Why are my prints too dark? It’s a pretty common question. Whether it be a photographic print, an enlargement, or a canvas print, one of the biggest issues encountered in Giclée printing is a print that comes out darker than you see on your display.
The answer is monitor calibration.
Without getting too color-geeky, monitors fresh out of the box simply don’t display color accurately. Most factory presets are geared to web viewing rather than viewing and designing for a printed copy, and are typically too bright.
Further, most displays tend to have an overall cool, blue hue. The issue is that manipulations done on such a display are only accurate to that specific monitor. They will simply not translate properly to print because the display is not accurately producing color.
So what’s the solution?
Using a color calibration device such as an i1Display 2, or Spyder3Pro spectrophotometer, or even an entry level colorimeter such as the ColorMunki or Patone huey PRO, will get you an accurate representation of color on any display.
These devices read the levels of red, green and blue light that your monitor uses to produce color, along with reading overall brightness and contrast values. Once these values are read, the device is used to calibrate the monitor’s reds, greens and blues as well as brightness and contrast to an accurate level.
Typically, the higher end models offer a greater depth on control over the calibration process to create the most accurate color production a display is capable of achieving. A calibrated display can be used to proof an image before it goes to print, enabling you to make any final adjustments before any ink touches media.
So if you’re serious about getting quality prints, or simply want to avoid going back and forth with a printer to get the right results, then investing in a monitor calibration device is not just an asset; it’s a necessity.