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Monitor color calibration hardware

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#1
MapMedia

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I am preparing a full color folding road atlas for a client and am wondering about pantone color calibration.
My monitor is 5 mos old and I typically use pantone color codes for map features & annotation.
Is a monitor calibrator neccessary?

#2
Polaris

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For spot colors, I rely on the printed chips as much as possible.

I don't think a monitor calibrator will do you much good unless it is part of a complete color management strategy - which often isn't practical.

As a practical matter, base your design on the chips and get good printed proofs before finalizing color.

If you want to, adjust the color settings on your monitor or in your application to match what you are seeing on the chips/proofs (more or less) - but keep in mind that what you see on screen may NOT be what it looks like off the proofer. I try not to make color judgements on screen, but it is frequently unavoidable. For tints and duotones, etc., you pretty much have to guess until you see the proof.

One thing I've done is make up a color swatch sheet (incl tints,duotones, etc.), and get a proof of this to look at before finalizing colors.

Eric

#3
Rick Dey

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Are you planning on printing in Pantone Colors? If not then you should probably consider using process colors in your design since you'll only be printing in process approximations of the Pantone colors. If You are printing in Pantone then a Pantone book is a requirement since what you'll be seeing onscreen is only an RGB approximation.
Rick Dey

#4
danielle

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I know Pantone is a widely used color standard. However, friends in the printing industry have pointed out that the Pantone swatch books are not color-proofed. So from year to year, the colors in the books may not match. Now if the standards aren't standardized, how can any designers hope to get good matches!

-Danielle

#5
natcase

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I know Pantone is a widely used color standard. However, friends in the printing industry have pointed out that the Pantone swatch books are not color-proofed. So from year to year, the colors in the books may not match. Now if the standards aren't standardized, how can any designers hope to get good matches!

-Danielle


A bunch of almost-random thoughts:

Color matching is a matter of degree. Color management pros talk about degrees of differentiation (there's a technical term I've forgotten now), where one is tha absolute minimum difference detectable by the human eye. Most of us can't see a differentiation of 1-2, and 3 is the closest match used in industry (like matching paint jobs for cars). 5-6 is high-end for offset print color matching, and 8-10 is more what most of us are used to. I probably got the numbers wrong, but you get the drift. PMS books don't match 1:1, but I'll bet the shifts are more like 2-3 points off...

Pantone is useful. There is some variance from swatch to swatch, but for most of our purposes, it's c;pse enough. It's especially important if you need to match corporate colors. Even if you're printing CMYK, it can give the press-folks a target to shoot for.

Paper proofs have gotten worse, at least for us. We get fewer real colorproofs, the equivlent of a MatchPrint, than we used to, so we're never sure of color. PDF/JPEG proofs are actually in many ways the best we can get now.

We use color calibration that comes with Mac OS X. THat seems to get it close enough for our purposes. Youc an get monitor calibration equipment, but unless you are doing color artwork for corporate colalteral or for high-end advertising, you probably don't need it. Remember, the most important thing for a stand-alone map is not whether it matches the other pages in the magazine, or even the other maps in the series, but how well it hangs together in and of itself, and mostly you can fix balance on-press to get what you want. At least, I've found that to be true.

I've found the best controls on color are (1) know your printer, (2) know your printer, and (3) show up for a press check. Having a printer with a good eye and good equipment is essential: dot gain or slurring can radically change coloring especially when it comes to lighter background tints. If possible, espeically if it's your first time with a printer, go to a press check. Pay for the airfare to go, if it's a big print run. And if it isn't right, make 'em fix it. If they're good, your sales rep will get a feel for what you want, and you'll be able to not have to go back for every print run (although if they're in the neighborhood, it's not a bad idea; it can save a lot of heartache later).

One final tip on press-checks: take the sheet out somewhere where you can look at it under natural light. Amazing what a difference that makes.

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com



#6
MapMedia

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Thanks.

A few projects I have, I am using predefined cmyk colors with hex code, so I understand this is as close as I can get to expecting screen to print equality.

Any good references for preparing maps/graphics for print?

#7
Greg

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My Pantone swatch books are replaced every 6 months because of exposure to light. If you are using an older Pantone book, it will be relatively useless.

I usually recommend creating a swatch with variants of a few percent for each color you plan on using. Proof that swatch, and have it at your desk.

Once you have chosen your colors from the proof, don't rely on your display!
Greg Moore

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#8
Unit Seven

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Thanks.

A few projects I have, I am using predefined cmyk colors with hex code, so I understand this is as close as I can get to expecting screen to print equality.

Any good references for preparing maps/graphics for print?


This will not really help in screen to print equality as what is showing on your screen could be totally off—it is an accurate way to build the map for print though as it will give set accurate 'numbers/values' for the cmyk that comes out on press.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by cmyk colours with hex code as the hex code is a way of writing the rgb values which means if you are using these to enter the colours you don't really have any control over your cmyk makeup.
S a m B r o w n

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