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Color Management (yet again)

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  • Color Management (yet again)

    Photoshop Elements 2 - v2.0.2
    The Hidden Power of Elements 2 book and tools installed
    Free tools by Richard Lynch installed
    Dell 17” LCD Monitor
    Canon CP-200 4” x 6” Dye Sub Printer
    Canon S500/IXUS Camera
    ColorVision ColorPlus Monitor Calibration device

    I have calibrated my monitor with ColorPlus. I can see from the Color Management tab for the Display that the Current Monitor is “Dell E171FPb” and the Default monitor profile is “ColorPlus Profile”

    As I understand it, Canon do not provide a specific ICC profile for the CP-200 Dye Sub Printer. The ICC profile is embedded in the driver (true or not I don’t know).

    I have started to read Richard’s book, especially on “Understanding and Using Color Management” and “Making Prints at Home”. I have printed the CMYK.pdf many times with different brightness and Contrast settings. I feel at this stage my Magenta Colour is not correct and will try to correct.

    In Photoshop Elements I have ‘No Color Management’ set in the Color Settings

    I need to know the answer to some basic questions

    1) I read in a forum that in the Properties>Color Management tab for the CP200 that I should make the setting ‘Manual” and choose my monitor ‘ColorPlus Profile’. This has been done. However, should I have done this?

    2) When I come to print my image from Photoshop Elements via Print Preview>Show More Options>Color Management>Print Space Profile> I can see my “ColorPlus Profile” (used by the monitor). Should I select this profile or perhaps use ‘Same as Source’

    3) If the Canon CP-200 Dye Sub Printer lays down a Yellow, Magenta, Cyan layer, why does the printer only have controls for changing Red, Green and Blue?. This is not an important question but on the off chance that someone may know the answer

    As mentioned, the Magenta in the cmyk.pdf image is darker when printed and overall I think my prints are darker. I have come across an image from the Getty site (one of many I know) that I have only printed once using the above settings explained above and can see that my prints are darker than the screen. For example, the blues and reds are darker. I haven’t decided yet whether to adjust Saturation or Brightness.

    The site is

    (for those who have a collection of calibration images, the image features 3 ladies and other objects. Note the the ladies are nude but everthing is covered up). My thoughts are until I know whether my settings are correct then I shouldn't be trying to match my monitor to a printed image

    I have looked at many forums which mention Color Management and sites which go into great detail on Color Management. However, a) the information can be quite technical and secondly a lot of the web sites assume that one is using Photoshop 5, 6, etc and Photoshop Elements is never mentioned

    I would be very grateful for any help/advice this forum can give.

    If any one has a Canon CP-100/200/220 etc Dye Sub Printer then additionally I would hear any comments you may have that you think are relevant/helpful

  • #2
    First, I would RESET all color changes you have made in printer and monitor settings. As you have a calibration device, be sure you are using it correctly and

    With that done, Elements should be using your monitor profile to define your look on screen and the screen should be calibrated. This is very important to being able to trust what you see on screen.

    There is obviously some debate about the internet as to what is the proper thing to do here going forward. many suggest that you need profiles to get results...and it may not be true. As I suggest in the book, using No Color Management is a good place to start as it will keep you from embedding profiles without being sure what they will do. You will have an untagged RGB file if you use my suggestion.

    The next thing that you are doing is a little hazy to me. The CMYK file is a printer test, but you are not using it as I suggest in the book. The idea of that file is that it is an untagged CMYK file, and it can serve to test your printer to see if it is honoring your separations. What is confused here is that Elements cannot directly open CMYK -- it converts to RGB. So while you are opening my original CMYK file, it is RGB in Elements. Your printer, which has CMYK color, will have to convert from the RGB to CMYK. In other words, you are converting CMYK (original, untagged)>RGB (in Elements)>RGB (printer)>CMYK (printer). The extra RGB in there suggests that the profile you are using may affect how the RGB is perceived by the printer. While the output should be a pretty good match to your screen if all things are right, you are suggesting that you are not getting what you need.

