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HP Photosmart 7960 Photo Printer support

Overview of Advanced Color Management

  • PrintPrint

Introduction

The HP Photosmart 7960 Windows color management solution was designed to meet a broad range of printing needs. For basic printing, default automatic color processing delivers good results. For professional color control, printer driver settings enable advanced driver color management features, including support for the Adobe RGB color space, and application-based ICC color management.
Support for ICC profiles is available in printer driver version 5.1 and later. ICC enables profile-based color management solutions. ColorSync and Windows ICM are specific implementations of ICC color management. For more general information on ICC color management, please see www.color.org.

Accessing the color management settings in the printer driver

Follow the steps below to access the color management options.
  1. From the program that will generate the document to be printed click File.
  2. Click Print.
  3. Click the Properties button.
  4. Click the Color tab.
For color printing, use the Color Space pull-down menu to select the specific color space that the printer will use to interpret image data (see Figure 1). The default setting is sRGB, which is the standard color space for virtually all cameras, scanners, monitors, and Web-page documents. AdobeRGB is a color space that is commonly used in high-end digital photography. Selecting AdobeRGB will cause the printer to interpret all images as being in the AdobeRGB color space. The ICM Color Management selection essentially turns off driver-based color management. Selecting ICM Color Management tells the printer that incoming color is already color-managed, and the driver is not to do any color conversions to the color image data.
For printing black and white photographs, Print in Grayscale should be selected (see Figure 1). In addition, the printer should be configured with the HP 59 gray ink cartridge.
Figure 1: HP Photosmart 7960 Printer properties window
NOTE:To use a different color space setting as the driver default, click Start, Settings, Printers and Faxes, right-click the printer name, click Printing Preferences, and click Color. Change the Color Space setting and click OK.

Using the default sRGB mode

The default sRGB color space is the most common setting for print jobs. As mentioned, most images are sRGB, and using sRGB delivers automatic high-quality color without user intervention. When sRGB is selected, the driver controls the color management. Color management should not be attempted with ICC profiles while the driver is set to sRGB mode. Doing so will usually result in lower color fidelity.

Using the AdobeRGB mode

The AdobeRGB Color Space mode is designed to provide compatibility with emerging camera functionality. This mode can be used for printing photos from digital cameras that support the Adobe RGB color space. For example, if a camera is set to Adobe RGB while capturing photos, those photos can be printed from any application by using this color space selection. For print jobs that involve significant editing or graphics composition in the Adobe RGB color space, ICC color management may give better results. Color management should not be attempted with ICC profiles while the driver is set to AdobeRGB mode. Doing so will usually result in lower color fidelity.

Using the ICM color management mode

ICM color management should be selected for the following reasons:
  • Creating ICC profiles to manage printer color
  • When using an application such as Adobe Photoshop, which supports the selection and use of ICC profiles.
From the perspective of the printer driver, the ICM Color Management selection does one simple thing: it turns off printer color management. If this option is selected from an application that does not allow for the use of ICC profiles, or if no profile is selected for the printer, the resulting prints will be dark, vivid, unmatched printer colors. By disabling printer color management, the high-end user has complete, control over the color matching process via the application.

Using the Print in Grayscale mode

To print high-quality black and white photos, select the Print in Grayscale option. With this option, black and white prints can be produced from virtually any application, even if the source image is color. For more color control, use advanced applications such as Adobe Photoshop to control the image conversion to black and white, and to more accurately convert the tone-curve of the source image to that of the printer.

Creating black and white photos in Adobe Photoshop

The process of printing a black and white photo often begins with an original color image. If the image is color, and Print in Grayscale is selected in the printer driver, the printer will convert the image to black and white before printing. However, the conversion of a color image to grayscale is a subjective and artistic process, so a way to control the conversion is useful. One of the best ways to control the conversion from color to black and white in Photoshop is with the Channel Mixer (see Figure 2). This feature is accessed in Photoshop by selecting Image, Adjustments and Channel Mixer.
Figure 2: Adobe Photoshop Channel mixture
To create the black and white image, select the Monochrome checkbox, and adjust the Red, Green, and Blue sliders to find the desired artistic effect. Figures 3 and 4 demonstrate the effect of controlling channel mixing.
Figure 3: Black and white conversion using the Image, Adjustments, and Desaturate process
Figure 4: Black and white conversion using the Channel mixer

