5 Replies Latest reply on Nov 27, 2009 5:23 PM by John Danek

    Adjusting Color To Match Calibration Print


      Hi folks,


      I'm a little stuck at the moment with color managment. I have Photoshop displaying through a calibrated monitor and I have had my printer profiled yet I still have to make adjustments - but thats another issue and one I know how to solve (+0.5 Exposure Layer and 10% Saturation boost).


      My real problem is with trying to get the images on my screen fairly accurately printed by a print company. I use Photobox here in the UK and they supply a calibration print and a matching downloadable image so that you can set up Adobe in order for you prints to match what you see on the screen.


      Is there a way of adjusting the settings of my system so that as I work on an image it displays what I am going to get from Photobox - color and bightness wise. I understand that by setting the proofing preview it comes something close but how do I go about adjusting the setting and then creating a profile for the proofing tool to display.


      As it stands my monitor displays nice saturated and bright calibration image but the corresponding print is much darker and less vibrant. I need to be able to set Photoshop so that the image I am working on will be the image that is printed.....I'm finding this hard to explain properly so I hope someone understands what I am asking.


      Can anyone please advise on this.


      Many thanks,



        • 1. Re: Adjusting Color To Match Calibration Print
          gator soup Level 4

          First set Ps Color Settings to correctly deal with profiles:


          Ps> Edit> Color Settings> Color Management Policies: 1) Set RGB-CMYK-Gray to "Preserve Embedded Profiles"


          Then 2):  just below that, check the following three options: Profile Mismatches, Ask When Pasting, Ask When Opening.


          Now open your Photobox 'calibration' file — it probably is not a 'calibration' file, but let's move forward.


          Just before it opens you should now hit a Profile Warning — unless they are idiots, they will have an embedded profile in their image (most likely sRGB) — but pay attention to what profile they are using (and use their embedded profile in the opening mismatch dialogue).  If their file opens without a profile warning (with my above Color Management Policey settings) then you are already using their profile in Ps.


          If the profile warning says it does not have an embedded profile, get them on the phone and ask them specifically what ICC Profile they use...knowing what profile they use (and Converting to it) is the key.




          Once you know their profile half the mystery is solved.


          Open your file in Photoshop.


          Then: View> Proof SetUp> Custom> Select their profile (to see how it will print in their work flow) — don't get stuck in "Soft Proofing" mode here (get the point and visit Proof SetUp sparingly and usually ONLY when you have a device-dependent printer profile or CMYK color space to get a feel for what's going on).




          To prepare your file for delivery:


          Open in Ps> RESIZE (Image> Image Size) to print resolution (300ppi)> Edit> Convert to Profile: Destination Space> their profile> Okay


          THEN: File> Save As .tif or .jpg


          At the point you deliver your file Converted into their profile — and you still do not get the good color you see on your 'calibrated' monitor — they are screwed up (or your file is out of print gamut) — find a new printer (or re-examine your approach to preparing your color, read up on Gamut Warning in Ps Help).


          It helps if you get a known good reference file like the Photodisc PDI AdobeRGB with the three baby faces and gray ramp (Google a download link) — for example — Convert the PDI image to their profile and if it doesn't come back looking like a professionally-balanced print, they are hosing it.


          Likewise, if it doesn't look like a professionally-balanced file in Ps — neutral grays, nice healthy yellow-red skintones — your monitor profile is off.




          I recommend reading the late Bruce Fraser on this subject "Soft Proofing" in Photoshop...

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Adjusting Color To Match Calibration Print
            gator soup Level 4

            BTW — just to be a bit more clear to the OP's subject line


            >>RE: Adjusting (monitor) Color to Match...Print


            That was how how people used to work last century in Photoshop 4 and earlier — and sadly many people today still follow that outdated advice and never learn how today's modern work flows to their benefit.


            In essence, today, we hardware 'calibrate' our display monitors and use ICC Profiles in color-managed applications like Photoshop so we can evaluate and edit our color faithfully on our display monitor.


            Then we set up our work flows to Convert our source color over to a specific print space.


