Tag Archives: Viewing Lights

Color Confidence Autumn 2012 review – part 3

Welcome to the third and final part of our Autumn review, looking at key events and news over the last year.

Pantone updates

The past few years have seen a number of key enhancements and innovations from Pantone, the most recent of which being the introduction of 336 new solid colour choices. This means you can now take advantage of 1,677 solid colour choices to let your creativity truly soar. To view where this update sits within the last few years of Pantone updates, read our full article here.

Monitor features explained

Reliance on soft-proofing and digital image manipulation has influenced display technology developments with the introduction of new features and terminology. Understanding the terminology helps appreciate the advantages of a professional monitor – in this article, we review what the terminology surrounding monitors mean, and what basic steps can be taken to identify the most suitable monitor for you. Read the full article here.

Viewing Booths – essential for quality assurance

In this article, we review the importance and significance of viewing booths when assessing print or product colour.From photo editing for home use through to commercial colour assessment for print and similarly for product manufacture, controlled lighting is essential.

Demand for tighter quality control, accountability and appreciation of the importance of illumination brings viewing booths to the forefront of essential equipment at all stages of production and presentation for print and product manufacture. Read the full article here.

Color Confidence Autumn 2012 review – part 1

Welcome to part one of our autumn 2012 update, reviewing product developments over the last year combined with explanations of the technology.

This first posting actually looks forwards slightly as we prepare for the upcoming Packaging Innovation’s Exhibition in London, on the 4-5th October.

Entry to the show is free, and we’ll be there on stand GB1 to showcase our expertise in colour management, and the latest developments from Pantone, NEC monitors, Just Normlicht (viewing booths) and the new interactive RealVue 3D Packaging Software from FFEI. Here’s a brief overview of what we will be showing:


336 new colours have been added to the Pantone Plus range. If you own the Pantone Plus series of guides, this is your opportunity to update your guides whilst the 336 supplements are available. It’s also a great opportunity to see the Pantone Capsure in action, and indispensable tool for capturing colour from any surface and matching to the nearest Pantone reference.

RealVue 3D Packager:

Interactive packaging visualisation software ideal for design, through to production. Take a test drive with us – send us an illustrator file and experience it in RrealVue 3D.

Viewing booths for colour assessment:

See a range of viewing booths including the Just Normlicht Color Communicator 2 for soft-proofing and the Pantone 5 Light for product/packaging colour assessment.

NEC – SpectraView colour accuracy:

See a range of professional colour accurate desktop monitors from 23” through to the 55” new NEC 552 presentation display model. Furthermore, see the SpectraView Reference with Just Normlicht Color Communicator 2 integrated soft proofing solution.

You can read our full article about the show here.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our Autumn review post next week.

Viewing booths and lights explained. Part 5 – Main brands.

Following on from our recent blog entries, you should now be pretty clued up about all things viewing booths. This means you may be fast approaching the stage of actually purchasing one! But, there’s just one more thing to look at before you do – the brands:

Grafilite – entry-level desk lamps ideal for home use in design and photography. The range includes:

GTI (Graphic Technology) – a comprehensive range of viewing booths to suit most requirements.

GTI produce a range of viewing solutions and desktop booths, providing a larger illumination area than the desktop lamps. The PDV models offer A4 – A2 landscape illuminations. You can see the PDV range here.

GTI also produce colour appearance booths for product assessment, otherwise known as the mini-matcher (MM) models. You can see this range here.

Just Normlicht – precision viewing booths manufactured in Germany.

These solutions provide A3 to A2 Landscape/portrait illumination areas, with the option of sidewalls and dimmer switches. The range includes:

  • Color Master series – collapsible booths, ideal for print to screen
  • Color Match series – not collapsible, but often have backlight illuminations
  • Color Communicator series – provides controlled proofing environments for matching the intensity from monitor to booth

Just Normlicht also offer a range of Large Format booths, Colour Appearance booths, Luminaires and Light Boxes and Tables.

The entire Just Normlight range can be seen here.

Happy viewing!

Viewing booths and lights explained. Part 4 – light it up

Last week, we looked at how the size of print or item you’re using will affect what solution to get.

This week – our third and final checking step – we take a further look at light source and illumination requirements.

Before purchasing your solution, it’s worth checking what light source (or illumination temperature) you require beforehand. As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, D50 daylight is the standard for viewing images or prints. This is also the light source generally supplied as standard by manufacturers, unless D65 (or a specific illumination) is specifically requested.

For viewing prints: D50 Daylight illumination is generally used (although pressroom requirements may be suited to D65). D50 is the standard used by manufacturers, unless D65 is a specific requirement.

