View Full Version : Printer color calibration

04-14-2006, 05:34 PM
Hi all!

I have an HP PSC 1215 scanner/printer at home. I know this is a cheap printer, but I that I am unable to calibrate the printer with its included software.

Images on my PC display are usually brighter than what is printed, so I was wondering if it is possible to change the color management on the printer to more closely match what I see on my monitor.

My PC display has been calibrated using Adobe Gamma, and I'm constantly finding myself printing trial and error copies of an image, continuously adjusting the brightness of the image until I get the right printing intensity.

It's as if I need to have 2 copies of each image, one for display, and one for printing.

05-03-2006, 03:18 PM
Hi Josamoto,
I took a special seminar with Jon Cone (check out www.inkjetmall.com) covering these issues rather intensively. We can't get monitor and printed colors to match exactly, but we can get very close. I am primarily engaged in trying to get good prints, and advice from Inkjet Mall has been invaluable. In outline, what you need is a color "profile" of your monitor, of the printer and of the paper you are using. The monitor needs to be calibrated with a sensor that reads into its software thru USB. The monitor, in Cone's system, is set to 5000 degrees Kelvin (a print-industry standard). Then comes Adobe Photoshop: this is set up to translate between the characteristics of your montior to those of your printer AND of the paper you are using. Better grades of paper come with color profiles, many of them free. All this can be done at reasonable prices, but your monitor and printer must be capable of being profiled, or must come with profiles intstalled along with their software.
There are other color management sites on the web, and some of them can profile your printer for you (however this can get expensive and there are some caveats.) I suggest reading up on the subject and then trying the simplest, standard solutions first. Note that the technique I am using sidelines Apple's Colorsync, except for its profile library, and depends on Photoshop.
I have to add that although I have an elaborate setup, with a Sony Artisan calibratable monitor, Epson 2200 "archival" printer that comes with excellent profiles, plus a custom profile for my preferred paper and even color-controlled lighting to view the prints, but I still have to make test prints, and find some colors I have created in Lightwave just won't print the way I want.
I know I am very wordy so I hope this helps and you can get from it what you need!

05-05-2006, 11:43 AM
I have an HP PSC 1215 scanner/printer at home.... I am unable to calibrate the printer with its included software.

Images on my PC display are usually brighter than what is printed... is possible to change the color management on the printer to more closely match what I see on my monitor.

...calibrated using Adobe Gamma... constantly... printing trial and error copies of an image, continuously adjusting the brightness of the image until I get the right printing intensity.

It's as if I need to have 2 copies of each image, one for display, and one for printing.

What's happening is that your system is not calibrated at all. PCs are very difficult to calibrate and you are not the only one that has this problem. I'm on a Mac and can't figure out how PC only design shops do it. I'm not an expert on the PC platform, but there are apps available that allow you to calibrate your monitor (first thing you need to do). Once you calibrate your monitor by adjusting the brightness/contrast, the temperature (6500° K a yellowish tinge), and gamma set to 1.8 you will notice that what you create on screen is what you'll get out of your printer. You also need to calibrate Photoshop to your work space (I have my set for print) by adjusting your settings to the following (I use CS2): Choose either monitor calibration or General Purpose, RGB to sRGB, US Sheetfed coated, gray dot grain of 20%, spot dot grin 20%, colour manage polics are left at "Preserved embedded profiles", Conversion Options Engine to Adobe (ACE) & Intent as RElative Colourimetric, blackpoint compensation is on. Those are all under the advanced options and are custom settings. You may want to just use the colour management on setting instead (in drop down menu).

On the Mac, there is os based ColourSync which allows you calibrate your hardware to your system so that the images you scan in are exact to what you see on screen which leads to the printing being exactly what you are expecting. It sounds like from your description that your monitor is too hot which is leading to most of your problem (brightness set too high, or your monitor is failing). But colour management is really important.

Hope this helps. BTW I have over 10 years experience in the print design industry.

05-13-2006, 06:09 AM
What you can do real simply is to make a page/ render where you render different gradients. Like black to white, RGB to white separately, the C M Y K to white separately and an assortion of safe colours that you like with a little white space on them.

I don't know if your printer is cmyk or not, but you will at a minimum need to read up on rgb to cmyk conversion anyway, try wikipedia.

If it is cmyk, what is genious is "gamut warning" in PS, particularly used together with hdr renders (needs CS2). Anyway, you convert a copy to cmyk if it is, and print your sample. Then use the info panel, and write down some values from moving the cursor over the colours in the margins on the print where appropriate, maybe on your digital sample as well and if it is cmyk also some from the rgb one. You now have both a digital reference of the differences and a print sample. Simply check dark and light areas against your sample with the info panel. It'll give you a pretty good idea.

What initially struck me though is, could be you could get better initial results adjusting your monitor gamma. A rough adjustment can be made from the test print as well, just adjusting to make it fit as well as possible. Obviously using profiles is way superior, only mentioning since this simple method can be a lifesaver in cases where it aint easy to accomplish that for the one or the other reason ...

06-03-2006, 06:06 PM
Hi. You say your printed pictures is much darker than they look on screen? I own an HP Laserjet printer. It has this kind of problem.

I create artwork such as shown below using a special method, and when I print them with default settings, some colors are too dark and I get speckles around the green areas. I solved this by changing the neutral grey setting to "4 Color" (default is Black Only). This is somewhere in the Printer Preferences that you can check before printing. My pictures look natural and matches what is shown on screen.

I not sure if this will work for you, but it might be worth trying without the risk of messing up your printer.

06-03-2006, 06:11 PM
Oh, wait, you said brighter. Still, some colors in my failed prints are too bright, too. Try 4-color. It might work.

06-12-2006, 12:34 PM
What the other posters hint at is proper calibration. Not only is your printer not calibrated but neither is your monitor. There should be settings in your printer driver that can get you closer to what you see on screen but that is a long frustrating path. The short but costs-more path is actual calibration.

I recommend the Colorvision "Spyder 2" for your monitor. At <$200 it is the cheapest solution that gets close enough. The next step up are Monaco's packages but they cost >$350 last time I checked. Edit - I forgot one free thing you can try first. Adobe Gamma or a similar application will get your monitor in the ballpark in terms of gamma and brightness. From there your manual adjustment of the printer driver may be easier.

Once your monitor is calibrated you may get acceptable results using "canned" (pre-made) printer profiles for the papers you use. Check the manufacturers' sites for your printer and paper vendors for downloadable profiles and instructions. Every paper is going to print a little differently. I'd recommend sticking to your printer manufacturer's paper (HP in your case) unless you have a good reason to try something else. Their paper surfaces are matched to the inks in your printer.

If you're still unsatisfied, for your printer check out profiling services from Cathy's Profiles or Dry Creek Photo ($40 to $50 per paper plus maybe $10 cost of preparing samples to send them). I've used Cathy's service myself and am happy. A friend was not satisfied with one of her profiles and she re-made it free to his satisfaction.

07-12-2006, 05:26 PM

Don't go spend any money. You don't need it. I'm assuming that you are running on a PC and have Photoshop. First of all use Adobe's Gamma Calibrator to colour calibrate your system. THERE IS NO NEED TO BUY ANY HARDWARE or software to calibrate your monitor. Once you have colour calibrated your system you will have excellent results. And don't use 4 colour printing with your printer. It's designed specifically for the number of colours it has in it.

07-13-2006, 09:56 PM
I did say to try A.G. first...

07-13-2006, 11:35 PM
Don't go whoa! fab, what you suggest is not sufficient for serious color work.