Colour management is the process that ensures the colours of your images remain accurate from the camera or scanner, to the screen and on to paper. With the release of the latest version of our software and website, we have gone to great lengths to ensure the colours in our books are as accurate as possible, however we are only half of the equation - a few basic steps by you when preparing your images will allow you to take advantage of the new improved service.
Colour management is a vast topic so this page only contains an overview of the subject, but should indicate to you whether you are doing enough to achieve predictable and accurate prints, or if you need to adjust your colour workflow. In short, calibration is the process of adjusting your equipment to its intended best condition, while profiling is the measuring of your hardware's colour capabilities so that others can reproduce the same colours.
3 Golden Rules
- Calibrate your monitor regularly - if you don't, you could actually be doing more harm than good to the colours in your photos and you'll never be able to match what is on screen to what is on paper
- Always be aware of which colour profile you work in & when saving your files always select the "embed profile" option so the software knows too
- Preview your files via the printer profile so you are familiar with the effect of the printer on your images
Our Colour Workflow
Momento Pro's software takes advantage of an ICC based colour managed workflow featuring the following:
- Input profile recognition: if your files have profiles embedded, the Momento software will recognise your working colour space & convert to its native work space of Adobe RGB (1998). If no profiles are detected, sRGB is assumed to be the files' colour space.
- Monitor profile recognition: if a monitor profile is available and the Monitor Profile setting is enabled in Program Settings (Pro version only), the software will display your images accurately on screen
- Soft proofing: our printers have been profiled for each stock that we print on. By viewing your images via these ICC profiles you can see the effect of the print process on your colours using a program such as Adobe Photoshop.
- Printer calibration: maintenance and calibration are conducted on the printer many times each day to ensure the best colours are maintained
To benefit from Momento Pro's colour managed workflow, we suggest that you calibrate your monitor weekly in order to minimize the inevitable colour drift that is normal in most work environments. Monitor calibration is something you can do yourself or by hiring a professional to calibrate your monitor onsite. Our research suggests that onsite calibration would start at around $400 for an initial calibration and a DIY calibration solution would cost around $400 but can be used to re-calibrate regularly. See our Service Directory for professional DIY or onsite assistance.
Note: The Master Book File that you send for printing provides us with basic information about your colour workflow which helps us print your pages as accurately as possible. It lets us know if your images had profiles embedded and if you are working with a profiled monitor. In the event of feedback about colour reproduction accuracy, we use this information as part of the assessment of the feedback.
A source colour profile defines the total range of colours that can be produced by a capture device such as a camera or scanner. Nearly all digital photography or scanning is done in of the following colour spaces:
- sRGB: the most common colour space for consumer equipment as it doesn't have the greatest range of colours in its gamut but is therefore a good lowest-common-denominator for most devices.
- Adobe RGB (1998): the preferred working colour space for most professionals as it has a much wider range of colours in its gamut.
Some devices come with their own custom profiles and you can create your own profiles to more accurately describe your devices. Whether you are using one of the above standard profiles or a custom profile, always ensure your images are saved with that profile embedded so that the Momento Pro software can interpret your images correctly.
Notes: Always be aware of the colour space of an image - if the source colour profile is known, then you can freely convert to another space. Never assign a colour profile to an image unless you are sure that it is the profile that matches the file contents.
Below are the Colour Settings that we recommend using for Photoshop. To access these settings, go to Colour Settings in the Edit menu (this may be in different locations for different versions of Photoshop).
- The main section to focus on is the top one, "Working Spaces". If for what ever reason you don't wish to work in Adobe RGB, then the RGB field should reflect your preferred profile, however we advise Adobe RGB as not only does it have a very wide range of colours, it is also the native colour space for the Momento Pro software.
- The settings in the Colour Management Policies section are set to be the most rigorous and will always warn you if your files are not in the preferred space. If you are confident about your files, you could change this section to reflect your preferences.
- You can download these Photoshop colour settings here (coming soon). Click the Load button in Photoshop's colour settings window to import this file. If you have installed the Momento Pro ICC Profiles (coming soon). You can also select your preferred page stock as the CMYK profile.
To see the effect of printing on your images, you can preview, or soft-proof, your images via the printer profile. Assuming you are working with a calibrated monitor, this will help you assess whether the edits on images are within the capabilities of the printer or whether you can adjust the colours to suit the printer. We have provided profiles for all our page and cover stocks.
How to install and use the Momento soft-proof profiles:
- Download the ICC profiles
- Extract the contents of the ZIP file
Install the ICC files:
- Windows 2000, XP & Vista: Right-click on the ICC file and select Install
- Mac: copy the files to the folder: \Users\Library\ColorSync\Profiles
- The profiles will appear in your image editing software with the name starting with "Momento"
How to soft proof in Photoshop:
- Open the image to be checked
- In the View menu select Proof Setup > Custom..., and set the fields as shown below, and choose the profile for appropriate Momento stock
- Use CTRL+Y switch the profile on and off
- Use CTRL+Shift+Y enable a the gamut warning - this highlights all the pixels in your image whose colours are outside the colour range of the printer
- If you are unfamiliar with CMYK printing please be aware that your monitor is capable of producing much brighter and more saturated colours than printed paper, however the perceived printed image will still look correct if good colour management is adhered to.
- It is not advised to work with this output profile enabled while you edit the colours of your photos. Instead, use the profile after editing, to ensure that the colours are not effected too greatly by the printer.
- Never actually convert to the printer profile as this is handled by the printer
Learn About Colour Management
There is a great UK website called the Technical Advisory Service for Images that provides plenty of basic and advanced information, including:
- Colour Management for Beginners
- Colour Management in Practice
- Advanced Colour Theory
- There's also information on the International Colour Consortium website, home of the international body that defines industry colour standards
- Or contact professional industry bodies like AIPP, ACMP, PIA for upcoming seminars and training