For product assessment: a combination of light options is frequently used. The minimum illuminations used are D65 Daylight, TL84 (Store lighting – or CWF in the USA), and Incandescent A – otherwise known as ‘home lighting’. In addition to these, a UV light component can be added if required which are used to assess the UV light influence on optical brighteners (OBAs) and fluorescent pigments within a product. A D50 Daylight source may also be added if a second source is required, meaning you can have both D65 and D50 options available.

Multiple light source booths are a little different. With the exception of Incandescent A lighting and UV light, other light sources tend to use the same light fittings. This means that you can  essentially replace the fluorescent bulbs or tubing to the illumination you require, a bit like changing the bulb in a lamp to make it brighter.

Viewing booths: these are supplied to include the required tubes. It’s worth mentioning that with regular, up to 8 hours a day usage, tubes ought to be changed on an annual basis. We always advise ordering a spare set of replacement bulbs when ordering a viewing booth.

So there we go, three steps you can take to determine what viewing solution you need: define what industry you’re in, assess the dimensions of your subject matter and work out what light source you use.

In our final Viewing Booth entry, we look at the industry brands and what viewing booth options you have. What brand does what, and which one should you go for?

Viewing booths and lights explained. Part 3 – the dimension factor

Last week we blogged about how the industry in which you work could determine what viewing solution you need.

This week, we look at the second step you can take to determining which viewing booth or lighting solution is best for you; how big is the subject matter you’re examining?

It sounds a pretty obvious question, but it’s an important one you need to ask before purchasing your lighting solution. So, which solution illuminates to what size? Read below…

Desk Lamps – see Grafilite
The open style of desk lamps means they illuminate areas of around A5 to A3 sized paper, depending on the size of the desktop lamp – perfect for photography prints of similar size. Anything any larger and you would need to consider a larger viewing booth.

Desktop Viewing Booths – see GTI PDV-2e
Generally, you should aim for a booth that gives you an illumination/work area 4 cm x 2 cm larger than the print being viewed. Booths cover sizes from A4 to A2, with A3 landscape being the most popular format size.

Large Format Booths – see Proof Top Multi 5000
For viewing untrimmed press sheets or artwork, it is recommended to have a few cm leeway either side. Some large format booths have two illumination areas consisting of a back wall and angled desktop. Units can range from an illumination area of 50 x 70 cm, 70 x 100 cm or even up to 100 x 140 cm.

Colour Appearance Booths – see GTI MM 1e/50 MiniMatcher
Usually take the form of an open fronted box. Sufficient space around the type/shape of product being viewed should be allowed, particularly height space. The most popular desktop size provides and internal work area of approximately 35 (h) x 60 (w) x 35 (d) cm, with larger units also available.

Luminaires – see Just Smart Light 5000
Symmetric – illuminate a table top area equivalent to the size of the luminary, plus around 15-20 cm on all sides. Optimum lamp distance from luminary to surface is around 100 cm.
Asymmetric – similarly illuminate an angled work surface equivalent to the luminary size/area. They can also illuminate vertical walls.
Parabolic Lens – recommended to achieve good vertical illumination. The GTI GLE-1032P for example provides an illumination over a 5 ft (150 cm) drop. To extend the range to 7 ft (200 cm) a lower Luminaire can be positioned on the floor.

Light Boxes and Tables – see Just Classic Line
The back-lit surface will illuminate an area approximate to its size. Units range from relatively small desktop units to standalone tables on legs.

In the next entry, we look at the third step to determining what solution is best for you; light source requirements.

Viewing booths and lights explained. Part 2 – what industry are you in?

Last week, we looked at the basic elements of lighting conditions; Lux, Kelvin and Environment which you can read again here.

Today, we look at the first of 3 steps you can take to work out which viewing solution is best for you.

Step 1 – What type of industry are you in?

The industry you work in, and the sorts of products or images you work with can help determine which viewing solution is best suited to your requirements. Solutions can range from compact desktop viewing lights, to the more complex luminaires and viewing stations.

Graphic Design/Amateur Photographer:
Solution – Desk Lamp – perfect for viewing colour swatches and images. A compact lamp with a single daylight illumination source, ideal for entry-level print checking against a monitor.

Desk Lamp - GrafiLite

Reprographics, Image Retouching and Professional Photography:
Solution – Desktop Booths – ideal for reviewing prints or transparency for comparison against a monitor. Desktop Booths are for flat prints and generally use a single D50 daylight illumination source.

Desktop Booth - GTI PDV-1e

Printers and Publishers for Press Quality Control:
Solution – Large Format Booths – ideally suited for checking proof or final prints. Most have a back wall and angled desktop space for increased viewing area. Daylight source tends to be D50, but D65 can be specified if needed.

Large Format Booth - Proof Top Multi 5000

Textiles, Home-furnishing, Product Design and Manufacture:
Solution – Colour Appearance Booth – colour assess textiles, plastic, metallic and other materials. Normally have multiple light sources, with up to 5 different types of illumination. Built like an open box, booths consist of a flat base with side walls.

