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02-18-2010, 12:30 PM   #1
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Please help me understand color matching

My home prints almost always come out wrong. Not just a slight shade difference, but totally mismatched colors and brightness.

Without getting into fancy expensive software and hardware, how do I simply load up a printer profile so that my monitor displays color and brightness fairly close to that of the printer?

The more I play around with color matching the more confused I get as I don't see anything changing on the screen when I load various profile, etc...

02-18-2010, 02:31 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by sebberry Quote
Without getting into fancy expensive software and hardware, how do I simply load up a printer profile so that my monitor displays color and brightness fairly close to that of the printer?
The goal of controlling the colour of your system is not to get your monitor to match your printer, but to get both as close as possible to a neutral, known state. This requires calibrating the monitor's colour to match to that known state and then telling your printing software what kind of printer you're using so it can manage the colour for you.

What kind of computer/monitor are you using, and what software are you using for processing and printing?
02-18-2010, 04:25 PM   #3
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I would say the only important goal of colour management is to get your prints looking the way you intend them to. To that end, you need to calibrate your monitor using a hardware colorimeter or similar (not Adobe Gamma or any other software method). Make sure your monitor is not set too bright or your prints will come out looking dark. Then you must have up-to-date printer profiles installed on your system for each paper you use.


Here's the deal: open your image in Photoshop, select View/Proof Colors and then Proof Setup and choose Custom. Then load up the correct profile for the paper/printer you will be using (making sure you have Simulate Paper Colour checked and Preserve RGB numbers unchecked). You will see the colours on-screen change radically (they'll look crap, basically). This is how your print will appear. It looks this bad because paper doesn't have the luminosity and dynamic range of a good monitor. Play around with rendering intents (you'll want either Relative Colorimetric or Perceptual - I almost always use the former). Tweak your contrast, tone and colours until they're as good as you can get them (it helps to have a duplicate unproofed image open for comparison), and you're good to go. Don't forget to tell your printing software and printer which profile you want it to use!

Sorry, I know you asked for nothing fancy or expensive, but there's no cheap way of doing it.
02-18-2010, 06:25 PM   #4
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A note on Adobe Gamma:
If you have it, it is better than nothing.
In fact it is quite a bit better than nothing, but it is not as good as a hardware calibrator.
If you have Photoshop on your computer, you will also have Adobe Gamma in your control panel.
If you don't have/ can't afford a hardware calibrator, then definitely use Adobe Gamma. It will get you much closer than no calibration at all.

If/when you do get a hardware calibrator, you must remove the Adobe Gamma Loader shortcut from your startup menu (Windows) or else you will have a conflict WRT screen calibration.
I'm sure that if you are on a Mac, there will be something similar you will need to do to keep Adobe Gamma Loader from firing up.

02-19-2010, 03:53 AM   #5
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If you're going to go the route of software calibration (it's not really calibration, more like assisted guesswork) then there are better apps than Adobe Gamma. You could try QuickGamma for starters (it's free). Alternatively, your monitor may come with its own calibration software.
02-19-2010, 08:31 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by artobest Quote
If you're going to go the route of software calibration (it's not really calibration, more like assisted guesswork) then there are better apps than Adobe Gamma. You could try QuickGamma for starters (it's free). Alternatively, your monitor may come with its own calibration software.
Perhaps I'm a better guesser than you, but I can use Adobe Gamma and get pretty much right on top of what my Eye1 gives me.
People get to wrapped up in needing a piece of hardware to do what they could do themselves with a little training.
It's a culture of laziness.
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