Category Archives: Profiling

Color Confidence Digital Imaging Workshop’s bridge gap for colour management training events in the UK

The latest Color Confidence Digital Imaging Workshop has helped to educate, both amateur and professional photographers, on the importance of the colour workflow process from camera through to print.

Event feedback forms collected at last week’s Digital Imaging Workshop found that many people were keen for Color Confidence to continue to host colour management events in the UK, with 41% of delegates travelling over 50 miles to attend the event.

Color Confidence, Europe’s leading supplier to the photography market, held the Digital Imaging Workshop at The Rep in Birmingham last week Wednesday.

The day was split into a morning of seminars and an afternoon of interactive activities, with guests having the option to attend just the morning session or stay for the full day event. In total 92% of attendees stayed for the full event, with 33% requesting to see colour management tutorials.

The morning consisted of four seminars with guest speakers from Adobe, Macphun Software, DxO and a session with Fashion and Beauty Photographer Andy Kruzcek.

In the afternoon guests were given the option to choose two of the following three activities, a photowalk with professional photographer Andy Kruzcek, an Adobe workflow seminar with David Mallows, or a specialist 1-2-1 training session with their chosen vendor.

There was a trade and exhibition area open throughout the day with technical specialists from some of the world’s leading manufacturers including NEC, X-Rite, DxO, EIZO, Macphun Software, Epson, Manfrotto and Tecco.

“For over 30 years we have been committed to training, education and technical support,” says Geoffrey Clements, Managing Director at Color Confidence. “Our latest report has found that there is demand to run events of this calibre in the UK, with many people willing to travel great lengths to find out more about the colour workflow process.”

Color Confidence offer a range of professional training courses and consultancy services with packages to suit users of all levels, from individual photographers and imaging professionals, to large-scale publishing houses and multinational companies.

There were a total of 50 attendees at the Digital Imaging Workshop. All attendees were entered into a prize draw to win a brand new NEC monitor. The winner was announced on the day.

Prize draw winner

We were please to announce Philip Higgins as the prize draw winner of a brand new NEC monitor.

Win A Colour Workflow Bundle!

Color-Confidence-bundle

This month, we are giving you the chance to win a huge bundle of prizes, including an NEC E223 monitor, Macphun Creative Kit software and an i1Display Pro, plus lots more!

This prize bundle, worth almost £700, is designed to help you manage and improve your colour workflow from capture, to edit, to print.

Up for grabs in this fantastic prize bundle are the following products:

  • ColorChecker Passport - Ensures the images you capture are accurate in colour.
  • i1Display Pro - Calibrator that ensures your monitor, tablet or projector is colour calibrated
  • Creative Kit - This award winning image editing bundle from Macphun includes Snapheal and Intensify Pro softwares
  • NEC E233 Multisync Monitor - A 22 inch high definition LED monitor
  • Tecco Paper - 2 boxes of A3 Sepia Satin Portrait paper for outstanding prints.

To be in with a chance of winning this brilliant colour workflow bundle, all you have to do is show us your best images of ‘Colour’.

These could be abstract close-ups, images featuring a strong, vibrant colour, animals with pretty colourings, or a beautiful natural occurrence, such as a sunrise or sunset. We want to see how you can incorporate colour in different ways into your images. Get creative and show us your best ‘Colour’ themed images!

The competition closes at midnight on 30 November 2014. For more information and to enter now, take a look at the Competition page.

Good Luck!

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To all our creative Color Confidence followers!

Introducing a brand new up to date version of the Pantone Capsure and FHI Color Guide bundle. Treat yourself, your office and your clients to a Pantone Capsure and FHI Color Guide for the chance to accurately measure colours wherever you are, and refer back to all the Fashion and Home set of Pantone colours. This post will explain all the features of the Pantone Capsure and FHI guide and explain how beneficial this bundle can be for you.pant180

The Pantone Capsure allows you to confidently and accurately capture colour from any surface and match it to the closest official Pantone colour. The Capsure is loaded with over 8,000 colours from 8 different colour guides and the colours you capture can be directly matched to any of these guides for prime accuracy. The Capsure is ideal for fashion, interiors and all creative industries, allowing creatives to use the Capsure portably to match any surface to a Pantone colour, create colour palettes or descriptive mood boards for any project. The screen on the Capsure is 1.75 inch and has a variety of settings, along with providing the page number, sRGB and HTML values, and mixing recipes for the fan guides you choose to correspond the colour you’re matching to. The Capsure uses camera technology to pick up not only spot colours, but also patterns and textures and often provide you with two Pantone matches from one colour swatch. The Pantone Capsure comes with Color Manager software. This allows you to import your colours to the software and create colour ways and palettes. Palettes can be fully integrated and exported quickly and efficiently to Photoshop, Illustrator etc.

