ColorNews Issue #2

Screen to Print Matching

C H R O M i X C O L O R N E W S

Issue #2
April 9, 2001


Welcome to the second issue of ColorNews, a (approximately) monthly update on all things related to Color Management. We had lots of positive feedback from our first issue, and hope you will continue to let us know what interests you so we can address these concerns in our coming issues.

ColorNews covers newsworthy items including new product
releases and updates, and interesting, informative web sites. Each
issue will include a feature article covering an aspect of color
management such as profiles, workflow, and so forth.

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Table of Contents

1. Color News
2. New Releases
3. ColorFAQs - this month's FAQ is on Making Prints and Monitors Match
4. ColorNews Administration (feedback, subscriptions, etc.)

Color News

Seybold is in Boston!

This Spring's Seybold seminar runs from April 8th through the 13th at the
Hynes Convention Center in Boston. Look for CHROMiX's own Steve Upton to
speak on a variety of subjects, including profiles, digital camera profiling, and other tips and tricks. You will also be able to find Steve in the GretagMacbeth booth upon occasion (more below).

For more information on Seybold, go to:


CHROMiX ColorThink 2.0 Announced

Today, at Seybold Seminars in Boston, MA we announced ColorThink 2.0. This new version will support Carbon and other Mac OS X technologies including OpenGL. The 3D graphing in OpenGL is very cool with real-color shading of gamuts, transparency and a 3D slicer for accurate gamut evaluation.

Also part of ColorThink 2.0 is full integration with The Profile Manager receives a massive upgrade with the ability to:

- Manage profiles between Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X profile storage areas.
- Manage profiles for a workgroup across a LAN. Centralized administration makes it easy to keep an entire workgroup up to date.
- Manage profiles worldwide. We have developed version tags which can easily be embedded in ICC profiles. From within the Profile Manager you can register a profile with, upload it to a share point on the Internet and then check all the profiles on your system for updates.

ColorThink 2.0 will be entering Beta in 30-60 days and is expected to ship fairly soon after that.

For more information, please refer to the press release on our website.

New Releases

GretagMacbeth Announces Eye-One low-cost color management solution.

We are excited to announce a new scanning spectrophotometer by GretagMacbeth. The Eye-One is a high-quality, hand-held color instrument that will allow many more people to make their own quality profiles. The Eye-One is available in three flavors:

Eye-One Monitor ($579) - will calibrate and profile CRT and **LCD** monitors only.
Up to now the Spectrolino (at $3700) was one of the only choices for quality LCD profiling.

Eye-One Pro ($1,459) - is a full featured spectrophotometer that will calibrate and
profile displays and also read prints by spot. Profiling software is not in this package.

Eye-One Pro with Eye-One Match ($2,949) - is the Pro package and instrument and
adds the Match software for profiling monitors, scanners, and printers. Readings
can be performed by spot or, with the included scanning ruler, entire targets can
be quickly strip-read. The Match software is based on the same high-quality code
behind GretagMacbeth's excellent ProfileMaker Pro software.

At CHROMiX have had the pleasure of working with GretagMacbeth to test this product under their surprisingly secret NDA. We have found it to be easy to use and capable of generating profiles that rival $10,000 systems. All the new Eye-One products are now available for order in our store and should ship to customers within two weeks.

Eye-One Monitor:

Eye-One Pro:

Eye-One Pro & Eye-One Match:

Eye-One Feature Comparison:


- Photoshop 6.0.1 released - Adobe released a free upgrade to Photoshop
6.0 with a number of significant fixes, including an improved painting
toolbrush picker, improvements to Image Ready, and a variety of other small
improvements. Download it at:
Mac <>
Windows <>

- Updates for InDesign for Macintosh are now available. This updates from
Version 1.5 to 1.5.2, including versions in Italian, Spanish, Dutch,
Swedish, French and German, as well as English. Check it out:

- Adobe Photoshop Elements offers unique features designed specifically
for amateur photographers, hobbyists, and business users who want an
easy-to-use, yet powerful digital imaging solution. Unlike Photoshop LE
or PhotoDeluxe, Elements has support for color management! To download
a 30 day free tryout, check out:

- Acrobat 5.0 will ship in early April, with an estimated street
price of US$249. Existing users can upgrade for $99. Adobe plans to make
Acrobat 5 Reader available for download on April 17. For a detailed
article on the changes you can expect in this version, check this out:

- IMI Europe announces Digital Printing Summer School at Christ's College,
Cambridge, England. For more information on this upcoming event, and on US
events running from April on into the fall, check out:

- Crosley Bendix, Director of Stylistic Premonitions, U.M.N., announces the
discovery of a new primary color, Squant, in a story that promises to
revolutionize the color industry and, indeed, color as it is known

And, by the way, Happy April Fool's!

