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Color calibration

Every time i edit pictures on mac they look perfect but when i view them on PC they look over saturated and different.I did some research but none of the sites i checked seem to be well elaborated on the topic.Does anyone have an idea on this?

by collins Gituma at 2012-04-27 15:15:01 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Hi Collins;

Macs have better color than PCs generally, which is why they have long been the industry standard. There are a number of things to consider when approaching the issue of monitor printer color matching. As you have likely already found out, computers use a “profile” which allows the device (computer or printer) to decipher the color information found in the image file. You can usually select the color profile for your monitor in the preferences panel on a Mac. If you do this, you can immediately see the difference the profile makes. Macs used to have a program that was built in that allowed you to build a profile for your particular monitor, and monitors ideally should be reprofiled periodically to adjust for changes which occur as the monitor ages. There are devices which allow you to build a very exact profile of your monitors and printers, like EyeOne, and ColorMunki, though there are also ways to calibrate your equipment by eye, which is less exact, but works, if you have good color vision. You should start by looking up “ICC profiles”, “Color Gamut”, and “image color space”, and learn to understand the use of these terms and concepts, and then you should be in a good position to read through the mass of stuff written about color online. As a first step, though, and as a way to start to learn about the process, I would make a color test pattern, anything with colors you can clearly distinguish, and shoot a photo of it with your camera set a known color balance (shoot in daylight, with the camera set to daylight balance) and then put the image up on monitors you use, and print it out on the printers you use, then try to adjust it with the computers onboard tools, see how it goes. If nothing else, it should show you how much color variation you are dealing with.

by John Louis Lassen Perry | 27 Apr 2012 17:04 | Liberty Corner, New Jersey, United States | | Report spam→
I ran into what I was told were colour calibration issues a while back when publishing a photo book via Blurb. I was working on a PC/laptop and had never heard about colour calibration. I published one photo book which came out fine, exactly the same colours as on the original prints. The original images were made with colour print film. Next book was with images made with transparency film and that screwed up quite badly on several images which were under exposed in the book, although they looked fine on screen, same as those that came out looking good.
Then a techie friend told me about colour calibration and how you can’t do it on a laptop and went on to totally confuse me with tech talk. As I would like to do more photo books in the future but am unlikely to be able, or even want to invest in a PC of any kind, or afford a MacBook Pro what to do? Still not sure either if it has anything to do with the type of film used. B/W film printed out perfectly too. Just the transparencies that screwed up. Mysterious.

by Nigel Amies | 28 Apr 2012 07:04 | Vientiane, Laos | | Report spam→
Thanks alot John for information and i have the weekend to work it.Nigel Mystery is really the right term

by collins Gituma | 28 Apr 2012 08:04 | Nairobi, Kenya | | Report spam→
There’s really masses of information available and if you haven’t found it you’re not making enough effort (sorry but it’s true).

You could start here: http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/viewing.html or here: http://spyder.datacolor.com/

You can’t do any serious work without a correctly calibrated monitor and even then your screen may not display all the colors of your image. Working on an uncalibrated machine is a total waste of time.
@collins – you don’t say if the Mac and PC you mention have been calibrated at all so it’s difficult to know where to begin… If you’re comparing images on two uncalibrated machines then it’s not surprising that there are differences. If you’re comparing images on two uncalibrated laptops they will be even more pronounced.

