Tips & Tutorials

Introduction to Fine Art Printing – Part 5: Calibrating Your Monitor

Calibrating your monitor for colour accuracy is an important step in creating fine art prints. With an accurate display, you can avoid expensive reprints as a result of colour misrepresentation.

Monitor calibration (uncalibrated example)

 

Things to note before colour calibration

• Let your monitor warm up for 30 minutes before calibration.
• Set your screen resolution to its native screen resolution.
• Calibrate your screen in a controlled lighting environment – please refer to the previous article for more information.

 

Basic colour calibration using built-in Windows and Mac tools

Screen Calibration in Windows 10
Step 1: Go to Settings app.
Step 2: Click on System in the main menu, and select Display.
Step 3: Under the Display menu, scroll to the bottom and select Advanced Display Settings.
Step 4: Scroll down and select Colour Calibration.
Step 5: Follow the instructions on screen.

Screen calibration (Mac)

 

Screen Calibration in Mac OS
Step 1: Go to Apple menu, and select System Preferences.
Step 2: Select the Display, follow by Colour tab.
Step 3: Click the Calibrate button.
Step 4: Follow the instructions.
Step 5: Save the calibration profile.

Screenshot from Display Calibrator Assistant

While colour calibration using your computer’s operating system’s built-in tools is a good first step, it is not entirely accurate as you are reliant on your own colour perception to make corrections. This is subjective and can be inaccurate. The use of colorimeter hardware for screen calibration is, therefore, highly recommended.

 

Precise colour calibration with colorimeter hardware

A good colorimeter is equipped with a full-spectrum, seven-colour sensor to accurately map a wide range of displays. Spyder5EXPRESS and Xrite ColorMunki are examples of basic colorimeters, and if you are interested in calibrating your printer as well, a product such as the ColorMunki Photo even allows you to create custom printer profiles for a colour corrected workflow in Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop.

Screenshot from Spyder5 Express

 

Colour calibration tools are easy to use and the process takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

Step 1: Let your monitor warm up for 30 mins.
Step 2: Set your screen settings to ‘default’ or native setting.
Step 3: Install and run the colour calibration software from the manufacturer’s website.
Step 4: Drape the sensor over your monitor as instructed.
Step 5: Turn off the room lights and start the calibration. Your screen will begin to display a series of solid colours — the colours will be read and measured by the sensor.
Step 6: Once the calibration is completed, you will be prompted to save the profile. Your screen needs to be calibrated regularly and the software is equipped with a reminder function to prompt you.
Step 7: The final screen shown will be a ‘before-and-after-calibration’ comparison. You will see a remarkable change in colour representation. Results from subsequent calibrations will not be as obvious to the eye but are necessary to keep your screen colours visually accurate.


In our next article, we will learn about profiling your printer for greater colour accuracy.

 


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