How to Achieve Great Color Every Time (1,549 words)
Despite the challenges, it does mean you can get close enough to your proof make it worthwhile.
First, calibrate your monitor carefully. There are a number of ways to do this, including the built-in monitor calibration utility that comes bundled with your Macintosh system. You can also purchase separate calibration utilities.
In Adobe Photoshop, you can apply conversions of digital images to your monitor's color space. This can be useful because if it is done properly, it results in a fairly accurate rendition of your image on screen.
Get Your Images Right To Begin With
When you print color images, remember that it's garbage in, garbage out. Color must be balanced and corrected, the white points and shadow points of each image adjusted. These are the brightest and darkest parts of the image in which you still want to maintain detail. In Photoshop, this is done in either the Levels palette or the Curves palette using the highlight and shadow samplers. Since the average printing press needs at least a 3-percent dot to ensure detail, set your highlight sampler (the little white eyedropper in the palette) to a CMYK value of 4-3-3-0 (cyan saturation always has to be a bit higher), and then use it to select your white point. Set your shadow sampler to RGB values of 5-5-5 and then click it on the darkest point in which you want to see detail. (This will also keep your total ink coverage below 300 percent.) Balance your color.
Adjust the Proofer
Next, calibrate the printer that puts out your proofs to stay within the color space of the printing press. It's a bit more complex, but there are tools to accomplish it. The first—and it's a must-have for color proofing—is a SWOP Calibration Kit for Digital Press Proofs. It includes a digital file containing graphic images, and a color proof of that file. You print out the file on your proofing device. By comparing your output with SWOP's, you can get your proofer very close to press gamut.