If you desire and/or require accurate colour, from capture to monitor to print you need colour management.
Colour management is not something you buy in a box off the shelf. And there is no one button press magic solution either. A colour management system that works does require some input from you, colour measurement using hardware & software and a bit of 'know how'.
What is Colour Management?
Basically, colour management is the process of using ICC profiles to communicate colour throughout an ICC enabled colour reproduction workflow - a bit of a mouthful, I know...
Unfortunately, often, it is not an easy process.
And, colour management does fix bad colour - if you have a photo that is dark or muddy or over exposed - colour management will not 'fix' it - but it will communicate the bad colour accurately and predictably through the colour managed workflow.
If you consider yourself a highly skilled colour retoucher or colour 'technician' - colour management will not replace you.
The real benefit of colour management is that it enables colour simulation across the 'workflow' - it is an 'enabling' technology.
It can provide you with the ability to simulate your print output (CMYK digital ,offset, RGB photo, etc) before you commit to print - this is done using a calibrated and ICC profiled monitor, utilising soft proofing.
You can accurately check the colour of a conversion (RAW to RGB or RGB to CMYK or RGB to RGB, etc) before clicking OK.
You can save valuable production time (or your own time)and save on materials wastage when you 'print' - your colour is predictable and accurate - no more colour surprises and no more, 'I didn't think it was going to look like that...' comments...
If you have ever wondered whether your monitor is right and why your printer is always printing that terrible colour result - then you need colour management. Colour management involves calibrating your devices (digital camera, scanner, monitor and printer), creating ICC profiles and then setting up and using the ICC profiles correctly.
There are limitations with the colours captured, compared to the colours displayed on a monitor and the colours that can be printed and a couple of things that influence this are the type of monitor being used, the type of printer or print process and the type of paper or media that is being used for the print. There are some rules of colour management - for example - standardised lighting (D50 or daylight @ 5000K) should be used for accurate colour and visual assessment of the printed result.
Colour management is a BIG subject - suffice to say - you are better off going down the path and doing it 'right' (i.e. setting up a colour management system, correctly...) than ignoring it doing nothing at all.
Colour Graphic Services can help you with colour management, training, colour products and an ICC profiling service. Contact us to learn more about our cost-effective, stress-free solutions at firstname.lastname@example.org or +61 (0)400 123 398 or www.colourgraphicservices.com