    My suspicion is that the settings you are choosing at print time are getting in the way of the output. You will have to do some tests, but the best suggestion I have is still simplify (as it says in the book).

    Wherever you have set the monitor profile (referenced in Q1), remove that...for now. It seems that between this and the following Q2, that you may be doubling up your profiling. In Q2, choosing the monitor profile might work, but I would start the test without defining it. Your source should read as Untagged RGB.

    Now we get to the even more unclear part. If you are using a printer, you should use the printer's profile as the print space...not something else. You say the manufacturer does not have a profile for the printer, but I am wondering if that is because they prefer that you get a profile if you really need one. I am also wondering about what paper you use, as that can greatly affect the outcome (discussed in the book). A proper profile for print will look not only at the printer specification, but the printer paper combination. This will often require custom profiling (which is expensive and I do not necessarily advocate). However, I come back again to the question of what the manufacturer recommends.

    Your choice here will depend on how the printer handles files, and to test that you can use the CMYK.pdf I gave you and run the test according to the book. If your printer assumes you are always sending RGB files, it will take the CMYK file, and essentially convert to RGB then back to CMYK...and you will get a re-separated result (you'll be able to tell from the black bar in the image). If this is happening (e.g., when you print from Acrobat Reader with different printer drivers) and you can't get around it, AND the profile is essentially embedded in the driver, selecting Printer Color Management would be my choice: allow it to do its thing.

    Run that as a test. my guess is it won't be completely satisfactory. What may be more satisfactory is tagging the file with your monitor space (so the printer will know where the color originated) and doing the same thing with the printer. However, be careful how many times you assign the profile. with this scenario, the printing should go RGB (tagged source)>RGB (printer)>CMYK (printer). The printer will know what the RGB source is, and make the conversion accordingly. if this still doesn't provide satisfactory results, you may want to play with variations. for example, instead of tagging the file (leave it untagged), use the printer dialog to assign the profile.

    In all, this is a simple thing...reduced to a hodge-podge because of the rediculous number of variables allowed by your sources. Not many years ago, your image would not be tagged, and the printer would have to assume a generic RGB source, and you would generally get OK color. A step back from there where you could provide your own CMYK separation made profiling unnecessary (you would target the device).

    Don't choose options just because you can. When in doubt, simplify.


    • #3
      Mr Lynch, thank you for your reply.

      I have confused you by not being specific. I am sorry to have wasted your time.

      I AM printing the CMYK.pdf from Adobe Reader and NOT from Photoshop Elements. I mentioned that primarily to say that I have been working on my contrast/brightness settings on the printer (not the monitor contrast/brightness settings) to get a realistic print. At this stage my Magenta Color is not correct as compared to what I see on the screen.

      I then felt that I should use a calibration image to test the monitor versus printer for skin tones etc. It was at that stage that I realised I did not know enough about Photoshop Elements nor Color Management for the printer

      My 2 important questions are 1) and 2) and I would like to get these settings correct

      My comment about there being no printer profile for the CP-200 dye sub printer came from a quote in a forum. I cannot find the actual quote but I have come across this quote.

      " Unfortunately, we do not support Photoshop, ICC Profiles, or Color
      Management settings with the CP-200. You'll want to test different
      settings to see what looks the best to you. "

      The paper is Canon's own paper and I haven't heard anywhere that there is an alternative.


      • #4
        " Unfortunately, we do not support Photoshop, ICC Profiles, or Color Management settings with the CP-200. You'll want to test different
        settings to see what looks the best to you. "
        I find this very interesting. That either says the manufacturer could not be bothered, or that they don't believe color management works.

        Seeing this -- if it is accurate -- suggests to me that you should select as few choices as possible for altering color. I would be curious what standard they are interested in and what they hoped to accomplish by ignoring one of the most popular image editing programs on the planet.


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