Color management device
As I'm starting to get more work, my frustration grows over how different the colors and saturation can be depending on devices. I've started working on a Cintiq recently but my PC screen, which I always thought was reliable enough (just about), is just completely different to the Cintiq. I haven't found a way to balance the 2, the settings on the Cintiq being very minimal. I'm working blind and I hate that!
So I'm thinking more and more about buying a device to manage my different screens and I have a few questions about them:
Do all illustrators work with one?
How do they work?
How good/reliable are they?
Do they allow you to control colors more closely with every client/publisher? Like passing on information about the color profile so we both work on the same one and SEE the same thing
Which brand/model do you suggest? Since I'm working with a wacom screen, would the wacom color manager be more efficient or can any brand do the job?
Thanks for your help
It's not the act of balancing the two but calibrating the 2. You are not looking for a balance but for proper display of colors.
Once your display is calibrated then you need to understand color gamut (rgb, cmyk, etc) and what colors are able to be reproduced. You can can have the monitors calibrated perfectly but if you are designing for print but are selecting colors that are outside the cmyk color gamut, they are not going to reproduce as shown on your monitors.
A decent color calibrator is
Wacom has numerous articles and posts on color calibration on their website.
I have been considering buying a Spyder too. It cost about 100 USD, so I have not managed to convince myself yet, but seems to be the one recommended choice to guarantee proper monitor calibration. The Wacom color manager needs to receive input from a Spyder (or similar device) to work, so by itself it does not do much. I also have differences between the Cintiq and the second monitor, and also massive differences depending if I use CPU preview or not (especially in Illustrator). The way I work around it now is to have a second window with the art I am working on on the second monitor. So I can check both monitors at once. The Cintiq is normally less saturated. I have managed with that so far, and I have had very good printing results by adjusting the image based on what I see on the second monitor (not on the Cintiq), so I do not really have a case for spending 100 USD - although it does bug me that the two monitors are different. Both monitors are calibrated as far as it goes without an external color-reader
@smceccarelli that's what I do at the moment but I find it uncomfortable (and I can't watch a video while working ^_^ ). Same as you, the Cintiq is way less saturated
I haven't seen any of my paid job printed so far... do you find the result on print is closer to the second monitor then? (more saturated)
what is "CPU preview"?
@audrey-dowling If you are throwing printers into the mix - that's a complex addition. Printers need to be calibrated as well.
If the book/images are being reproduced professionally or by a publishing house than it is there problem. If it is a project you are self publishing in one manner or another than it is your problem.
Calbrating a printer requires a densitometer and a lot of time. Every time you change a cartridge of ink or toner you have to recalibrate.
I've had problems with this forever. It drives me crazy actually. For me it might be switched I have the 24hd Cintiq and for me it's always way more saturated than my monitor. I've used the Spyder pro 5 for a while now and it really doesn't seem to make a difference. My HD monitor and my Cintiq are way different mostly in the cool colors like a nice baby blue on my Cintiq will look almost purple on my other monitor. I've finally given up on getting them the same and have just been going with getting a happy middle ground between the two monitors and then checking on my other devices and computers once I post online to see how the colors look.
@audrey-dowling Oh, yes - if you throw in priting everything becomes crazily complex. Most professional printers (and I assume publishers work with professional printers) will make all adjustments needed to get the wished print result. I have been involved in offset printing for the agency: looking over the shoulder of a pro offset printer is like looking at an audio technician calibrating audiotracks - they have dials for every ink and can dial it to the right amount on every single section of a page. For illustration work, I have been asked to delivere CYMK files for printing (which I hate!), and never heard complaints. For digital printing, the printer and the paper will have a much bigger influence than any monitor difference. Ask the print services to send you their paper samples - all of them will oblige.I print on Hanemuhle paper, even though it is very expensive, because it gives wonderful results. With the print-provider I use (WhiteWall) on Hanemuhle photorag, the result is very close to my second monitor (more saturated). Same with the Canon Pixma, which I have tried in the office - also close to the second monitor. The Pixma comes with a calibration software that prints tiny probes of your sample with different settings, so you can choose the ones that work best.
The reduced saturation of the Cintiq is described in forums. Some people say it can be solved with the Spyder, but according to @evilrobot this may not be true.
CPU preview is used by some softwares that deliver a „preview“ on the monitor, not the real thing. Illustrator, InDesign and AfterEffects all work like that. The CPU preview makes the software perform faster - but on the Cintiq it´s so bad as to be unusable (so I turn it off - never suffered performance problems anyhow...)