Tag Archives: Training

Come and see us 12/06/13

Color Confidence Drop-in day 12th June

Drop-in day 12th June

WEDNESDAY 12th JUNE marks the next opportunity for you to drop-in to discuss all things colour management.

Quiz the experts

Our experts will be on hand to give you professional product demonstrations and best practice tips to help you get the best out of your equipment.

Whether it’s how to properly profile your printer, which professional monitor will best suit your requirements, or how to use the latest image editing software, our team will be here to help.

What’s on display?

  • A comprehensive range of the latest professional and colour accurate monitors, including the range of new generation LED backlight displays from NEC and Eizo.
  • Monitor and printer calibration devices from X-Rite
  • Extensive image editing software and tutorials with DxO, Franzis and onOne
  • Pantone colour guides –the latest editions and learn which best suit your needs
  • Accessories ranging from Rain Design and Booq, to LMP and a range of Pantone lifestyle products
  • Color Confidence Services – an opportunity to discuss your challenges and how you can benefit from our range of services

Our Drop-in Days take place at our head office in Birmingham, and run from 10:00 to 16:00; best of all, it’s completely FREE.

Register now

The complete colour management service

Colour Management at your service.

After last weeks winter wonderland post we thought we might be sharing some more snowy pictures of our car park with you today. (Luckily) we haven’t had any, so we’re looking much greener this week, which is nice.

In this post we’re going to talk to you about our Services and training and consultancy options; something which not everyone knows we do, but we’re very proud of.

We want to make colour management as accessible as possible. Professionals or ogranisations dealing with more complex issues could benefit from our more in-depth knowledge, with over twenty years of experience to back this up.

We are one of only a few certified EFI-fogra DealerCert resellers, meaning we can offer professional, accredited installation and maintenance of the EFI ColorProof XF Systems – a guarantee of high-quality proofs produced to the internationally recognised ISO 12647 standard. You can read more about this here.

We can do both full and half-day training packages tailored to your specific requirements, covering a vast array of colour management topics from Installing and setting up your printer correctly to making sure your complete colour workflow is as accurate as possible from image capture to print output.

So if you’ve got any colour management queries, get in touch or comment below and we’ll do our best to help.

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.

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.

An introduction to using i1Display Pro

Installation

The next-generation i1 Profiler software included with the i1Display Pro should be loaded as your first step – do this before you plug the device into your machine via the USB port.

If you use a Windows operating system, when you do plug the device in, the new Hardware Wizard will automatically launch and install the new drivers.

Once this happened, launch the software.

The software is incredibly intuitive, and the on-screen interface panel offers both text and video instructions, as well as ongoing prompts toward what you need to do next, if anything.

It is worth adding that the i1Profiler software is the same as that which is bundled with the X-Rite I1 Photo Pro & Publish Pro systems, so will offer you options for printer profiling on the interface – ignore this option if you do not own the latter devices.

Setting Calibration Targets

With the software installed, the on-screen interface will now ‘pop up’ and ask you a series of questions in terms of setting your calibration and further preferences.

  • Technology Type – From the drop-down list, select the backlight type relevant to your display. If you are unsure which is relevant, CCFL is a good starting point – you can also select ‘Projector’ from this list if you wish to profile that device
  • White Point Can be set at a choice of relevant values. D65 will suit most users
  • Luminance – Select the relevant value from the options list, establish a custom value based on your requirements or measure ambient light in your environment for optimum accuracy
  • Contrast Ratio – Your default setting should be ‘Native’ – you can add your own values, which is effective when matching one screen to another
  • Flare Correct – This allows you to compensate for any glare or light falling onto your monitor display and neutralises it during the profiling process
  • Ambient Light Smart Control – Measures ambient lighting in your working environment and then automatically adjusts your monitor’s contrast, tone and saturation

Now click on ‘Profile Settings’ to move to the next stage of the process.

Profile Settings

Again, the on-screen interface will now ask you to select settings for the following aspects:

  • ICC Profiler Version – If you are using older design software you should select the ‘Version 2’ option – for newer software, check ‘Version 4
  • Profile Type – Select ‘Table Based’ as your first choice, which is more accurate than ‘Matrix’ – Note: your ‘older’ software does not support ‘Table Based


Setting Colour Patch Range

The i1 Profiler software utilises 119 colour patches to generate an accurate profile – you can also import additional colours if you wish.

You would do this for colour specific project work.

Additional colours can be loaded via the included PANTONE Color Manager Software, or via a loaded image – this opportunity is accessible via the clear icon above the patch sets that will be displayed on the user interface.

Let’s Calibrate

To begin this process, the interface will prompt you to set some final values:

  • Automatic Display Control (ADC) – Check this, as it will allow the software to take full control of your monitor and make relevant adjustments
  • Brightness & Contrast – If your monitor is not compatible with the standards that the ADC uses, then you will need to make any adjustments manually – this is simple, clear and you will be prompted to do so if need be

Ensure that the diffuser arm is over the i1 Display Pro’s lens and position the device roughly where you might position a paper print if you were comparing it to an image on the screen.

Now click as prompted to start the ‘measuring process’.

  • During this process you will be prompted to make any relevant flare and ambient light measurements (if you have selected these options at set-up)

And that is essentially it – the profile will now be automatically created


Naming & Saving Your ICC Profile

Your ICC Profile has been automatically created.

Give it an appropriate name and save it.

