High-fidelity flatness defects in cold-rolled strip and sheet, arising from highly-localized thickness strain variations, present an ongoing challenge to the metals industry. A primary cause of such defects, based on rolling practice, but for which the effects have not been rigorously investigated, is the transfer of localized work-roll diameter deviations due to roll grinding error. This study addresses high-fidelity work-roll diameter deviation transfer in the cold rolling of stainless steel, aluminum, and copper. Parametric studies are performed on a 4-high mill to examine the influences of roll diameter, reduction, strip width, and material on the transfer of high-fidelity work roll diameter deviations. Studies are conducted using an efficient 3D roll-stack model that predicts strip thickness profile deviations via the simplified-mixed finite element method. Reduction deviations on the outgoing strip, which correlate to strip flatness/shape defects, are quantified and analyzed to understand the transfer characteristics of work-roll grinding deviations relative to perfectly ground (smooth) work rolls. The results reveal that high-fidelity transfer depends not only on roll grinding deviation amplitudes and mill loading, but also on the specific locations of deviations along the roll face length due to 3D bulk roll-stack deformations as well as effective stiffness ratio between the work roll and the strip. Concluding the study is a novel approach to identify customized work roll grinding profiles tailored specifically to eliminate pre-existing high-fidelity strip flatness defect patterns, wherein “corrective” high-fidelity roll diameter profiles account for the predicted 3D mill deflections, contact force distributions, and coupled micro/macro scale deformation mechanics.