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Comparing monitor vs. press output

From: Print Production Fundamentals

Video: Comparing monitor vs. press output

If you've ever had printed out a page on your desktop inkjet printer and held it up to the monitor, chances are you've been a little disappointed at how far off the printed output is from your monitor. Well, it's a common heartbreak, and that's because your monitor and ink on paper are two very different realities. And if you compare your screen and your inkjet print to the final printed piece, you may very well be looking at three rather different versions of your job. It's really maddening. So what you do you hang your hat on? Well, the solution to this problem is to have a fully color managed workflow.

Comparing monitor vs. press output

If you've ever had printed out a page on your desktop inkjet printer and held it up to the monitor, chances are you've been a little disappointed at how far off the printed output is from your monitor. Well, it's a common heartbreak, and that's because your monitor and ink on paper are two very different realities. And if you compare your screen and your inkjet print to the final printed piece, you may very well be looking at three rather different versions of your job. It's really maddening. So what you do you hang your hat on? Well, the solution to this problem is to have a fully color managed workflow.

But that can be expensive, kind of confusing, and a big complicated to implement. If you want to fully pursue the color managed workflow, you have to invest in expensive equipment to profile your monitor and all your printers. But if you don't want to go that far, you can still improve your monitor substantially by using the colorimeter, such as I've right here. Now you can expect to pay from $200 and up for colorimeter. The way it works is the colorimeter and its software combine to send color signals to the monitor. The colorimeter reads the values and then compares them to an internal ideal value.

And then it sets up a Reference File that's called a Profile, that's used to control the output of your monitor. Now if you're part of a work group that produces a lot of work for print, it actually might be worth hiring a color management consultant to come in, profile all of your equipment for you. They'll use their own sophisticated equipment to set up your monitors and printers without you having to make the investment in that equipment. Now they'll probably recommend that calibrations and profiles be updated periodically, especially if you add new equipment.

Now in color-critical environments, for example in printing plants fresh profiles are often generated just after new ink is installed in a printer, if that printer is being used for generating proofs. You should also consider the lighting conditions in your work area. If you have ever gone to a printing company to view proofs, you've probably stood in a viewing booth that's specially constructed for optimal viewing conditions. It may even be a stand-alone room. It's usually painted a neutral gray, and special lights are installed. You may have heard them referred to as D50 or 5000 K lights, and that refers to their color temperature, the K if you care, stands for Kelvin, and that's the temperature measurement system.

So why is 5000 K chosen? Well, it's supposed to mimic the temperature of sunlight at high noon. The higher the color temperature, the bluer the light source, and as you go below 5000 K, lights get warmer. For example, the household incandescent bulbs around 2800K. Now those official viewing sources can be really expensive, but I am going to let you in on a little secret. You can come very close by using fluorescent bulbs from the hardware or home improvement store. Just make sure it says 5000 K or D50 on the bulb.

Now I realize that it's true that your final printed piece is going to be viewed under a wide variety of lighting conditions, from kitchen fluorescents to candlelight, to incandescent living room lamps. So why pick a particular color temperature for viewing? Well, it's for consistency. There has to be some constant to ensure color accuracy, especially when you're judging color corrections from one proof to the next or you are looking at a press proof. Now, I worked as a color specialist and retoucher for many years, and we even avoided wearing clothing that could reflect on the monitor or on a proof that you're viewing with the customer.

Now maybe that's why we all wear black and gray, it's not because we're stylish, we're just being color correct. If you want to delve deeper into color management, I'd recommend Chris Murphy's course for lynda.com that's called Color Management Essential Training, and Chris is also one of the authors of Real-World Color Management, which is sort of an instant classic on the subject. Don't be intimidated by the heft of the book. It's very readable, very understandable, and it's actually funny in spots--which is pretty amazing given that that's a technical and arcane topic.

Now while calibrating, profiling, and special lighting might seem like an awful lot of extra work, all those things together can go a long way toward giving you more realistic expectations of your final printed result.

