the other half in ProfileMaker? "

like i said in my post: efi is limited to the ECI2002 chart (of course IT87 as well but its even smaller!) i would like to use a custom chart with 2500 patches. and i would like to use different gamut mappings as well.

“Finally, I’ve never created an n-channel profile”

i appreciate your effort in helping… i pretty much know the basics of colormanagement and i am looking for advanced help specially in n-channel profiles.

and i realize this is a very sofisticated way of trying to get the most out of my printer and it kinda feels to go where boldly no man has gone before.

so to come back to your beginning question… THAT is why i havent been helped before… because so far no one knew the answers !

the lin+profile from xf with IT87 did not give satisfying results.
of course i did all this. and would like to go further.

I’m not sure if the EFI RIP can really control your 6 colors individually. There are very, very few RIPs that can actually do this. Just as an inkjet printer driver can control something like 12 different inks with just an input control of Red, Green and Blue - in the same way, most RIPs that drive more than four inks do the mixing behind the scenes. You really only get to control the CMYK going in - and the RIP handles the distribution to the other inks automatically. That’s how they can say they “control CMYK+RGB”.

Here’s what the help menu in ProfileMaker says:

When a MultiColor printing system is to be profiled, a digitally generated testchart file needs to be output. Unlike CMYK printing systems, where TIFF files are used, MultiColor printing systems use DCS 2.0 files (e.g. a 6-color CMYKOG Hexachrome Testchart). DCS 2.0 supports more than four fulltone channels.

A good test would be to create a DCS file or an EPS file in MeasureTool, and see if you can actually print that through your RIP. You would have to do that in order to make a profile anyway. I have never heard of multi-channel printing using TIFF.

well thank you very much again for your input patrick as well.

“I’m not sure if the EFI RIP can really control your 6 colors individually”

I am.

and it is either done through DCS or TIFFs with alpha channels.

like i said in the beginning the RIP “sees” the Tiff as CMYK+RGB… that is the way it handles the 7 color channels for the canon and the HPz3200 printers.

and like i also already said… the Z3200 ONLY comes with the HT driver.

that means you HAVE to controll all 7 channels… the rip doesnt

so if someone has actually worked with a 12 ink printer i am really keen on getting some actual experienced input.

thank you so much…

I have to say that the support from EFI sounds very poor, from your experiences. I’ve never had the need to ask for their assistance (and as I bought my Colorproof/dongle 2nd-hand I’m not sure if they would help me anyway) but I’m quite surprised that they haven’t even answered your question. I’ve only been using Colorproof for about 2-3months & only because I’ve always wanted to see for myself if there was any improvement in the quality of prints when using a RIP for photographic output. As I was able to get my copy reasonably cheap I decided to go for it & give it a try. So far I’m still not certain it’s really all that much better than the standard Epson driver & MonacoProfiler/ProfileMaker Pro custom profiles for RGB, but I am only just now trying to use their profile optimization so maybe that will make the difference? Have you tried the profile optimization & was it any good in your opinon?

As for the linearization & profling in seperate apps. I’m going to check & see how it works in v4.5 because I’m pretty sure in my version the lin doesn’t get used until patched to a profile.

I’ve read the manual almost cover to cover & in v4.5 there is certainly no mention of using any other applications for profiling, such as you suggest there is in v4.0 I’m begining to wonder if you might be better served upgrading to v4.5 or v5.0 because it seems they have upgraded their processes & smoothed out the user experience quite a bit. Have you considered upgrading? I’ve no idea if there is a cost or if it’s a free upgrade for v4.0 users because as I mentioned, I bought 2nd-hand.

If I can find the time I am going to try to build an n-channel profile for my 3880 as I know there is a halftone & also a contone driver for my 3880 in v4.5. When you say that the IT8.7 chart produced a lower quality profile than the ECI chart, I’m guessing you’re referring to the original IT8.7/3 chart, not IT8.7/4 which has 1617 patches - is that correct? I will use the newer IT8.7/4 chart. Obviously I am unable to build a CMYK+RGB profile as I don’t have those inks but hopefully a CMYKcmk(k) profile will have all the same options that the CMYK+RGB has.

Don’t dispair though, I’m sure there are many who have tried this in the past & had successful results, just by the fact that n-channel profiling has been in ProfileMaker Pro since at least v5.0 which is now getting on to at least 7+years old - there had to be some people somewhere who had positive results in the last 7 or so years. At least I sure hope so.

