Printing and Output Services: Color Management
Here at the Bureau we take multiple steps to ensure that colors stay consistent from print to print, by calibrating our machines and monitors often and using the same profiles and settings.
Click here to learn what you can do at home to maintain color consistency from screen to print.
|Color Laser Printing|
|Calibration Schedule||Daily, a series of tests to maintain the closest possible reproduction of color*|
|Profile||Web Coated SWOP Grade 3|
*Despite our best efforts and yours, due to the nature of color laser printing, colors will shift throughout the day and from day to day.
|Calibration Schedule||Custom-made paper-specific profiles are relinearized (checked for color consistency) every 3 days.|
Maintaining Color Consistency
There are steps you can take, beyond the test strip, to ensure that your final print looks as close as possible to what is on your screen.
Step One: Monitor Calibration
Monitors are not inherently programmed to check color accuracy. Colors shift over time, and while some monitors are better at maintaining color accuracy, all monitors need to be calibrated.
To properly calibrate your monitor you need an Eye One Calibrating Puck. You can check one out at any of the 3 Media Centers on campus. The Eye One does most of the work for you and the kit will include directions. Just be sure that your settings are as follows:
- Temp: 6500K
- Gamma: 2.2
Desktop computers should be recalibrated once a week. Laptops should be recalibrated as often as possible. Any time the lighting situation where you're working changes, you should recalibrate.
Step Two: Color Profiles
These directions are specific to inkjet printing only. Calibrating your screen is a good idea whether you are printing with a laser or an inkjet printer.
Every image has an assigned color profile that limits the number of colors in that image. Ideally, you want to start with the largest color profile possible and only reduce or change that profile when absolutely necessary. Here are some common color profiles from the largest (with the most possible colors) to smallest.
To find out what color profile your image is currently using:
- Open the file in Photoshop and go to the bottom left hand corner of the screen.
- Click the arrow to open up a menu of info available on the image.
- Right now we are looking at the Document Size.
- Click "Document Profile" to see your current color profile.
- The Service Bureau uses AdobeRGB (1998) for Inkjet prints. If your file is not that you will need to convert it.
Step Three: Soft Proofing
Converting your file to a different color profile changes the way it looks, sometimes dramatically. By Soft Proofing your file you can see how your image will look without permanently changing it.
To soft proof for inkjet printing at the Service Bureau:
- Open your image in Photoshop.
- Go to View > Proof Setup > Custom.
- Make sure that "Preserve RGB Numbers" is unchecked.
- Under the "Rendering Intent" dropdown, select "Perceptual" for photographic material or "Relative Colometric" for graphics. Really, whichever looks best. (There are two other Rendering Intents, Absolute and Saturated. These are not compatible with our printers and will make your images look strange.)
- Select a Blackpoint compensation that looks best. If you are printing on a matte paper, you will want to turn make sure that Black Point Compensation is unchecked.
Step Four: Converting to Profile
Converting to your final profile permanently moves your image into that color space. It's the last step before saving the file to be printed.
To convert your file for printing at the Service Bureau:
- Open your file in Photoshop.
- Go to Edit > Convert to Profile...
- Under the "Profile" dropdown, select "Adobe RGB 1998".
- For the "Engine", select "Adobe (ACE)".
- Dither should be unchecked.
- For "Intent" and "Black Point Compensation", use the same settings you used in Soft Proof.