‘Why can’t I print what I see on my screen?’
‘How did the printer get that result when my inkjet print
was perfect?’ ‘Why is the client saying my images are
too warm?’ It’s fair to say that everyone who has had
anything to do with getting colour from one medium to another has
experienced similar hair-tearing frustrations with the process.
They’re probably the sort of issues that have brought you
to this website. Well, you’re in the right place! You’ll
find solutions to those problems - and many more you probably didn’t
realise were affecting your colour.
Does Colour Management work?
The short answer is YES! Our clients are astonished at the improvement
in their output, the reduction in costs and the elimination of all
that wasted time. The longer answer starts this way… Colour
Management is not a simple process. It requires a deeper understanding
of the mechanics of all the processes involved than most people
are prepared to commit to. There are probably one hundred or more
influencing factors along the way. In order to maintain the digital
and aesthetic integrity of your images, you need to assess your
workflow, identify and eliminate the destructive factors.
Don’t want to get under the colour management hood? Fair
enough. It can get pretty grubby down there and we think its better
to focus on what you do best – being creative. Once it’s
sorted, it’s pretty much ‘set and forget’ anyway.
But, we reckon it is helpful to have a grasp of the fundamentals.
Colour management is an enabling technology. The principle objective
is to enable the colour captured on one device to be output accurately
to another and to make it as seamless as possible so that it enhances
How does it work?
The principle of colour management is that devices are each calibrated
and profiled to meet International Colour Consortium (ICC) standards
– not each other. By virtue of the fact that they are all
calibrated to the one standard, they will be compatible with each
other, and on a larger scale, be compatible with any other profiled
device. It is this principle that allows photographs to be shot
in Cooberpedy, assembled into a layout in Canberra, separated in
China and printed in Cologne where a print is delivered that matches
the photographer’s image through the viewfinder.
There are three basic steps common to all equipment calibration;
Characterisation, linearisation and calibration of devices
– basically getting the hardware to deliver the goods
consistently. This is a pivotal part of the process as it means
that the ‘profile’ doesn’t need to ‘bend’
the numbers as much to achieve a good result.
Profiling of devices – this is sometimes described as
‘fingerprinting’ the device. Effectively it is about
finding the relationship between real (visual) colour and what
the device thinks it should be. For example, if we tell an inkjet
to print ‘sky blue’, we need to note the relationship
between that and the colour it actually prints. The profile
is built around knowing how the printer interprets that (and
about 1000 other colours) so next time we print a colour like
that the printer will be given instruction on how to deliver
‘sky blue’ as ‘sky blue’.
Assessment of workflow and applications. The sequence of the
acquisition of data, which applications have opened it and who
plays with it on the way, will vary the result enormously. The
configuration of applications software is vital. You can undo
all your careful handling of a job by opening it in an application
that doesn’t ‘know’ how to deal with it.
At ColourGuru.com, our role is to train colour professionals to
understand how the elements fit together to enable them to make
informed judgments and sound decisions.