17 Replies Latest reply on Jan 16, 2010 5:11 AM by Wade_Zimmerman

    Color Accuracy for Print

    William-01 Level 1

      What is the best approach for determining designs print with the proper color? For example, screen display is RGB, and I usually design in RGB color. Print is CMYK.

       

      Is there a standard approach to determining the accuracy of color from screen to print?

       

      Regards,

      William-01

        • 1. Re: Color Accuracy for Print
          Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          William,

           

          The safest approach to design for purposes, consisting of or involving, print is to work in CMYK.

           

          Among the basic concepts underlying this approach are colour management and colour gamuts; you may read on here for a start (you may ignore reference to Photoshop):

           

          http://www.computer-darkroom.com/home.htm

           

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamut

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Color Accuracy for Print
            John Danek Level 4

            I think the importance of establishing your own color management cannot be understated.  It starts with correct monitor calibration and a contract quality proofing device, also calibrated.  If you work in RGB all of the time and the end product is video graphics and/or web development, then your calibrated system will work in those parameters and the proofing device will not be as sophisticated as a print medium device.  For instance, you could use standard drivers to outprint RGB video graphics and web site pages.

             

            Two different environments.  Photographers also present a third environment.  Each one with its own set of parameters and limitations.  This does not include the open-loop work flow, which gets a bit more complicated than your typical studio setup ( you have to calibrate for an external output device ). So, a "standard" may be possible once you nail down which environment is yours.

            • 3. Re: Color Accuracy for Print
              JETalmage Level 6

              I think the importance of establishing your own color management cannot be understated.

              I think it can. Try this:

               

              "Establishing your own color management doesn't matter much."

               

              Didn't that understate the importance?

               

              ;-)

               

              JET

              • 4. Re: Color Accuracy for Print
                William-01 Level 1

                Thanks Jacob for the links. These are good starting points.

                 

                Cheers!

                • 5. Re: Color Accuracy for Print
                  Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                  You are welcome, William.

                  • 6. Re: Color Accuracy for Print
                    Aarmed Level 1

                    You shouldn't ever work in RGB when designing work for print.

                     

                    There's specifically a couple of colors that are often used (neon red, neon green, and more) that are not capable to be acquired in the color space of CMYK

                     

                    When designing for printing, stick to CMYK.  When designing for web, stick to RGB.  Write that down.

                    • 7. Re: Color Accuracy for Print
                      William-01 Level 1

                      Aarmed,

                       

                      Thanks for the response. Maybe I am making this more difficult than it needs to be. I usually do work for electronic viewing and then for print.

                       

                      I understand clearly, your point with working in CMYK when designing for print. But monitors display in RGB color or sRGB. When using Illustrator, I see a subtle difference in color when shifting from RGB mode to CMYK.

                       

                      So when it comes to monitor callibration, or at least, viewing color on a monitor, that will eventually be printed, how do I know my color is accurate? I will use different printers on every project.

                       

                      I am PC based and have been told Apple users don't have too much of an issue because of their monitors are calibrated from the factory. PC users tell me they use the defualt ICC profiles and typically don't have a problem. I read over the links posted above, and I get a slightly different story.

                       

                      My goal is simply to know my color will print accurately so I don't eat printing costs for my own mistakes.

                       

                      Cheers!

                      William-01

                      • 8. Re: Color Accuracy for Print
                        Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                        William,

                         

                        The colour shift is an attempt to show the difference between an original RGB colour and the nearest CMYK equivalent; the shift depends upon the colour in question, and upon the monitor.

                         

                        Depending on your monitor, you may have different calibration options; and different chances of a good result. This applies regardless of colour management.

                         

                        The ultimate test is to hold a print beside the screen and compare under suitable conditions.

                         

                        Obviously, some colours, such as many Pantones, cannot be shown correctly.

                        • 9. Re: Color Accuracy for Print
                          vlaming01 Level 1

                          Remember too that it depends on the type of printing you are doing.  It has been my experience that, depending on the type of print, color may vary greatly.  I work in the prepress department and prepare art for offset & screen printing on discs.  The same file will print totally different on each press.

                          My advice is to get used to your monitor color numbers and make value judgements.  I tend to ingore my own monitor and go by the color percentages in my info palette to tell me what it should look like.

