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Color Management: The Guru List

(April 2010) posted on Tue May 04, 2010

More than 20 tips and tricks on wide-format color management from seasoned experts

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In the case of a missing profile, if you don’t know what the color space should be, the best choice is, “Assign working space.” If you do know the color space, however, and that color space is different than your Photoshop defaults, the best choice is “assign profile.” For example, if you see message number two when opening a CMYK image in Photoshop, and you want to see what that image would look like on a Gracol-calibrated press, assign the Gracol ICC profile and then click “OK.”
Marc Levine, The Color Management Group

6. Maintaining Systems Over Time
The challenge is maintaining a system consistently over time. Because media, inks, and even printers change over time, a good system must compensate for this variation. Daily, real-time re-calibration provides a solution. Test charts and a test page with images provide the data and visual references for evaluation. Just load the media and print the test form. Compare this print to the standard. Visual comparisons are often a sufficient test if conditions have not changed dramatically.

If small corrections are required, the printer can be re-calibrated, while larger changes and weekly numeric performance evaluations would require use of the test chart and measurement with a spectrophotometer. This can be done while the current job is running, producing an updated profile by the time the next job is output.
David Meyers, Meyers Prep

7. Use the Best Quality Monitor You Can Get
Monitors are your window to the digital world. LCDs are great now that the technology has matured enough for serious color use, just be sure to buy a good make. Your “working area” should be measured in pixels, not inches. I found that my first 17-inch LCD was as usable as my old 22-inch CRT. Now that larger screens are readily available, I certainly do appreciate the extra space.

And, of note: Although a thing of the past, older, high-end CRTs can be good as long as they’re not worn out. Keep in mind that a CRT produces its image by bombarding phosphors so the imaging area does eventually fade and luminance falls; so, eventually, a decent black is impossible to achieve.
Neil Barstow,


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