Episode 185: The 52.02 €rror – Printing with Profiles

Download the Video! (36:50 73.4MB)
Download the companion file with my printer profiles! (3.9MB)

I gave myself a real photo printer for the 5th anniversary of “Meet the GIMP!” and have now my work-flow ready to print in the “right” colors. One reason I shied away from printing for years were the costs. Original Printer Ink is one of the most costly fluids that are traded commercially (1544.54€/l (1) is not the highest price you can pay) and good paper is expensive. But now I have found a combination of a good printer, which is subsidized by small and expensive ink tanks and a good second party ink for 1/6 of the price. The ink is pigment based and so doesn’t bleach out in the light so fast as dye inks. Added to that two good but cheap papers for making beginners mistakes.

Of course the colors are off when I print with the usual TurboPrint driver. TurboPrint knows neither ink nor papers. So I needed two printer profiles – one of them was already payed for with the ink starter set. Well, I had to buy two more profiles because I had made a big mistake while printing the test sheets. Take care to switch off all color correction while printing calibration charts.

With the right ICC profiles GIMP can give you a Soft Proof of the image that is going to be printed. The look of the printed image is simulated on the screen and you can adapt the image to get your best result.
All you need to know (and much more) about calibration and the different “intents” is at Cambridge in Colour and at the Idea Machine.

(1) It’s even worse than I said in the video. The ink cartridge holds 11ml and costs 16.99€ Epson list price. That’s 1544.54 per liter. farbenwerk C7 runs up to 275€/l in the set and 230€/l for the ink only. Quite a difference.


00:20 Gimp Magazine had a great start
01:10 New printer
03:00 Replacement ink by farbenwerk.com
03:50 Pigment ink vs. dye ink
05:50 Arguments for refillable inks
06:30 Filling of cartridges
09:20 Paper from Monochrom.de
11:20 Paper color changes the image
11:50 How printing works
16:00 Printer profiling explained
17:00 Profiling done
21:30 Getting the profile into TurboPrint
23:50 Soft proofing in GIMP
24:30 Out of gamut colors
25:40 Display filter for soft proof
26:30 Printing a real image with profile and soft proof
27:30 Adapting to printable colors with curves
30:10 Difference between LCD and paper / display intent
31:00 Printing in TurboPrint
34:15 6 colors – all black (Carbon ink for monochrome images)

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Meet the GIMP Video Podcast by Rolf Steinort and Philippe Demartin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany License.
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16 thoughts on “Episode 185: The 52.02 €rror – Printing with Profiles

  1. Great stuff. Even I understand it.

    Do you know, how much one A3-print kosts on average (paper + ink)?
    One foto from the lab in 30x40cm kosts about 1,30 Euro, 40x60cm abaout 6 Euro. But I don’t know, if the quality equals the self printed foto. Does it pay of to buy a printer and do it yourself? Or is the quality of the self printed foto just so much better?


    • I think it doesn’t pay off unless you print lots of images.

      I have no idea how much ink is used per image. Worst case guess is about 4ml – that’s about 1€ in C7 ink and 6€ in Epson Gold Liquid. The paper costs between less than 1€ to several € – depending on your taste. So you could get a print for guestimated 2€ to 10€.

      The quality is much better than run of the mill prints and you can tinker around with different settings and so optimize the result. I have started to make test sheets like in the dark room. There I had a small snippet of paper and exposed that on a critical part of the image and ran it through the chemistry. Now I copy the piece of image onto a new one and move that around while running the same sheet of paper through the printer. More about that in one of the next shows.

      Look up prices for fine art inkjet prints….. 😉

      • I weighed the cartridges before and after printing a pretty dark borderless A4 image. It used 2.5g of ink, including the assumed print head cleaning after inserted the cartridges. I also checked the density of the ink while filling up cartridges and fount it to be in the 1.2g/ml range.
        So an A4 takes in the worst case about 2.5ml ink and costs 0.70€. A3 has twice the area and twice the ink.

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  4. Thanks a lot for this nice post. I have acouple of questions: you said (I agree) that trowing away an empty plastic cartridge is very bad for our environment. However I see that you require a plastic syringe (I guess at least once for each color). Is it possible to reuse it?

    Secondly, it would be nice if you can post some pic of the print!



    • Of course the syrenges can be used again and again. Just disasseble, clean and let them dry.

      The problem with recycling the printer cartridges is the material mix. There is the plastic (PE I would guess), aluminium and a circuit board with a chip on it.

      I’ll scan an edge of the print and post it.

  5. Hi

    an additional question. I red that pigment-bsaed inks are subject to dry and
    to obstruct the print-heads. Did you have any issue with this?



    • No problems with that up to now. Epson itself has pigment inks for exactly this print head but in other models. So it should not be a special problem.

    • Rolf is simply burried in work, I think. Still, I hope there will be one new episode before the end of the year…

      • Not dead yet and definitely to come back, but I need(ed) a bit of a time out to sort some things. Mostly done now, at least I hope that…..

  6. Question regarding Guten Print vs Turbo Print. I imagine that if you paid for a closed program you must feel it is worth it. What made you decide one way or the other?

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