Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The cheap and easy way to correct printer colour casts

A lot gets written about colour profiling your printer and indeed you can get inkjet printers perfectly and professionally profiled. But there is a cost involved. Most amateurs will not go to these lengths. So here's a quick easy and cheap method of doing it.

Buy a colour card. Photograph it. Print it out using the same settings you would for your photographs. Choose the paper you like and stick to it. What you are trying to do is limit the variables so that you can predict results in the future.

Now instead of adjusting the printer settings to get the colours right, use Photoshop and tweak it until the colours in your test prints match your target (the colour card) as closely as possible.

Your monitor is probably not calibrated so don't worry that it doesn't look right on screen. You're aiming for the best print possible. Once you've worked out how you need to change the colours in Photoshop to produce a good print on the particular paper of your choice you can take the process a step further and create an action (see Photoshop's help file to find out how to do this).

Then when you want to print your pictures you open them, choose the action, print and then close the image without saving the print specific tweak ie the effect of the action.

My advice is to choose two or maybe three paper types and develop the unique set of actions for each of these.

There you go. The simple and inexpensive way to get consistent prints with your printer, particular inks and paper. If you change any of the variables you'll have to go through the trial and error process again.

Good luck.

Paul Indigo
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