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Images, Graphic Design, and Digital Photography Discussion of all things graphics.

Colour Matching Mac/Display/Printer

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Member Since: Jan 19, 2007
Posts: 6
SampleX is on a distinguished road

SampleX is offline
Hi everyone...

I've got a problem here that I can't solve by throwing money at...

I have a MacBookPro which I use as my creative workstation. I also use a Samsung 22inch Pebble 2232BW display via DVI. I use the usual array of graphics apps, and I've calibrated each display on the MBP using the visual calibration tool that Apple includes.

The display looks right when using the laptop screen in the 'laptop context.' The Samsung display looks right when using it also, seemingly a bit brighter than the MBP screen.

Here's the oddity...

The colour on the Samsung appears to very closely match the printed output at my commercial printers. I have an example in front of me, and apart from the business card in question being slightly darker because of gloss laminate, the colours between the sample and the Samsung display are nearly spot on - so close that I'd be happy to design on the Samsung screen.

However, the colours are very different on the MBP pro display. Some of them are a little muted, a little too dark. The most curious way of describing the problem is like this:

One of the colours I use on this project is a kind of a 'fluorescent' green (of course, it isn't fluorescent, but you'll get the picture about how the colour is supposed to be a 'highlight' on a very dark blue background. It looks absolutely lovely as a feature on the logos and the stationery and promotions for the company that the design was for. The CMYK values for this colour are C20 M0 Y100 K0. Now, on the Samsung this looks like a nice bright green highlight colour. On the MacBookPro it looks like it has a strong shift to yellow, it looks like a muddy fluorescent yellow rather than a crisp fluorescent green.

I'd appreciate someone with a colour matched display rig having a look at this colour swatch and telling me whether this should be a muddy yellow (shouldn't really, since it has no black value as a colour) or the green that the printing press has output.

And this is what's throwing me.... I'd expect the printing press to be closest to 'accurate' as possible. I would then be unsurprised to find that a good quality display like the Samsung (assuming that the quality ratings aren't all hype) would be fairly close to the printing press for colour repro... But there's a third factor in the equation...

I bought a Canon iPixma iP4500 printer (individual CMYK inks) which also seems to be very highly rated. Running prints on either bright white, or glossy photographic stock on the Canon, it doesn't reinforce the Samsung/Printing Press Reproduction. In fact, it looks an awful lot like the display on the MacBookPro... It yields a muddy yellow instead of the green that comes out on the Samsung and the printing press...

This puts me in an odd situation - I want to design using the Samsung screen, because the close correlation between it and the printing press output appears to be the representation of what my client will get. But I also want to be able to print out my proofs (I tend to work mostly in smaller print designs) and print my own colour publications for distribution to clients, knowing that I'm getting what I designed...

How can this be a 'photo' printer if it cannot be trusted to print entirely accurate impressions of photographic images?

The inks are all Canon original and are brand new. Don't get me wrong, they look absolutely stunning. I've printed a set of swatches out on glossy paper, and they're vivid, solid, almost three dimensional... I've got a set of colour charts printed by my printer (coated and uncoated stock) with CMYK values printed, so that I can run a comparison between the Canon printout, the screen displays and the output from the printers...

But can anyone start me on the right track of what's wrong here. Has anyone found this with the MBP display and a third party display (display mirroring is off, so that's not an issue) or has anyone found this with the Canon and found a way to make it work better with designs they produce on the Mac?

It's weird, cos I can dual screen on this mac, and drag my colour swatches from one screen to the other, and see the significant difference in colour fidelity. Therefore I know that there is clearly a difference from one display to the other... I just don't know whether to trust the Canon or the printing press output as being accurate. My printers are excellent and I feel I should be able to trust their professional colour fidelity. How can I make my Canon match up and therefore print photographic quality colour accurate?
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Member Since: Feb 10, 2009
Posts: 1
allenandbemrose is on a distinguished road

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Colour matching between different screens, printers and even paper is always going to be a pain to get right. I work with spot colours a lot for graphics work, needless to say there are elements of photography in there as well.

Getting things to match is all down to color profiles, these are used by printers, adobe, monitors as well as web applications. I have found the best policy is to keep things simple, but to do this you need to make sure all the profiles match. Not an easy task.

I tore my hair out trying to work all of this out, in the end I spoke to a guy at a Paper supply company (I think it may have been york and ford??) he told me to have a look at colour palette manager, rgb colourbook, cmyk, photoshop, illustrator, colour matching tools. Not any easy site to get to grips with, but the guys at the end of the phone really new their stuff, well they would because they were trying to sell me something! Give site a read it goes some way to helping explain my printers and monitors do what they do..

Cheers J
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Member Since: Mar 27, 2008
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 234
Blizare can only hope to improve
Mac Specs: Mac Pro 14gb ram 24" LED Cd & 23" Cd

Blizare is offline
Remember, your screens are all displaying RGB and your trying to output to a CMYK printer. If your talking photos and not spot/pantone colors, then it's all in the adjustments.

Photoshop saves your file with a profile, your printer should be calibrated and profiled. It goes on and on. Welcome to the world of color management

I run 3 60" large format printers and what I see on the screen = what comes out of the machine. Thanks to Gretag Mcbeth eye one.

Only when you understand why you dismiss all other gods, will you then realize why I dismiss yours

-MacPro-Macbook Air-IMac-Mac Mini-Powerbook Ti-
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