As the halcyon days of late summer pass and we drag out our sweaters and flannel in preparation for a proper chicago fall, it is only natural for our thoughts to return to those carefree times when our days were spent lounging by the lake, and taking endless bike rides.
At the Service Bureau we spend our summers preparing and fine-tuning our operation for the return of students. For me that means mostly creating profiles for any new papers and printers as well as fine tuning those already in our system.
What does this mean exactly?
First of all, I am talking about ICC profiles. I create custom profiles for all our papers and printers. Put simply, this is the way we ensure that the colors you see in your file are interpreted correctly by our printers. (we have 4 printers by the way, 2 Epson 9800′s, an Epson 11880 and our newest Epson 9900)
This is done first by printing color swatches. Thousands of them for every paper and printer we have.
12,000 color swatches waiting to be scanned
Then all the swatches must be “read” into the computer so the profiling software can compare the scanned results with what the program thinks the printed color should be. A few years back this meant reading them all with a handheld scanner. These days I get to use my best friend the Gretag-Macbeth IO scanning table and eye-one spectrophotometer. This takes a bit of time, but it’s mesmerizing to watch.
Once all the targets are read the program compares the results with its own data (tweaked to the parameters we tell it), then crunches the data and spits out a (hopefully) usable profile. If the results are not perfect, it’s back to printing and reading color swatches.
hours and hours of work
It’s all worth it though. The hours I spend creating these profiles ensure the highest quality of precision for your inkjet printing.
The weird part about it is that I actually enjoy it.