Other News Worth Noting

- Macintouch has posted a special report written by Adobe's Ed Edell listing
Adobe products' compatibility with OS X. Go to:

- Macworld has a fabulous article on color management - what it is, why it's
important, and how to do it. We recommend anyone with any questions on this
subject read this article:

- CreativePro has a two-part article on how the lighting in your workspace
can change your perception of the colors you see on your monitor, and the
best ways to remedy this problem. See:
Part A <>
Part B <>

- This just in... Bruce Fraser has written another excellent article on color. This time it's about rendering intents. You can find it on CreativePro as well:


Each month, our President Steve Upton will take time to answer questions
we receive on a regular basis. If you have specific questions or comments,
please see below for how to make submissions.

This Month - Making Prints and Monitors Match

by Steve Upton

It seems that the first thing people do when they get a color printer is open the best color image they can find and print it. Then they hold the sheet up beside the monitor and wonder why they are not even close. It can be a fairly complicated issue so we decided to spend some time on it this month.

I printed my file and it does not match the screen, why?

There are many reasons why a printed file doesn't match the screen. First lets start with a quick test.

- open a white document in Photoshop and enlarge it so it covers most of your screen
- pull a blank piece of paper from your printer and hold it up beside the screen.
- see the problem?

Chances are very good that the white color of the paper does not match the white color of the screen. We call this a white point mismatch. If you do not have a match here, why would you think that putting graphics on the screen and paper would help?

Let's talk about white.

Computers produce their version of white on the monitor by setting the RGB values to 255,255,255. The flavor of white can vary from a warm yellow-red color to a cool blue color. Typically we measure these colors by referring to them in kelvin degrees. 5000K is a fairly warm-looking yellowish light that is a compromise between reddish typical home-lighting and daylight. 6500K is cooler in color and looks more neutral without seeming too blue. 9300K, the color temperature at which most monitors ship from the factory is quite blueish.

Paper, on the other hand, is very dependant on the color of light illuminating it. Papers have their own color as well but nothing affects them more that the ambient light you have in your work area. In many cases your ambient light consists of a mixture of overhead fluorescent lights, daylight and perhaps desktop task lamps.

The human eye tends to see white as the basis for other colors. That is, the eye "white balances" to the paper or monitor white and all other colors fall out relative to that white. This works quickly and typically quite well. We can see graphics under many different shades of white and they pretty much look the same. Problems arise however when two different whites are placed near each other. The eye cannot adjust to both whites and so the difference between them - and the graphics displayed on them - becomes quite noticeable.

Now, back to your screen-to-print test. Chances are good that the paper looked yellowish and the screen looked blueish.

This is very important so I want to emphasize it.

** If you do not setup your system so the white of the paper and the white of the monitor are as close as possible, you will not get a good screen-to-print match. **

OK, sounds like a nasty problem. Can I get it to work at all?

Yes. There will always be problem colors (more below) but if you are careful, you can get a good screen-to-print match.

I should note that "match" here does not mean exact match. How close? Well, people often use terms like 90% or 95% but I have yet to see acceptable methods that numerically compare prints to screens to give these types of numbers. I am comfortable in stating that I have seen good and sometimes very good matches. The type of match that causes our customers to smile and nod their heads. To me, that's a good match.

If it's possible, then how do I go about doing it?

You need to concentrate on four areas:

- lighting
- monitor calibration and profiling
- print profile
- proper system setup and profile use

Lets start with lighting. The international standard for lighting in graphic arts is 5000K. Most lighting products you can buy are balanced to 5000K. Lighting can come in a variety of forms. Fluorescent overhead lighting, either installed in the ceiling or in hanging luminaires (light boxes), viewing booths, or task lamps. For screen matching we typically suggest small light booths with dimming capability. Setup the booth beside the screen with about a 90 degree angle between them. Dim the booth so the intensity of a white page in the booth matches the intensity of the white screen - this is surprisingly important and is the reason why we always suggest spending a little more on the dimmable booths.

GTI Lighting Products:

Next, monitor calibration and profiling. Make sure you start with a good monitor. Good typically means you paid more than $500 for it and it is less than 2 years old. Spending money on a monitor will not hurt you here. First adjust the monitor using its built-in controls to get as close as possible to your target white point (we suggest 6500K - more about that below). The better monitors and software will allow you to fine-tune this color using the monitor's gun controls. Then calibrate and profile the monitor using a good quality monitor calibrator like the Color Vision Monitor Spyder, the X-Rite Monitor Optimizer or GretagMacbeth's new Eye-One. Make sure the profile is selected properly in the Monitors and ColorSync control panels (Mac) or associated with the monitor in the Display control panel (Windows). Photoshop looks here to find which profile to use.

