The 4C's of Color Management in Print and Packaging

24/06/2024   Views

Color management for print and packaging works from beginning to end. This will help you better understand your role in the process and arm you with the knowledge to educate your clients so that future files received reflect the correct color intent.

A color-managed workflow will help all of your devices speak the same color language so they can share accurate color information.

Each device you use to capture and create digital images uses slightly different CMYK or RGB formulas to create the same color. Digital cameras, scanners, and displays use the additive color model, rely on different gamuts, and vary between manufacturers. Printers can be RGB or CMYK and use a variety of different inks and papers. When using an application like Adobe, Photoshop or InDesign to prep images and files, need to set them up to handle color management, too.

There are four key steps in setting up a color-managed workflow:
Step 1: Consistency
Ensuring each input, display, and output device is able to reproduce a consistent range of colors. If not, they cannot be color managed.

Step 2: Calibration
Once you know your device is capable of reproducing consistent color, you need to bring it back into specification. Device color will drift over time, and calibration re-adjusts everything to achieve the best possible gamut.

Step 3: Characterization
Colorimeter or spectrophotometer, to determine the device’s color reproduction characteristics. Even identical devices built on the same day from the same manufacturer will have slight variations in color. Characterization will optimize the settings for the best image reproduction on that device and consistent color output.

Step 4: Conversion
Conversion is the process of moving color data from the color space of one device to the color space of another. This translation takes place in a CIE working space. Think of this profile connection space like an airline hub – a common place to connect workflows.

If an image is captured by an RGB camera, edited in Photoshop, added to a layout in InDesign, then printed on a CMYK printer, it must be converted multiple times. Embedded profiles help retain color appearance as the image moves between working spaces.

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