Guide #1: Are you getting the best out of theprintspace’s colour management options?
Colour management is an extremely important step in printing your creative designs and is absolutely vital in producing prints accurately reflecting original images. Colour management allows you to calibrate your software and hardware in such a way that the printed product will be an exact representation of the image on your screen.
Accurate colour management is essential for every artist or photographer, yet a significant amount of people have false impression that it is difficult to understand and extremely expensive. Fortunately, the reality is different and getting quality photo prints can be easy and cost effective!
In the following guide I will explain how to get the best out of your colour management options while using theprintspace’s professional yet affordable printing studio. Read on and you will learn and understand all necessary steps.
Colours and the printing environment
Colours derive from the spectrum of light and interact with the light receptors located in human eyes. Colour categories and specifications depend on many factors such as the material of an object, and its physical properties such as light absorption or reflection ability. Colours can change depending on intensity of light and the type of its source. For instance, an image will look totally different in sunny weather or at night.
Therefore, in order to get accurate prints you should make sure that your studio is either neutral grey or dark colour. You should not allow any natural light in the room either as it can affect your perception of colours seen on your screen. Make sure you don’t look at the screen from an angle and that there is no direct light onto your screen.
Software and hardware calibration
Once these conditions are met, you should focus on the calibration of your monitor. As you probably noticed, each screen is different and the calibration process will allow you to see a very accurate preview of your artwork.
There is a number of options available to do that, using software and hardware calibration as well as a device called a ’spectrophotometer’.
The calibration process is pretty straightforward and in a matter of minutes you can set the output of your screen to a known industry standard. Once you’re satisfied with the preview, save the profile of your monitor and open the image you want to print.
Profile conversion and colour reproduction
Monitors can display far more colours than a printer can reproduce.
Through a profile conversion process you can optimise your image by removing or replacing the colours, which the printer may not be able to reproduce. It can be done automatically or manually and the result will be clearly visible on your printout in the form of smoother gradients and sharper colours.
Once you have an image that can be easily reproduced by the printer, you can still adjust other options such as sharpness, colour intensity, tone, contrast, etc.
Paper type can influence the quality of your prints
At this point you have your screen calibrated and your image optimised and ready to print. There is one last thing that can influence your print quality – the paper type.
There is a great variety of papers, like glossy and matte, with texture or without, and many more. Papers may vary in thickness and durability, and the choice of paper should reflect the conditions in which you want to display your images as well as the type of the image you’re about to print.
You should carefully choose your paper type as it can affect the way you prints look. A good practice is to try printing a small sample on different types of paper and assess which type is most suitable for your particular artwork.
Moreover, keep in mind that theprintspace provides you not only with professional equipment but also our professional staff is more than happy to help you through the printing and optimisation process.
This week I have briefly introduced you to colour management:
• Colours and ideal printing environment
• Calibration of your software and hardware
• Profile conversion and colour reproduction
• How different paper types can influence prints
In the following weeks I will explain each of these points in detail and provide more technical information. The next article will help you choose the right printer type for your images!
That’s about it for today, I hope you found the info useful and stay tuned for the upcoming guides!