[Openicc] [Gutenprint Color Management] Will my prints look good?

edmund ronald edmundronald at gmail.com
Sat Jun 25 09:17:29 PDT 2011

I wanted to indicate that we really have an issue, so it doesn't come as a
surprise later. This issue already presents for Mac and Windows.

For the past 5 years ICC color management has been becoming a trainwreck in
the prosumer community, because the ICC process is actually suited for print
industry quality control, and desktop publishing, and not for consumer
settings. Now the consumers are basically being told to use a steam
locomotive as a vacation vehicle, and unsurprisingly many are trying to go
off the tracks.

So why don't we do a persona analysis:

-  David who uses Gutenprint to drive a legacy big printer attached to a
Mac. This is job-related.

-  Peter is a techie who is also a hobby photographer; he likes using Linux.

- Jane is an 18 year old in Greece, whose parents bought her a $150 Ubuntu
Netbook instead of a Mac because of the bad economy :)


Daniel can be expected to calibrate his screen, he can be expected to view
his prints in decent light, he can get his own profiles made if ours don't
make him happy, and finally he will only complain if *our* color management
doesn't match *their* color management. If we hear from Daniel, we quite
possibly have a software bug to address.

Peter is going to drive us crazy. He has no prior experience of color
management,  he views his prints in his room in the evening, and they won't
match his display which is a laptop set to the backlight's native color
temperature. We need a way to explain politely to him that in his case
screen and print won't match, so he can either live with that, or correct
his pictures in the image processing program or in the print dialog - you
guys choose.

Jane just wants a way to make some prints. She doesn't even want to open
GIMP or equivalent. She is using cheap no-name paper for which we don't
really have a profile. I'd say we need to offer her a print-dialog level
override for density and hue etc. and it needs to be a setting that can be
saved. If Jane doesn't get what she wants, she won't bug us, in fact we'll
never know it, but we lose in the long run.


On Sat, Jun 25, 2011 at 5:33 PM, Robert Krawitz <rlk at alum.mit.edu> wrote:

> On Sat, 25 Jun 2011 16:32:44 +0200 (MEST), Kai-Uwe Behrmann wrote:
> > Am 25.06.11, 15:05 +0200 schrieb edmund ronald:
> >> I'm the Gutenprint color geek, I guess. As such, I guess  in a way my
> job is
> >> also to manage expectations.
> >>
> >> I don't think we are going to live in a perfect world. Color managed
> Linux
> >> users are not going to see perfection.
> >
> > Perfection is a big word on all levels of expertise.
> >
> >> Screen and print won't match in most consumer scenarios, although they
> may
> >> and should match on *our* systems. We should be well aware of that.
> >
> > agreed
> >
> >> For our purposes -Gutenprint- I think we should have agreement that
> >> profiling will bring the print system into a well known state, which
> >> incidentally means a decent screen to print match in strong print
> viewing
> >> lighting, using a calibrated screen.
> >>
> >> Users should be free to move from this state, later, and tune the print
> so
> >
> > ... but not at cost of becoming ambiguous. Either the printing is in
> > ICC mode and colour calibration related options are grayed out or it
> > is work in free style mode.
> No way.  We shouldn't be absolutely preventing users from doing
> something that may be useful to them.  Having a warning or something
> is fine, but absolutely preventing users from overriding settings
> because of the possibility of ambiguity or because *some* users
> *might* get confused and do something wrong, is simply being
> gratuitously restrictive.
> >> they are comfortable  their own esthetics, screen and viewing condtions.
> >
> > The other way around will be to adapt viewing conditions description
> > in the CMS settings for a better document to screen colour
> > transform.
> Which may not be possible or practical for a given user.
> > If thats not enough, a different or even custom profile can be
> > recommended to users with high colour quality expectations.
> Which might be easier said than done.
> >> Telling users to go out and buy a viewing booth is not going to cut it.
> If
> >> they say "my prints are too dark", we need to tell them, yes, that is
> >> because you have a profile that is specifically tailored to irrealistic
> >> industry-standard viewing conditions. And, if necessary we should be
> >> prepared to tell them clearly that they need to compensate by eye for
> their
> >> own esthetics and viewing condition psychophysics.
> >
> > IMHO these expectations, even though well drawn, are still too high
> > to what most users want. We see users, which do not know the maning
> > of one button in the colour management tab and are highly scared to
> > have to think around that toppic, as it will take time, bring
> > frustration and extra costs. So they do not want tweaks of any kind,
> > but a clear way to let a colour guru like you say: "These are the
> > colours from this driver for your printer."
> Users don't *have* to make any changes.  Have a check box labeled
> "Allow override (advanced users only!)" or the like that they have to
> select in order to make any changes from the predefined settings.  If
> they insist on checking that box and making changes, what's the worst
> that will happen?  They'll get results they don't like.  They won't
> fall off a 1000' cliff or lose their life savings.  Then they'll learn
> better for the next time.
> > To meet the demands of some people, who want tweaks and custom
> > profiles, is fine. But the above glueless majority is IMO best
> > served to see calibration state related options only grayed out in
> > ICC mode. The most obvious thing is to remove the current ICC
> > profile from the actual options and only then let users play with
> > the calibration state. This way we preserve freedom of choice and
> > can provide simplicity in a default workflow. To get the new
> > calibration combined with the ICC profile it can be embedd and
> > done. Thats a very clear and noticeable modification similiar to
> > reprofiling. This matches as well with expectations of expert users,
> > which want see a clear signal, when a calibration state/ICC profile
> > combo has altered. The fact that expert users and beginners have
> > very similiar expectations should guide us in designing the systems
> > and UIs. I do not think power users, which tweak many jobs with new
> > calibration settings and want therefor the most easy access to
> > colour related calibration settings, are a good primary target.
> I disagree -- vehemently.  I think we can accommodate everyone just
> fine.
> --
> Robert Krawitz                                     <rlk at alum.mit.edu>
> Tall Clubs International  --  http://www.tall.org/ or 1-888-IM-TALL-2
> Member of the League for Programming Freedom  --  http://ProgFree.org
> Project lead for Gutenprint   --    http://gimp-print.sourceforge.net
> "Linux doesn't dictate how I work, I dictate how Linux works."
> --Eric Crampton
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