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

colour issue aaagh!


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carolineUK

 
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if anyone can help - il be very grateful!
its to do with colour management.
can anyone tell me why my pics are always dull when i export from either illustrator or photoshop??

my MONITOR space is set to RGB 1998
and my colour space is rgb 1998.
though when i am working on a pic for PRINT, in cmyk, AND EXPORT OR SAVE as a pdf...it looks drab.
any tips on what i could be doing wrong?
should i disable 'embed cmyk' profile?

ive set the colour work spaces in Indesign to the same as in illustrator and photoshop as i believe its best to have all the applications with the same color management.

i really dont get what im doing wrong. its driving me nuts today
if anyone can help il be a happy girl!

thnx for reading

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carolineUK

 
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oh nuts. im not very good at explaining stuff.
ok. can anyone please help me understand color management.

as my pics sometimes look dull once ive saved them.
ie.
im working in cmyk, i have an rgb profile embedded and it looks DULL on output.
if anyone can spare some time to write me a reply which makes sense to me(as ive read lots on the net and ppl have advised SO MANY different things) im CONFUSED


gratefully appreciated

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Can you tell us what tools you are using? Have you calibrated your monitor with a hardware/software package like Spyder2Pro or Huey? Do you have the color profile for your printer?

Re Color Management, in general, we need to go back to "first principles". Lets start with the absolute spectrum of all available colors. Physical devices like monitors and printers are only able to reproduce part of that spectrum, due to the limitations imposed by the technology they are built with. What is worse, two different manufacturer's monitors may reproduce different parts of the spectrum because their technology is different. Ditto for printers, which are usually even more limited in the spectrum they can accurately reproduce.

The kicker is that color is represented, in the RGB space at least, as three fixed range values, one for each of Red, Green and Blue. The color set [120, 10, 200] will produce different output color results on different devices (monitors, printers, etc.) depending on their hardware. Hence, things that look perfect on screen may look drab and dull when printed.

What is needed is a way to "translate" a theoretical absolute color value into the device specific value for any given device that causes that device to produce the closest possible rendition of the intended color. This is the job of color management. A color management engine takes a given color value and translates it to a device specific value based on a color profile for the given device, which is normally provided by the manufacturer. In Apple-land, this is called a ColorSync profile; in PC-land it is called an ICM (Integrated Color Management) profile - the formats are different because the color management engines are different, but the idea is identical.

So, if I take an image file containing RGB image values, and translate them appropriately for a given device, that device will produce as close to a faithful representation of the intended colors as it is capable of.

A complication creeps in of course. Image files don't come to us in "absolute color" values (Lab Color, if you are using Photoshop), they come to us encoded for a particular subset of absolute color. The two most common are sRGB and Adobe RGB. This makes a color management engine's job just a little more complex, since it now has to translate between the source color space in the image and the destination color space in the device. However, both the Mac and the PC color management engines (and the completely separate one in Photoshop) know how to do this.

I'll stop here, since I could go a LOT farther with this topic. Let me know if this is answering your question, or just making things worse.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by carolineUK View Post
and it looks DULL on output.
Sorry, I haven't taken a graphic arts class in 7 years so my terms might be a little off....

Output meaning a inkjet print?
If that's what you mean, the colors will look muted and less saturated when comparing a print to a monitor even if everything is correctly color balanced. There are a few reasons for this.
1. The monitor displays in RGB and the printer outputs in CMYK so the color spaces and whatnot are a little off.
2. A monitor displays a lot more colors than an inkjet printer can print. So a printer is forced to bring more saturated colors outside of it's spectrum by dulling them and fitting them as closely as it can.
3. I don't even know how to say this last one correctly. A monitor uses light to display colors but a print uses pigment or dyes to display colors. Dyes and pigments look muted when compared to a lit source like a monitor.

Some questions for you:
Why are you saving as a PDF? Why not save as an illustrator file or photoshop file or a TIFF files instead of a PDF? Maybe saving it as a more recognizable image file might correct your problem. Or make sure you're saving with compression. I don't know how PDF's are saved but if it is a lossy type of save, you lose data every time you save the file. (Data also meaning colors)


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