“What are ICC profiles, anyways?” We take a few minutes this week to go back to basics and outline what ICC profiles are used for, how they improve your prints, and where to find them for your specific printer model. Also on the show, a few solutions for a listener looking to print onto magnetic material, and a reminder that your prints are near bullet proof after being varnished.
- What are ICC profiles? Uses, where to find them, and more
- Breathing Color’s custom ICC profile creation service
- Letting your printer manage color
- Printing on magnetic material – is it possible on a wide format printer?
- An adhesive fabric alternative to magnets
- Children running amuck in your gallery – will varnish keep your prints safe?
- Videos proving how resilient varnished prints can be
- The fold/pinch test – how to tell if you’re not applying enough coating
- Using the right type of rag to wipe off your prints
Listen in to learn about ICC profiles and bulletproof prints
- Listeners featured in this episode include Vick from finic.com, Rob from RobGage.com, and RHJ from Nebraskaland Photo.
- Breathing Color’s Art Peel is an adhesive inkjet wall fabric.
- To see printmaker Ken Doo eat ice cream off a print varnished with Timeless, check out the 10:38 mark of this video. In another video, Ken’s son uses a gallery wrapped print completed with Breathing Color materials as a surfboard!
- Check out Breathing Color’s Glamour II varnish and Timeless varnish.
- Our extensive inventory of ICC profiles can be found on our website.
- Love the show? Have some feedback for us? Leave us a review on iTunes
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Or, to view a web version of the transcript:
[Music] Announcer 1: You are listening to the AskBC podcast – your printmaking questions, answered by the experts!
Justin: Hey guys, this is your host Justin, today we talk about ICC profiles, printing on magnets, and how tough is print varnish?[Music]
Welcome to episode 19 of the AskBC podcast. We have some interesting listener questions today, so let’s waste no time and jump right in to the first one.[Music]
Announcer 2: Vick from finic.com asks, “Can we print on magnets on our Epson 9890? If so, what brand and what max thickness of material do you recommend?”
Justin: Hey Vic, great question, thanks for taking the time to ask. You can definitely print on some magnet material with the Epson 9890, and pretty much any wide format Epson for that matter. Small format Epsons for that matter, too.
For the 9890, you actually have a maximum thickness of around 1.5mm, so it’s nearly 60mil. So you can print on some pretty thick stuff. I was kind of looking around the web for an answer to your question, kind of educate myself a little bit. And I found this company called Magnum Magnetics, these seem like the go-to guys for inkjet printable magnets. They have a few different options, but it looks like magnet material ranges from about 12 to 20 mil, so kind of depending on what you’re looking for, I’m not sure what your application is, how you’re going to be selling these things or anything like that. But it looks like they have a few different solutions for you, so I’d recommend reaching out to them.
Another option that I thought of that might be handy…again, not knowing how you’re planning to use these, what market you’re kind of trying to get into, I’m not sure if you’ve seen the ArtPeel product that Breathing Color sells…there’s a few different ones out there on the market, but we’ve recently released one. It’s a polyester fabric, you know, it’s kind of designed for wall murals. Some people use it as a wallpaper replacement to cover entire walls, so maybe that would be a good solution for you. It’s got pretty strong adhesive on the back, so it can stick to most – pretty much all – smooth surfaces, and a lot of lightly or mild textured surfaces.
So I recommend looking into some kind of wall covering like that, that might be a good alternative to a magnet. I’m sure it’s cheaper than magnet material would be. Give that a shot, hopefully this answers your question, and, as always, feel free to expound on this question if you need more questions answered related to this, in the show notes you can leave comments at the bottom there, and I can give feedback and others in the listening community can give feedback as well if they have some experience, so, yeah I appreciate your question and let’s go ahead and move on to the next.[Music]
Announcer 2: Rob from RobGage.com asks, “We use the Glamour II varnish on canvas prints. We will be displaying some prints where there will be a lot of children. What is the best way to clean prints from the abuses of children?”
Justin: Hey, Rob, that is an awesome question. I get this question pretty frequently doing support here at Breathing Color, and the answer is a pretty simple one, actually, and it surprises a lot of people.
People think that you have to be super delicate handling the prints after they’re varnished, but they’re actually pretty darn resilient. It’s a different story, of course, right when the canvas print comes off the printer, you do need to be pretty careful when you set it aside to outgas and kind of in preparation for varnishing you need to handle it very carefully.
But once you varnish the print it becomes almost bullet proof really, [laughs] there’s some pretty funny videos that our customers have made for us. I think one of our customers took a print, varnished it, dumped some ice cream on there, poured some coffee on it, washed all that off under the faucet and the print came out just fine, like ready to hang on the wall. It’s pretty funny, I’m not sure if you guys have seen that video, but I’ll throw it in the show notes – you can kind of get a good laugh.
But yeah, wiping it off, certainly not a problem. I usually just recommend – once it is varnished, with the Glamour II or with the Timeless or, pretty much any other top coat, you can go ahead and take a damp cloth, a damp rag, and wipe off any dust, smudges, stuff like that. I usually try to make sure it’s something relative smooth, like a smooth cloth. Again, you shouldn’t have a problem with scuffing it or damaging it if you have a sufficient coat of varnish on there, I’m just kind of picky that way, where I’ll take like a lint-free or a cotton rag, it doesn’t matter, something with a mildly smooth surface, spray it with some water, and just wipe the print off.
