Now that we have covered the basics of color management and an
ICC color managed workflow, lets take a look at the tools used to
help us manage color.
The two predominant
hardware tools currently used to measure color and profile monitors,
scanners, printers and even LCD projectors are Colorimeters
is a device for measuring the quality of a color by comparison with
standard colors or combinations of colors.
is an instrument for measuring or comparing the intensities of the
colors of the spectrum. It can be used to determine the colors of
light a pigment absorbs and transmits.
Colorimeters are used for calibrating monitors and can only record
emissive light. They are much less expensive than spectrophotometers
and also less accurate. Spectrophotometers on the other hand are
generally much more expensive and more accurate than colorimeters.
Spectrophotometers are most often used to record reflective readings
from printed test targets. These targets are made up of colored
patches of known values that are printed with your printer and then
measured. These measurements are used to create custom profiles
for a particular paper, printer and ink set. This profile characterizes
the color capabilities of your printer.
are all very similar in design and the way they function. Spectrophotometers
on the other hand come in a variety of styles and prices. Some read
one patch at a time, others can read strips automatically or manually
and one will even read the entire target automatically. A recent
product offering from GretagMacbeth, the "Eye-One"
will read both emissive and reflective data. You can use this all
in one device to calibrate your monitor and read reflective print
targets for creating custom printer profiles.
All of these
great hardware devices are completely useless without software to
drive, manage and interpret the data they gather. There are again
a variety of color profiling and color management software products
available in today's marketplace. Some software applications, for
example Monaco's "EZ
Color" and Praixisofts "WYSIWIG"
are very simple and inexpensive. In fact these two applications
do not even require a colorimeter or spectrophotometer to calibrate
and profile devices. They make use of a flatbed scanner and a pre-printed
target to calibrate and profile your monitor, scanner and printer.
A scanner however will not provide the color accuracy a colorimeter
or spectrophotometer will give you and the results are most often
unacceptable to the discerning photographer.
is to invest in a good quality colorimeter and or spectrophotometer,
these devices usually ship with their own calibration and profiling
software. If you find that the basic software package your device
comes with is still lacking and you can afford the next level of
software then by all means take the plunge. All of these hardware
devices and software packages continue to improve, they have become
more powerful, accurate and easy to use and although the price may
be steep for some, prices are finally coming down as well. In fact
many of these packages are now well within the budget of working
and even advanced amateur photographers.
and Hardware Links:
noted, there are a variety of hardware and
software devices available to fit various needs and budgets. The
manufacturers of these devices and software for the most part do
an excellent job of describing their products and even providing
helpful instructions and guides. In fact some of these sites now
include not only .PDF instruction manuals, but also interactive
documents and even short movies that cover the use of their devices
as well as general color management information.
you have completed Section I of this tutorial,
hopefully you have gained a better understanding of color management
and the digital color workflow. Section II
of this tutorial will walk you through step by step procedures for
calibrating, characterizing and simply getting and maintaining good
color with your digital devices.
Concepts and terminology....
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A device used for measuring the quality of color, compares
color to known values. Generally used for monitor calibration
Measures spectral response of reflective material. Accurate
tool used to read test target color patches for printer
number of manufacturers have different levels (complexity
and price) of calibration and profiling software packages
to calibrate and profile digital devices.