Custom Printer Profile Service Instructions

The aim of the game

What we are trying to do is get your printer to make a print of the ‘Profiling Target’ without Photoshop or the printer's driver making any colour adjustments along the way. This usually means making sure various functions are disabled!

Initial Checks

This is a good time to check that your Photoshop Colour Management Policy settings are correct.

In Photoshop, click Edit, click Color Settings

The Color Settings panel appears. We are interested in the section shown below

Color Settings

Doing this check now will ensure that you do not accidentally allow Photoshop to apply color changes to the Printer Profile Targets. When you have made the settings like those above, click OK

Perform a printer Nozzle Check

I cannot over stress the importance of performing a nozzle check. If less than 100% of the nozzles are firing, the process will not work properly.

The Nozzle Check process is simply getting the printer to do a diagnostic check of the print heads and is often a case of printing a special Test Page that will allow you to inspect some colour patches to see if there are any white gaps in the printout. The white gaps indicate that some of the ink nozzles are blocked. If this is the case you trigger a Head Cleaning cycle and print another Test Page to check that the issue has been resolved. Having done this process your printer is in the correct state for Printer Profiling.

The Nozzle Check/Test Page is usually found in the printer driver although sometimes it can be activated on the printers hardware control panel (if it has one). I recommend you consult your user manual but below is an indication of the process assuming your Nozzle Check/Test Page can be accessed from the Printer Driver.

print prefs

Click Start, Click Control Panel, Double-click Printers and Faxes, Right-click the icon for your printer, click Printing Preferences

You have now accessed your Printer Driver. Somewhere in the driver there is usually a tab or button labeled something like, Maintenance, Utility, Nozzle Check, Head Check or Test Page. Once you have found the correct tab or button it's usually a case of loading some plain A4 paper into the printer and following the instructions provided by the Printer Driver.

Study the Nozzle Check/Test Page pattern carefully and if you see any gaps you need to trigger the printers Head Cleaning process. The controls for this are usually in the same area of the Printer Driver as the Nozzle Check/Test Page. Once the Head Clean has been completed, the printer may produce another Nozzle Check/Test Page automatically or you must trigger another one manually. You need to do this to ensure that the head cleaning worked. Occasionally another round of cleaning is required.

Download and open the Profile Target image

Download the latest Profile Target here.

Open the image in Photoshop. On opening you may get a message such as "The Document [NAME]does not have an embedded profile". Select Leave as is (don’t color manage) since we do not want to alter or attempt to manage colour in any way during this process.

Print The Target

Click File,click Print

  • You must print the Target at 100%
  • Make sure the document profile is showing as "Untagged RGB"
  • Set the Colour Handling to "No Colour Management"

Page Setup

Click Page Setup, click Printer, select your printer from the list, click Properties


Page Setup

Click Page Setup, clickPrinter, select your printer from the list, clickProperties

This takes you to your printer's driver where you need to make appropriate Media Type settings for the media you are using and set the Print Quality that you intend to print with.

Media Type

The presets in the driver are often named in line with the printer manufacture's papers. For other manufacturer's papers you need simply to select the preset paper type that is most similar to one you will actually be using. When selecting an appropriate type think about the following things.
  • Is it a gloss or matte paper
  • Is it a light or heavyweight paper
  • What sort of ink load can it handle. Plain paper can handle far less ink than a heavy matte fine art paper for example.
Often the paper manufacturer will include a data sheet that will indicate the printer settings they recommend for a given printer and paper combination.

Print Quality

Having selected the appropriate Paper/Media Type, you need to set the output Print Quality. This should be clearly labeled somewhere in the driver and will usually offer a number of choices.

  • Choose the best or second best output quality offered by the printer. If it states output in Dots Per Inch (DPI). Choose a setting above 1000dpi if possible.
  • If 'Uni-Directional' printing can be selected it's usually a good idea. This is often slower but better quality.
  • Select Multi Passes if available (builds the ink up more slowly) and usually gives better quality.
  • Deselect any features like Edge Smoothing or Finest Detail.

Turn Off Colour Management This bit is critical...

There should be Colour Controls within the driver. The main thing you need to do is turn off any Colour Management, essentially you are telling the driver to simply process the raw colour data it receives without trying to make any adjustments to it. This is usually a case of selecting a control that says No Colour Management or Application Color Management or something to this effect.

Often there are also Colour Controls that allow the user to increase or decrease amounts of colours or blacks and it may use terms like lightness, darkness, density or saturation. These controls should all be set to Zero. I.e. Make no adjustment.

Save your settings

Having set the printer up for a printer profile to be made it's a good idea to save the settings you have used. If there is a save settings button in the Printer Driver, click it and enter a memorable name for the setting. This will come in very handy for future printing. If there is no such control, take a few screen shots of the various settings windows in the driver so that you have a visual reference for the future. You can take screen shots of an active window by pressing ALT + Print Screen on your keyboard. You then need to paste (CTRL + V) the images into any application that can handle images such as Photoshop or a Word document.

Hit Print!

ClickOKuntil you're back to thePrint screen. Make sure you have paper loaded in the printer and clickPrint.Repeat the process for the second page of the target.

Check the prints and let them dry.

Having made your prints, have a good look at them (be careful not to touch the ink). Check they printed correctly with no cropping. Each patch should be a clean patch of colour with no banding or striping.

While inks are often touch dry immediately they all take time to cure and become colour stable. We recommend that you leave the prints to cure for 24 hours before packaging to send to us.

Send in your targets and payment

Once your Target prints have cured, write the following information in the white border: Interleave each print with plain copy paper and back the package with a piece of stiff card. Pop the whole lot into an envelop along with any cheque or postal order for payment and post it in to us.Tip: As long as you have interleaved with paper also use a plastic sleeve to protect the package from moisture.

You can order and pay for Printer Profiles online or send in a cheque with your targets. Make sure you include your email address as this is how we send the custom ICC Profiles back to you.