Binary Graphics, Inc.

Color Management and You

by John Knapp, Binary Graphics, Inc. Seattle
© 1997 Binary Graphics, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Color management is a combination of hardware, software and workflow that will increase the consistency and predictability of your color. A technology that has been "almost here" for several years it is now ready for prime time. It is time for all of us to understand and embrace it.

Using color management, you can make all your monitors look the same. Using color management, those monitors can be made to look like the proof or the press. Using color management, you can make color printers look like the press. (Even color printers in your clients studio.)

First you'll need software like ColorSynergy and color measurement hardware like the Colortron. (Figure on spending $1,400 to $1,800 for these items.) Also make sure your Macs have the ColorSync 2.0 Extension correctly installed. The process begins with the creation of device profiles for all the scanners, monitors, printers and presses you have. (Profile the devices at the clients studio if you want to extend your color managed workflow that far.)

Once you have profiled your devices you are ready to begin color managing your RGB TIFF images. This is accomplished by applying source and destination profiles to your images. This application of profiles to images changes their color appearance to give the desired result on the desired device. For instance, using a source profile for your scanner and a destination profile for your monitor, the displayed image will match the original. If the destination profile is for an output device, the RGB image is converted to optimized CMYK. We can also use color management to facilitate proofing images on a display or a color printer.

ColorSynergy and Colortron allow you to create profiles. You also need a way to apply profiles to your images. This can be done in Photoshop using the free Apple ColorSync plug-ins for Photoshop. This can also be done (a little more easily) using PageMaker 6.0.1. XPress 3.3 doesn't support ColorSync color management without an XTension from Hellos. An application called Parachute from Color Solutions points the way to the future of color management. It allows one to apply profiles to the PostScript data stream just before printing.



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