I just completed my first successful profiling exercise with an R2400 and SpyderPrint 4.2.3. I thought I’d pass on the two most important things I learnt in hope that these points may help others with their first profiling experience. I’m sure these tips are generic, in that it won’t matter what brand or model of printer or profiling device is used (within some obvious limits).
Make sure you experiment to find the best media settings for your particular ink and paper combination. I’m using Cone Color K3 inks with Red River papers. The best approach I found was to start with the paper manufacturer’s recommended media type (e.g. Red River recommends the Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster as the media setting for their UltraPro Satin 2.0 paper). Your profiling device will likely come with a test pattern/image you can print to evaluate the media settings. The image included with the SpyderPrint showed that the shadows were totally blocked out using the standard media setting. I then embarked on a long and media-costly journey trying all the different media settings without satisfaction. I then did some research and found out that, at least in general terms, all the media settings do is set things like paper thickness, print quality, matte or photo black inks, and, IMPORTANTLY, ink volume! Ah-ha! Back to the paper manufacturer’s recommended settings and then print a couple more test prints but this time reducing the ink volume through the printer driver. This gave me the separation in the shadows I needed. Depending on the paper type, I had to reduce the ink volume by 20% to 40%. In the R2400 printer driver you can save custom settings which include media type and ink volume, so now I can select the appropriate one for each of my new paper types.
This one may be really obvious, but it wasn’t to me at first. When using a prosumer device like the SpyderPrint (this may also be true for the Color Munki, etc.), measure each patch individually, carefully, and slowly. This is the only way I could eliminate measurement errors. The SpyderPrint device has a small circular port which must be placed over each patch for the measurement to be taken. I found I had to position the port VERY carefully on the patch and then press the device down onto the patch firmly enough for the port to leave a circular impression in the paper and THEN press the button on the device to take a reading without releasing any pressure on the device. Once I figured this out, I could measure the patches and be confident those measurements were accurate. The SpyderPrint has the facility to slide the measurement device across the page of patches such that it reads each patch automatically. This is great in theory but it failed miserably for me. When you have upwards of 500 patch measurements or more to review, many of which may be grey, it’s impossible to tell if all your measurements are accurate.
After getting these points worked out, I can now do a complete profile in about 30-40 minutes and get remarkably good matches between my prints and soft proofs in Photoshop. I’m now fully color managed!