ColorServer Normalization Quick Recommendations
First, lets talk about why we should Normalize.
If the customer provides an image and it’s tagged, it’s likely already been adjusted for the Gamut of the destination. In the below example, we’ll use SNAP. If the destination is GRACoL and the image is not converted(normalized), undesirable results will likely be achieved.
The below screenshot is a softproof (using GMG OpenColor Preview) to display what each of these images will look like on a GRACoL press.
The bottom image has NOT been converted from SNAP to GRACoL. In other words no Normalization.
The top image HAS been converted from SNAP to GRACoL. In other words, Normalized.
Hopefully you agree the top image is more pleasing. More realistic flesh tones. Better contrast. PLEASE "Use Attached ICC Profile"
What if there's no attached ICC Profile?
The safest method of normalization is to cancel processing if there is no tag (ICC profile) in an image. Then you have a few options.
The first one is to contact the customer and find out what the image was separated to. Many customers will not know so we can then move on to the second option.
Open the image in Photoshop, assign a profile and perform soft proofs until we find the most pleasing/likely result. Production requirements (in other words, time) may not allow option one or two.
The third option is to assume a colorspace. If we assume the same colorspace as our Normalization space, no color conversion will occur. This may not necessarily be a good thing as shown in the above example. If the bottom image above (which was separated to SNAP) was not tagged and converted and we just printed it on a GRACoL press, then the color would print like the bottom half preview which has yellowish fleshtones and little shadow detail/contrast.
The fourth option is to assume/assign USWebCoatedSWOP. Why? This is Photoshops default and if anyone has ever used Mode- Convert to CMYK in Photoshop without changing the default settings, this is what they used. The chances the image has been separated to USWebCoatedSWOP are the greatest.
So what are the correct/recommended Normalization settings?
Use Attached ICC Profile if Available, Cancel Processing if No Profile.
If production requirements don’t allow this interruption then:
Use Attached ICC Profile if Available, else the Following Profile: USWebCoatedSWOP.