As if the world wasn't crazy enough, we recently discovered that some unseen force had been tampering with our RIP software. An exhaustive investigation has been launched. Details aren't fully conclusive, but preliminary results indicate a high probability of Gremlins. The little buggers apparently changed the default input profiles in Flexi SIGN & PRINT and LXI RIP 12. This may not sound like a big deal, but if you are one of the customers affected, you may have noticed a distinct shift in the quality of your prints. You may be wondering why your reds look washed out. Actually, it's a loss of saturation across the board, in the sign industry, we notice that part of the spectrum first. The good news is, we have a simple solution. So if the Gremlins have monkeyed with your RIP, hop over the Read More fence for the quick fix.

Input ICC profiles

We have written extensively in other articles here and on the Sign College Blog about the importance of ICC profiles in color management, but generally we're talking about output profiles. These are the RIP software's primary tools for producing standardized, consistent color from various combinations of printers, inks, and media. The output profiles are based on a set of assumptions about the basic color space of the image source. These are codified in the in put profiles. If these assumptions are wrong, the output profile isn't going to work correctly. That's all abstract. Let's make it real. Here's an example of what happens to your output when the input profiles are wrong. The images below come from one of our PrismJET VJ54 sample files. We selected it in part because everyone wants to print rich vibrant reds and this image has a nice range of reds from deep crimson to bright pink. The image on the left was printed from a PC on which the input profile setting had been changed. Or, technically speaking, it had been Gremlinized. The saturation is significantly reduced giving the print an anemic, washed-out look. You might notice it first in the magenta channel, but if you look closely, you'll also see that the greens on the vase are muted as well, and the tonal contrast is weak. The image at the right is the same file printed with the correct input profiles. The result is a wider tonal variation and more intense color including bright, vivid pinks and deep reds on the rose petals (Fig 1).
example of right and wrong input profiles
Fig 1. The only difference between these two prints is the input profile setting.

How to Reset Your Input Profiles

If your prints have taken on a similar appearance lately, the most likely reason is this diabolical Gremlin attack. You may notice this in newer images, but still be able to get great color on older files stored in your print queue. That's because the older files were processed before G Day, as it's been dubbed on social media. Files ripped post G day have the wrong input profiles and the color is--again forgive the technical jargon -- 'jacked'. Fear not. There's a simple solution. All you have to do is restore the correct input profiles and set them as your Default Job Properties. Then everything else works correctly. It takes just a minute if the profiles are still on your PC. It may take a minute or two longer if they're missing. Here's how to restore correct color.
  1. Open Production Manager and click the Color Management tab.
  2. Click on the Advanced button to open the Advanced Color Management Window.
At the top of the Advanced Color Management window, you will see the Input ICC profiles. They should read as follows: CMYK: GRACOL2006_Coated1v2.icc RGB: sRGB IEC61966-2.1 Gray: GRACOL2006_Coated1v2.icc If these values are blank or incorrect, you've found the root of the problem. To fix it and restore the correct profiles,
  1. Click on the arrow at the far right corner of each window and, from the drop-down menu, select the right profile.
  2. If it's not listed, you can click Add, and browse to the file on your hard drive. You should find the correct files in Program Files(x86)/SAI/SAi Production Suite Cloud/ICC Profiles. Here you will see several sub-folders, including CMYK, RGB, and Gray. Click the respective folders to find the recommended file and select it as the new default. (Fig 2).
Fig 2. Here's where your input profiles should be stored.
If the suggested files are absent from your PC, you can click here to download them. Save them to the folders indicated above and add them as directed. That's the quick fix for anemic output. If you ever find that you're using the right output profile for your printer, ink and media but still getting incorrect color, look under the hood and make sure the input profiles are right. Take a moment to tweak these settings. The Gremlins will retreat in defeat, and your printer will resume cranking out professional quality signs, wraps, and banners.