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The new Pantone FHI Guide gives you 2,100 fashion and home colours on paper in compact and highly portable fan deck. This resource inspires easy colour selection and specification and allows you to communicate your colour choices and ideas with anyone, anywhere.  Each colour swatch has a name and numerical reference. This identification allows for quick decisions and easy referencing which makes it the ideal tool for activities such as client meetings, on site reviews and sample shopping. When using the FHI colour guide, you will have accurate and consistent colour selection on the move.

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Purchasing the Pantone Capsure & FHI Guide will give you the best opportunity to capture your colour and instantly reference it to your fashion and home guide, giving yourself, your customer and your office the best chance for accurate colour management and specification on any project you are working on.

Color Confidence presents this new product bundle to our followers at a brand new, lower than ever price of £499.00!

To read more about this bundle, click here to be taken to the product page:

http://shop.colourconfidence.com/product.php?xProd=5108

The common question…

Yesterday we spent a very enjoyable day down at LCE Southampton

It’s always good getting out and about and talking to people face to face. It’s something we enjoy, and without wanting to boast, it’s something we’re very good at. We had a great time talking to you all, and we hope you enjoyed our seminar session in the evening.

As ever though, there was one query that stood out above all others:

“My images look great on screen, but don’t look anything like it when printing out” – or in other words; how can I get my printouts to match my screen?

The answer is calibration – a calibration of both a monitor and printer to be precise.

The device capable of performing both is called the ColorMunki Photo from X-Rite.

ColorMunki Photo

Whereas other calibrators will just take care of your screen or projector, the ColorMunki Photo will do your screen as well as any printer(s) you have connected to your laptop, Mac or PC.

Essentially it does the same thing to both devices; namely getting them to display or printout a series of colours for it to measure, compare to what the colour should be and create a profile to compensate for the difference.

Once these profiles are saved and applied to your machine you can start printing with peace of mind what you see on screen is what you’ll see coming out of the printer.

Calibrate your screen once a month and profile your printer for any paper/ink combinations and you’re good to go.

Easy.

You can learn more about ColorMunki Photo here.

Why don’t my printouts match my screen?

This is probably the most frequent question we get asked at CC HQ…

Whether on the phone, at Focus on Imaging, or at one of our Drop-in days; “why does my printout look different to what I see on-screen” is a frequent query from photographers and designers alike, particularly those that are starting, or wanting to print from home.

There are no single reasons for this, there are often multiple factors coming into play, such as; an un-calibrated screen, your working environment lighting conditions, system set-ups on your monitor or printer, the list goes on…

Luckily, there is a simple solution to this problem in the shape of the X-Rite ColorMunki Photo.

ColorMunki Photo has been designed to be an all-in-one spectral device for monitor, printer and even projector profiling – basically, a device that will ensure what you see on your screen is replicated as closely as possible when you print out.

It does this by calibrating/profiling both your LCD/CRT monitor and your printer.

Firstly, working like a ‘conventional’ monitor calibrator, ColorMunki Photo will create a custom profile you can save and apply to your monitor. It will integrate your display contrast settings and brightness into your workflow, giving you accurate on-screen colours.

Secondly, ColorMunki Photo will calibrate your RGB or CMYK printer by getting it to print out a series of test charts. The ColorMunki will scan the first test chart, learning how your printer behaves with these colours. Once this is done, a second chart is produced and scanned by the ColorMunki, thus creating a printer profile to save to your printer.

That’s it.

Colour accuracy is now achieved across your workflow from monitor to printer.

Learn more about ColorMunki Photo and how it can benefit your workflow here.

Colormunki Smile – monitor calibration that puts a Smile on your face

Today marks the release of the X-Rite ColorMunki Smile…

A name which lends itself to a host of puns and cheesy marketing gimmicks – although to be fair, I think we were fairly restrained with our efforts at CC HQ!

Anyway enough of that…

If you are completely new to the world of colour management, image editing or photography and are starting to require a solution to produce greater on-screen accuracy, then this is the solution for you.

Have you ever wondered why the pictures you took on your camera don’t look the same when displayed on your monitor? Well, monitors aren’t prefect; displayed colour can vary from monitor to monitor or even drift over time. This means the image you view on screen might not be a true reflection of what you actually captured.

Monitor calibrators are designed to solve this problem by optimising your monitor to display colours as accurately as possible.

The ColorMunki Smile has been designed with simplicity in mind. Unlike its bigger brothers; ColorMunki Display and i1Display Pro which offer a host of advanced features to play with, the Smile is as straight-forwards as plugging into your USB and letting it get on with calibrating your screen. This means you don’t need to have an expert knowledge of colour science to get the results you want.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYeXdpL6HNY?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

In a nutshell – this is the ideal monitor calibrator for a beginner.