One last question, what do you mean when you said “Z3200 ONLY comes with the HT driver. that means you HAVE to controll all 7 channels… the rip doesnt”? How can it not control all channels - I’d think that if it didn’t control all channels, then there would be inks left unused. Or am I misunderstanding what you wrote?

Hope to have some good news for you soon (fingers crossed).

"Have you tried the profile optimization & was it any good in your opinon? "

if you wanna print photos this is not your choice.

its for proofing. and for that it is incredibly good!.. but it means that you “optimize” your media profile towards ANOTHER reference profile.
f.e. to simulate Iso coated with your epson.

"I’m pretty sure in my version the lin doesn’t get used until patched to a profile. "

of course it does. how else would you print the EFI patches to build the profile? look under the patches. it says no CM and lin active.

“Have you considered upgrading?” they did not change this process. it doesnt say anything about this in the poor manual. there is a pdf out that you can find if you google efi xf canon 12 ink printers

“n-channel profile for my 3880” like you realize this ONLY applies to canon’S and HP’S TWELVE ink printers… your epson does not have any RGB inks!

you surely can use the HT driver for your epson which will support the light inks seperately. i am not sure if this will give you better results… its not hard to do it tho. just uses paper… you can change the starting point of the light inks.

I would always use the biggest chart. yes.

well ususaly this n-channel stuff is for presses who ad another color. not for inkjetprinters as they have only been out now for like 4-5 years… and first only ran with cantone anyway.

“Z3200 ONLY comes with the HT” yes. it means you HAVE to controll all inks. no contone driver. it works perfect for proofing! i get excellent results and 100% ISO coated coverage and the best spotcolors avaliable.

BUT its quite a lot of work and paper and inks needed to get it dialed in!

im just trying to go another step ahead…

the same why you bought the rip to see if you can get more out of your prints… im just another step ahead i would say.

i read so much online about people arguing about a rip or not… that Qimage does it all…

now MY results are… the shadow details are the best with a rip!.. because you linearilize the overall ink limit…!.. that does the kick…

you still have to decide if you wanna do all the work.!

I don’t know if I have the answer to your specific problem, but at least my experiences may be more relevant. I am linearizing and profiling CMYKOG for Epson 9900 and Ergosoft RIP, using both the GPS profiler that is part of that RIP, and the new i1Profiler externally. It sounds to me like you have gotten most of the way there. My RIP accepts both CMYK tiff + alpha channel files, and multichannel DCS 2.0 files. ColorPort produces N channel charts as the mentioned tiffs, both for linearizations and profile charts, i1Profiler produces DCS files. Right off the bat we have a problem… and ColorPort wil not import i1Profler n channel patches for tiff chart building. So postscrpt in the RIP is necessary for using i1Profiler.
At any rate, it sounds like you are past that too. My suggestion would be to make sure you are building out v2 profiles, your RIP may not like v4 profiles, if you have that option.
Seems to me you are doing everything right, successfully linearizing 7 channels, importing and printing 7 channel charts, and building the profiles.
Have you opened them in ColorThink to verify? With a linearization you should be able to verify easily that each channel is printing isolated from the others.
Bottom line- I think EFI should be able to tell you how to use industry standard n channel profiles in their RIP.
That’s where I’d start…

Tyler… yeah… that sounds very familiar… we are pretty much talkin the same language i guess :wink:

im still waiting for a reply from efi… :frowning:

i dont have colorthink. i can open the profile in gamut works and profile editor. it says its a 7cr profile… it looks a little funny in the shadows. like a cork screw… but this could be cuz the lin is missing when i see it. and efi states you cant really view n channel profiles…

what do u mean postscript is nes in the rip?

i used monaco profiler to build the n channel profile. saved the TIFF. opened it in PS. inverted the alpha channels. and saved it again.
turnd CM off in the rip. using the LIN only. the TIFF is recognized as CMYK+RGB … all channels printed. i verifyied with printing some TIFFs with erasing channels…

patched the profile to the lin… worked too…

just when i try to print a picture… i have the feeling the CM is not working. as if it is expecting an n-channel picture as well …

Postscript in the RIP is required to print DCS 2.0 charts to make profiles. i1Profiler only creates this kind of file for n channel profile charts. That was a disappointment to me since the previous software from which I was upgrading, Monaco, creates the tiffs + alpha files for profiling. Many of us photography printers don’t have the ability to print postscript files as it tends to be an expensive additional option for the RIPs and we rarely if ever need to print postscript files. I suspect this is not a problem for you as it sounds like your RIP can print postscript, anyone proofing would need that. This meant I had to upgrade my RIP just to use the new profiling software, bummer.
I tried many ways to save out i1Profiler n channel patch sets to then import into ColorPort to build the charts as tiffs, but I could not do it. Since both pieces of software are made by the same company, more bummers…

I don’t think any of that applies to you, but you asked about postscript…

It sounds like you have done everything right, but you think the source to n channel conversions are not happening? Are you building v2 or v4 profiles? Is there an info palette in the RIP displaying source (RGB?) in and CMYKRGB out values? With Photoshop5 you can convert to n channel profiles in the advanced dialogue but I don’t think it will save out the files the way you need. Also, it seems to see some profiles and not others… frustrating.