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This video is part of

Image for Print Production Fundamentals
Print Production Fundamentals

68 video lessons · 23795 viewers

Claudia McCue
Author

 
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  1. 2m 7s
    1. Welcome
      1m 31s
    2. Using the exercise files
      36s
  2. 7m 5s
    1. What is print production?
      1m 51s
    2. Understanding roles and responsibilities
      5m 14s
  3. 13m 49s
    1. Communicating with your printer
      3m 49s
    2. What does the printer do with my files?
      2m 39s
    3. Understanding the importance of contract proofs
      1m 57s
    4. Handling corrections and alterations
      2m 8s
    5. Attending press checks
      3m 16s
  4. 13m 27s
    1. Choosing the correct type of printing for your project
      3m 15s
    2. The art of letterpress
      1m 33s
    3. Understanding the advantages of sheet-fed printing
      2m 22s
    4. Using a web press for long runs
      1m 39s
    5. Understanding thermography
      1m 38s
    6. Considerations for digital printing
      3m 0s
  5. 15m 11s
    1. What's a process color?
      2m 55s
    2. What's a spot color?
      2m 52s
    3. Exploring how ink behaves on paper
      5m 14s
    4. Comparing monitor vs. press output
      4m 10s
  6. 15m 15s
    1. Building to the correct size
      4m 37s
    2. Folding and trimming
      3m 18s
    3. Setting up for die cutting
      3m 19s
    4. Embossing
      4m 1s
  7. 3m 17s
    1. Choosing an application
      3m 17s
  8. 9m 54s
    1. Understanding font formats
      1m 45s
    2. Using OpenType fonts
      5m 20s
    3. Fonts to avoid
      2m 49s
  9. 13m 52s
    1. Comparing raster vs. vector images
      3m 23s
    2. Understanding color space
      4m 26s
    3. Examining image formats
      6m 3s
  10. 13m 13s
    1. Looking at image resolution
      7m 16s
    2. Masking basics
      5m 57s
  11. 39m 53s
    1. Understanding Illustrator
      2m 34s
    2. Illustrator layout tips
      2m 48s
    3. Building a simple three-panel brochure
      6m 29s
    4. Using swatches
      5m 22s
    5. Working with effects
      5m 16s
    6. Cautions about some effects
      1m 23s
    7. Importing images
      2m 41s
    8. Exploring fonts
      2m 42s
    9. Saving for users with older versions
      3m 2s
    10. Saving as PDF
      4m 36s
    11. Gathering up the pieces
      3m 0s
  12. 57m 8s
    1. InDesign layout basics
      5m 21s
    2. Building a simple three-panel brochure: method one
      7m 19s
    3. Building a simple three-panel brochure: method two
      3m 21s
    4. Working with color and gradient swatches
      7m 12s
    5. Making gradients and creating a rich black swatch
      4m 45s
    6. Exploring fonts in InDesign
      2m 54s
    7. Importing graphics
      7m 49s
    8. Copying and pasting graphics
      3m 38s
    9. Saving for users with older versions
      2m 21s
    10. Packaging up a print job
      6m 57s
    11. Generating PDFs
      5m 31s
  13. 22m 43s
    1. Using Overprint Preview in InDesign
      3m 3s
    2. Managing swatches in InDesign
      5m 29s
    3. Preflighting in InDesign
      7m 58s
    4. Using the Links panel in Illustrator
      3m 16s
    5. Using blending modes in Illustrator and InDesign
      2m 57s
  14. 35m 35s
    1. Basic forensics in Acrobat
      11m 3s
    2. Using Output Preview
      5m 30s
    3. Dealing with display artifacts
      2m 52s
    4. Using TouchUp tools
      8m 17s
    5. Converting colors
      4m 11s
    6. Using preflight profiles
      3m 42s
  15. 3m 27s
    1. Submitting the job
      2m 29s
    2. Being a good print customer
      58s
  16. 1m 2s
    1. Next steps
      1m 2s

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