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1,034 Views 1 Reply Last post: Jun 19, 2017 8:39 AM by walton RSS
Level 0 1 posts since
Jun 13, 2017
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Jun 18, 2017 4:35 PM

Color Profiles?

Does CreateSpace have color profiles available for download? If not what color profile would be the best choice for the best color result?



Level 5 19,501 posts since
Sep 5, 2009
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1. Jun 19, 2017 8:39 AM in response to: PaigeAriel
Re: Color Profiles?

Ah . . . good question.


Several articles and press releases have indicated that at least as of a few years ago, CS/Amazon was using Inigo color presses.  Indigo confirmed as much to me. I have no idea if CS uses other color presses.


I have maintained that CS will strip some to all of our color management information from our work.  For example: most of us submit art with a default 20% dot gain, but Indigo uses 9-12%; CS uses non-traditional process colors that will not be accommodated in our images.    Indigo told me that as a practical matter when a printer gets art that has no profiles, the wrong profiles, the right profiles, that is, everything under the sun, the standard practice is to strip off the color profile.


When  I first stated this, it was not greeted with universal approval on the forum. However:



We do not recommend including color profiles in your file. Color profiles are automatically removed prior to publishing, which can produce unexpected results.

[Kindle Direct Publishing: Print Publishing Guidelines, page 16, emphasis added]



– Color management added to an image or file, which KDP will automatically remove prior to publication

[Kindle Direct Publishing: Print Publishing Guidelines , page 5, emphasis added]


The PDF Submission Specifications (CS) does not mention profiles at all.


Now I'm going out on another limb here, but I do not think that KDP Print has different presses from CS, and, probably use the same pressmen.  The TechSupport, CustomerService, and management are probably different.


What should you do?  sRGB is the universal consumer color space.  I believe that between CS and Indigo, they are set up best  to receive and emulate sRGB color.  Of course, if you have large solid areas of out-of-gamut color, those colors won't match.  I believe that CS uses a Perceptual Rendering Intent. If you submit CMYK work, it too has to be changed . . . but if you've corrected the art before submitting, CS will do a great job printing it (and you won't have surprises as you might with large solid areas of out-of-gamut color in RGB).


I have printed thousands of color images through CS.  Most were submitted in sRGB and printed pretty much dead on.  But bad printing happens, and that is a different issue.  Those that were submitted in CMYK printed pretty much dead on.  I use the default North American General Purpose 2.


Here's the catch: one-off is one-off.  If I run tests, I assume, but cannot know, that the proof is printed on a correctly calibrated and well maintained press by a good, competent pressman.  So if I test sRGB vs Adobe RGB I've assume any variations between them are due to the different color profiles and how they interact with what happens at CS.  But if our color profiles are stripped away and something is done to our files . . . maybe I am only seeing the variation between two presses/two pressmen/two different levels of conscientiousness regarding maintenance, etc.


Do a test book an see how things look.  But, KDP warns:



We do not recommend using multiple color spaces in a file as it can cause color variance and unexpected results when printed.

[Kindle Direct Publishing: Print Publishing Guidelines, page 16]


Let me summarize: this is what we know with certainty about CS:

  • we upload our PDFs
  • something happens (a black box)
  • we get printed books back

That is all we know.  I've run hundreds of tests and I can make reasonably informated guesses.  I have talked with industry experts about my guesses, but my guesses remain guesses.




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