Colour profiling. What is it, do I need it and how does it work?

by Artbloc on 25/02/2010

What is colour profiling: Basically colour profiling makes sure your print, whether it’s on cotton canvas,  polyester canvas or photo paper roll, always comes out looking the same as the image on your screen. When you scan a photograph for instance, you’ll expect the image on the screen to have the same colours as the photo you have scanned. When you print the image you’ll expect the print to look like the screen and like the original photo.

Do I need it?: There is no short answer. Some people will say yes, you must always profile your whole system to guarantee colour integrity throughout your workflow. Other people make a good living from selling printed canvas products and have never heard of colour profiling.  Really it comes down to your customers. If you’re selling cheap art work on ebay, you’ll get away without it most of the time(mainly because there is no point of reference), but if you are selling a higher price work then it’s probably something you should look into sooner rather than later.

Many inkjet canvas rolls and inkjet photo paper types are made to similar specifications and will print very well without the need to change anything on your computer every time you change media. Sometimes you will find a canvas that always prints the browns with a green tint or black and white photos come out slightly pink. In that case you must use a profile that was created for that specific media. Different printer/media combinations would probably need a custom profile. Sometimes two identical printers may print differently on the same media.

How Does It work?: If you are not getting the colours you think you should, then you need to determine how your printer/media combination is altering them. To do this you will have to print out a special image that contains hundreds of coloured squares (If we are producing the colour profile for you then we’d supply this image). The colour of these squares is known, so by using a special scanner and seeing what colour they actually printed, it can be determined how the printer/media is altering the colours and what measures are needed to correct this. The result of this is an ICC file. Whenever you print with that printer/media you use your custom ICC file and that tells your PC how to “twist” the colours so that they end up correct on your canvas roll or photo paper roll.

If you think you are having problems with colour then Artbloc can produce a custom colour profile for you if you are using one of our inkjet canvas rolls or premium photo canvas roll.

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