The main problem is that we are both trying to work with the bleeding edge here, and I can’t find others to bounce experiences off of. We now have n channel printers, n channel RIPs, n channel profilers, and very few users putting it all together. The people providing us with these products seem to have less experience than us actually… need I say bummer again?

I have everything working now, but with catastrophically bad CMYOG profiles from i1Profiler one time and ok the next with slightly different settings, with no rational reasons why so far…

"I don’t think any of that applies to you, but you asked about postscript… "…
yeah… but thats a great conversation … i like that!

and. bummer… i know what you mean… to stay aside of the original theme as well… the worst is that when GM and Xrite joined the kicked out the pulse and continued with that plastic i1!!.. and boom profilemaker is not even supporting!! the pulse… ridiculous!! all the RIPS support it till today!.

k back to the point… and… which is interesting… the rip of course as u mentioned has 2 postscript engines. neither prints the DCS from colorport nor from monaco profiler right! (it does the ones from profilemaker tho which i cant read :laughing: … i opened them in PS to rename the channels so the RIP sees them… but the cyan channel is way to dark blue when printed. i could not figure out why!! using the TIFFs from monaco the charts print out fine! :laughing:

“We now have n channel printers, n channel RIPs, n channel profilers, and very few users putting it all together”

EXACTLY… and thats what really frustrates me! and then they just say. oh u dont need a RIP… the quality of the built in print engine is so superior!! well ok… but how do u know if you never did the REAL stuff??

“The people providing us with these products seem to have less experience than us actually”… YES… that could be my phrase!!!

tell me more about your experience with those CMYOG profiles!.. this is goint to be an interesting piece here for others, too …

which program do u use for printing? how does that implement the n channel profile?.

I continue to get color that I perceive as cleaner and more finely delineated with the ability to linearize and limit each ink, control total ink and K generation, with a RIP and CMYK and now CMYKOG profiling, than with the OEM RGB drivers. Also, I do some ink setups for special projects that require individual ink control, impossible with the RGB drivers. Also, special projects with unusual art papers… uncoated fine art or even Japanese papers… this kind of work is impossible without a RIP.

I don’t really know how much interest there is out there for these topics, and even activity on this list is quite low. But my experiences are with Ergosoft, in combination with their profiler and also Monaco, from CMYK and now into CMYKOG and starting to use i1Profiler.
Early n channel Ergosoft work with HP and Canons was difficult, too much ink going down and I never tried it, but now the new x900 Epson setups they seem to have gotten it right. Not sure exactly what you are asking by implementation, but once each ink is setup, resolutions, dot sizes, light inks, linearization and limiting, then total ink, it’s ready for a profile, once that is in place any file is dropped in and multichannel conversion is handled on the fly while printing… I assume most RIPs are like this but some don’t give access to the extra colors, they are built automatically.
Doing things this way is hard, much trial and error, and way way too much product troubleshooting.
Here’s the lastest-
i1Profiler has the user set a total ink limit at the chart building stage… fine… but it turns out that making charts with limits low enough to keep from bleeding make crap profiles, even if at the profile build stage you set total ink limits in line. For example, a 400% chart with a 250% TI profile build is OK, a 250% chart with a 250% TI build is terrible. We’re on our own to track each of these issues down and get things to work, where would one go to get that kind of suggestion to start with? Had I not wasted time andpaper and ink on it I’d never have known why those profiles sucked. And their patch color combo choices are stupid, if you set a total limit at 400%, it might put a 100% C 100% M 100% Y 100% K patch in there, for example. It’ll bleed like crazy, and no final profile build with any reasonable amount of GCR and limiting will EVER map an input color to that ink build. So all it does is makes for charts that are messy and may not measure.
Even worse- the Isis uses little black diamond shapes at the ends of each patch row to keep the chart aligned during measurement, that are black. i1Profiler put 100% of EVERY ink at the alignment shapes and the black starter bar. So, with 6 ink charts, there is 600% ink making those shapes!!! Of course that bleeds like crazy and the shapes are too indestinct for the device to keep the chart aligned during measurement so it fails, can’t read it. They should just be made with K ink only, DUH!!.

my rant for the day. I don’t know a single other person out there for whom these issues are relevant, and I know some amazing advanced printers. Roland Divinci users perhaps, but that’s a closed turnkey setup made to work on it’s own without the need to work in other manufacturers.
Back to work.

