The solution is getting the actual ICC output profile for the actual print proces.
Thank the out for your reply. I wonder why some printers provide that and others do not? I suppose going forward I should only work with those that have and can provide one.
There are two parts to your problem.
1. Get your own colours accurate and standardised.
2. Get your accurate colours printed accurately.
Let's look at step 1 because you can't do anything to make step 2 work without step 1. What do you do to make sure your colour is not only accurate for you (looks good on screen) but also standardised so other people can see it? I'm looking for info like your choice of RGB profiles for editing and for the monitor.
I am using sRGB is that what you mean?
I am using sRGB is that what you mean?
You mean your source document profile is SRGB (not your monitor profile) right?
The safest bet, IMO, is to package/deliver your documents in the sRGB color space and let your printer do the conversion to his print space/profile...
Color shifting in your printed proofs could account for:
- your bad monitor profile
- a bad (or wrong) print profile
- broken workflows
- out of gamut colors between your monitor and print space...
"What am I doing wrong? I can't for the life of me understand gamuts and spot colors, and I have no idea what else. Speak to me simple, I just don't know where to go from here."...
Can you post a screen shot of your application color settings? What "Dot Gain" percentages are you using in your applications? What is your "Rendering Intent" set to? What application did you use to create the page layouts for your book? Did you submit PDFs?
As you can see, there are many variables beside "profiles" that you have to consider when creating a print file. And, do not expect printers to be sympathetic to your problems. All of the printers that I deal with want CMYK files that are RIP ready. They simply do not have time to do any type of conversions, but if they do, they will charge a substantial fee for that.
So, post the screen shots so we can make a more solid recommendation for you moving forward.
You are asking about my suggestion "1. Get your own colours accurate and standardised." This means you start by getting an accurate profile for your monitor. Then you work only with colour managed apps, using carefully chosen RGB work profiles (not the same as the monitor). If your monitor is not calibrated you cannot trust what is on screen to look the same on anyone else's screen or on print, so you can't really start your process.
"So I downloaded some random ones just to play around and view what it would look like. Can see significant color shifting, but it does not effect the darkness of the photo. I still see a well lit photo, until it's printed. My histogram looks good, with even a bulk of it to the right of middle."...
Your image source profile will not affect the "darkness" of your image. There are several factors that will affect the quality of the end product: the printed piece. A few are press and paper. One factor that you really cannot control, besides lighting, lens, and F-stop is your camera's RGB capture. Some capture "RAW" images; some capture at a factory preset RGB. Some give you the ability to set a given RGB in the camera. We have no way of telling, but it appears your images are saved as sRGB images.
I recommend you get Adobe's Print Publishing Guide. Unfortunately, it is a bit technical and filled with terminology. However, that terminology is explained in great detail in hopes that you will better understand the logistics of setting up and preparing files for printing. You will be able to understand how the image profiles fit into the entire process. What you are attempting with your request for book prints is pretty complex. So, it will ultimately come down to creating a color managed workflow from the ground up that starts with your camera's ability to capture and your ability to color correct the images using what is appropriate for achieving consistent, high quality "prints". I can tell you that I have a system that is solid as a rock. You have to take into account that your files will be put into an "Open Loop" workflow when you hand-off to a printer. Yes, they will have a print profile. Most will use a standard CMYK print profile. Something like "SWOP Coated v2" ( note "coated" per paper on press ). Printers typically color calibrate their RIP to conform to that profile. Their profile is usually not given out to the public, but instead is used in-house only. Almost all printers will recommend image files saved as "Adobe RGB", then converted to "SWOP...CMYK". There are exceptions, but typically that is what you can expect and base your file preparations on.
Some exceptions might include different print processes and equipment. Some specific printers were or are made to print photographs. Some examples would be High Fidelity offset printers, HP, Epson, etc., wide gamut multi-color inkjet printers. Some of those may actually prefer ProPhoto RGB image profiles where the print driver / RIP can maximize color output ( saturation, gamut, etc. ). But, you are not dealing with those applications, but are buying printing from a print provider ( Alphagraphics, Sir Speedy, PIP, etc. ) which is most probably a 4-color process printer, who may even had used a color copier to print your files ( quantity: 100 ).
I think two particular nasty bits of jargon were mentioned: spot colour and gamut.
The good news is you can forget spot colour. It's for printing using extra inks. Simple example: a booklet in black and purple only might be cheaper because it uses only two inks (black ink, and special purple ink).
Gamut you will need to know about. The colours on screen can be much, much brighter than those on any ordinary printing press. You can get quite a luminous green or rich blue; you just can't get those colours on print. The "gamut" is all of the possible colours. So "out of gamut" means "using colours it's impossible to produce (in this method)".