The software allows you to diarise the next calibration test and we would recommend that you set this for each calendar month to maintain consistent accuracy and for ongoing peace of mind.


Gamut, Look Up Table and Before & After

Your created profile will be displayed as a graph of the gamut on your on-screen interface.

You can fine-tune this if you wish and click on the line of the graph to inspect the changes made in your monitor’s graphics card during the profiling process.

You can also select the ‘image icon’ and see the direct effects of your calibration with a ‘before & after’ image.


Quality Assurance

You can further click on the ‘arrow’ next to the ‘Display QA’ button, to access further tests to clarify the accuracy of your profile.

The Patch Set type can be set to ‘standard’ to load one of the default sets and the software will then evaluate how accurate your monitor is against those patch references.

The patches from the ColorChecker, IT8 Charts and FOGRA Media Wedge are also accessible for optimum referencing.

You can also load Spot Color testing charts via the PANTONE Color Manager Software or by uploading your own images and extracting colour test values from them.

Select the ‘Start Measurement’ option to begin the automatic evaluation of your monitor


Quality Assurance Report

When measurement is complete, a summary of results will be displayed on-screen.

Generally, you should be aiming to achieve Delta E of less than 2 and a maximum of less than 4.

This is of course only a rough guide, and you will want to achieve values specific to you project needs.

These reports can all be saved and will contribute to the ‘trending data’ which evolves over time.


Trending

A ‘trending graph’ can be displayed by selecting it on the interface and provides a very useful guide to how your monitor alters over time.

The i1Profiler software also offers a module for checking monitor uniformity, which is a useful additional assessment tool.

Colour management; a few Q&A’s

Part 2 of our Learning Centre influenced blog posts follows on from last weeks ‘an overview of colour management’.

So, you now hopefully know what colour management is – roughly – but I imagine these have raised a few questions…

We talked about profiling in our previous post, but “how does your system compensate for the differences between profiles?”

“The straight answer to this is that it doesn’t! A monitor does not work to a colourspace rather it attempts to reproduce colour as closely as possible. This is exactly why monitor profiling is so essential. A monitor profile optimises your monitor to only produce colours it is capable of using the known data saved in the profile, thereby not creating colour distortions. Put simply without a monitor calibration device you cannot truly trust your monitor. If you do start  looking at rendering intents I would suggest further reading, however for most photographic work the perceptual rendering intent is suitable.”

I’ve profiled my monitor fine, but there’s this new sRGB and Adobe RGB thing, “what’s the difference between them and when should they be used?”

“The main difference between sRGB and Adobe RGB is quite simply the size – Adobe RGB is a significantly larger colour gamut.

“Advantages of using AdbobeRGB in photography are:

  • Blue/Cyan and yellow colours of increased saturation can be achieved in a photograph when printing from the AdobeRGB colourspace. The increased cyan/blue will be visually more noticeable than the yellow.
  • The flexibility of using other types of output device with the potential of future devices able to achieve more saturated ranges of colour.

“Advantages of using sRGB in photography are:

  • Many computer monitors will only display colours to a colour saturation as defined by sRGB. Therefore this is appropriate as it avoids colours that cannot be accurately displayed on a monitor.
  • Many cameras are configured to work as a default in sRGB. Avoiding conversions between colourspaces reduces the potential for errors.

“There is no single, correct working space to operate in and it depends on the type of photography you are undertaking but for minimum fuss and maximum control, use sRGB, however if you want to capture as much as possible and make amends to colour from the top down then using AdobeRGB may be just fine.”

The above was an extract taken from our colour management Q&A document which you can download for free here. You’ll also see an extra 2 questions on the pdf, which will be particularly useful if you’re a bit confused with CMYK/RGB printing, or are struggling to grey balance an image in Photoshop post-shooting.

As ever, if you have any questions or problems, comment below and we’ll do our best to answer them!

Adam Borriello
Social media & marketing

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

Expert Introductions to…

I mentioned last week that we’re now offering great training opportunities.

Well, I’m pleased to report that we have our first course offering three bite-sized modules! Topics will cover an introduction to the key areas of colour management and digital imaging – with the intention of sharpening your skills and helping you gain a better understanding.

Three 30 minute sessions will cover:

  1. Light & Shade – Ever wondered how can you create the optimum physical environment to capture that perfect image, or whether you can accurately match what you see on-screen to what you print? Both answers will probably involve a consistent light source, or perhaps something like a PChOOD addition to correctly configure your monitor.
  2. Profiles and Colour – We’ll overview the basics of this important subject – specifically, just what is a ‘profile’ exactly? How should you use them? What is the difference between sRGB and Adobe RGB – and when should you use them?
  3. Choosing the rightMonitor – Monitors are a crucial component to the colour manager, and as a result, buying a new one is a major decision. We look to highlight the key things to look out for when deciding which monitor is right for you and your needs. Don’t understand all the technical jargon – we’ll do our best to explain it all. We’ll also compare and explain choosing between big and small gamut, IPS versus sPVA panels, brightness, resolution and lots more

Training takes place at our Spectrum Point HQ in Birmingham. Attendees will also have the chance to participate in practical demonstrations of the advantages of working in RAW workflow and using the award-winning ColorMunki.

If you’re interested, click here for more information.

We’re looking to do more of these sessions too, so if there’s anything you’d like us to cover, please let us know or comment below!

Adam Borriello
Social media and marketing