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What is colour management and why would i use it

Colour management is the means of ensuring colour consistency throughout a large format, digital colour printing solution – from scanner or digital camera to the computer monitor and printer. Each component in the solution works within its own colour space and gamut producing colour that is device dependant. That is, if you scan a photograph of a magenta hat, the scanner would represent the magenta with a certain set of data. Then when it was displayed on a monitor, the magenta would be represented by another set of data. Subsequently both magenta values would appear to be of different hues. Finally, when you printed the image on a colour printer, a third set of data would be used to represent the magenta and a third hue would appear.

Colour management translates these device dependant colours in to a common visual language that can be used at all stage of print production with the assurance of predictable colour reproduction. It corrects for differences in device-specific colour so that the image on your monitor can be trusted to match its source.

The characteristics of a good colour management system are that:

  • it uses a standard colour-definition mode
  • it uses profiles that represent the colour characteristics of different devices
  • it incorporates transformation algorithms that translate colours from device to device

Why Would I Need Colour Management

You probably don’t need to worry about colour management if:

  • you are always happy with your output
  • you never need to prepare digital files for printed reproductions
  • you don’t want to produce colour prints for sale using your system
  • you are happy to only use the inks and media made and recommended by your printer manufacturer
  • you don’t need to use more advanced imaging applications such as PhotoShop

You will need to consider using colour management if you need to make digital images (from digital cameras or scanners) for reproduction, if you need to make high quality prints from digital images or simply want to get the most out of your equipment.

Most RIP software includes a built-in colour management system, normally consisting of two primary components:

  • Calibration is used to ensure that a specific output device behaves in a consistent way. Through colour calibration, RIPs help guarantee that there is consistency across devices. To produce quality colour images, the entire LF-DCP system must be calibrated so that all components – scanners, cameras, monitors, RIPS – printers – work together as a precisely tuned entity.
  • Colour management, on the other hand, controls how the RIP handles the translation of colour between the computer and the output device. In terms of colour management, the RIP normally applies specific screening techniques and alters the brightness, contrast and colour gain on a file-by-file basis.

 



 

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