Colour Management - calibration and profiling

We all know that colour management is the key in achieving amazing and true to colour images. However, there is often a bit of confusion around the terms calibration and profiling when people talk about colour management - even if they actually do know what they are doing.

In this short post we are going to explain the differences between each process.

Calibration is the act of setting your device to a state of optimum neutral output. This is mostly done on your display. It’s usually a wrong use of the term when people talk about calibrating their printer, as most often that happens in the factory. The act of calibration will bring the device back to a known standard (often a factory / manufacturers specification).

This being said, some printer manufacturers offer a way to calibrate the printer to a known factory state. Most people however will be more familiar with the process of profiling, which is basically a way of describing the print output for a given input.

Profiling is the process of measuring the actual colour output in comparison to what it should be displaying and altering it so that it is accurate. You can profile both your monitor and your printer/paper combination. By profiling you will create a profile adjustment file which will ensure total colour accuracy. This profile adjustment is more about converting colour data from one representation to another.

During a colour management process, you will typically begin by calibrating your monitor using the hardware adjustments on the device to bring it to a standard. You will then use a device to create a profile for your monitor. 

Next, you will typically turn to profiling your printer and paper. You will do this by either using a generic profile that comes with your printer or paper, or by using a custom-made profile specific to your printer and paper combination.

On printers such as the Canon PRO-Series printers, within the Quick Utility Toolbox, there is a useful tool called the Device Management Console. This utility communicates with the built in densitometer included in the PRO-Series printer to re-calibrate the colour, which eliminates colour drift during the life of the printer.

You can read more about this functionality on the Canon PRO-Series printers here-

Getting the best out of your PRO-Series printer

Time to calibrate your PRO-Series printer

You don’t need to know every aspect about colour management, but a knowledge of the basics will make it much easier to know when you need to manage your colour output and how to go about executing this process.

For more information about Colour Management click HERE.