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QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 both have a Color Management System built-in that's remarkably robust. I use it all the time to check if the colors that I've got on my page are going to look dramatically different from what I expect, when I output it on a particular printing device or on a particular kind of paper. The first thing to do is adjust your expectations about how accurate the colors are going to be, because your display is shining light through colored pixels to your eyes. On the printed page, light is reflecting off of ink and back to your eyes.
They can never match perfectly, but you can get really close in QuarkXPress. The process involves several steps. One is calibrating or profiling your display that you are looking at. That way XPress knows how to provide the colors to the display and then to your eyes. The second is to have some kind of profile created for the output device that you'll be using. Now XPress ships with a number of them that are generic, but also quite accurate for most printing processes. If your specific printer has a special profile for it, you can also use that.
But the fun part is that QuarkXPress will let you see your layout, as it would appear using various printing processes. Under the View menu here, you'll see Proof Output. These options come with QuarkXPress. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Just look at how you create a profile for your display. On a Macintosh you go to System Preferences and then choose Displays, and in the Colors Tab, you can walk through the process of creating a fairly accurate profile for the display that you're looking at right now under the lighting conditions that you're viewing it right now. On Windows you can do a similar thing by using the Adobe Gamma utility.
That's what you might call it down and dirty approach to creating a profile for your display. A more accurate profile can be created by using a device such as X-Rite's i1 or a similar device from any company that makes color profiling equipment. Next in QuarkXPress, you need to tell it, hey, I'm using this profile. So we go to Preferences, either under the QuarkXPress menu on a Mac or under the Edit menu in Windows, and under Display, you can choose the Monitor Profile for your specific display. If you don't choose one, Quark will use whatever profile is currently chosen under your System Preferences.
But you can go a step further. If you created the images that you are going to be using, or you know the source of your images, you can customize the Source Setup to better manage your colors. Under the Edit menu you'll find, Color setups, choose Source, and there you can either duplicate an existing setup or create a new one. I'm going to duplicate the QuarkXPress default, and then here under RGB, I'm going to leave everything the same except for under Pictures, and under Pictures I'm going to choose Adobe RGB (1998), because that's what I usually use when I'm editing my photos.
In fact, I think you'll find that most photo editors use this setting as well. Similarly under CMYK, I'll go under the Pictures area, and choose U.S. Web Coated. That's often the default recommended by printers. Although if you know a reason to choose one of the other options, you can certainly do that. Give it a name that makes sense, Jay's photos and click OK. Now it's available anytime you need it. So that's how you edit Source setups. Let's say that you want to now edit your Output Setups.
You can either create your own in the same way we did just now, or if your print service provider gives you a custom profile for a press or their proofing system, you can either import it here or place their profile in the appropriate place on your hard drive. On a Mac, that's the Profiles folder inside the ColorSync folder, which is inside the main Library folder. On Windows the directory systems are little more complicated, but here is where you put it. You put it in the Color directories that's inside the drivers directory, that's inside the Spool directory, that's inside the System32 directory, inside the Windows directory.
But fear not, chances are your print provider will give you a cheat sheet that gives you these locations. So let's open a project that has some colors in it that we might want to look at under varying circumstances. The Petstumes Project is a good one. And on this Table layout, some of these images have some colors that might shift depending on what kind of printing process we are using. So under the View menu, I can choose Proof Output, and right now it's set for Composite RGB. If I set that to CMYK, watch how the colors change. Notice the reds here, and the browns here, even the pink shifted.
Let me move it over so you can see it more clearly. View > Proof Output. We'll change it back to RGB. Do you see the advantage here? You may be designing thinking that something is going to be very bright and colorful, well in fact when it's printed, those colors dull out. Not only is this helpful for you as a designer, but if you're showing your client this and they see these bright colors and the printed piece doesn't match, they are not going to be too happy. So you can go to the View menu, and change the Proof Output. If you find yourself doing this a lot, you can change QuarkXPress' preferences.
Just scroll down to Print Layout > Color Manager, and here you can change the proofing output profile from whatever it is now to the one that you are more likely to use. If you design in CMYK all the time, why not change the proofing to CMYK, and that way you are always looking at it, unless you manually decide to change it. And notice this hidden item down here that's really quite important. When you import a Vector EPS or PDF file, QuarkXPress usually just passes that information along to the printer when it prints. If you'd like QuarkXPress to manage the colors in those EPS and Vector PDF files, you can turn these on.
The first one affects EPS files that are imported after you make this change. The second one will affect EPS and PDF files that are already in your layout. Now once you've got your system set up in working the way you like it, you can share your settings with either the Append or Import and Export features in QuarkXPress. If I go back to Edit > Color Setups and choose Output, if I have an Output Setup that works well for me, I can export that to a standalone file, and give it to all the other people in my work group, then they can use the Import button to import it into their copy of QuarkXPress.
Now you can also use the Job Jackets featuring QuarkXPress to share color setups, but in many cases this import/ export approach is a whole lot easier. Managing your colors in QuarkXPress doesn't have to be difficult or complicated. You just have to understand a few little concepts such as your Display Profile, and your Output Setup. Once you've done that, you can use the View menu, and it's Proof Output option to see your colors very close to what they are going to appear when they are printed.
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