I purchased a Kodak Q-60 Color calibration sheet because I would like to do some archival scanning.

I'm wondering if this has any bearings but so far I've read up on creating a color profile to adjust the image after the scan. But I'm wondering if I should do any calibrations before the scan as well.

I ask because my scanner and scanning software gives me options to preview a scan and then adjust contrast, brightness, color hue, etc...

When Calibrating the scanner, am I just suppose to calibrate the color profile that will be applied to the image I scan without altering the settings of the scanner. Like considering the scan with no pre altering settings as a raw image.

Or am I suppose to also adjust the settings I give the scanner before a scan so that the colors on my calibration sheet are as close as they should be with no color profile needed?

Are their standards to archival scanning.


1 Answer 1


To be clear, the Q-60 (a.k.a. IT8) is used to create a color profile of your scanner, not to calibrate the scanner. The scanner should calibrate itself on startup.

Also, this will only provide a "close enough" process, since your archival scanning may include prints on various materials (matte, glossy, magazine, newspaper, etc.).

In order for this to work at all, your scanner needs to scan every image using the same settings for brightness, contrast, saturation, color, etc. Auto-scanning (thus, auto-adjustments from image to image) will render the profile worthless. If your scanner can be set to scan manually, great. This can work.

First, you'll want to scan the Q-60 at settings that yield as-close-to-ideal of an image as possible. Rich colors (but not over-saturated), near-black blacks (close to, but not reaching RGB 0,0,0) near-whites (close to 255,255,255), and as neutral as possible along the gray-scale along the bottom of the target. Once you've established the ideal settings for your scanner to get that target as good as possible, save those scanner settings. You'll use them for all of your archival scanning.

Then you'll load the resulting scan into your profiling software and create the scanner profile you'll end up using in your image manipulation software (Photoshop?).

Each scan will then need that color profile assigned in your image manipulation software in order to render color accurately. For printing and web purposes, you'll then want to convert from the embedded scanner profile to sRGB.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks!! I'm with you until the last paragraph. I read somewhere (xsane.org/doc/sane-xsane-color-management-doc.html) that sRGB doesn't cover all visible colors. But according to the xsane documentation that embedding a scanner ICM profile in the image would have no loss of information. Why would you convert from the embedded profile to sRGB? Is it so that you can then distribute, or would you also keep a copy of the image with the embedded profile? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mallow
    Oct 26, 2016 at 14:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ No working color space covers all visible colors, FWIW. Yes, you'd convert to sRGB for distribution reasons. Any print shop worth their weight will be expecting images in sRGB, and web browsers that properly support color management (which are becoming more rare thanks to a glitch in WebKit's CM) will properly render the images. Personally, I would keep a copy of the original with your scanner profile embedded, and only convert to sRGB as needed for distribution. \$\endgroup\$
    – digijim
    Oct 26, 2016 at 15:13

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