by DPC | 28 Apr 2012 08:04 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
All very true, DPC, and most people know very little about how their monitor produces color. Now, Collins, for the Mac, at least, here’s a few points; to do a basic calibration of your monitor, even on a laptop, start by opening “Preferences” in the dropdown menu below the apple, and click on “Displays”. You should then see a “Display Calibrator Assistant”. Read through the instructions, and set your Gamma, White point, and adjust your brightness and contrast, and at the end, you will have a profile of your monitor. You then name this profile and save it. Once you have done this, you will have a profile on file which you can compare with the default one. Doing this will not solve all of your problems, but this was the first thing I did to learn how the process works, and I found that seeing how to set the profile myself gave me insight into the rest of the process. And theoretically, once you have calibrated your monitor correctly, your images should look exactly the same on any other calibrated monitor using the same program, and if the color spaces of your monitor and printer are correctly set, you should always get exactly what you see on screen. Interestingly, you might find, as I have, that you may need to develop different profiles for different programs. I actually made a different profile to use when I play back a slideshow on Preview, since it seems to have a different color profile than Photoshop. If you tweak out an image in Photoshop, it seems too red in Preview, but if you compensate for this by developing a preview profile for your monitor, and switch to that when showing a slideshow on Preview, the images will look correct. This shows that it is not only the monitor, but also the programs themselves that approach color information differently. As to slides, transparency film has a larger color Gamut and Space than color negative film and both can reproduce a greater range of color than any color monitor. Even still, the color balance of different slide films varies considerably, and the color emphasis differs. Ektachrome is fairly blue, Kodachrome was more red, Fujichrome was better with greens, etc. For this reason scanning devices had different programs to condense the color data into a format that the computer could display and work with. That’s why, on a Nikon Coolscan slide scanner, for example, there were menu choices for given types of slide film, so that the resulting file would match the colorspace available to the computer as closely as possible, and make it visually similar to what you see when you looked at the slide itself. Using the wrong setting could give you a weird, discolored flat look, or colors that were just wrong, or looked like “cross processing”. In any case, I am no expert on this stuff, and still learning things all the time, so if I am totally off on this stuff please let me know. Anyhow good luck figuring it out Collins.

by John Louis Lassen Perry | 28 Apr 2012 16:04 | Liberty Corner, New Jersey, United States | | Report spam→
Collins, that is not your problem. It is the laziness of printers that want this to be your problem. How on earth can you calibrate for a printer or somebody elses screen you never heard of? These guys know very well they can get images right, they just dont want to spent time on it.

I see that my images always turn out a bit yellow-orange on mac screens. Okay, that means my 5D’s produce orange images? I don’t think so. If they did there would have been a global riot already.

If your images look okay at home they should look okay elsewhere, with a tweak here and there, we are not talking about photographing far a way galaxies.

by Tom Van Cakenberghe | 28 Apr 2012 17:04 | Kathmandu, Nepal | | Report spam→
Yeah, that can certainly be true enough, I’ve had complaints from clients (who work with printers all the time and should know better) that my images are off on color, only to find out that it was their people who did not have their gear calibrated correctly (there was a small magazine in New Jersey whose editor griped that “all these photographers are colorblind”, until somebody realized that 15 photographers can’t all be off in the same way, ha, ha). Still, I’m a gearhead, and like to have all of my stuff calibrated for my own purposes, and so prints I make for myself are what they should be. But that’s just me.

by John Louis Lassen Perry | 28 Apr 2012 18:04 | Liberty Corner, New Jersey, United States | | Report spam→
@ Tom – Before you can complain about printers you need to get your own system calibrated (this “you” is not specifically directed at you, by the way). If you don’t do that you introduce an avoidable variable into the system. You don’t calibrate for a screen you have never heard of. You calibrate so that you know how your images will display on other similarly calibrated screens. The commonly accepted norm is 6500°K, 2.2 gamma and a screen luminosity of between 100 and 120 cd/m2.
Even properly calibrated screens do not have the same gamuts: my Cinema Display is almost a perfect SRVB, my Macbook much smaller and my Acer Timeline even smaller than the Macbook.
As a very general rule, if you keep everything in SRVB color space you will eliminate an awful lot of problems even if it isn’t the widest gamut or the one best suited to conversion to CMYK for printing. An “all SRVB” workflow is undeniably “consumer” but that’s why it works well, being designed for people who can’t be bothered with dealing with all this.
Problems will always arise when you work with images that have a color gamut larger than can be displayed by the monitor.
Computer screens use transmitted light and prints reflected light so there will be discrepancies there, too.
Like I said, this is a big and fundamental topic and all the information is available on the web.

by DPC | 28 Apr 2012 22:04 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Curious how all of this applies to those of us working on laptops?? (a mac book pro, in my case…)

by Glenna Gordon | 29 Apr 2012 16:04 | monrovia, Liberia | | Report spam→
Your macbook pro laptop screen is harder to adjust correctly, so that prints from the images reproduce in the tones that you would expect. So I don’t use mine for critical color OR b&w work.

The original problem though is as others have said a problem with monitor calibration AND a need for a properly color managed workflow. There’s alot written on this and Blurb even has a whole section of their site dedicated to image color management.

IF you can’t easily understand the critical concepts necessary for this by reading up on it, it is best to get direct hands on advice from someone who does.

by henley | 29 Apr 2012 18:04 | | Report spam→
That is all fine info, but when I receive copies from the magazines with my images in them, they all look prety much the same as on my screen…sometimes better. And I never corrected anything.