Color management for black and white photos in Adobe Photoshop

The grayscale tone reproduction of the HP Photosmart 7960 printer is optimized for the sRGB gamma. This gamma function is approximately 2.2, so source images in Adobe RGB should also give reasonable results. However, in applications with advanced color management features such as Adobe Photoshop, black and white images that are encoded in virtually any color space can be printed on the HP Photosmart 7960 printer. For example, images encoded in the Apple RGB space have a gamma of 1.8. To more accurately print these images make sure that the source and destination color spaces are properly configured. In Photoshop 7 and CS, this can be done by clicking File and (see Figure 5).
Figure 5: Print with Preview mode
In Figure 5, the image source space is known to be Apple RGB, and the Print Space profile is set to sRGB. With these settings, gamma 1.8 grayscale images will be converted to a gamma of 2.2 for better print fidelity. More information on how these settings are used for color management is provided in the next section. The best quality black and white prints will result when:
  • The printer is configured with the HP 59 gray ink cartridge
  • The printer driver is set to Print in Grayscale
  • The correct paper type is selected in the printer driver
NOTE:If the ink cartridges run out of color ink, printing black and white photos is still possible by removing the color ink cartridge. The printer will print in "reserve" mode, which utilizes the available cartridge.

Using ICC profiles for color photos in Adobe Photoshop

High-end imaging applications, such as Adobe Photoshop, provide support for ICC color management. For printers, ICC profiles provide the color transform in the device color space of the printer for a particular media type, ink set, and print mode. To manage color with ICC profiles, settings must be made in both the application and in the printer driver. In the application, the correct profile for the printer/ink-set/media/print mode combination must be selected, along with the perceptual, relative, absolute, or saturation rendering intent. In the driver, the media type, quality mode, and ICM Color Management must be selected.
The Perceptual Intent includes color re-rendering such as tone scaling and sophisticated gamut mapping to give optimum output. It generally gives the best subjective image quality when reproducing images on different media. Absolute Colorimetric and Relative Colorimetric are usually used for proofing, where accuracy is more important than subjective quality. Saturation is seldom used, but is intended to give vivid colors and pure primaries. To use HP provided ICC profiles when printing an image from PhotoShop follow the steps below.
  1. Select File and Print with Preview. For Photoshop 6 and prior, select File and Print.
    NOTE:For Photoshop 7 and CS, click the Show More Options checkbox in the Print with Preview window then click the Color Management drop-down menu.
  2. In the Profile menu, select the profile that corresponds to the printer, paper type, and ink-set.
  3. Set the ICC rendering intent in the Intent menu. The Perceptual intent is the most commonly used as it provides the most subjectively pleasing color reproduction.
  4. The driver must also be configured to properly use the profile. This is done by selecting Page Setup, Printer, Properties, Color and selecting ICM Color Management from the Color Space menu.
  5. In addition, the correct paper type must also be selected from the Paper/Quality property page.
  6. Click OK and Print.
    NOTE:If an ICC profile is selected for the printer under Print with Preview, that selection will be retained, even when later using the Photoshop Print or Print one Copy functions instead of Print with Preview. To go back to using default sRGB printing after using ICC profiles, return to the Print with Preview menu and select either sRGB or Same as Source as the printer profile. If the profile setting in Photoshop is not consistent with the printer driver settings, wrong colors will result.

Creating third-party ICC profiles

To obtain the highest degree of color control generate a proprietary ICC profile using third party profiling applications available from independent software vendors such as Monaco, ColorBlind, Color Savvy, and GretagMacbeth. Creating custom profiles allows for color-correction with the exact paper, print cartridges, and printer.
This process generally involves printing a large set of color patches with color management turned off. The printed color patches are then measured with a spectrophotometer, and finally, the measured reflectance data is used in conjunction with a profiling application to compute a new ICC profile. Please refer to the instructions provided with specific third-party profiling applications for more details on this process.
To print color target images, no profile should be assigned to the color target document, and no profile should be assigned to the printer. The color target file should be an untagged RGB file, not a CMYK file. In the driver, the ICM Color Management feature should be selected, along with the paper type. To print a color target in Adobe Photoshop 7 and CS, follow the steps below.
  1. Select File and Print with Preview. For Photoshop 6 and prior, select File and Print.
  2. Select the Show More Options checkbox and Color Management from the pull-down menu.
  3. In the Profile menu, select Same as Source.
  4. As in the previous example, the driver must also be configured. This is done by selecting Page Setup, Printer, Properties, Color select ICM Color Management from the Color Space menu, and select the paper type from the Paper/Quality window. Finally, click OK to close the Page Setup window, and Print.
    NOTE:The paper type must be selected in the driver even when creating a profile because maximum ink volume limits are determined by the paper type selection, not through the ICC profile.
With these settings, a print without any color management intervention from either the driver or the application will be produced. This print is suitable for measurement and profile creation.
HP Photosmart 7960 Photo Printer

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