Miscellaneous: multiple colour profiles on PCs

started by Mpj on Mar 15, 2004 — RSS Feed

Mpj Mpj
Posts: 76

My PC (running Windows XP) monitor is calibrated for web work, using the wpdfd calibration assistant.

I an currently doing some print work so of course the colours I see on the monitor screen are nothing like the colours on paper when I print tests.

My printer can handle ICM 2.0 colour profiles so I tried to produce a print colour profile using Adobe's Gamma utility. Using this utility I have to change my monitors brightness and contrast.  The result is that both both my web and print colour profiles look identical and are unsatisfactory for both web and print.

Is there a solution for my problem other than regulating my monitor settings each time I change from web to print work?
My monitor cannot store different contrast and brightness settings.

Joe Gillespie Joe Gillespie
Posts: 528

No, the monitor setup for Web and print is very different. Print work requires a Gamma of 1.8 and a white point of D50 (5000 Kelvin). Web work requires a Gamma of 2.2 and white point of 9500 Kelvin. Even with these settings, your monitor is very unlikely to show anything but very approximate print colours. Monitors suitable for print work are more expensive, even without hardware calibrators - and always CRTs, LCD's just won't do. They are very dim and need to be used in semi darkness and require recalibrating about once a month.

Then, you can start worrying about  ICM profiles

Mpj Mpj
Posts: 76

Thanks Joe, since posting the message I've been delving into my monitor settings again and rechecking the wpdfd resources. Looks like I'll be upgrading my monitor earlier than I thought.

I note that you still recommend crt monitors so what is the lowdown on Apples' Studio Displays? I thought they are supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread?

Joe Gillespie Joe Gillespie
Posts: 528

Yes, I have a 22" Cinema display and I love it, but I don't do critical print work like I used to. The Cinema display would be totally useless in a print production environment where colour accuracy on-screen is important.

The contast ratio of reflected light from a page is something like 10:1. The contrast ratio of a Cinema Display, and many other LCD screens, is more like 400:1. The colors of the RGB elements on an LCD are subtly different from the RGB on a CRT too. But most importantly, the Gamma curve of a CRT is a simple, predicatble curve that is easy to compensate for. The Gamma 'curve' of an LCD sceen is a more complicated 'S' shape which is harder to compensate for.

For the minute, CRTs are the best solution for print. If you want a reasonably priced 'print' monitor, the LaCie ElectronBlue 19" or 22" is the one to go for($750). If money is no object, a Barco Reference V ($5K).

Mpj Mpj
Posts: 76

Thanks for your help again Joe. It is interesting that we are bombarded with publicity for LCD monitors at the moment all claiming that they are the best. I've even seen ads for 'professional' equipment claiming how a high contrast is absolutely essential for accurate colour reprodution. A bit cynical...

LaCie monitors sound interesting if I can swap from 'web' to 'print' profiles. I imagine the info I need is on their website. I'm not doing absoulutely colour critical print work, I just want to do a good job for my clients.

Joe Gillespie Joe Gillespie
Posts: 528

Where colour is most critical is in fashion magazines (flesh tones) and in food, especially food packaging. I worked in food packaging design for many years where a typical print run would cost over a million pounds. You can't afford to get things like that wrong for many reasons!

When you are working on product catalogs or stationery, colour is not so critical. If you are using a lot of spot colours, then it's not a problem at all, all you need is a recent Pantone swatch book or two.

Mpj Mpj
Posts: 76

Point taken that differnt jobs require different tools. It's just that I've spent the best part of a day adjusting spot colours and photos by trial and error, printing endless proofs to check if the colours are better. Not a very efficient way of working!!

I've just seen Lacie electronblue 19" for sale for 472 euros. That works out at a tad over 300. The investment would pay for itself within a month probably. After running through the wpdfd monitor tests I reckon I need a new one anyway!

By the way, Apple are advertising their LCD Studio Displays as:

"Easy to calibrate.
Supports measurement devices such as the GretagMacbeth Eye-One calibrator to create ICC profiles for the Apple ColorSync color management system.

SWOP certified.
Approve press production jobs onscreen without the need for hard-copy proofs.

Consistently accurate colors.
Supports a wide color gamut; maintains true color from edge to edge and over time; and is immune to heat, humidity, and electromagnetic fields."

This quote has been cut and pasted direct from their website.?!

Joe Gillespie Joe Gillespie
Posts: 528

"Easy to calibrate.
Supports measurement devices such as the GretagMacbeth Eye-One calibrator to create ICC profiles for the Apple ColorSync color management system.


I can't disagree with that.


SWOP certified.
Approve press production jobs onscreen without the need for hard-copy proofs.


You can do, if you and the client aren't fussy.


Consistently accurate colors.


Consistent, yes but accurate to what standard?


Supports a wide color gamut; maintains true color from edge to edge and over time; and is immune to heat, humidity, and electromagnetic fields."


Yes, all true.

It's what they don't tell you that's the killer and if you don't ask the right questions you won't get the right answers.

Mpj Mpj
Posts: 76

So the moral of the story is trust someone who knows and buy an electronblue or similar for around half the price of a Studio Display.


It's what they don't tell you that's the killer and if you don't ask the right questions you won't get the right answers.


I'm always trying to learn so what are the right questions to ask?

Joe Gillespie Joe Gillespie
Posts: 528

The ultimate test is when you get a full colour printed page and hold it up beside the monitor for comparison. This is the only way to find out what the differences are. If you accept that NO monitor is going to show you what the final result will look like exactly but as you spend more it will get closer. It would take in infinite amount of money to get a perfect match. A perfect example of 'The law of diminishing returns'.

'Soft proofing' on a monitor will tell a trained operator what the final result will look like even though it is not accurate. I know that if I mix 100% magenta and 100% cyan on the screen, I will get a rich ultramarine blue but I also know that if I do the same mix with litho iinks on coated stock, I will get a dark purple. That comes down to the fundamental differences between the gaumuts of transmissive RGB and reflective CMYK.

So, all monitors will tell lies. Some of them are only 'white' lies - but even then, they have different 'white point' colour temperatures

Mpj Mpj
Posts: 76

Yep. All in all the electronblue sounds like a good compromise between quality and price for the work I'll be doing. The price is a nice bonus too, they must be having trouble selling them with the huge marketing machine behind flat panel dispays at the moment.

You must login to reply