Sign & Digital Graphics

August '17

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40 • August 2017 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S DIGITAL PRINTING AND FINISHING DIGITAL GRAPHICS Eleven Dos And Don'ts For Reliable Color Color management techniques that assure predictable color from image capture to print Stephen Romaniello is and artist and educator teaching digital art at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona, for more than 27 years. He is a certified instruc- tor in Adobe Photoshop and the author of numerous books and articles on the cre- ative use of digital graphics software. Steve is the founder of GlobalEye systems, a company that offers training and consulting in digital graphics software and creative imaging. B Y S T E P H E N R O M A N I E L L O The Digital Eye A color management system does not guarantee identical color reproduction as this is rarely possible due to the variation of the color potential of each device, but it does offer signifi- cantly more control over the color workflow. Color Discrepancy No device in an imaging chain is capable of reproducing every color the human eye can see. Each device operates within a specific color space that sets the range (or gamut) of color that the device can produce (see Figure 2). Because of these disparate color capabilities, certain colors may shift in appearance as they are transferred from one device to another. Variations can be caused by different image sources (scanners or cameras), how software applications present color, variations in manufacturing techniques of monitors, the age of certain monitors and the media and ink with which the image is printed. To align the color on each device, a CMS compares the source device's color to the output device's color and translates and adjusts the numerical RGB values to align the color as closely as possible among each device in the imaging chain. Profiles A mathematical description of a device's color space called a color profile. Profiles are used to calibrate each device. A scanner profile tells the CMS how your scanner "sees" colors. A moni- tor's profile tells the CMS how the monitor displays color and the printer's profile tells the CMS what color combinations and ink densities to print. P redicting the exact colors that your printer spits out can be a conundrum for the average user. It is indeed disappointing when the muddy colors of your print hardly resemble the crisp, bright knock–your-socks–off image that you see on your monitor. A Color Management System (CMS) is the mechanism that stands between your screen image and the final print. It enables you to predict color accuracy within the limitations of your printer. When working with large-format printers understanding and implementing the CMS is essential for saving time and materials. Color Management Basics A CMS is a process where the color characteristics for every device in the image chain are precisely calibrated for color reproduction. This imaging chain usually begins with the input device such as the camera or scanner, includes a display device and concludes with the final print, as in Figure 1. Figure 1: A typical imaging chain consisting of a digital camera, a monitor and a large- format printer.

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