            If the print space (profile) or work flow is hosing our color, we correct the work flow and/or or profile the ICC Profile associated with the print space — just as we would re-profile our monitor if Photoshop was displaying a known good file improperly.


            The hardest concept for most people caught up in this confusion is:


            Photshop can display a file correctly regardless of how right or wrong the the printer is configured — likewise — Photoshop can print a file correctly regardless of how right or wrong the monitor is configured.


            Testing your workflow with a known good file like the recommended PDI reference image can be very helpful in using Photoshop to compare the monitor with the print to determine where the problem is.


            But adjusting a monitor to match a print (in ignorance) will usually just add to frustation (and we never will learn what we are doing).

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Adjusting Color To Match Calibration Print
              Lawman1965 Level 1



              I'm not talking about adjusting the monitor as that will not solve the issue with regards to printing. I have a properly profiled monitor and my home printer has a professional profile for it.


              I'm talking about trying to set the PHOTOSHOP colours to match that of the calibration print and then from that create a profile so I can work on images knowing that what I see on the screen is what I will be getting when I send the file off to be printed (a print company and not my home printer).


              I'm getting very frustrated working on images - having them look great on the screen and then they print dark and less vibrant.


              Looking at the Photobox Calibration Print it looks like I need to adjust the Gamma to brighten the image......but I'm not sure.


              I've sent some files and I'm having some test prints done at 6x4 (cheap) just to see what the results will be.


              Thanks for the replies.



              • 4. Re: Adjusting Color To Match Calibration Print
                gator soup Level 4

                >> I'm talking about trying to set the PHOTOSHOP colours to match that of the calibration print and then from that create a profile so I can work on images knowing that what I see on the screen is what I will be getting when I send the file off to be printed


                I understand your question better now, let me add:


                Set Photoshop up to HONOR the embedded profiles of images you open (then CONVERT to your target profile).


                If said company does not embed an ICC Profile in their 'calibration' file (you will need to ASSIGN the correct profile to display or print it correctly) — the key is finding out what ICC Profile to use because in the absence of an embedded profile Ps will be forced to ASSUME some profile...usually your Working RGB/CMKY/GRAY Space.


                The short answer here is (since you have a good, hardware-profiled monitor profile enabled in Photoshop, and hopefully now have the recommended color settings):


                1) Find out what profile said company uses on your print order, and

                2) CONVERT to it before sending them your next order.


                If you get back anything less that what Ps is showing you (inside the printer's color gamut), then they are hosing your color or you are CONVERTING to the wrong profile, or you haven't trained your eye well enough to interpret your monitor (what you think is correct) — that's why I recommended the PDI target (because it is a correct file).


                If you are correct in your approach, you should not be getting back dark, less vibrant color that what Ps is displaying (either on your printer or theirs).




                If you mean this file (it doesn't have a profile):


                Large file here: www.photobox.co.uk/content/quality-advice/calibrationprint


                I would forget trying to second guess their file and ask them what profile to use.

                • 5. Re: Adjusting Color To Match Calibration Print
                  John Danek Level 4

                  First, the color on your monitor will neve

                  r be replicated in print.  You might have to turn your expectation

                  s down a notch or two.  That doesn't mean

                  good color is unachievable, but

                  it does mean you'll need more information about your print vendor's output device

                  in order to setup Photoshop's Color Settings to help get good color.


                  In most cases, photographers are using RGB based files, send them off to the print vendor, and they come back all messed up.  Let's assume the print vendor is using a calibrated inkjet photographic printer with a calibrated RIP.  That, you could assume, would mean they've established a workflow where they can consistently deliver accurate color.  You simply must contact them and find out what .icc profiles they have in place and what RGB would be best suited for use with their machine.  And, you could ask them for the proper Photoshop Color Settings to use in your workflow so there is a nice cohesive effort going on there.


                  I've been working in digital printing for over ten years now.  I've established the proper PS settings, along with printer and monitor calibrations, and welcome customers to contact me so I can give them the profiles I've used and what works on my digital printers to accomplish rock solid accurate color.  It seldom happens, but I welcome it anyway.  In short, contact your print vendor and get the information you need from them.