My question is: Is this really a problem we should deal with?

If I see the AFP and the Reuters guys shoot an event and by the time I start up my pc the images are online already. Is that color correction really so important? Ill be damned if they are bothered with it.

by Tom Van Cakenberghe | 29 Apr 2012 19:04 (ed. Apr 29 2012) | Kathmandu, Nepal | | Report spam→
@ Tom – That always puzzles me too (about the agencies). I’m incapable of getting perfect JPEGs out of camera. Mind you, I’ve also seen a lot of crappy out of camera JPEGs being transmitted too. That said, I remember reading an article about Thomas Dworzak of Magnum who transmitted his raw fies from the field to a lab in Italy where they were corrected before being sent on to the client. I have also found more problems going from my files to a photographic print than to a printed publication.

by DPC | 29 Apr 2012 20:04 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Sorry DPC, you take an image (hopefully a good one) And then it is what it is.

If its too yellow or blue….who cares really?

by Tom Van Cakenberghe | 29 Apr 2012 21:04 | Kathmandu, Nepal | | Report spam→
Hello people. I don’t share the necessity to have a spider or other device machine to calibrate. In my experience what is really important is set a policy of color manage. Your photos need to have inserted your profile (the one you use in your computer and camera). The difference between Mac and Pcs was in the past, when mac used 1.8 gamma now both are 2.2. With a calibrated monitor you include can get incorrect prints using your own printer. I am having issues with the Lion and my epson 3880 and I am not the only one, before Lion and get very precisely what I shot. Now I need use some curves during the printer dialog box. Yes, there are a lot of writing on the web but are scarce the articles that are simple and direct to the point. Several of them appear essays of philosophy. About what mentioned John, when you scan film the things go worst cause the different films needs different correction and different scanners “see” different colors. The best way to approach this color calibration issue is more on the practical side and don’t be obsessive.

by Hernan Zenteno | 30 Apr 2012 00:04 | Buenos Aires, Argentina | | Report spam→
I found something that can be a good advice for others. I got problems since I upgraded to Lion from Snow Leopard (for me the best OSX, light and fast). Apparently Lion don’t have the same color profile and after the upgraded my screen profile was set to default. I never checked this until now, I supposed was something with my printer profiles.

For collins and others interested. I paste here some link that can be of some interest. ADVICE, I only read lightly this articles, the two first have more interest for me because have a link to download a sample image useful for colors and some points of interest. But as I think, use them with a pinch of salt. Saludos

by Hernan Zenteno | 03 May 2012 00:05 (ed. May 3 2012) | Buenos Aires, Argentina | | Report spam→
Thanks for the info everyone but what a headache! Just when I was begining to think how great all this technology can be you’re effectively telling me I more or less need a PhD in computer science before I start. I’ll check to see what’s on the Blurb site, but if they can’t or won’t be bothered, as of course it’s not cost effective, to check things like colour balance, etc before they print my photo book submissions then it’s all a waste of my time and money. No, I’m afraid I’m unlikely to spend the larger part of my remaining years on this planet trying to understand all this. Frankly, I can think of a lot better ways to waste my day, such as watching geckos crap on the wall, which tangentially reminds me of another of my favourite peeves – what I see as the main problem with so-called pro digital cameras too. Can’t anyone come up with something simple where the technology doesn’t get in the way of making pictures? Actually, I think the fundamental problem is, unlike Oskar Barnak’s invention of the Leica, the contemporary creators of digital cameras were seemingly first of all computer geeks, not photographers. But I’m ranting I know.

by Nigel Amies | 03 May 2012 10:05 | Vientiane, Laos | | Report spam→

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collins Gituma, Photographer & Designer collins Gituma
Photographer & Designer
Nairobi , Kenya
John Louis Lassen Perry, Photoanthropologist John Louis Lassen Perry
Califon, New Jersey , United States
Nigel Amies, Photographer/writer Nigel Amies
[undisclosed location].
DPC, Photographer DPC
Paris , France
Tom Van Cakenberghe, Tom Van Cakenberghe
Kathmandu , Nepal
Glenna Gordon, Photographer, Journalist Glenna Gordon
Photographer, Journalist
Monrovia , Liberia ( ROB )
henley, Photographer henley
[undisclosed location].
Hernan Zenteno, Photographer Hernan Zenteno
Buenos Aires , Argentina ( EZE )


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