When we print an image, we usually notice that the colors are not the same as we see them on the monitor. Even if the differences are not quite so dramatic, the way images look on screen differs from the way they look in print. Calibration ensures that you get the more likely print what you see on the computer screen. So the Monitor calibration and Printer calibration go hand to hand. When we see an image on the monitor, it is actually depending on RGB while the printed page depends on CMYK.
“The RGB color model is an additive color model in which red, green, and blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colors.”
“The CMYK color model is a subtractive color model which is used in color printing and it consists of four colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black).”
So RGB and CMYK are seen differently by human eye. Calibration minimizes this difference and generates similarity in screen and print view.
Beware that the printed product will not be exactly identical because digital printing is not a color accurate process. The digital printing depends on many contents i-e link quality, paper quality, paper and link match with compatible printer, software that is being used for printing process, printer drivers and things like that. Therefore because of so many dependencies, the digital printing is not a color accurate process.
The process of printer calibration involves monitor calibration. Following are some important steps which have to be taken before calibrating your monitor according to your printer.
- First of all you have to check two display settings for your computer. Check the screen resolution and screen quality bits. Select the highest resolution available. And select the maximum color quality bit option available. If you have less than 24 bit then there won’t be enough color depth for the calibration process.
In Windows OS you can find these settings by right clicking on the desktop and then “Graphic Properties”.
On Mac, go to Preferences, then click on “Displays” and then choose “Colors: Millions”.
- Now let your monitor warm up for at least 15-20 minutes. It ensures that your monitor is cent percent ready for calibration. Monitors have slight change in their colors when they warm up completely.
- Make sure that no reflection, spark or direct light reaches your monitor screen. The room doesn’t have to be dark, but brighter light shouldn’t interfere with how you see what’s on the screen. Try to obtain optimum light in your room for more accuracy in calibration.
- Choose a daylight photo with a person who has natural skin tone and print a test photo on a printer with CMYK technology. Use the highest quality settings and good quality of printing paper. Wait a few hours so that the colors can set permanently and get dried.
Calibration of your Computer monitor or Laptop screen involves the following steps:
- Find Adjustment controls of your monitor. They are usually located at the front on your monitor.
“Screen Adjustment controls are used to adjust screen colors, resolution, scale, and position etc”
- Open the image/photo file you just printed. Enlarge it to full screen.
- Now place the printed photo right next to the original image on the screen and compare.
- By using the Adjustment controls of your monitor, adjust the brightness, contrast, and color levels (red, green, blue) on your monitor until the image on the screen resembles the printed photo as closely as possible. This takes time and a good eye for color.
If you want to calibrate your monitor using some software then you can even use following software to adjust color and color levels of your monitor:
- Use basic software such as Adobe Gamma (if you have Adobe Photoshop 7 or below installed), QuickGamma (which is free), Apple ColorSync, or Monica for Linux to calibrate your monitor.
- Another technique is to purchase specialized software used in conjunction with a Colorimeter if color accuracy is vital to your profession.
“Colorimeter is a device that reads the actual color values produced by your monitor.”
Following are some software which are used in conjunction with Colorimeter.
- The ColorVision Color Plus (great for home systems)
- Gretag Macbeth Eye-One Display
- ColorVision Spyder 3 Pro
- SpectraCal’s CalPC
- Monaco Systems MonacoOPTIX
You must Calibrate your monitor every 3 to 4 weeks for optimum visual accuracy.
Muhammad Noman S.