[Printing-architecture] [Gimp-print-devel] [Openicc] Colour

Chris Murphy lists at colorremedies.com
Sat Nov 14 02:10:21 PST 2009

On Nov 14, 2009, at 12:13 AM, Michael Sweet wrote:
> That's the kicker - most inkjet drivers use vendor color matching by default, and usually with vendor-specific "enhancements" that don't get turned off when you tell the driver to go into ColorSync mode.  We file bugs with the vendors all the time for this... :(

I understand, vendors regularly get things wrong.

> The API for setting up an identity transform isn't public but *is* available through developer technical support. Basically this hasn't been included in public documentation because even the "experts" writing profiling software have used the API incorrectly (for various reasons the API is semi-complicated), and we don't want to encourage the use of device color on Mac OS X except when it is actually needed (which is basically only when printing a target or doing application color management...)

a.) Sounds like it's too complicated.
b.) Sounds like it's too complicated for the documentation Apple is willing to provide.
c.) Vendors are still getting things wrong.

> ... and thus more likely to be used.  It is hard to turn off ColorSync on purpose - there are very few scenarios that actually require it.

Sure. Any scenario involving calibration, characterization, or application prematching, requires it. That would be a few scenarios. But they are rather mission critical scenarios for those who depend on it.

It doesn't seem like making ColorSync so hard to turn off has really achieved anything, but lots of problems over the past 5 or so years, for professionals who depend on printing, especially to inkjet printers.

> The problem is that DeviceRGB was being used for everything, not just for those cases that needed it, so it was basically impossible to know what the intent was and get consistent output from applications.

That was an opt in system of color management. The default was DeviceRGB. I am not proposing that model. I'm proposing simplifying the opt out mechanism, and making it robust. Right now it's the year 2009 and this is as bad and inconsistent as it has ever been.

> Epson (and all of the other printer vendors) work closely with Apple engineering, but there are still problems that slip through our combined testing.  The problem I described has come and gone for specific drivers many times, and often re-appears in new drivers the first time we get an update from them - we reject any that we catch, but as you can imagine we can't test every driver and printer so problems *do* slip through.

Well if Apple didn't operate like the KGB, as though everything is such a huge fricking secret, and clearly and thoroughly documented how things are supposed to work, it would at least make it easier to identify what is incorrect behavior, and whose bugs these are. 

>> So, presently we're unable to reliably print profile targets from Photoshop, using No Color Management (in Photoshop) and Off (No Color Adjustement) in a wide assortment of newer Epson drivers. What happens is, I get a completely borked profile target in printed form. Inspection of the PDF spool file indicates source≠destination, and thus ColorSync is going to come riding in to convert the job.
> We are working with both Adobe and Epson on this issue...

Michael, yes, I have no doubt about that. The problem is that these sorts of color problems with printing are recurring themes. Epson is not the only one who has had problems, although they very well may be the worst offender. But we don't have these kinds of problems on Windows. That should be a WTF moment for Apple. Sane people have started to wonder, rationally, if there is something wrong with the architecture when there are so many recurring problems of this sort, through multiple major revisions of the operating system. We've experienced color related problems with Tioga drivers too.

> DeviceRGB (like what we went through in 10.4 and earlier) only led to more problems since all output was uncalibrated.

There is a very rational, workable medium between totally uncalibrated, which is not what I'm advocating, and forcing everything to be ICCBased. It is fundamentally inappropriate for calibration/characterization/prematch data to be ICCBased. That is a serious systemic problem, and a cause for many of the problems we've been having.

DeviceRGB + an OutputIntent is not the same thing as what you had with 10.3 and earlier. It is not uncalibrated. And I'm not suggesting most applications would have such PDF spool files. Just the ones that explicitly call a particular "calibration API".

Presently, it is possible for PDF spool files to appear with an OutputIntent of None, which I find equally baffling to the lack of DeviceRGB. In my view the PDF spool file is formed exactly backwards. OutputIntent should be required, as it is in all PDF/X. That is the implicit source for device data, enabling the soft proofing of even application prematched data - or even retargeting to a different output device, if necessary.

Chris Murphy

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