Home > color management > Color calibration – Part 2 – Playing with profiles

Color calibration – Part 2 – Playing with profiles

In Part 1, we spoke of how every device interprets color differently, the process of calibrating your equipment, and what color profiles actually are. In this installment, we’re going to chat more about color profiles: how they can be created manually or purchased, and what the pros and cons are of each.

Creating your own color profiles
Pros
1. It’s rewarding! Once you learn to make your own profiles, you’re set to jet when you use a different printers, inks, and papers. It’s a super valuable talent to add to your skillset and you’ll be the envy of all your friends. Honest.
2. It’s a completely custom creation of your very own. Once you’ve gone through the process, you can be assured that you’ll be pleased with the results each time you print, because, well, you made it.
3. Third party software is available to help, such as traditional profile maker Monaco EZcolor (www.monacosys.com) and ColorVision PrintFIX (www.colorvision.com). Both companies have good reputations and the software is under Rs. 25000.

Cons
1. To do it right, you really need to invest in a light source that is the same color temperature as your monitor. This is what you’re going to hold your test prints under to judge the color matching.
2. You’re going to print a fair number of test images, which means you’re going to go through some ink and paper. Use the kind of paper you’re going to be printing on (i.e. the good stuff!) to ensure consistent results.
3. It’s time consuming. Expect about a 12-step process with a good dose of trial and error. It involves creating (or finding) a test chart, which includes a colorful image plus a set of standard colors (for your particular operating system), and shades of gray in approx. 10% increments. The goal is to get your printer to duplicate (as closely as possible) the way your test chart looks onscreen. This is done by tweaking your printer adjustments in Photoshop through File > Page Setup, choosing the name of your printer and clicking the Properties button. From there you set Media type (what kind of paper you’re using), Quality, and a host of other color adjustments in the printer’s Advanced Options dialog. You then print the test image and compare it under your special light. Basically, you keep tweaking the settings in the Advanced Options dialog and printing proofs until you get the colors to match. Once you’re successful, save the Profile.

Downloading/purchasing color profiles
Pros
1. It’s faster than creating your own.
2. There is no learning curve, as there is above,
3. Some companies will give them to you for free. Check around the paper and ink companies, as well as user group sites.

Cons
1. These profiles are created by somebody else’s eyes; thus, you may not be 100% pleased with the results. Just like mechanical devices, individual sets of eyeballs interpret color differently.
2. They can be pricey, as you will need a different profile for each combination of printer, ink and paper that you use. Profiles can cost around Rs.1250 each.
3. Some profiles are only available in sets, which may include some you don’t need.
4. You have no new skill to brag about to your Photoshop-ing friends 🙂

That’s all for now, folks!

Bhargav

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