How should I use printer colour profiles in Darktable?

I just love Darktable. It’s such a fantastic tool. But I’m struggling to understand how I should set up my colour management workflow. My goal is that the photos I see in Darktable should be as similar as possible as what comes out of my photo printer.

I have a Xrite Colormunki Photo spectrometer which I use with DisplayCal to create a ICC profile for my monitor. I use Manjaro Linux with i3wm. I load the colour profile as a monitor profile with xcalib. Since Darktable does not recognize profiles set by xcalib, I manually set the same ICC profile in Darktable as my display profile.

I recently got a Canon Pixma Pro 10S colour inkjet printer. I use a Windows 10 VM to run Canons user un-friendly printer software. I export my pictures from Darktable under Manjaro to a specific folder which is shared with Windows.

I recently read the following article on how to create printer profiles using ArgyllCMS:

Seems straightforward enough, but I’m struggling to understand how I should use the printer profiles. I know that you can use ICC profiles for “soft-proofing” (ie simulating how a photo looks when printing). I also know that you can embed a colour profile in your jpeg or tiff when exporting from Darktable. This embedded profile can then be picked by the printing software.

My questions are:

  • Should I embed the monitor profile or the printer profile during the export?
  • What else should I use the printer profile in Darktable for?

I read the Darktable manual, but it did not answer my questions. I don’t want to print directly from Darktable. I prefer a workflow that forces me to create a copy of the image I send to the printer.

Printer ICC profile is for softproofing. You also select the printer profile in your printer’s driver.

P.S. If you start xiccd using systemd as a user service, then let displaycal load your monitor profile, dark table will see it.

I prefer to think of my JPEGs and TIFFs as “renditions”, created for a specific medium. So, I’d say to your first question, you want to embed the printer profile for export to a “print” rendition, separate and distinct from your regular “display” rendition.

I think @paperdigits answered your second question, regarding printer profiles’ use for softproofing.

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@paperdigits and @ggbutcher: Thank you for your answering my questions. Much appreciated!

But, there are still some things I don’t understand. As I understand it, a softproofing in Darktable simulates on the screen how the print will look like? But is Darktable assuming that the printer program is applying the specific profile? Lets assume that the printer tends to put too much green into the skin tones. I see this when softproofing, so I shift the colour balance towards magenta. Will the printer program do the same when applying the specific printer profile? Ie a double adjustment?

Hej Mikael!

Perform this test:

Put your printer.icc (according to Torger) in /usr/darktable/color/out and then,
in darktable, select other/print/profile.

How does that work?

Have fun!
Claes i Lund

There is a user folder for color profiles, ~/.config/darktable/color I think.

This all relies on both your monitor and printer being calibrated, so what you see on your screen is what you see in print. If you turn on softproofing and its too green, make the correction to the skintones.