105. Ensure That What You See Is What You Get
Before You Begin
103 About Color Management
104 About Adobe Gamma
66 Print an Image
To ensure that what you see onscreen when viewing an image is what you get after printing that image on paper, you must properly calibrate your monitor. When you use the Adobe Gamma program for monitor calibration, you rely on your own eyes as the best gauge for what looks right. First, your monitor should be warm and stabilized so that colors and contrast don't appear washed out. For best results, leave your monitor running and active (that is, not in standby mode) for at least 30 minutes before running Adobe Gamma. When you're ready to begin, turn down any lights near your computer.
Adobe Gamma has two operating modes. The Wizard mode leads you by the hand, step by step, with each option presented in its own individual panel. The Control Panel mode displays all options in a single window, without description. This task shows you how to use the Control Panel mode to make your selections and to save them in a new ICC color profile.
ICC color profile Also known as an ICM profile, this file helps Windows translate colors between two imaging devices, such as the monitor and printer, so that the colors delivered by the devices match up as much as possible.
Change to 32-Bit Color
Before beginning work with Adobe Gamma, install the ICM color profiles for your monitor and printer (if they are available). If you have profiles for your scanner and digital camera, install them too. You might find them on the disc that came with the hardware or on the manufacturer's Web site. Save the files to the Windows\System\Color folder for Windows 98, 98SE, or Me; save the profiles to the Windows\System32\Color folder for Windows NT, 2000, or XP.
If you've enabled any color correction features in your video card driver (for example, nVIDIA's Digital Vibrance option), be sure to disengage those features or reset them to their defaults before beginning monitor calibration with Adobe Gamma. You should make any video driver adjustments (if needed) after creating an Adobe Gamma profile.
Right-click the Windows Desktop and choose Properties from the context menu to display the Display Properties dialog box. Click the Settings tab. Open the Color quality drop-down list and choose Highest (32 bit). If this option isn't available, it's because your system does not have enough video memory to support it; in that case, choose the highest setting you can. Click OK.
Load a Test Picture
You won't be able to tell whether the settings you're about to make are "right" unless you have a real-world test pattern whose colors you're familiar with. In the Editor, open an image you've already printed out so that you can compare its onscreen version with its printed version as you work.
Launch Adobe Gamma
After it's installed, the Adobe Gamma tool is located in the Control Panel. Click the Start button, select Control Panel, and double-click the Adobe Gamma icon to start the program.
Has Adobe Gamma already been installed on your computer? Check your Windows Control Panel screen for the Adobe Gamma icon. If it's not there, install Adobe Gamma by copying the Adobe Gamma.cpl file from the \Adobe Gamma folder of the Photoshop Elements CD-ROM to the \Windows\System folder (for Windows 98, 98SE, and Me) or the \Windows\System32 folder (for Windows NT, 2000, and XP). You can then launch the program from the Control Panel as described in step 3.
If prompted, select the Control Panel Mode option and click Next. The Adobe Gamma dialog box appears.
Load the Monitor's Profile
If an ICC color profile for your monitor has been installed on your computer, load it now: Click the Load button, locate the file, and click Open. You'll probably find the profile in the Windows\system32\spool\drivers\color or \Windows\system32\COLOR folder. The file will use the extension .ICM, and its filename will probably contain your monitor's model number. Adobe Gamma immediately applies those settings to your monitor. Although they might already be the optimal settings, you should test each setting to be sure.
If you don't have an ICC color profile for your monitor already loaded on your computer (because you couldn't find one), Adobe Gamma has to start from scratch rather than allowing you to adjust the profile settings. In any case, after you're done here, Adobe Gamma will create a separate monitor profile for you. So that you can easily switch between the profile you're creating and the existing profile (in case you ever want to return to your original settings), enter a unique name for the profile in the Description box. Preferably, include the model number of your monitor.
You might be able to determine whether a particular profile was designed for use with your monitor by right-clicking the profile file and choosing Properties from the context menu.
Set Basic Chromaticity
If you have a monitor profile installed, the Phosphors list shows the Custom option, which means that Adobe Gamma is reading the profile and loading the monitor chromaticity settings. Skip to step 6.
If you do not have monitor profile installed, use the guidelines presented in 104 About Adobe Gamma to determine the selection you should make from the Phosphors list.