Colour Appearance Booths - Pantone Colour Viewing Light 3

Management, Artists and areas requiring illumination:
Solution – Luminaires – suited for print and product assessment around a meeting table, or presentation/display area. These are overhead hanging units and come with D50 illumination as standard.

Luminaire - GTI

Photographers, Image Retouching, Planners and Quality Control:
Solution – Light Boxes  – viewing transparencies and backlit tablets for working with film, transparencies and assessing translucent materials. There are shallow boxes with a backlit work surface.

Light Box - Just Smart Light 5000

You can see our full range of viewing solutions here.

In the next entry we’ll look more closely at each solution, and investigate how the dimensions of the subject matter you’re viewing can influence which solution to go for.

Viewing booths and lights explained. Part 1; Lux, Kelvin and Environment…

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’ll have probably seen our previous entries about lighting conditions and the importance light plays in reviewing your images.

In our latest series of blogs, we look a little more closely at the tools that actually provide this light, and what components are critical to achieveing the correct environment.

This week, we look at the measurements of light, and the ambient conditions that could affect your viewing.

For a legitimate visual colour assessment of your prints or products, a controlled lighting environment is essential for you to accurately see true colour. All components of the light source and environment are critical, including intensity, temperature and ambient light conditions.

Intensity (Lux)

The intensity of light can effect the contrast and vibrancy of the seen colour. This illumination is measured by ‘Lux.’

The closer the object is to the light source, the greater the illumination intensity will be. This means it is important to have a fixed distance between the light source and the viewing surface to create ideal illumination intensity. Many viewing booths will have dimmer switches enabling you to adjust the brightness or intensity of the light.

Generally, an illumination of 1,500 – 2,500 Lux is used for print comparison, whereas around 400 Lux is suggested for ‘soft-proofing’, such as comparing a print or product with an on-screen image.

Temperature (˚Kelvin)

Temperature refers to the warmth or coolness of the subject colour. Your average household bulb is normally considered to have a ‘warm’, yellow illumination, with a relatively low temperature of 2,700˚k. For comparison, daylight temperature tends to be 5,000˚k (otherwise known as D50), which is regarded as the optimum temperature for viewing prints. Occasionally, 6,500˚k (D65) may be specified. Generally, the higher the temperature, the ‘bluer’ the illumination appears.

As a general rule, prints are best viewed under D50 conditions.

Products, textiles and plastics tend to be viewed in D65 conditions.

Environment – Ambient conditions

Ideally, illumination provided by a viewing light should not be ‘contaminated’ by other ambient light sources. Viewing booths often counter this problem by including back and side panels to help provide an ideal viewing area and shield un-wanted light. A viewing lamp and work area should also have neutral mid-grey surfaces to not bias the colour appearance or assessment.

Once you understand and know how these components effect what you see, you’re on the right track to accurately checking print or product colour.

Next week, we examine the 3 key steps to defining what solution – from viewing booths to desktop lamps – is best for you.

A view on lighting conditions

Part 3 of our learning themed blogs takes another look at lighting conditions.

All the way back in deepest, darkest December, we blogged about the light in which you view any printed image. Today’s post takes things a little further, and as always, links you to information in our learning centre with a free PDF download should you wish to print it out in full for your own use.

You may wonder why the light in which you view prints is important?


You go to the trouble of setting the correct white point to match the ambient lighting, and use a neutral balance reference for checking white point and exposure when taking the photograph, why not make sure the light in which you view prints is as accurate as possible?

“The light in which you view your prints is crucial.

“It is important to assess images in consistent and correct viewing conditions. The colour of a print will look different from one lighting condition to another. From natural daylight to a fluorescent tube or to tungsten, images can look warm, cool, flatter and less vibrant.

“Daylight (5000°k or D50) is the industry standard for viewing prints. Working near a window during daylight hours provides a good natural solution, but what happens for consistency when it gets dark? It is also important to consider your working environment and position of your monitor to avoid unacceptable reflections on the screen.

“Viewing booths from Just Normlicht and GTI are available to provide a correct neutral backdrop and perfect 5000°k illumination. Superior units will also include a dimmer switch as a specified temperature can cover a range of intensities. Models with dimmer switches allow the intensity of the light to be adjusted to match the brightness of the

The above was written by Simon Prais, our technical director here at Color Confidence. He’s also a bit of an expert on all things viewing conditions, and wrote a brief but detailed paper on the subject which can be downloaded in this PDF.

In a sense, we can see that the light in which you view your prints is equally as important as the profiling and calibration that goes into the capture and editing stages.

There are a range of options available on our website, from desktop lights to luxurious viewing booths should you decide to go pro!

Adam Borriello
Social media & marketing.

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