An alternative, inexpensive approach to generating custom ICC profiles using a flatbed scanner with SilverFast software.
Do you have a printer that you can never find ICC profiles for?
Ever used some oddball paper and wondered if you could make a custom ICC profile for it without using a special device or advanced knowledge?
Here’s the deal, SilverFast just released a new upgrade to their scanning software that may be very useful for you.
How to Create ICC Profiles Using a Scanner
I’ve been asked the question a few times as to whether or not one can create ICC profiles with a flatbed scanner and how reliable the results would be if so.
It was recently brought to my attention that SilverFast has developed an application designed to do this and to do it well.
While we here at Breathing Color don’t have a supported flatbed scanner to run a full range of tests against more conventional color management devices and software, I think some of our readers will find this useful and interesting. We did test and review their PrinTao 8 software a while back and found it to be quite capable and helpful.
What you need
1. SilverFast Ai Studio 8.5 or Archive Suite 8.5 (more info on their website)
2. A supported flatbed scanner – check the software pages on their site for the full list.
3. IT8 Target for Scanner Calibration
Generating a Custom Paper Profile
Initially, the scanner is calibrated by using SilverFast’s patented auto IT8 calibration.
The next step is to print the profiling target which contains 1,026 patches and over 1,000 tonal values. While the target is being scanned, SilverFast is automatically generating and saving an ICC profile for the chosen printer-paper combination in the system’s ICC profile directory. This ensures that the entire available color space will be used with the maximum number of colors.
Since color is subjective, SilverFast offers an option of editing the generated profile according to the print maker’s desires.
This inherently-complex task of color space adaptation is actually very easy to handle. Based on the generated ICC profile, a new target is printed, in which the printmaker can select the most neutral tonal values according to their personal perception. After this, SilverFast computes a modified ICC profile and saves it.
Another important advancement is the broad spectrum of printers, ink, and paper types that are now supported by the new software upgrade. This allows the print maker to experiment and print with a greater range of materials.
“The main three aspects for the users are: quality, usability, and price. We deliver all three with our printer calibration…” says Karl-Heinz Zahorsky, founder and President of LaserSoft Imaging.
At $99, this seems like a great alternative to create ICC profiles using a scanner, if you already have one on hand. Again, we haven’t had the chance to test this in house. I’d really love to see some comparisons done using this software and something more traditional like X-Rite’s color management devices and software.
Have you used this Silverfast software? Do you have any thoughts otherwise? Please leave a comment and let us know!