In summary you get:

  • The ability to calibrate one, or multiple LCD & LED laptop or desktop displays
  • An easy and intuitive wizard interface – simply plug in and click
  • Powerful calibration technology found in X-Rite’s professional calibration solutions
  • Before and After image comparison
  • Easy to follow help videos and guides

You can learn more about and purchase ColorMunki Smile here.

Happy calibrating!

Creating Outstanding Black and White Images

In a slight change of plan to the one described in our previous Nik blog post, this week we’ll be looking at how to create outstanding black and white images using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

In a nutshell, Silver Efex Pro 2 allows you to turn any digital image (colour or otherwise) into black and white one.

Inspired by the darkroom, Silver Efex Pro 2 is arguably Nik’s flagship product. Whenever we’re at a trade show it’s more often than not one of our most recognisable and liked products on show. Indeed, many of our staff here with a keen interest and experience in photography express how good and powerful Silver Efex Pro 2 is. EISA agreed too; awarding it ‘Best Product’ in their photo software category 2011-12.

So what makes Silver Efex Pro 2 so complete?

Black and white effects can create a timeless, classic feel to images. Silver Efex Po 2 quickly and effortlessly transforms digital colour photographs into artistic, sophisticated black and white images. By taking advantage of intelligent tools and presets, and Nik’s U Point Technology, you can open up a range of precise, creative and experimental options for black and white images.

Silver Efex Pro 2 includes a host of features, effects and presets to get the best out of your imagery:

‘Dynamic Brightness’ ensures that different areas of your image receive different brightening adjustments based on the tonal values of that area. This means that darker areas within an image can get brighter without affecting the lighter areas of the image and visa-versa. Traditionally this process would take time to do in Photoshop, but Silver Efex Pro 2 does this in minutes.

‘Structure and Fine Structure’ adjustments enhance light and dark uniformity throughout an image using Structure Control. This works by working precisely ‘between’ edges and defined lines within an image, consequently bringing out textures and details. Crucially, it does this without creating an over-sharpened look, which can cause an un-natural or over-saturated looking image.

A ‘Grain Engine’ feature helps you set the mood of an image. Using powerful algorithms, Silver Efex Pro 2 allows you to layer grain on an image using grain settings pre-defined by you. This results in a more ‘natural’ looking, nostalgic image.

These are just a few of the features contained within Silver Efex Pro 2, there are many others that make it a supremely powerful tool for editing images. For a complete feature run-down, the Nik Software webpage details exactly what you get in the software.

There’s also further descriptions here.

In two weeks time we’ll continue our bi-weekly feature on Nik Software, taking a closer look at the Nik plug-in range as a whole, and more importantly, why you need them.

An introduction to using ColorMunki Display

Installation

Your box contains the ColorMunki software on disc and the first step is to load that onto your machine, by following the simple on-screen prompts or video tutorials if you need them.

If you use a Windows operating system, the Hardware Wizard will automatically launch and install the drivers for the device.

Now launch the ColorMunki software.


Software Preferences

Before you begin the process of calibrating your monitor display or projector, you can set and personalise your software preferences, to ensure that you deliver the results for your project and viewing needs.

The ‘preferences’ tab is located in ‘menus’ at the top of the on-screen interface panel and offers the following settable options, which we recommend as follows:

  • Tone Response Curve: Set to the default 2.2
  • ICC Profiler Version: If you use older design software, you should set to version 2, newer edition user should select version 4
  • Achieve Display Luminance Value using video LUTs: Check this tick box if you use a monitor that can be too bright even at minimum brightness, these include iMac displays
  • Enable ADC: Check this option as it allows the software to take control of your monitor and make the relevant adjustments in the key areas
  • Technology Type: Simply select the type of backlight that your monitor uses. If you are not sure, CCFL is a good start point

Check ‘OK’ when you are happy with all your preference settings


The Process

One of the advantages of ColorMunki Display is that you can calibrate both monitor displays and projectors.

For the purposes of this overview, we will walk through how to calibrate a monitor display.

  • Select ‘Profile My Display’ from the menu of options on the right-hand side of the on-screen interface.
  • Select the ‘Advanced’ option that is presented, as this allows you to work with optimum control
  • Next set the ‘White Point’ – D65 will suit almost all users
  • Set the ‘White Luminance’ to automatically match ambient lighting or to a value that suits your personal environment. A darkened room is ideal and for optimum results you can also ask the software to monitor the effects of ambient lighting for you.


Taking advantage of Advanced Options

  • Ambient Smart Control, measures the effects of ambient light and then automatically adjusts your display’s contrast, saturation and tone for optimum results
  • Flare Correct – compensates for any light or glare that falls directly onto your screen, it is a good feature to use in conjunction with adding a monitor hood in creating the most accurate working conditions.


