|I have written a number of articles on color over the years.
This is updated as of 2005. I started working in the field of
graphics before color profiles even entered the arena. I remember
when many programs, such as Adobe Illustrator, used manual
calibration to calibrate the monitor inside a specific program. I
wish many of these programs still had that as an option, because
many pre-packaged profiles simply don't work. For example, I have
two Viewsonic Professional Series P95 f monitors, and two P95 f+
monitors. None are exactly alike. This is normal for a monitor.
Thus, if I only used a pre-packaged profile, and didn't tweak each
a little differently, it wouldn't do me a lot of good. Plus, as the
monitors age, their color will change. To create a correct profile,
I would have to use special equipment; and I do not mean just the
color calibrating software that comes packaged with many monitors.
Let me first state something that is unfortunately true. The same
printer or scanner with the same driver version on different
operating systems will produce different colors. This is a real
problem. For example, I had my Epson 1280 adjusted under Windows
2000 to my satisfaction. No matter what I do, it will not interpret
color correctly under Windows XP. Here is how I use the tools
available to me at home to calibrate my monitor. This method has
worked for me for years even though it has changed slightly as the
programs have changed. I will use Photoshop CS2 to demonstrate.
However, this works in other programs since it is program
independent. I am working in RGB. However, at the end of this
discussion, I will note some facts about my experience with CMYK in
this home type of environment. The first step is critical. The
monitor must be able to produce a neutral gray screen. Here is a
way to tell [if you use a PC, don't use fancy wallpaper] go to:
copied, printed, or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the artist.
A good way to remember the two is RGB is a additive color system and CMYK is a subtractive color system using the four main process colors used to print with. RGB also has a much larger color gambit or colors it can reproduce then CMYK does. Although there are colors in each color space that the other can't reproduce the same.
This is a good series for someone like me, who has never understood cmyk color, has always used RGB, but has always had prints come out either dark or a bit faded! Although my monitor calibration at the moment is good, this is always good info to have access to! Thanks, and can't wait for the next articles! Cheers, Jesse!
I always read your articles, but this one leaves me baffled. No monitor can ever display CMY. It can fake it in the best of cases, but never attain the real thing. As for RGB: some monitors can indeed display sRGB, but these are exceptions. In case they can, it's usually written in huge letter on the cardboard box in which they are sold. CMY is only useful for offset-printing and some -very rare and exceptional- cases of deskjet printers. Either these come with a profile of themselves, or you have to create one yourself. Calibration means that there is one strict and exact norm to which all can be adjusted. This norm exists and was created by a joint effort of Adobe and the CIE. A profile means that for every colour a comparison with the standard (calibration) norm is created and the difference between the norm and the real value is added to a list. For example: "This should be 128,128,128 but on this device it is 128, 132,129. Therefore we must adapt accordingly." And, in case you use Photoshop, why not use the Gamma utility that comes with it to calibrate your monitor? When working for print, it is adisable to use the AdobeRGB and not sRGB as the first one encompasses many hues that CMY can produce but that you cannot see in sRGB. Hence the big problem many people experience when they have something printed. These and many more suateions arise when reading your article.
Gongyla - I am really glad you read my articles, and I am sorry if you did not think I was clear in certain parts. Firstly, I never said the monitor displayed CMY. In one part I distinctly wrote that: "CMY[K] colors are colors from ink think in terms of a printer." Also, you will notice I am speaking of RGB and CMYK mode, just as Photoshop does. Secondly, I am not speaking of only calibrating your working space within Photoshop, but your monitor as a whole. Before profiles, calibration was done by manipulating the colors until the screen looked "good." If I remember the version, Illustrator 4 or 5 still used that method very satisfactorily. I don't use the Gamma because I didn't like its results when I tried it years ago. Maybe it is better now, but my system works by judging from my workflow. In a few weeks I will be able to judge further since I will be runnung tests using specific software and a colorimeter and writng about the results.
Colorimeter's are a excellent tool for calibrating your monitors. To really build good printer profiles use should use a spectrophotometer. Color management is miles from what it used to be, but it's important to remember even with te best profiles it doesn't give you a perfect match. The main thing color management does for you is preserve the realtionships of colors and move colors into the correct color space that are outside the color gambit of the output device that you are using to print with. Enjoyed reading your article, you have some interesting stuff. I think your article on resolution will be helpful to many. People often have problems with it when they first get started out.
I can't wait for more articles on this subject, because I recently got a top of the line Sony monitor, but I've not been happy with the way images look on it. I've struggled endlessly trying to callibrate it. Thanks so much for these articles. I'm sure they will help. :-)
Well, I am in the process of testing the MonacoOptix colorimeter. I have not used any hardware to calibrate my monitors since I have always been satisfied with how I did it myself, but I felt I needed to do this for this series. I will start this coming week and it will be a few weeks before that article comes out. But I am excited about this myself. I have really loved the responses to this first article in this series and they spur me on to write more. Thanks a lot.