Monster, did you get your reply from EFI support yet? What did they suggest?

yeah Tyler… I like that!!.. haha :laughing:

specially the diamonds… that sounds so typical!..

and i would luv to see some of your work!.. sounds very interesting… indeed!

one thing that you mention is the K generation… neutral gray scale.

actually i still find this problematic.

f.e. the OEM HP driver automatically only uses gray and black inks with equal RGB values… so i get a totally neutral grayscale. even with color pictures.

when i do the lin with EFI… the only influence i have is the dot gain? right?.. and it still hardly uses the black ink… how could i correct this?

@aaron… no answer in weeks

So not only have they (EFI) failed to resolve your problem, they haven’t even had the decency to at least reply to your query?? :imp: That is absolutely unacceptable from a company claiming to be one of the best in their field of… ummm… expertise?? Yeah, right! I’m now SO glad I didn’t buy my copy of XF new, at full retail price.

I always thought that half of the reason RIPs generally cost so much is because the support is meant to be second to none - not none at all. At least that’s the impression they give from their website. You read the garbage on their site, claiming how efficient & awesome & life-changing their software is but then when you actually do need their assistance they don’t even diginify you with an answer. Appalling.

At least I can say the same definitely does not apply to Chromix.

yeah its kinda strange… cuz they do all the support through this forum… which is quite quiet :wink:

the retailers do a lot of support… but as tyler states, too… this is just kind of … where boldly no man has gone before…

Having just started reading Vinnie Versace’s incredible & extremely informative Welcome to Oz 2.0, and knowing how precise & specific his requirements are for his prints - to him a photo ain’t a photo until it hits the paper, and his prints are of the utmost highest quality & just so beautiful - I got to thinking about how he approaches printing.

I’m just wondering what someone like him does in terms of what you are trying to achieve? His prints are known to be some of the finest available but I’ve not much of an idea about his profiling process other than he uses X-Rite hardware & (maybe?) their software too.

And what of other master printers like John Paul Caponigro, Greg Gorman & myriad other incredible artists? Wouldn’t some of them have approached this method of printing, as in complete control over all channels & every aspect of how the ink is squirted onto the substrate, in all the years they have been at it?

Actually, I’m going to write to Versace & ask him directly with specific mention of the problems you’ve been having Monster. I’ll let you know what he says - hopefully he’ll be a bit more responsive than EFI have been.

I use Ergosoft Texprint 14, with Colorgps to build my profiles. I opted to focus my efforts on colorgps and using it to it’s full potential. My dealer’s opinion after testing Monaco profiler, and colorgps with ergosoft was that overall colorgps was simpler to use and was on average more accurate. His opinion was that monaco profiler provided more ability to customize profiles than with colorgps. I had a color and printing consultant in from Germany all last week, and he has used them all. He likes to build profiles with argyll color. So go figure. What is the best? Chevy, Ford, or Mercedes? Depends on what one wants to do, and perhaps all of them with proper training and investment in time, can output great results.

On Sat, Apr 30, 2011 at 12:06 PM, TylerB < (> wrote:

Matthew H. Owens
Fine Canvas Prints
Fine Art Services

I use GPS frequently and with full confidence after several years of working with it, it’s come a long way. I use Monaco as well, for other kinds of results. Everything has it’s place and strong points…
Monster, to make sure your blacks are being used as much as possible in the neutral axis, the place to do it is in the profiling software, not the RIP and it’s controls. You want as much GCR as possible, since you have a good neutral 4 part black.

ok. makes sense… what would your black settings be in profilemaker ?

and to get back to the origin…

before i wanted to create my own 7c profile i used EFI. did the lin and then used efi and the IT87.4 chart to build a profile.

today i used the OEM paper preset and monaco for a 1724 RGB profile.

the difference is… the trinsitions are very smooth and perfect in the RGB profile… but its not nearly as colorfull as the EFI one. specially the blue is a lot more saturated in EFI.
the gradients in EFI are horrible tho.
and the saturation in the EFI profile leeds to pictures that are overly colorful.