Colour Calibration

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before and after calibration

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Hot.com.au > Colour Calibration
 
Also known as "WYSIWYG" (Wiz-e-wig => What you see is what you get)

The goal of colour calibration is to ensure accurate, reliable colour accuracy across output mediums and platforms. That means that the image you see on your screen(s) will give accurate colour replication and the corresponding prints will be as intended. This requires all your output devices - monitors and printers - to be calibrated by a colour calibration device.
 

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Colour Calibration

WYSIWYG – What you see is what you get

It sounds simple enough, but the truth is that the print we hold in our hand is not always the same as the image we see on screen.

before and after calibration
Calibrated using Xrite i1 monitor calibrator. This is a flat screen TV being used as my computer monitor. I was able to switch to low lamp mode and still calibrate to get a natural image.


For a basic understanding of colour calibration, we’ll start with the assumption that the image file on our computer (whether transferred from a digital camera, download from the web or created in a drawing application) is the true image, featuring true colour.

Colour infidelity occurs when output devices - your monitor and printer – each try to interpret the colour information of the original file. Both devices have a limited colour pallet, and both may interpret colour information differently. So to achieve WYSIWYG, both the monitor and printer must be calibrated.

Monitor Calibration
More often than not, the monitor is the biggest culprit when it comes to colour infidelity. This is largely due to the fact that all monitors colour-drift over time. We don’t notice this gradual transition as it happens, but in most cases this drift is what causes the mismatch between on-screen image and printed image.

Pulling your monitor back towards true colour can be easily achieved with a variety of devices including the Pantone Huey and Colorvison Spyder Express products for entry-level users. More advanced users can look to the Eye-One Display Pro and Spyder Pro/Spyder Elite models, which offer more involved calibration and user customisation.

It is important to note that all monitors have limited and varied colour pallets, and may not be able to reproduce all the colours captured by high-end cameras or other input devices. Calibration will however get the best out of your monitor and take you one step closer to WYSIWYG.

Printer Calibration
Calibration of inkjet printers is absolutely vital, due to the number of variables involved with the printing process. Different ink types react differently with each paper type, and so a single printer can produce vastly different results on different media types. For this reason printers come ‘pre-calibrated’ with ICC profiles which are included in your printer’s software. You activate these calibration settings every time you print, when you select your paper type.

Problems will obviously occur, for example, when users want to print onto Ilford or Canon paper with an Epson printer, as these paper types aren't included with the printers default settings. In other cases, users may be trying to cut costs with generic inks, which will also need to be calibrated to ensure true colour.

hot.com.au recommends the X-Rite ColorMunki range as a great-value and easy to use colour calibrator. The ColorMunki calibrates both the monitor and the printer individually, matching both machines to true colour – so What You See is What You Get.