ColorVision Spyder:

X-Rite Monitor Optimizer:

GretagMacbeth Eye-One Monitor:

The print profile is often a forgotten part of this. It is not fair to expect that an RGB file displayed on screen will match a print. The RGB file could contain many colors that cannot be printed. To get the monitor to match the print you need the monitor to be simulating the print. The only way to do that effectively is to have a good print profile for the printer (or printing process) in question. We build many of these profiles for customers in over 25 countries (so far). If you are wanting to simulate a proof then try this:

- download our profiling kit: <>
- gang up the CMYK target in the kit with several of your favorite CMYK test
images on one 11"x17" sheet. (28cm x 43cm - A3 size).
- Make a proof using that sheet (or send out to have one made).
- Clip the CMYK images off the sheet and save them.
- Send us the target to have a custom profile built. When building proofing
profiles it pays to take advantage of our $10,000 equipment.
- We will build a high quality CMYK profile and email it to you.

Setting up your system

This final piece of the puzzle is also often done incorrectly. I am going to give you directions for Photoshop 6.0 (what? you haven't upgraded yet?)

- Install your proofing profile onto your system.
- select Edit:Color Settings
- choose your CMYK profile under Working Spaces:CMYK
- open the CMYK test images you sent off for proofing
- place the printed proof images in your light booth
- dim or brighten the booth until you feel the lightness matches.

You should now have a fairly close match. If you find the blacks or paper white are still off try this:

- select View:Proof Setup->Custom
- select your proofing profile for Profile:
- check "Preserve Color Number" <-- very important for CMYK files
- ignore the "Intent" setting
- check the "preview" box
- while you can see your images, try selecting Paper White and/or Ink Black.
- you can name this proofing method by clicking "save" then it will appear in the proofing menu for use later.

Paper White will attempt to simulate the white (or non-white) of the proofing stock. Sometimes this looks great, other times not.

Ink Black will simulate the grayness of the black ink as recorded in the profile. For printing processes like newsprint where 100% is a dark gray, this will lighten up the blacks on screen.

If they still don't look close, go back and try the blank-paper-beside-the-screen test. You may want to calibrate your monitor at a different white point to better match the white of your viewing booth/paper.

Wiggle Room - or what to do when it doesn't match as well as you want.

Matching a screen to print is a pretty tough thing to do. Don't get too discouraged if it doesn't work perfectly the first time. What we are finding is that setting things up the "theoretically" correct way may not be the best way.

- white on monitor - In theory you should calibrate your monitor's white to 5000K to match a viewing booth with 5000K bulbs. In reality 5000K on screen often looks too warm / reddish. We suggest calibrating your screen to 6500K. It will give you a more pleasing white color on screen and will probably match your booth better. If your monitor calibration system allows the selection of many different white points, experiment to see which one works best. Before you get worried that this may be an unorthodox method, remember that your eye is the final judge. If the viewing booth has good quality 5000K bulbs installed and an instrument-calibrated monitor looks wrong then change the monitor's white (in the profiling software). Just because the instrument says it's OK doesn't mean you should believe it!

- lighting - Viewing booths with fluorescent lights are not the only way to go. Ottlites are a popular task lamp which has 5000Kish lights. I don't think they have been certified for graphics arts use though so don't take them as gospel. Also Tailored Lighting has created a remarkable set of halogen lamps that can be installed in track lighting. They are the closest lighting to sunlight and don't suffer from spectral "spikes" like fluorescents do.

Tailored Lighting / Solux: <>

Understand the limitations

Remember that a monitor cannot display all the colors a typical press or printer can print. Gamut differences can vary a fair amount and it can get to be a complicated topic. If you want to learn more about gamut comparing and device limitations I suggest you try our ColorThink software. One of ColorThink's main features is its ability to overlay multiple profile gamuts in 2D and 3D graphs. There is simply no better way to see if the monitor will display all your printing colors or if your inkjet printer can actually simulate the proof or press.

As always, if you have feedback or questions on the above information or anything else related to color management, feel free to contact me at upton (at)


NEXT MONTH: Gamut and Gamut Comparisons


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ColorNews is edited by Carolyn Hobart (hobart(at)

Entire Contents of CHROMiX ColorNews (c)2001 CHROMiX
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CHROMiX ColorNews is intended as an informative update to CHROMiX customers
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