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Precise, consistent color management requires accurate ICC-compliant profiles of all your color devices. For example, without an accurate scanner profile, a perfectly scanned image may appear incorrect in another program simply due to any difference between the scanner and the program displaying the image. This misleading representation may cause you to make unnecessary, time-wasting, and potentially damaging “corrections” to an already satisfactory image. With an accurate profile, a program importing the image can correct for any device differences and display a scan’s actual colors.
A color management system uses the following kinds of profiles:
Describe how the monitor is currently reproducing color. This is the first profile you should create because viewing color accurately on your monitor allows for critical color decisions in the design process. If what you see on your monitor isn't representative of the actual colors in your document, you cannot maintain color consistency.
Input device profiles
Describe what colors an input device is capable of capturing or scanning. If your digital camera offers a choice of profiles, Adobe recommends you select Adobe RGB. Otherwise, use sRGB (which is the default for most cameras). Advanced users may also consider using different profiles for different light sources. For scanner profiles, some photographers create separate profiles for each type or brand of film scanned on a scanner.
Output device profiles
Describe the color space of output devices like desktop printers or printing presses. The color management system uses output device profiles to properly map the colors in a document to the colors within the gamut of an output device’s color space. The output profile should also consider specific printing conditions, such as the type of paper and ink. For example, glossy paper can display different colors than matte paper.
Most printer drivers come with built‑in color profiles. It’s a good idea to try these profiles before you invest in custom profiles.
(Not applicable to PDFs) Define the specific RGB or CMYK color space of a document. By assigning, or tagging a document with a profile, the application defines actual color appearances in the document. For example, R=127, G=12, and B=107 are just numbers that different devices will display differently. But when tagged with the Adobe RGB color space, these numbers specify an actual color or wavelength of light—in this case, a specific color of purple.
When color management is on, Adobe applications automatically assign new documents a profile based on the Working Spaces options in the Color Management option of the Preferences dialog box. Documents without assigned profiles are untagged and contain only raw color numbers. Adobe applications display and edit colors using the current working space profile when working with untagged documents.
A. Profiles describe the color spaces of the input device and the document. B. Using the profiles’ descriptions, the color management system identifies the document’s actual colors. C. The monitor’s profile tells the color management system how to translate the document’s numeric values to the monitor’s color space. D. Using the output device’s profile, the color management system translates the document’s numeric values to the color values of the output device so the correct appearance of colors is printed.
Profiling software can both calibrate and characterize your monitor. Calibrating your monitor complies with a predefined standard—for example, adjusting your monitor to display color using the graphics arts standard white point color temperature of 5000° K (Kelvin). Characterizing your monitor creates a profile that describes how the monitor is currently reproducing color.
Monitor calibration involves adjusting the following video settings:
Brightness and contrast
The overall level and range, respectively, of display intensity. These parameters work just as they do on a television. A monitor calibration utility helps you set an optimum brightness and contrast range for calibration.
The brightness of the midtone values. The values produced by a monitor from black to white are nonlinear—if you graph the values, they form a curve, not a straight line. Gamma defines the value of that curve halfway between black and white.
The substances that CRT monitors use to emit light. Different phosphors have different color characteristics.
The color and intensity of the brightest white the monitor can reproduce.
When you calibrate your monitor, you adjust it to conform to a known specification. Once your monitor is calibrated, the profiling utility lets you save a color profile. The profile describes the color behavior of the monitor—what colors can or cannot be displayed on the monitor and how the numeric color values in an image must be converted so that colors are displayed accurately.
Ensure your monitor is turned on for at least half an hour. This gives it sufficient time to warm up and produce more consistent output.
Make sure your monitor is displaying thousands of colors or more. Ideally, ensure it displays millions of colors or 24‑bit or higher.
Remove colorful background patterns on your monitor desktop and set your desktop to display neutral grays. Busy patterns or bright colors surrounding a document interfere with accurate color perception.
Do one of the following to calibrate and profile your monitor:
In Windows, install and use a monitor calibration utility.
In Mac OS, use the Calibrate utility. Go to System Settings > Displays. Select the Preset drop-down menu Color tab, and then select Calibrate Display.
For the best results, use third-party software and measuring devices. In general, using a measuring device such as a colorimeter and software can create more accurate profiles because an instrument can measure the colors displayed on a monitor far more accurately than the human eye.
Monitor performance changes and declines over time. Recalibrate and profile your monitor every month or so to keep your monitor's performance. It may be too old and faded if you find it difficult or impossible to calibrate your monitor to a standard.
Most profiling software automatically assigns the new profile as the default monitor profile. For instructions on manually assigning the monitor profile, refer to the Help system for your operating system.
Color profiles are often installed when a device is added to your system. The accuracy of these profiles (often called generic profiles or canned profiles) varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. You can also obtain device profiles from your service provider, download profiles from the web, or create custom profiles using professional profiling equipment.
After installing color profiles, be sure to restart Adobe applications.
You can embed a color profile in an object. Acrobat attaches the appropriate profile, as specified in the Convert Colors dialog box, to the selected objects in the PDF. For more information, see Color conversion and ink management (Acrobat Pro).
You convert colors in a PDF using the Convert Colors tool available in Use print production. View Color conversion and ink management (Acrobat Pro) for more information.
To know more about color working spaces, view About color working spaces.