Calibrating Printers

Preparing the printer, media and spectrophotometer

Preparatory steps
  1. Prepare the following items:
    • Printer, of the target model, and connected to the PrintFactory computer
    • Media, of the target type
    • Spectrophotometer, of a supported model
    • Third-party ICC profiling software (Optional)
  2. Turn on the target printer and perform a nozzle check.
  3. Log on with an administrator account to the PrintFactory computer.
  4. Start PrintFactory RIP.
  5. Set up the spectrophotometer:
    • Configure the spectrophotometer for use by PrintFactory, if necessary.
    • Calibrate the spectrophotometer. (Optional)

Specifying the printer profile name and info

About the profile wizard

The generation of a profile to use with Printer/Media/Mode method is done by a wizard which will guide you through all the necessary settings depending on the device for which the profile is to be generated.
The wizard has an intro page explaining the process, what is needed (printing and measuring) and giving an indication of time needed to complete the process.
At the end of the calibration process a summary page provides following feedback:
  • Printer name
  • Media name
  • Mode name
  • Name of the profile in the Operating System
  • Creation date
  • Internal delta E: gives an idea on the internal quality of the ICC profile
  • Delta E calculated against ISO Coated v2: gives an idea of whether the printer/media combination’s gamut is sufficient to print to ISO Coated v2 (important for Standardized printing and proofing)

To define the printer profile

  1. In the Calibrator choose the printer where you want to create a profile for.
  2. Set media pop-up to new media and click Create. The information window of the wizard is launched.
  3. Click Next.
  4. In the Print mode setting step set the driver settings you want to use for this media/printer setup.
  5. Click Next.
  6. In the Profile name and info step click the + symbol to create a new media name (if needed).
  7. Then enter a name for the print mode.
  8. Enter the name the profile; this is the name of the profile in the finder.
  9. If desired: Give an extra optional comment for the profile in the bottom text box.
  10. Click Next to get to the next wizard step.


Printer linearization

Previous steps

Make sure you have completed the previous steps:

  • Specifying the printer profile name and info

Measuring the linearization chart

Measure the nonlinearized behavior of the target printer with the selected media.
Proceed as follows:
  1. Load media in the printer.
  2. Click Print to produce the linearization target
    PrintFactory starts a print job named Linear. The resulting linearization target contains one 18-patch step wedge for each channel/print head.
  3. Allow at least 15-30 minutes for the linearization target to dry unless the chart is obviously too wet.
  4. Check the linearization target and make sure that it does not contain any patches which are:
        • Too wet to measure
        • Dry, but too thick (too wet on application)
        • Non-uniform in gloss
        • Mottled
        • Sticky
        • Swollen
    If the target shows any of these above-mentioned symptoms, you will have to cut off patches and reprint it to be able to take accurate measurements. You are most likely to observe these symptoms when printing on plastic media or with ultraviolet-resistant inks, but they can also occur in other situations.
    5 If necessary, use the cutter tool and click the patches which are too wet or too solid.
        PrintFactory marks patches selected for cropping with an X, and does not allow you to              skip over adjacent patches. After cutting, you need to reprint the linear file.
    6 Click Measure to measure the dry linearization target with the spectrophotometer.
        • Before you start measuring, the window shows the linearization target as gray. Each step wedge transforms into color patches as you measure the printed chart.
        • Import/Export buttons: You can import or export measure data in *.csv format.
        • The arrow indicates which step wedge to read next. If it is necessary to reread a row (for example, because you read the wrong row, or the meter was tilted), use the arrow to reset focus to the beginning of the target row.
    7 Click Next to get to the next wizard step.



Select printer gamut and adjusting ink limits

Previous steps

Make sure you have completed the previous steps:

Defining the gamut of the target printer

Define the gamut that you want the target printer to use for the target media.
Proceed as follows:
    1 Select one of the following options:
        You may select a CMYK reference profile for a photo printing queue.
        The calibration process never modifies a reference profile, which represents a standard. The reference profile is not embedded in the printer profile.
    2 Click Next to get to the next wizard step.

About adjusting ink limits

Inkjet printers sometimes cannot constrain output as required by the gamut of reference profiles selected for calibration. You can manually increase or decrease the channel-specific ink limits that PrintFactory sets for a printer profile on the basis of the spectral measurements of the linearization strip.

To adjust ink limits

Proceed as follows:
    1 Select an ink channel from the list.
    2 Adjust the ink limit by moving the slider.
    3 Select the mode Maximum gamut or a Reference profile or select Manual to set the percentage manually via numerical input or via slider.
    4 Observe the dynamic effects of the change.
        • Percentage shows the channel capacity utilized at the current setting (position of the slider).
        • Reference Lab shows the Lab value of the selected channel at the current setting of the slider
        • The chart shows the effects of the current setting on the printer gamut, with the yellow and green outlines delimiting the printer and reference gamuts respectively.
    5 Repeat steps 1 through 4 for each of the ink channels.
    6 Click Next to get to the next wizard step.


Previous steps

Make sure you have completed the previous steps:

About adjusting ink mixing curves
Ink mixing curves can sometimes direct printers to lay down more ink than target media can absorb for sufficient drying. You can reduce ink output by manually adjusting the channel-specific ink mixing curves that PrintFactory sets for a printer profile. For example, you can correct over-inking by adjusting the mixtures of light and dark inks applied by individual channels to low-quality paper or plastic media.
To adjust ink mixing curves
Proceed as follows:
    1 Select an ink channel from the list.
    2 Adjust the ink mixing curve in terms of light and solid ink utilization by moving either handle of the ink-mixing lever (A).
                A. The ink-mixing lever functions as a “virtual border” that ink-mixing curves cannot cross. Pulling the lever down changes the mixture such that less light ink, and more solid ink, is used.
                B. The black diagonal line (B) models the linearity of the ink channel given the proposed settings. Pulling the ink-mixing lever “too hard” can result in a non-linear curve that compromises the quality of printer output.
                C. The colored background (C) models ink laydown given the proposed settings.
                D. You can click Reset to undo manual edits performed on the curves themselves. This action does not undo manipulation by the ink-mixing lever.
                E. To facilitate the choice in ink mixing, there is a fixed set of ink mixing presets (only visible when light inks are present):
                    • Typical: default setting, as in previous versions. This still allows the same manipulations as before.
                    • Economy: uses less light ink (Max 30%), reducing the overall ink usage (but can lower print quality)
                    • Quality: keeps using minimum of 20% light inks. Improves smoothness of the print (can trigger over inking of the print)
                    • Quality ECO: keeps using minimum of 10% light ink, while reducing the overall usage of light ink to 30% (compromise between quality and economy).
                F. A target to check linearity and print quality will be printed using the linearization and ink mixing when click-ing the “Print” button. This chart contains linear and radial blends of the primary inks:
    3 Repeat steps 1 through 2 for each ink channel.
    4 Click Next to get to the next wizard step.



Updated on May 19, 2022

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles