Show Your True Colors

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Dec 13

Show Your True Colors

December 13, 2023 @ 11:30 am - 12:45 pm EST

smpte color bars, cctv, colorful

Are you sometimes disappointed with the colors that roll out of your home printer? You often hear professional photographers talking about their ‘color managed workflow’, but what does that mean? And how could it possibly help you? Color management is all about consistency and predictability. We all want our prints to look exactly like the rich saturated images we see on our monitors, but we all know from bitter experience that this is not always the case. In this session Mike will demonstrate how easy it is to calibrate both monitor and printer, and illustrate how the process works to improve color output for everyone.

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Spring Classes, Speakers, and Color Management

Mike discussed the upcoming spring season of classes, which begins on January 6th, and announced that Jeff Bohr, an experienced speaker and Apple certified support professional, will be conducting a session on the new features of Sonoma. Mike also mentioned an upcoming presentation by Adam Pratt on January 3rd, focusing on organizing photo libraries. Chita added that Adam’s book will be offered at a 40% discount on the message board. Mike then presented a keynote on color management, explaining its importance and complexities, and how it influences the quality of images.

Color Management in Digital Imaging Systems

Mike discussed the issue of color management, particularly in the context of digital imaging systems. They emphasized the importance of assigning numerical values to specific colors to ensure consistency and prevent confusion. They also explained the concept of color management in digital imaging systems, where devices like monitors and printers create a lookup table of color values. Mike also explained the technical process of color correction, starting with the standardization of color representation on monitors and how it is applied in applications like Photoshop or Affinity Photo. They assured that the process, although slightly complex, makes sense.

Color Spaces in Photography and Printing

Mike discussed the concept of color spaces in photography and printing. They explained that color spaces are device-independent and limit the range of colors a device can display or print, with amateur cameras typically using SRGB and professional cameras offering a choice, such as Adobe RGB. Mike also clarified the term “gamut”, which is a device-dependent color space. They shared their insights on how to improve color choices when working with digital images, emphasizing the importance of neutral colors and avoiding distractions. They suggested using blackout blinds, wearing neutral-colored clothing, and keeping a neutral desktop wallpaper, as well as using a monitor hood to separate the screen from the surrounding office environment. Moe was present but did not contribute to the discussion.

Color Perception and Quality Materials

Mike discussed the complexity of color perception, explaining how the brain can be deceived by visually identical colors. They emphasized the influence of lighting, environment, and the quality of materials used for printing. Mike also pointed out potential issues with papers that use optical brighteners and lignin, which can affect the longevity of the final product. They stressed the importance of using high-quality inks and papers, noting that they can be more expensive but will ensure better results. Lastly, Mike suggested a future discussion on color management in practical applications.

Monitor Calibration for Accurate Color Representation

Mike discussed the importance of monitor calibration for accurate color representation in photography. They highlighted the use of a colorimeter and spectrophotometer, emphasizing their affordability and the importance of monitor brightness settings. Mike confirmed the usefulness of monitor calibration for non-printing purposes as long as the monitor can accurately represent color. They also confirmed the software’s ability to adjust color consistency across multiple monitors to the international standard.

Photographers’ Printer Calibration Discussion

Mike discussed the importance of printer calibration, particularly for photographers. They shared their personal experience with a spectrophotometer, which they found to be expensive and not very useful. Instead, they recommended using services that offer affordable calibration. They also emphasized the significance of having a printer with more than four colors for better quality output. Mike further explained the process of creating a bespoke profile for a printer using photographic paper and a color swatch, stressing the need for a clean environment to avoid any marks on the print.

Color Management and Printing Processes Explained

Mike elaborated on the process of color management in printing, specifically the use of ICC profiles and rendering intents. They recommended Affinity Photo for color settings management and suggested exploring the Photoshop print setting box for further learning. Mike also clarified the term “print” as the saturation of color and explained two methods of adjusting color rendering in digital printing. They preferred the ‘relative color emit’ method for preserving the original color inside the ‘bucket’ and producing vibrant results. Chita asked about the meaning of “print”, which Mike explained.

Color Profiles for Printers and Monitors

Mike gave a presentation on using color profiles for printers and monitors. They explained the difference between generic and custom profiles, emphasizing the benefits of using custom profiles for improved color accuracy. They also discussed the importance of monitor brightness and the potential issues that can arise from operating system upgrades. Questions from Conrad, Billy, and Mark followed, with Mike providing advice on setting up color profiles for multiple monitors and the challenges of using labs for color correction.

Makerspace Printer Capabilities Discussion

The discussion revolved around the printing capabilities of a local library makerspace’s new printer. Chris inquired about ensuring the reproduction of their photos faithfully, to which Mike suggested inquiring about the profile of the printer. Mike also recommended discussing with the makerspace about the paper type and its preparation. Fred asked about the capabilities of a color printer with only four color options, and Mike suggested that even the cheapest printer could benefit from having a profile made for it. Lastly, Ward asked Mike’s opinion on the quality of laser printing, to which Mike responded that while it’s simple, the color quality is not as vibrant as that of a full-color printer.


December 13, 2023
11:30 am - 12:45 pm EST
Event Category:
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