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Laser printer color matching

New Here ,
Apr 09, 2023 Apr 09, 2023

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I have a Brother HK-3230CDW color laser printer and the print color shifts purples to blue quite a bit. I suspect I'm not using the right print settings and I'd like to get prints that match what I'm seeing onscreen more closely. Converting an image to CMYK and printing with "Photoshop manages colors" and Perceptual intent seem to get it closer, but it's still a ways off.

 

I do not have an ICC profile for my specific printer and can't seem to find one anywhere. What should I be selecting under profile when I print? Any other suggestions for more closely matching what I see on-screen?

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LEGEND ,
Apr 09, 2023 Apr 09, 2023

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Start by not converting to CMYK. Without any proper color management this is disastrous and useless. CMYK mandates CM and as per your words you are not using any. Just arbitrarily assigning profiles doesn't count. If you really want it to be perfect you have to educate yourself on setting up a full CM, but chances are that your printer driver does a good enough job of converting RGB based on its internal rules and then you can tweak it further in the driver settings or by creating a set of adjustments like Selective Color to balance out the colors.

 

Mylenium

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Community Expert ,
Apr 09, 2023 Apr 09, 2023

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Laser printers may have quite some print-to-print / day-to-day variation. If you can't find a profile for your printer & media to use in the generally preferred  "Photoshop Manages Color", then I suggest you try "Printer Manages Color" and then be sure to select the right media in the printer settings. 

 

Of course, screen calibration is rather important too. The printer could be good but if the screen is out then the match will fail. For critical use it's vital to view the screen in subdued light and the print in good daylight. 

 

In cases like this - for testing - it's good to try a known standard test image - here's mine, please go here and download the Adobe RGB testimage: https://www.colourmanagement.net/index.php/downloads_listing/

 

To double check appearance I use this 

Have you ever wondered how to KNOW whether your screen [or printer] is ACCURATE and not just 'pleasing'?
If so, please check this out: http://www.colourmanagement.net/products/icc-profile-verification-kit

 

As @Mylenium suggested there's little point in converting your originals to CMYK - UNLESS Brother instructs you to do so - and they also name a specific CMYK profile for that conversion.  Some laser printers are set up from the factory to try to match, say F39L/ISOcoated V2. 

 

I'd recommend against using a laser for anything other than content proofs, a well-profiled inkjet is far better for accuracy. 

 

I hope this helps
neil barstow, colourmanagement net - adobe forum volunteer - co-author: 'getting colour right'
google me "neil barstow colourmanagement" for lots of free articles on colour management

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New Here ,
Apr 11, 2023 Apr 11, 2023

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Thanks for the responses. I have tried both Photoshop Manages Color and Printer Manages Color with little difference. The printer has no color settings in the print setup dialog. I sounds like there's no silver bullet here and if there's no color profile for the printer, I'm guessing my only option is to use adjustment layers in photoshop to manually match the colors.

 

Yes, I have had better color accuracy with inkjets, but gotten so frustrated with streaking - every inkjet I've owned in the last 30 years has suffered from this problem so I thought I'd try laser instead. 

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Community Expert ,
Apr 12, 2023 Apr 12, 2023

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@agoraphonium I've never seen streaking on a decent quality inkjet printer with clean heads. And I've worked on hundreds.

There's a (very good reason that high-end proofing purveyors such as GMG color recommend Inkjet for industry-standard colour proofs. I am very surprised by your experience. 

 

Making manual adjustments to target accurate colour on a laser is going to be quite a task. Perhaps get a colleague or friend to print some files [such as my test image, link above] on a good (well profiled) inkjet for you as a test? 

 

I hope this helps
neil barstow, colourmanagement net - adobe forum volunteer - co-author: 'getting colour right'
google me "neil barstow colourmanagement" for lots of free articles on colour management

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