ICC Profiles

Im a little unclear as to how to use the ICC profile I built after I have my linearized .quad. I thought the purpose of these icc profiles was to be used for Soft Proofing within Photoshop, and hence will alter how the image looks on the display to match how the paper print looks. The instructions seem to indicate that it is the other way around - that the icc profile is used within the print-tool to actually alter the contrast of the paper print so that the print matches the display.

Which way is correct?

Actually both are correct but should be done separately from each other.

The traditional way has been to soft-proof with the profile. This will simulate the “linear” “no-color-management” print on your monitor. This decreases contrast on your monitor to match your print.

The other way is to print with the profile in Perceptual mode. The profile will add contrast to your print to match your monitor in this case.

So, the first method decreases contrast on the monitor to match a linear print. The second method increases contrast in the print to match your monitor.

With high quality monitors, the first method is usually desirable. With low quality monitors that can’t faithfully soft-proof without losing bit-depth in the image, the second method can actually work better. This is a complex option that we have not published widely outside of PPE or PiezoDN because we don’t want to confuse everyone. It’s an advanced topic that I will be writing more at-length about in the next release of the Deluxe Manual (2017.1 is in final writing stage right now.)



Thanks for your quick reply. I have a NEC PA272W monitor thats been properly calibrated with a ipro2 and is in a properly dimmed environment, so i lean towards using soft proofing in photoshop. Just to be clear, when I do it that way, I select “no color management” within the print-tool, correct?

Yes, no color management.




HI Walker,

I could not avoid jumping on this subject and following James questions, as I had the same kind of thoughts when I first read about the use of ICC’s on PiezoDN…

I would suppose that the option of using the ICC profile for soft-proofing (the traditional system) would suppose that one will see the major loss of contrast on the display (the whites will adopt the paper white measured on the printed target while linearizing, and the maximum black on the screen will adopt the Dmax measured on the same target)… Then, one will manually decide on a boost of contrast (typically by darkening the shadows) in order to make the soft-proofed image on the screen get a certain boost of mid-contrast. To be clear, this will not change the fact the overall contrast of the print will match that on the screen (since no matter which changes we make to the file, the final Dmax on the print and the paper white will never change) but it can alter the feeling of contrast (the contrast of the mid tones).

This, which would be done manually and by deciding on the base of what one sees on the soft-proofed version of the image, is what the application of the ICC when printing from Print Tool gets done automatically… is this right?

I am asking myself because that is what I understood myself, hoping too to help James understand the concept…



Dear Rafael. You are correct on this.



Hi Walker,

You mention: “The traditional way has been to soft-proof with the profile. This will simulate the “linear” “no-color-management” print on your monitor. This decreases contrast on your monitor to match your print.”

I revive this topic because I have read on the Piezography Professional software that you need to select “Preserve RGB values” when soft-proofing with a Piezography ICC profile on Photoshop. Why is this? Why cannot we do the same as when soft-proofing with conventional colour ICC profiles?

When soft-proofing colour work with ICC profiles (made with I1profiler), we typically choose a rendering intent (the one that gives best results), and then we tweak the file based on what we see there to match print to screen.

Then, why when soft-proofing with Piezography we have to choose “Preserve RGB values”? What does “working in a linear environment” really mean? Are ICC profiles obtained with Piezography ICC Profiler different in nature - do something different than those we obtain with Xrite (colour ICC)?

Thanks so much!


“Preserve RGB Numbers” morphs the image into a pre-icc state (aka, the measurements taken from the target you printed in linear to make said ICC). This is the only way to force the monitor into a linear state.

best regards,

Hi Walker.

  • When we use a ICC profile for soft-proofing in linear mode (Preserve RGB values) we are seeing what the print will look like when we print it with No Color Management AND we print it with that same curve that was used to print the target from which the ICC was made. Is this correct?

  • What if that curve was not linearized first and funky? Would we see on the soft-proofing with Preserve RGB values the corresponding not linear funky results we would obtain if we print with that not-linear curve and No Color Management in Print Tool?

  • If yes, then theoretically we could manually tweak the soft-proofed version with a Photoshop curve until we are happy with the results and as close as possible to the original file, right? This however would be like using PDN systems and the like… using curves in photoshop to make the heavy lifting I assume…?

  • Would all this be true for ICC profiles created both with QTR ICC profiler and Piezography ICC profiler?

Bear with me on these questions… I have been trying to structure them in a way that can help everyone else on this forum…


Well. All curves ideally are linear. So it’s exact as the contrast of the medium your are printing on so it would be accurate for all matte prints, all glossy prints, all platinum prints, etc.




I am finally understanding all this… Final concluding questions to close the circle. Possible short answers!

  • If we make the ICC profile with Piezography ICC profiler, then (contrary to QTR ICC profiler) we can use it also for printing (with color management activated) from Print-Tool (QTR driver) or Epson driver with Photoshop and Lightroom. In order to see what we will get in the final print, we can soft-proof but this time with a Relative Rendering intent (and not activating “Preserve RGB values”). We would see what we would get when we print it with that ICC profile in Color Management – Relative rendering. Now, let me know whether this assumption is true: In this case, it would be OK if we made the ICC profile by reading a target printed with a non-linearized curve, because we would be actually using the ICC profile when printing. As this would be a color managed process, the linearization and corrections would happen by means of the ICC profile called into the process. We would also be able to simply activate Soft-Proofing with this ICC profile and the Relative Rendering intent, and see what we will get in a physical print made with Color Management – ICC profile – Relative Intent. Is all this correct?

Conclusion: When printing with No Color Management, we can soft-proof in linear mode with an ICC made out of a linearized curve (either through QTR ICC or Piezography ICC). Otherwise, adjustments with photoshop curves will need to be massive and impractical.
However, when softproofing and printing in a Color managed environment, we can create an ICC profile (ONLY through the Piezography application, NOT QTR Icc one) out of a theoretically random and non-linearized curve, because the corrections that will lead to linearization will be in fact encapsulated within the ICC profile itself (and therefore called into the color managed process when the file is sent to the printer, either with QTR driver or Epson driver). Is all this correct?


Yes. The change will be minimal slight crunching of shadows which is typical.

Yes. The icc takes care of both the non-linearity and the screen->paper transfer curve (contrast matching).

Yes but the profile will be neutral (not the color of the print if ink is toned etc).

Print with ICCs is slightly destabilized in shadows compared to linearized/softproof method.

yes? Not sure if I follow the word scramble here but yes I think.