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Calibration based on printed images

New Here ,
Mar 20, 2019 Mar 20, 2019

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Hi,

My apologies as this topic must have been discussed at length. I printed a book through Saal Digital and realized that colors, contrast, and brightness are pretty different from what I saw on my monitor (macbook). Nothing surprising. Now, I'd like to calibrate my screen to match the printed book. Is the idea to use a device for calibration (spyder or something equivalent) and then use the color profile provided by Saal? Is there any other way to manually calibrate to match the book? I tried using the built-in calibration assistant on Mac OS and got somewhat close to the book although some colors are still pretty off. Any advice?

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LEGEND ,
Mar 20, 2019 Mar 20, 2019

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You need their output profile for soft proofing (and ideally to convert; they may not allow that, not good) and you need to calibrate and profile your display with hardware. Start here:

Why are my prints too dark?

A video update to a written piece on subject from 2013

In this 24 minute video, I'll cover:

Are your prints really too dark?

Display calibration and WYSIWYG

Proper print viewing conditions

Trouble shooting to get a match

Avoiding kludges that don't solve the problem

High resolution: http://digitaldog.net/files/Why_are_my_prints_too_dark.mp4

Low resolution: https://youtu.be/iS6sjZmxjY4

Author “Color Management for Photographers" & "Photoshop CC Color Management/pluralsight"

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Community Expert ,
Mar 21, 2019 Mar 21, 2019

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Hi fmayot,

If Saal digital are doing a good job of meeting international colourmanagement standards and if your screen is correctly calibrated and viewed in sympathetic circumstances (i.e. dimmed light, ideally subdued daylight and no bright colours around) - then what you see on screen (in an application like Adobe Photoshop that uses the screen's profile) should be very close to what they print. That is, when the printed item is viewed in daylight.

To get a decent base level monitor display screen calibration (and profile) you do need a screen sensor, you'll not do very well with the any "visually guided" calibrator - I'd recommend something like the X-Rite i1display PRO or the Spyder.

The next step would be to ask for Saal's ICC "printer" profile and use that in Photoshop's on screen soft-proofing process.

more on that here: Proofing colors in Photoshop

With good use of colourmanagement we are creating a controlled environment for those who work in digital imaging - so that if they they produce or edit images using calibrated devices, even when working in isolation, they are able to closely match with others who adopt the same protocols.

It's called "device independent colourmanagement".

It's not really possible to adjust your screen to match Saal's output as we are not given the software tools to enable that. Because, adjusting your screen to match another's output, would be rather risky in many ways, maybe their future output changed or perhaps you wanted to use another printer, or your own correctly set up inkjet maybe.

If we work with good colourmanagement and good principles for digital images we have an "edit once use many" situation, where the same edited images can be used for many outputs and all can match quite well.

I hope you'll find some helpful information here: https://www.colourmanagement.net/the-basics/what-is-colour-management/

I hope this helps

if so, please do mark my reply as "helpful" and if you're OK now, please mark it as "correct" below, so others who have similar issues can see the solution

thanks

neil barstow, colourmanagement

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Mentor ,
Mar 23, 2019 Mar 23, 2019

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"I tried using the built-in calibration assistant on Mac OS and got somewhat close to the book although some colors are still pretty off. Any advice?"

Trying to match to printed sample is possible, but there are some colors that will seldom match your monitor.  The key, in my opinion, is white point.  Many users prefer bright monitors.  It is ear impossible to make any recommendations without seeing your print sample.  And, without knowing which colors "are still pretty off", it is really difficult to make any solid answers.  You could tell us some of the parameters you set using MAC profiler and what your color settings are set to.  I do not think the printer's profile is going to help.  It does not come into play when calibrating your monitor.

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Advisor ,
Mar 23, 2019 Mar 23, 2019

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>>I printed a book through Saal Digital and realized that colors, contrast, and brightness are pretty different from what I saw on my monitor (macbook)...Any advice?

a laptop is not a professional color reference monitor by any stretch of the discussion here - but it is the tool you have to work with so be aware of its limitations and work around them through experience

i suggest:

  1. you buy a proven hardware monitor calibrator that works with your screen and keep running it until you completely understand the profiling process and have it the best you can
  2. you get your Photoshop color settings in order to faithfully 'proof' your color on your monitor
  3. you train your eyes (and Photoshop's Proof Colors) to better approximate what's going to happen from your monitor to your print space
  4. you package the document for the printer's workflow

if your color comes back 'off' - the typical suspects are:

  1. your monitor is off (or you are not good at reading it)
  2. your colors were out of gamut for the print space
  3. your printer's workflow is broken (or your package was bad)

in any case, you have a break in the color management chain (presuming your color was good)...

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