ICC (International Color Consortium) profiles are preset settings based on other user’s hardware calibration. While installing these profiles may not always provide you with the most desirable outcome, as other users likely have different hardware components than you – apart from the monitor, they can still improve the image quality overall. If not, you can easily restore your settings. The process of installing the .icc profiles depends on your operating system.
The ICC profiles are used in order to accomplish matching image and color results as well as consistency across all of the devices such as cameras, printers, scanners, etc. In other words, an ICC profile is an LUT (Look-Up Table) with certain properties of a color gamut where a particular color will be displayed as the exact shade of it, not just any random tone of the same color. It’s an imperative to have calibrated color reproduction when doing color-critical work in software such as Photoshop as you would naturally want to see the same result on a print.
The ICC presets work best with the particular monitor/graphics card or printer combo since they are based on the individual’s computer setup. So, even if you have the same monitor as the user’s ICC profile, the results won’t be exactly the same. In fact, even the monitor manufacturers do change the panels of their monitors over time.
Regardless, you will still have an enhanced picture quality with better colors and settings. If you happen not to like it, you can always restore the settings to default. It’s also advisable to apply the recommended OSD settings that you find at the ICC profile database or wherever you have downloaded the profile from. For the most accurate settings, you will have to use a hardware calibration device, or a colorimeter, for your own display – which is how you create the ICC profile in the first place.
How To Install ICC Profile
In Microsoft Windows, after you download the .icc profile, you can simply right-click on it and select ‘Install Profile’. If you can’t add ICC profile that way – which can be the case if you have already installed a profile before and want to replace it, copy the profile to the following folder location where the ICC profiles are stored: C:\Windows\system32\spool\drivers\color.
Next, open the Color Management from the Control Panel. Tick ‘Use my settings for this device’ option, and then ‘add’ the ICC profile. After that, go to the ‘Advanced’ tab where you will have to click on the “Change system defaults” first, and then you can tick the ‘Use Windows display calibration’ and as simple as that – that’s how to load ICC profile.
This method works for installing the ICC profiles for Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 10 while MAC OS X users can copy the profiles to: ‘/Library/Colorsync/Profiles’ or ‘~/Library/Colorsync/Profiles’ depending on whether the profile should apply to the entire system or just a certain user.
There’s an excellent and free ICC software dubbed as the DisplayProfile which you can use to easily store many ICC presets and quickly swap between them.