Set Brightness and Contrast
The sample black and white bars in the Brightness and Contrast pane are presented as test patterns for your monitor. If you look closely, you'll notice that the black bar is actually made up of jet black and very dark gray boxes, alternating with one another. If you don't notice this, you will after you complete this section of the calibration.
Use the physical controls on your monitor (not on Adobe Gamma) to set your contrast to 100%, or as high as it will register. Next, set the brightness control on your monitor to as low a setting as possible where you can still distinguish the very dark gray blocks from the black ones. The moment they become indistinguishable, you're too low.
The white bar in the Brightness and Contrast pane is there to make the test fair. It's easier to distinguish dark gray from black when they're alone; it's harder when they're adjacent to white.
Set Gamma for Color Channels
In the Gamma pane, from the Desired drop-down list, choose Windows Default (the other choices are Macintosh Default and Custom). The Windows default is always a good starting point for achieving best results. Then disable the View Single Gamma Only check box to see the test squares for all three color channels. With your eyes squinting, for each square, move the slider until the solid block in the center blends as closely as possible with its striped frame.
Set White Point
Most likely, you'll want to set the white point manually, rather than enter some values in the Adjusted text box. Click the Measure button. In the directions panel that opens, click OK. Your screen will go black, and then you'll see three gray squares. The warmer of these shades in terms of temperature (thus, the bluer shade) is on the left; the cooler shade (the redder one) is on the right. Study the middle shade carefully. Use the left and right arrow keys to rotate through the shades of gray until the middle square appears as unbiased or as neutral as possible (not bluish, not reddish). When you've found that shade, press Enter. The Hardware list in the Adobe Gamma dialog box now displays the word Custom.
The Adjusted list normally shows the setting, Same as Hardware. If your monitor's manufacturer has provided you with coordinates for its white point, in the White Point pane choose Custom from the Adjusted drop-down list. In the dialog box that appears, enter the white-point coordinates provided by the manufacturer and click OK. If your manufacturer has specified the white point in terms of temperature, select the appropriate temperature from the Adjusted list.
Save Adjusted Profile
Repeat steps 6 through 8 as necessary until your test image looks as true to its printed counterpart as possible. When you're ready to save your settings, click OK. The Save As dialog box appears. In the File name text box, enter a unique name for the ICC color profile you've just created. Click Save.
At this point, all your Adobe programs and most of your Windows programs should start displaying images using the settings you've just saved in the new profile. The notable exception here is Paint Shop Pro, which must be told to use the new profile. Choose File, Preferences, Color Management, and then click Enable Color Management and select the Monitor Profile from those listed.
Install the Printer's Profile
Click the Windows Start button and choose Printers and Faxes or open the Control Panel and double-click the Printers and Faxes icon. Right-click the printer icon and choose Properties from the context menu. In the Properties dialog box that opens, click the Color Management tab.
Select the Manual option. A list of profiles associated with your printer appears. Select the profile that matches your printer and click Set As Default.
If the list is empty, click Add. The Add Profile Association dialog box appears. Select the ICC color profile supplied by your printer manufactureryou should find it in the \Windows\system32\COLOR or \Windows\system32\spool\drivers\color folder which automatically appears. If no printer profile is available, either on your driver installation disc or from the manufacturer's Web site, search this folder for a file named sRGB Color Space Profile and, if present, select it. Click Add. Make sure that the new profile is selected and click the Set As Default button.
Click OK to install the printer profile.
To test your new profiles and the monitor calibration, print your test image from your newly recalibrated printer and compare it to what you see on your newly recalibrated monitor. The result should be fairly close to a true match.
Turn On Color Management
To enable the Editor to embed the Adobe RGB ICC profile in your images so that the printer can properly translate their data, choose Edit, Color Settings from the Editor menu. In the Color Settings dialog box that appears, enable the Full Color Management option and click OK.
If you don't want to turn on full color management, you can embed a color profile in an image just before printing; see 66 Print an Image for help. As explained in 103 About Color Management, turning on full color management also affects how images appear in the Editor, whether or not you print them. As long as an image includes its color gamut in its EXIF data, that gamut is used to translate the image for display. If an image doesn't specify a color gamut, the Full Color Management option enables you to select one when the image is opened in the Editor. You can experiment to see what produces the best results, but you'll typically want to use the sRGB gamut for display. Then when saving the image before printing, embed either the printer's ICC profile or the Adobe RGB profile, which is optimized for printing.