Colour management comes from a complex science and complicated mathematics, but actually it’s not hard.
Key steps to consistent colour
- Set-up your monitor correctly
- Use a hardware device to measure the colour and build a profile for your monitor
- Make sure your software is set-up correctly
- Use the profiles that come with your printer / paper / ink or make your own
- When you print make sure you don’t do “double colour management” in both the application and your printer driver
For most of us the computer monitor we view our photos on is the single most important device, we judge is the photo sharp, is the subject in the right place, is it the right subject, is it too dark or light and is the colour what we want. Then we open our photo editing software and do some magical things to the picture with the monitor as the window and view of the picture. It’s this reason why getting your monitor right is the first and most important step in getting consistent colour from screen to print or projector and on other people’s screens, printers and projectors.
Monitors are not all the same, more expensive ones can display a bigger range of colours and some monitors are optimised for fast response for computer games. Far too many monitors have excessive brightness as standard and many favour contrast boosting as opposed to smooth gradients. One thing is that your monitor is part of the complete computer system that is the combination of operating system, graphics card, connection cables used and the screen itself. Change any of the elements and it’s essential to re-profile before you work on critical photos. Once you have set-up your system and profiled the monitor don’t change the settings. If you or another user on the computer changes the screen brightness then the hardware conditions are changed and your lovingly created profile is not valid anymore. Even changes in the ambient light of the room you work in can make changes in how you see colour, even more so when the computer automatically adjusts the brightness to compensate.
Some suggested devices to create profiles for your displays and sometimes more…
These might seem expensive, but how much does a print cost you to redo in ink, paper and your time? If you only need to make the print once then the profile device is quickly paid for.
- Cambridge in Colour has a great set of resources on many topics, colour management is one of them
Any further tips and experiences you’d like to share with the club? Put them in the comments below please?