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What to do when printed colors must be viewed under various lighting conditions...

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  • What to do when printed colors must be viewed under various lighting conditions...

    ​I have a client that manufactures flooring and I was attempting to create a series of postcards that show full sized samples of the wood and stone patterns.

    I have an NEC MultiSync PA monitor that I have color calibrated with a MDSVSENSOR3. (Though I am by no means expert at using it.)

    I scanned actual flooring and prepared it in Photoshop (tried photographing it but that was less accurate). When I received the printed pieces, about 2/3 of the colors were pretty much right on while 1/3 were off. For example, one had a red tint overall.

    The difficult part is, when viewed in sunlight, all of the cards match pretty well. But under various types of artificial light the colors are off--in other words the red tint appears under artificial light but not under daylight.

    I can't quite get my head around what is happening. Is it just that the printing of that 1/3 looks correct in daylight and there's nothing to be done (I prepared all of them at the same time under the same conditions)?

    Or is there a way to correct the artwork to remove the red tint that would still maintain an accurate reproduction under artificial light?

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts or suggestions.

  • #2
    You’ve discovered metamerism: http://the-print-guide.blogspot.com/...ction.html?m=1

    There’s no way around it. It has nothing to do with your display. It has to do with the spectral properties of the ink pigments as welll as the OBA content of the paper. It usually happens more with reds/magentas because that’s, AFAIK, where most of the spectral variation is in luminants.
    All you can do is be aware of it and set your client's expectations for a color "match" appropriately. Most brochures of a similar subject content will include a warning in mouse print to that effect.
    Last edited by gordo; 05-30-2018, 04:34 PM.

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    • #3
      Thanks Gordo. I was hoping for a miracle fix, but I'm glad to know I'm not going nuts.

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      • #4
        One more question about metamerism if I might Gordo. Is it likely a small change in the coloring--for example boosting C M or Y slightly would correct or reduce the problem? In other words, do you know how sensitive an issue is? Slight or significant?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Chuck Green View Post
          One more question about metamerism if I might Gordo. Is it likely a small change in the coloring--for example boosting C M or Y slightly would correct or reduce the problem? In other words, do you know how sensitive an issue is? Slight or significant?
          In a word...no. That's because you have no control over the lighting under which the printing will be viewed, so it's a crap shoot as to which direction to skew the color and by how much. It also ignores the impact of the OBAs (Optical Brightening Agents) in the paper and the effect they have on color - especially pastels.
          All you can do is evaluate the printing color under industry standard lighting conditions. That's what your printer is (hopefully) doing. On a sidebar the proof and presswork are a metameric pair, i.e. their color appear the same, only under a specified industry standard lighting condition. Move them out of that lighting condition and they probably won't match anymore.
          When you scanned the flooring you were evaluating the "match" between the floor and your computer display. But the lighting that you were evaluating the match between the flooring and your screen was affecting the color of the flooring and hence the adjustments you were making on the scans. Ooops!
          This issue happens throughout the industry. I don't know if you can see this video as it might be behind a paywall but this is a link to Ann Laidlaw, Consultant for ACL Color Consulting LLC, discussing this very issue in a retail environment: https://tinyurl.com/y8mnbpnj
          Last edited by gordo; 06-01-2018, 11:02 AM.

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          • #6
            Thank you again.

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            • #7
              I asked a similar question some time ago. Link
              Hello everyone, let me explain my problem: Today I had a discussion with my colleague about the appearance of a specific orange tone. This tone had been
              Print Professional Training
              www.print-professional-academy.com

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