                          • 10. Re: Color Accuracy for Print
                            Junk Mailer Level 3

                            The newer Pantone books (with CMYK % breakdowns) are handy when trying to

                            get on the same page with a particular color.

                             

                            -JM

                            • 11. Re: Color Accuracy for Print
                              Aarmed Level 1

                              Those aren't newer, and it's called a color bridge, and isn't even necessarly accurate at all.  There's SOOO many variables, that even Pantone's "CMYK" representation can be more closely or further than from what they say.

                               

                               

                               

                              For example, if you have everything set up perfectly, spent months on it...., more than what can be considered color accurate.... then your boss changes what type of paper is bought.... you need all new profiles

                              • 12. Re: Color Accuracy for Print
                                Junk Mailer Level 3

                                Well they are newer to me. I guess it depends on how long you've been doing this as to what you consider "new". I agree with you about the variables, but I've been told they are more accurate if you regularly replace them and keep them stored in a dark drawer. I also understand what you are saying about changes in paper, etc. That's why the proofing process between you, your printer and your client/boss are so important.

                                 

                                -JM

                                • 13. Re: Color Accuracy for Print
                                  Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                  I still prefer the older of the newer Pantone books with their integer values.

                                  • 14. Re: Color Accuracy for Print
                                    William-01 Level 1

                                    I've been following everyones responses here, and it seems that monitor calibration is not really all that important

                                    as color matching will be determined by each printer and type of output device.


                                    With that said, it sounds like I should be relying heavily on my Pantone book. I have the solid to process guide which seems helpful when trying to nail down a specific color.

                                     

                                    The only area I'm confused about then, given everything said in this thread, is why such a high importantance with ICC profiles? Right now, I have default profiles and haven't had anyone come back to me and say the color it totally off.

                                     

                                    With that said though, the only real way to determine a desired color, in real life, is to view a hard copy proof or test strip and adjust the color as neeed? Meaning, anything on screen, no matter how calibrated a monitor, will always be guess work?

                                     

                                    Is that right?

                                    • 15. Re: Color Accuracy for Print
                                      Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                      William,

                                       

                                      I've been following everyones responses here, and it seems that monitor calibration is not really all that important

                                      as color matching will be determined by each printer and type of output device.


                                      With that said though, the only real way to determine a desired color, in real life, is to view a hard copy proof or test strip and adjust the color as neeed? Meaning, anything on screen, no matter how calibrated a monitor, will always be guess work?

                                       

                                      Is that right?

                                       

                                      Well, in order to know what you are doing, your monitor should be calibrated as well as possible; any error here will add to whatever is introduced later. Depending on the monitor, the calibration options may be limited, of course. I am still clinging to CRT, now using a borrowed Brilliance while still hoping for someone capable of reviving my old Trinitron; as far as I remember, the last time I looked into it, the price level of a matching LCD was about $5.000.

                                       

                                      My suggestion of your comparing a final print with the screen appearance is to see how close you are, and which possible mismatch(es) may be recognized and incorporated. Obviously, this has the limitation of the trueness of the print.

                                      • 16. Re: Color Accuracy for Print
                                        Aarmed Level 1

                                        Having your monitor calibrated isn't essential, but helps tremendously.  Ideally, you shouldn't ever need to do a test print, as you can just look at your monitor

                                        • 17. Re: Color Accuracy for Print
                                          Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                                          icc profiles are important as the a printer wil use those profiles to match what the see on the screen with what prints on their presses.

                                           

                                          Adobe RGB 1998 is the industry standard internationally or preparing images for stock to be reproduced on press as cmyk. Stock houses do not submit, and nor do any photographer I know of, in cmyk and the best match to cmyk is Adobe RGB 1998.

                                           

                                          But users will also use the images for the web. so it often occurs, since sRGB is the standard for web and the default for Illustrator there is a conflict to be aware of when sending out the file. I am consider sending the filed label for web use and one for print.

                                           

                                          There are devices that print rgb like lightjet and Adobe RGB 1998 or a custom profile will work but not sRGB.

                                           

                                          You would think by now they would have com up with a system that took into consideration the different approaches and made an international standard
                                          considering the way files are distributed.