True Colours

Posted on October 7, 2010 at 12:12 AM

IMG booth1 v2

In previous articles, I covered how we control colour with software and hardware using design programs and the printers. There is another important piece of hardware too. It's a colour matching booth. Not a weird device that you climb inside and lock the door, but rather a station that has special fluorescent tubes that illuminate vertically mounted prints and proofs from above. The big problem to overcome with manual hardcopy matching of colour is the lighting conditions. There are so many different conditions, fluoresecent warm to cool tubes, halogen, daylight sunny and cloudy, incadescent blubs and now led lighting which all emit different colour. There is no easy solution but a good start is an industry standard, which just happens to be D50 or more commonly known as daylight.

Our GTI colour matching booth has specially balanced tubes which emulate D50, or a clear day at noon (around 5003 kelvins, colour temperature). It's the industry standard lighting condition for graphic technology and photography. The greatest benefit is consistency. If all our devices are working toward the same goal, then we achieve better consistency. We completely avoid a closed loop situation by adopting the industry standard. Wherever you display a print or even any object, the colour is influenced by the lighting around it. You've probably noticed your clothes can change colour under different lights, some more than others. It can get quite technical. We can't emulate every different type of light from every manufacturer to manually match to, but by using a single standard, there is greater consistency among those who have adopted it.

For specific lighting conditions we have the power to allow for this through software profile building settings. Because the lighting source in a room sets the white point (colour of white), we can get the software to adjust the colours in a file to suit. i.e if you know your lights are F11 fluoro's, we can set that as the lighting source for the software to adjust to, so any colour casts are removed. This can be very good for greyscale work.

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