Why Use The ColorMunki?
By Jane Lolkema
The basics of colour management.
Have you ever had your digital images printed and been disappointed?
The prints just don’t look like the image you edited on your screen. This is where understanding the basics of ‘Colour management’ is important.
First things first. ‘White balance’ refers to the camera setting when it is trying and achieve a neutral white/grey balance with little colour bias in the white /grey areas. This is a good starting point for editing.
Colour management refers to adjusting the colour and brightness bias of how an image is viewed across different media, e.g. camera, Editing monitor, prints or projector. This is achieved using a device that uses software to ‘calibrate’ a setting, called a ‘profile’ that is unique to the monitor you are using.
This is when the club’s ColorMunkis can be borrowed to profile your editing monitor. (The ColorMunki cailbration process is almost totally automatic – no skill needed!)
To achieve a good result in printing or in photo competitions when submitting EDI’s (Electronic Digital Image) you will need to adjust your editing monitor to an international standardised level. Just like ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is having a standard of sensitivity that allows you to shoot the same ISO on different cameras and trust that the exposure value will be equal. The ‘Color Munki’ does this for editing monitors.
Above is an example of what the difference may be. The first image is in your camera and the second is the same file viewed on your screen. You may not see this difference at your work station as our eyes have an incredible ability to adjust what we call the ‘White or grey balance’.
This is when the problems really start when your editing screen is not ‘Calibrated’ (adjusted using software) to make sure you are looking at the true colours and brightness of a particular file rather than the colours and brightness that have been adjusted against your monitors settings.
So this shows the importance of colour management. It allows you to keep the image looking similar across various media. When taking an image, the camera, when set on ‘Auto’ white balance will choose an optimum colour grade to make a neutral grey or white. You can research and google white balance but be aware this is just a starting guide. Once on the editing monitor you can correct to the warmth and density you personally like. A ColorMunki reads the emitting light from your screen, it ‘calibrates’ the optimum contrast, brightness and colour balance of your screen calculating a specific ‘Colour Profile’ for it.
Every screen will have a different profile so if you use two screens(a laptop and a stand alone monitor) you will need to calibrate both.
When you edit your images and save them to print on a printer(assuming the printer is calibrated) you should get accurate reproduction. One thing to take into account is that monitors emit light and prints reflect light, so you may have to increase the image contrast and brightness slightly to get a better result. Just depends on the quality of the printhouse and often what you pay for is what you get.
I personally re-profile my monitors every month as the screens slowly change as they age.
See Jane or Rob about borrowing a Colour Munki from the club on a club night, and feel free to ask any questions.
Here is a link to lots of information about colour management: https://imagescience.com.au/knowledge/colour-management-and-lighting