How do I check the colour output of my photos? (Soft Proofing) *PRO

Printers and monitors produce colours in different ways. When you view an image on a monitor, pixels are displayed using red, green, and blue light. When you print an image on a printer, pixels are reproduced using coloured inks. Because a monitor operates in a different colour space than a printer, the colours you see on-screen can vary drastically from those in the printed image. A colour managed system is recommended to gain a better estimate of the printed colour.


A. The colours visible to the human eye
B. Difference in colour gamut between RGB (screen) and CMYK (print)
C. Different colour spaces of devices.

Start with your Monitor
Usually the best place to start in getting a color-managed workflow is with the monitor. Out of the box, most monitors come with their RGB color guns blasting out color at full force. (This makes for a nice bright screen when you're looking at it in the showroom.) But what this results in is a colour temperature of something around 9300 degrees Kelvin. This means that your screen will be rather blue. We don't always notice the blue cast because our eyes have a way of automatically adjusting to whatever color shift they are exposed. However to get a better expectation of the printed colour you want the monitor to be more dependably white. What the sun gives us in normal daylight is around 5000 Kelvin, which is what is normally assumed in a printer profile and 6500 Kelvin is a happy medium that is recommended for computer monitors to simulate a normal white.

Most monitors these days come with presets that will change your color to one of these white point temperature settings or to sRGB which is a common working space. If you have this option, chose 6500 K when adjusting images for print. Laptop screens are not recommended for accurate colour management due to the limitations of the output and glossy screen can produce glare and interfere with the colour perception

Monitor Calibration
To get a more accurate expection of the printed colour it is advisable to calibrate your monitor.

The best results are produced using hardware tools such as ColorVision Spyder, MonacoOPTIX, or Gretag Macbeth Eye-One. 

How to use our Colour Profile to "Soft-Proof" your images
Open the image in Photoshop
Choose "View: Proof Setup->Custom..."
Profile: Select the colour profile called 'HP Indigo Press' 
(This ICC profile is attached to this forum topic as a download. To install the colour profile dowload it then right click on the file and select 'Install Profile')

Set the options to match the settings below and click OK.


The monitor will now give a simulated preview of what the image will look like when it is printed. It's accuracy will depend on the accuracy of your colour calibration. As soft proofing is only a simulation of the colour output it should be used as a guide to give you a better expectation of the printed image.

How do we ensure our printed colours are correct?
Our photobooks are printed using ISO standard colour profiles with a dedicated colour management system. All our printing presses are tested and calibrated using devices called densitometers and spectrophotometers to check our colour output is accurate to the ISO standards. We employ the services of dedicated colour management experts to ensure we produce consistent and correct colours.

Utilizing HP Indigo and HP DreamColour technologies, Clickonprint is Australia most awarded photobook supplier winning both National and State print quality award in 2008 and 2009.

See also:  Why do my images print differently then they appear on screen?

Further reading on this topic
Wikipedia - Colour Space: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_space
Wikipedia - Colour Gamut: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamut
CieLab - Colour Basics: http://www.cielab.com.au/basicscolour.php
Adobe - Colour Management Terminology: http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/320/320624.html
International Colour Consortium: http://www.color.org
ColourGuru - How to Calibrate: http://www.colourguru.com/monitors-approach.html
Lynda.com Video Tutorials - Colour Management Essentials: http://www.lynda.com/home/DisplayCourse.aspx?lpk2=317

Attachements to this article:
Clickonprint HP Indigo ICC Profile


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