ICC Profiles are vital to producing prints that match your display. This however must coincide with a calibrated display. Although it may never be 100%, this combination will produce the best results. The finer bits will be “filled in” by the brain – like everything, it takes a bit of training. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and request our ICC profiles for accurate printing.
We recommend hiring a professional to calibrate your screen (we have a company we can recommend). Alternatively, if you are technically inclined, purchase or hire a screen calibration kit and you can tune the various components yourself.
Of the various calibration tools we have used, ColorMunki Photo is the most recent and accurate. This device also allows the operator to create profiles for their own printer. Approximately R5500 in 2008 – available on order from Studio22.
Manual display calibration:
It is possible to manually calibrate a screen and in conjunction with an ICC profile to produce consistent and accurate results. It is not ideal but it can be done. For clients who can not afford to buy a calibration device or to hire someone to calibrate their screen, we print and supply a calibration chart. Along with this, we supply the file that matches that printed chart – this chart is printed without any correction from the printer. The client can then manually adjust the screen until the image on the screen matches the print in hand. It is however important to be aware of the ambient lighting conditions as this will have a massive impact on the screen image. It is suggest a daylight light source be used to illuminate the test print. We then recommend a number of tests be done and the screen be adjusted slightly after each test until it is as close as the operator can match it.
Post production of digital images involves the basic processing of images to a ‘print ready’ state. This includes sharpening, contrast and density adjustment as well as colour correction. Accurate Post production is only possible on a calibrated display. If a display is not calibrated, images may still look great on the display but they will print according to the file that has been saved. If the display has a yellow cast, the operator may correct the image to look good on that display but the file will then have the equivalent correction to product a blueish cast on the final print. The same applies for density and contrast, a screen that is too light will ‘produce’ a print that is too dark if the operator corrects the image for a non-calibrated screen.
Understanding colour and correction:
Many of the images we see that are not printing correctly are mostly due to operators making corrections they are not sure of. Even on a calibrated screen, if an operator does not understand colour and what a good print should look like, the final print will unlikely produce a quality result. We encourage clients to experiment and learn but dissuade using clients jobs as test subjects. Rather pay the price and have the pro’s do the post production for the clients work. We recommend doing tests at home to see if you can match or even beat the work done by the lab.