3 Replies Latest reply on Feb 7, 2013 3:45 PM by thedigitaldog

    Getting color management correct on Mac coming from Windows 7 PC

    complexity Level 1

      Hey all,


      I've just made my first purchase of a new mac mini, its my first Mac computer (having owned iPhone and iPad previously) and its running the exact same monitor as my PC (I'm just switching input channels from DVI to VGA channels).

      I was interested in seeing how the Mac would display and print a business card (saved in PDF format) I recently created in CMYK in Illustrator on the Windows 7 machine (and printing to a local CMYK laser printer), so I brought it over to the Mac (the Mac is in its default setup) and opened the file and discovered the colors were REALLY washed out and unsaturated.

      Thinking it might have been a Mac default PDF reader program colour issue I installed Adobe Acrobat reader and tried again and got the same result, so obviously its a system color profile / calibration setting?


      The thing is when I look at webpages the color is almost identical from Mac to Windows PC on the same monitor (Mac just a fraction lighter probably 5% or so).


      I checked the display settings on the Mac and can see it is running the current monitor profile (Dell 2407WFP-HC) the same one as what my Windows machine is running, running on the same monitor is a bit of a pain as I can't adjust the monitor brightness/other settings without making the PC brightness wrong.


      Can someone tell me whats going on here, is it just a simple matter of the Dell monitor profile default setup for the Mac being different from the PC one?


      Cany anyone tell me why there is such a difference with the PDF CMYK color and not in webpages color between the two? 


      PS. I did try calibrating my Dell monitor once before on the WIndows side with a xrite E1 but it wasn't compatible with the monitor) so currently the Dell profile on the Windows side is set to default calibration settings. 



      Any help would be great

        • 1. Re: Getting color management correct on Mac coming from Windows 7 PC
          thedigitaldog MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          You probably do NOT want to send CMYK to this printer. Depending on the driver technology, it expect RGB (it will do it's own CMYK+ whatever inks conversion). The display profile has no role in the output, only the previews in color managed applications. Better to start with a good RGB reference image* and see how that prints, assuming you have all the driver and application settings setup correctly (Application manages color).


          * http://digitaldog.net/files/Printer%20Test%20file.jpg

          • 2. Re: Getting color management correct on Mac coming from Windows 7 PC
            complexity Level 1

            Hi Andrew thanks for that, I did try printing from Mac PDF to my CMYK printer and it came out unsaturated and the blues in my gradient were WAY out.

            When I print from my Windows PC to my desktop CMYK printer it comes out really nice and vivid (maybe a touch oversaturated) but just about how I would want to it to look printed professionally/final.


            Aside from the Mac not showing the PDF correctly I am trying to get a good workflow where I do a test print on my local CMYK printer and then send to my commerical knowing its pretty accurate, if I wanted to check my Windows workflow to see if my CMYK printer is somewhat color accurate the only way I could check is to have my actual Commercial printer do a test print for me is that correct?


            I mean I've got the Pantone color chips here but as this is a CMYK design I don't have any spot colors put into the file only CMYK values for color.


            75% of this business card design is made up of really rich white to blue to black gradient so its pretty crucial I get that pretty well spot on. I guess I could just take my printed version down to the print and tell them to match that?

            • 3. Re: Getting color management correct on Mac coming from Windows 7 PC
              thedigitaldog MVP & Adobe Community Professional

              Can't speak about Windows but on Mac, most of the drivers, certainly for most desktop printers, they don't undestand CMYK and expect RGB. There are third party RIPs and drivers that can take CMYK without issue. And the only time one would send CMYK (which is a specific output ready color space) would be to use that desktop printer to proof the other process. IOW, make my Epson print match a press sheet. The document is already in CMYK for that process and you want a CMYK to CMYK conversion so the desktop printer simulates that final process. Short of that, no reason to be messing with CMYK, Mac or otherwise. Yes, your printer (virtually all printers) are CMY (and usually K) devices, that's subtractive color. But just because there are CMYK inks, doesn't mean you want to or need to send CMYK to that device. You need a good RGB printer profile which many desktop printers today install for use.