You don’t want to use anything that’s got ammonia or any harsh chemicals that you would maybe use to clean a bathroom or a kitchen or anything like that. Seems like common sense, but I’ve heard some things. [Laughs]
So yeah, just stick with like some warm water, spray it onto a rag, wipe it away, and you’re good to go. And you should be able to do this through the life of the print without any kind of issues. Now if you do start to see some abrasion or something, again, revisit the kind of cloth you’re using, make sure it’s not like a steel wool-equivalent or anything too crazy like that. And then if you’re still seeing abrasion with these kind of recommendations, you might just not have enough varnish on there.
Most people will apply two kind of light to medium coats of the Glamour II or the Timeless varnish, so make sure you’re following that recommendation, and, generally speaking, if you’re able to stretch the print around stretcher bars and not see any kind of edge cracking, then you’re good to go. This edge cracking normally tells you you need to put another coat of varnish on there before you stretch it and just don’t have quite enough on it. So, that’s kind of the indication that I use. You can also do kind of a fold test, just take a piece of varnished canvas with a print on it, and kind of pinch it, it might be called the pinch test – the fold test, same thing – and just kind of pinch the ends together, and if you see any cracking like that, that usually indicates that you need a bit more varnish.
So yeah, hopefully that helps answer your question, the Glamour II makes sure your prints are pretty much bullet proof, so wild kids, snotty noses, ice cream smudges, all that stuff, shouldn’t be too big of a deal.[Music]
Announcer 2: RHJ from NebraskaLand Photo asks, “What do the ICC profiles do? I’m using the Canon Pixma Pro 100. Will it improve the quality?”
Justin: Hey RHJ, hopefully I’m not screwing your name up here too bad, but good question. This is kind of taking things back to basics, you’re asking what an ICC profile does, and, you know, will it give you better results when you use an ICC profile when you’re printing on your Pixma Pro 100, which is a 13” wide Canon printer.
Definitely. Using an ICC profile will definitely give you better results, and, generally speaking, no matter what paper you’re using – be it from Canon, or Epson, or Breathing Color, or anybody else – you should be using an ICC profile that is made specifically for your printer model (in this case the Canon Pro 100) and the media you’re print on, be it canvas or fine art paper or photo paper or whatever it is.
Generally speaking, the third party media manufacturer – like Breathing Color or anybody else – they’ll supply kind of a library of these ICC profiles for different printers and all their media. So definitely look for that on the paper provider’s website. If you’re using Canon media, you can generally find the ICC profile kind of built right into the printer driver, so that’s a big convenience for you.
So yeah, definitely select the ICC profile and use that if it’s available. I know sometimes you can’t find an ICC profile for a specific paper, and if that’s the case, you can of course elect to make your own – which might be a bit more complicated if you’re just getting into printing. So, another option is just having the printer manage the color as opposed to Photoshop and the ICC profile. So instead of selecting “Photoshop manages color,” you select “Printer manages color,” and that basically tells the printing software that the printer is going to handle these calculations as far as taking the color information in your file and figuring out how to reproduce that, you know, on the printer side of things.
So, this generally gets you pretty decent results. Kind of depends on you and what you’re going after, you know, if you need the colors to be 80% accurate or 85% accurate or whatever, this could work out perfectly fine for you. So, give it a try if you have to go this route. Have the printer manage color, print a small image, see how close it looks to what’s on the screen. I mean, that’s the best way to tell what’s going to work or what isn’t going to work, right? Just do a print, see what it looks like to you, so something that may not work for somebody else may work perfectly fine for you. So, give it a try if that’s your only option.
As far as what profiles do exactly, essentially what they’re doing is, kind of like I mentioned before, they’re taking the color information that’s in your file and running an algorithm that’s telling the printer how to convert those colors into ones that the printer can understand and ones that the printer can reproduce.
So like I said, it’s specific to your printer model, and, ideally, it’s specific to your exact printer, but at least specific to your printer model and ink set, and also to the paper that you’re using. So those things are pretty to match up, otherwise you can get some pretty wacky results. You’re using Canon Pro 100, you can’t use, you know, an ICC profile that’s made for a Pro 10 or Pro 1 – even if it is made for the same paper, they use different ink sets and, like I said, you’ll get some pretty wild results if you try that. You’ll be much better of either just trying a different paper, a different ICC profile made for a different type of paper and that same printer, make sure that the printer is the same, or, like I said before, just have the printer manage color instead of an ICC profile and see where that leaves you.
I’m not sure if you’re using Breathing Color media or not, but typically if it’s a profile that we don’t have, we’ll offer a custom profile service, so you just print out this little 8.5” x 11” target, mail it in, and we’ll make you a custom profile for you, for ones that we don’t already have on the site. We have a pretty extensive library though, so just get in contact with us. If it happens to fall under that category. Hopefully I’ve answered your question pretty well. Like I mentioned before, definitely feel free to comment on the show notes if there’s anything else that we can clarify on this.
Well guys, that is it for Episode 19. Hope you come and join us for Episode 20. For the show notes for this episode, be sure to visit ask-bc.com/episode19, and if you have any questions about the episode, or comments, or concerns, you can go ahead and leave them in the comments section there and we will reply to your comments or questions pretty actively.
Thanks again for all your questions and for being a part of the show today. As always, I will send out the free Breathing Color t-shirts to those of you whose questions made it to today’s episode. So be looking forward to those, that’s awesome. If you would like to submit a question of your own for the show, pretty simple, just visit ask-bc.com, and if we choose your question we’ll mention your business name on the episode and we’ll send you a free Breathing Color t-shirt.[Music] [End audio]
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