Let’s Calibrate

  • Rotate the integral Diffuser Arm away from the lens of the ColorMunki Display and then simply place against the screen of your monitor as centrally as possible
  • Adjust the counter weight on the cable so that it hangs over the top of the monitor case and holds the device squarely in place on the screen
  • Click ‘Next’ on the on-screen interface to start the measurement process
  • If your monitor is ADC compatible, any adjustments will be automatic. If not, you will be asked to make some minor settings adjustments – all of this is intuitive, clear and prompted on-screen
  • Next, it is best to measure any glare that is falling onto your screen as this will affect the final profiles. Simply, position the device as requested on-screen by your software and click ‘Measure

You are now essentially done!


Save Your New Profile

Name your profile as you wish and click ‘Save’ – you can also ask the software to diarise a re-calibration date, and we would suggest that you do this for a reminder every calendar month to sustain your colour accuracy and consistency.

Before & After

A Before & After comparison allows you to view the effects of the calibration process that you have just undertaken.

A range of default images can be accessed to prove the effects of the profiling  or you can load your own comparison images by accessing the ’Image’ drop-down menu.


Finally…

The final step is to enable ‘Ambinet Light Monitoring’ – but only do this if you elected to use the ambient light features when you created the profile.

The benefit of enabling this feature is that automatic adjustments will be made based on how ambient light changes throughout the day within your working environment.

You can also ask the software to flag any recommended adjustments so that you can apply manually if you prefer.

Colour management: an overview

This latest segment of colour confidence blog posts will link to information from our Learning Centre, and hopefully give you an insight into a range of topics you may find a bit puzzling!

First stop is colour management itself; what is it exactly, and why do you need it?

“Have you ever wondered why your digital camera pictures don’t look the same when displayed on your monitor? Or why they look different again when printed out? The answer is that no two devices display colour in the same way. Every device has its own colour range or gamut. Every camera and scanner captures colour differently. Even two
monitors of the same model and type will display slightly different results.

“To keep your colour consistent from device to device, you need colour management. At the heart of colour management is the process of profiling (also known as ICC profiling). By profiling a device, you can ensure it is displaying colour correctly within its capabilities, based on industry standards. Once the profiles are in place, you can make sure colour is reproduced in the same way by all devices – to put it simply, you can get your printer to create a print that looks as close as possible to the picture on your monitor.

“While this may sound complicated, most colour management products are designed to make the process as simple as possible, using automation and easy to use, wizard-based software. In as little as ten minutes, you could profile your entire system.”

So, colour management is the process to help you keep colour accurate and consistent throughout your workflow. But what ways are there to introduce or commence the colour management process?

There are 3 primary ways to help you get accurate colour:

  1. Profiling your monitor
  2. Profiling your printer
  3. Profiling your camera

All three have their own solutions, and all three have their own processes to help you achieve accurate colour. Crucially though; when these methods are combined – you start getting incredible results.

Want to know more about the why and the how to start profiling – download our colour management pdf which explains the processes a little further.

You can then check back to colorconfidence.com to see which solutions might be best for you.

Happy profiling!

Adam Borriello
Social media & marketing

What is printer profiling?

Profiling a printer is a requirement if you want to get correct colour prints. Just like a picture looks different depending on the type of light you look at it under (or under no light and you can’t see the picture), the ink in your printer will produce different results depending on the type of paper you use. Even if you use paper supplied by the printer manufacturer and select their recommended print settings – although you should get ‘reasonable’ results – it will not be perfect.

To read more about how light effects viewing an image, read our previous post

Each printer off the production line will vary slightly, and different room conditions (temperature and humidity) will affect how the printer ink and paper react – resulting in colour variations. A printer also changes with time – not just winter to summer depending on the conditions, but through wear and tear and variations in the consumables.

So the way to control all this is by making profiles for your printer – one for each paper type and with a reasonably stable printer, they should be remade every 1-2 months – or more frequently if there is a noticeable change which could be caused by one of many factors.

There are two entry-level instruments available; the Color Munki (from X-Rite/Pantone) and the Spyder Print (from Data Colour). Moving up a level, there is the i1 Pro instrument (from X-Rite).

The Color Munki instruments will let you calibrate printers as well as monitors. They come with software for doing all sorts of other things with colour also, so it is a product that you could end up benefiting from using more frequently than just once a month for calibration.

If you are printing your own pictures, it’s worthwhile considering a Color Munki to calibrate both your monitor and printer. Otherwise with just a monitor calibrator I expect it will be frustrating knowing that your pictures will look correct on-screen but you are having to make them look wrong and waste time, ink and paper on getting a print to look like you originally had on your correct monitor.

With both your monitor and printer calibrated, you will know images on your screen are colour correct. Furthermore, when you go to print, you can select the profile you made for the chosen paper type and the computer will adjust the image data within the printing process configuring the printer/paper profile to produce a colour correct image in print.

If you have any other questions about printer profiling, get in touch or comment below and we’ll answer them.

Simon Prais
Technical Director