Monthly Archives: December 2010

Seasons greetings!

Christmas has rolled around already – only 3 days to go – and we’re nearly at the end of another year. 2010 has been a pretty busy one for Colour Confidence; new offices, competitions and plenty of new products to share with you. Hopefully this will continue into 2011!

Speaking of competitions, we’d just like to say a huge thank you and well done to all those you entered our 2010 photography competition. The standard was genuinely incredible, so much so, we’re still finalising the images to grace our walls. I know the judging panel have spent many long nights trying to pick the winners. Rest assured, the winning images will be announced in the New Year.

We’ve got lot’s of plans for 2011 too, and all being well plenty of chances for you to interact with us on a whole new level. Without blowing our own trumpet, we have huge knowledge and know-how, and we think we’ve come up with a pretty good way of sharing it with you! Unfortunately I can’t give too much away at this stage, but watch this space…

Just a small post this week, and it just leaves me to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and happy New Year from everyone here at Colour Confidence – see you in 2011!

Adam Borriello
Social media and 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

Let there be light!

Thank you to Jon who submitted a question on our previous post all about monitor calibration – which you can read again here. It was a great question and one which is worthy of it’s own blog post, so here goes…

Jon has an i1 Display LT, and as a result, a wonderfully calibrated monitor. However, when he gets prints back from the lab – the pictures always look darker than on his monitor. Why could that be?

Well, this problem has just highlighted what I believe must be the most common oversight in desktop colour management – the light you are viewing your print in. If you look at a picture in a dimly lit room, it will look darker than if you take it to the window. Without thinking, many people will take clothes to a shop window to see the colours and detail better, or even the same at home when reading or showing off a photo album.

This is because the brightness and colour balance of what we are physically looking at is dependent on the light. Three key components of light are its ‘temperature’ (a yellowish household bulb) or a higher temperature bluer light (similar to daylight), its ‘luminance’ (how bright it is, the closer to the light the brighter the illumination) and finally the ‘quality’ (a poor quality light will affect some colours in a strange way).

So, the simple answer to Jon’s problem – or indeed similar problems! – is that you first need to get a viewing light and then set the brightness of you monitor to match the brightness of light reflecting off the whites of the prints you are viewing.

Sound a bit confusing?

For details on exactly how to do that, or for a more detailed explanation of how light can affect the way you view prints, we have a document called ‘Seeing the Light’ that you can download from our Learning Centre. It’s completely free to download with full explanations, and ends with a step by step procedure.

I hope this answers your question!

Simon Prais
Technical Director