Tag Archives: Colour Reference

Studio View and Studio Photo – complete colour management

Colour management – Wikipedia will tell you this is the “controlled conversion between the colour representations of various devices”. And, broadly speaking, this is pretty much spot-on. Although we prefer to think of colour management from a practical perspective; how managing colour correctly throughout your workflow and various devices can improve your image quality, and perhaps more importantly – your own satisfaction!

With this in mind, a few months ago we created two bundle items to help you start this accurate colour management process. The Color Confidence Studio Photo & Studio View respectively combines various devices and solutions to set you on your way to achieving quality colour results.

But what are they, and why do you need them?

Color Confidence Studio Photo

This is ideally suited to photographers offering solutions to white balance your camera, calibrate your monitor screen to display colours accurately and something to verify/check the colour reproduction of your workflow. To achieve all this, the Studio Photo gives you:

  • an X-Rite ColorMunki Display for accurate monitor calibration
  • a Total Balance – the durable and neutral grey reference to balance your camera
  • a Kodak Check Up Kit that provides a visual verification to check colour accuracy in your workflow

All in all, the Studio Photo is a great way to start achieving accurate colour from capture and on-screen, and to assess how accurately colour is produced throughout your workflow.

Learn more about it here.

Color Confidence Studio View

This one is great for photographers as well as graphic designers and imaging professionals, offering a colour management and viewing solution. It allows you to calibrate your monitor to display accurate colour, the means to shield your monitor from unwanted light and glare than can distort colour representation, and a daylight replication light to proof images under the correct lighting conditions. It gives you this using:

  • an X-Rite ColorMunki Display for accurate monitor calibration
  • a PChOOD to shield unwanted light from your display creating an accurate working environment
  • a GrafiLite formulated to replicate natural daylight conditions allowing for image proofing in the right light

The Studio View is a great way to create the right environment to start accurately viewing and reviewing colour.

Learn more about it here.

Colour Reference Guides part 2 – media types

Last week we blogged about the types of colour referencing guides and formats available for you to use when referencing colour.

This week, part 2 sees us look at the types of media these reference guides use, and how that may affect your choice of reference guide.

You may see reference guides being described in the below ways:

Coated – This means the paper which the colours are printed on has a surface coating so that the inks sit nicely on the paper. This results in a vibrant, bold printed colour.

Uncoated – A more ‘natural’ feel than coated media. It is easier to write on, but colours appear flatter due to the ink being absorbed by the paper.

Newsprint & Recycled – This is a lower grade of paper which normally produces a ‘dirty’ or off-white colour. The paper itself has a high-level of ink absorbency producing dull, muted printed colour.

Which one should I go for?

As you can imagine, it depends on what the guide is required for. Generally, Coated guides are the most popular due to their vibrancy. However, Uncoated guides will probably give you a better reflection of what you can expect to be printed out. Newsprint/Recycled media will be best suited for newspaper adverts, which normally require CMYK 4-colour prints.

The sort of print processes – or paper – you are using may also determine which colour reference guide to go for. So what printing processes are there?

Types of Print Process

CMYK 4-Colour – A range of colours can be achieved through printing a combination of Cyan (C), Magenta (M), Yellow (Y) and Black (K) which combine and mix on the paper during the print process. The resulting colours aren’t high on vibrancy, but the CMYK 4-colour process is required for the reproduction of photographic type images, or multiple flat areas of colour. CMYK prints are made by printing a mixture of coloured dots which blur to produce the desired colour.

Spot Colour Printing – In this method, inks are mixed to achieve specific colours before they are applied to the printing press. Mixing ‘recipes’ are provided for the print companies alongside each colour reference, in this case, found in Pantone Formula Guides. Specially made Pantone mixing scales are also available to help the mixing process. Spot printing produces a cleaner, more consistent image than CMYK.

Textile, Plastic, Paint… – Unlike printing ink onto paper, colouring textiles, plastics and other materials have far more variables. For such processes, rather than colour recipes being created, manufacturers of the raw materials are certified for producing pre-colour specified materials.

 Is there anything else I need to consider?

The final piece of the colour reference and print jigsaw is the visual assessment of colour afterwards. It is worth considering how the light and environment in which you review colours may affect how it looks.

You can read about viewing conditions and how they affect what you see in our blog post, here.

Colour Referencing part 1 – guide types

Colour selection and reproduction.

Every process can vary, from the colour pigments  used to how they mix and reproduce on different types of media.

Whether a graphic or fashion designer, architect, interior designer or decorator, if the object is to accurately reproduce a chosen colour, a physical colour sample  will be needed from a controlled, reproducible colour system.

This is where the likes of Pantone, RAL and DCS come in.

The above brands produce a variety of reference guides and numerous forms, here we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each type:

Fan Guide – corner rivet, fan opens to display 7 or 8 different colours per page.
Compact and easy to select individual colours, but not practical to compare multiple colours within the guide side-by-side.

Chip Book – Ring binder with multiple (normally 6) chips of each colour.
You’re able to separate chips for comparison of different colour options. Chips can also be fixed to work to help communicate colour choices and avoid misrepresentation during the production process. Replacement chips are available and can be added for frequently used colours. However, it’s not as compact  or convenient as a fan guide to flick through when selecting colours.

Planner – Chart with all samples on a single surface.
Compact, with all colours available at a one glance. Good for an economic option.
Generally based on smaller colour samples than other guides. Near impossible to compare colours to each other as they’re all fixed to a single baseboard.

Swatch Folder – Ring binder folder with multiple pages of pockets holding indivudal, removable swatches.
Can accommodate a large range of swatches, which can be removed for compariosn against each other.
It’s a fairly bulky item and not that practical for flicking through – although perfect once you have selected the general colour you want to use.

Ring Binder – Comprises of a fixed set of colours on each page.
Can accommodate a large range of swatches and is a very practical item for when colours on each page relate to each other.
As with the swatch folder, it’s fairly bulky and not that great for browsing – but again, perfect when you have chosen your final colours.

Best format?

Fan Guide’s are the most popular and practical for indentifying individual colours, whereas a planner can be quite restricting. A chip book is a necessity in addition to a fan guide in order to select colour combinations, and have the means of communicating colour with a visual reference.

Swatch and Ring Binders are the most practical solutions for approaching large colour ranges, with the ring binder having the advantage  or removable swatches for easy comparions.