Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


Printing Insights #041

Using Bill Atkinson’s Profiles Bouquet

review note by Alain Briot




I tried the new profiles that Bill Atkinson recently posted on his site at

More interestingly, I tried them with the Epson 4800 and had excellent results. So far I specifically tried the profiles created with the Gretag McBeth measurement device and software, the GM1, GM2 and GM3 profiles. Here are the exact names of these profiles:

- 9800 PGL 1440 Std BA GM1.icc
- 9800 PGL 1440 Std BA GM2.icc
- 9800 PGL 1440 Std BA GM3.icc

One thing I learned is that these profiles need to be used with the Perceptual color intent option, and not with the Relative colorimetric intent that I also use (those are the two only rendering intents I use). I also leave Black Point Compensation unchecked with Perceptual.

Here's a screen shot of the settings I use in the Photoshop Print with Preview dialog box:

Print with Preview dialog box in Photoshop CS2

Should you linearize your printer with Epson ColorBase?

Bill mentions linearizing your printer with Epson ColorBase prior to using the profiles. I wanted to know how much of a difference linearization actually made, so I printed the same image, with the same profile, before and after linearizing the printer with ColorBase. The two prints were very close to each other. This may be because my printer was already very close to specs, or because ColorBase linearizing makes only minor adjustments (it did in my case).

At any rate let me say this: if you have an Epson 4800 and you do not have access to a densitometer (which is necessary to linearize your printer with ColorBase), try using Bill Atkinson's profiles without doing a ColorBase linearization. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results. In turn, if the results are unacceptable, you will know that linearization is necessary. And of course, if you do have access to a densitometer, it is best to linearize your printer first.

I can also report that Bill's profiles work very well with the Epson 4800. I printed the same image with the Epson profiles that came with the printer (the "canned" Epson profiles) and with Bill’s profiles, and I can see a marked improvement in neutral colors as well as in the overall color and contrast of prints done with Bill’s profiles.

Abstract 1, Tucson Barrio3

So many profiles, so little time

The daunting part of Bill's collection of profiles is their sheer number. You have 32 profiles for Epson Premium Glossy Photo paper and 48 profiles for Epson Premium Luster and Epson Premium SemiMatte.

Here is the approach I recommend to make this process a little less daunting:

First, the best thing to do is to work with a single paper, in my case Epson Premium Glossy which I like very much.

Second, narrow it further down to a specific brand of measurement device and software. In my case I chose Gretag McBeth.

Third, in Photoshop use View> Proof Setup> Custom> Device to Simulate and select the profile of your choice. Don't forget to choose the Perceptual Rendering Intent and to uncheck Black Point Compensation and Preserve RGB Numbers. This allows you to do a soft proof on screen to see the changes that each profile brings to your image. This custom previews shows you a close screen approximation of what your print will look like.

In the same dialog box you can also visualize the difference between profiles by quickly going from one profile to another in the list under Device to Simulate. Since profiles for each specific specific brand of measurement device and software are located below each other, switching back and forth is easy. What I do is place the Custom Proof dialog box to the right of my screen, and the image I am working on to the left of the screen, so that the list of profiles do not hide the photograph.

Fourth, read the PDF file that accompany each profile. It details the specifics of each profile. Pay particular importance to differences listed for each profiles. For example, the difference between the GM1, GM2 and GM3 profiles is the Gamut Mapping:

- Colorful for GM1
- Chroma Plus for GM2
- Classic for GM3

I found this very helpful since these 3 gamut mappings follow the gamut mapping of my scanner profiles, which were also created with Gretag McBeth measurement device and software.
Here is a screenshot of the Custom Proof Setup Dialog box in Photoshop CS2:

Custom Proof Setup Dialog box in Photoshop CS2

This sums up my experience with Bill Atkinson’s new profiles at this time. I plan to continue testing them, this time trying out profiles created with another brand of calibration software and hardware.

If you have any questions, or want to share your own experience with these profiles, do not hesitate to contact me:


This is one of the many techniques we will teach during the 2006 Summit. We will also work with you 1 on 1 and help you with your own images and with how to use this technique, and many others, in your own work. Click here to read a detailed description of the 2006 Digital Fine Art Summit. Joseph Holmes will join the Summit 2006 as a guest instructor means you can ask this world class printing expert directly.

About the Fourth Annual Photography & Fine Art Printing Summit

The 4th Photography & Fine Art Printing Summit will take place November 10th to 13th, 2006, in Page, Arizona. Seats are limited. In addition to studying color management and color spaces, we will also do field photography in stunning locations such as Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell and Horseshoe Bend, as well as study Raw conversion, Photoshop processing, image optimization, printing. We will also conduct print reviews of your work created during the Summit. Find out all the details of this unique learning and photographing opportunity on the 2006 Summit page.




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