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Calibrate monitor with Costco printers- PLEASE HELP

Bryce Covey , Dec 31, 2008; 04:11 a.m.

There are many threads on monitor calibration, but I have not found one that addressed my specific question.

So I have had quite a few problems printing at places because my monitor does not apparently have the right calibration. I have the Dell 30 inch monitor and I am using Vista. I simply need to calibrate this monitor to show correctly, or as best as possible, and sync this with the Costco printers so that the pictures are printed with the colors as I see them on my monitor.

Does anyone know how to do this? I don't need an ultra expensive monitor calibrator that syncs a home printer, gives me a ton of extra features, etc. I just want one that does the job well on my own printer and can sync with the Costco printers.

I have splurged on buying a nice computer setup, so if I must get the top of the line monitor calibrator then so be it. I just wanted to ask if there was a cheaper way and how to calibrate with the Costco printers.

Any help greatly appreciated.

Responses

Glen H , Dec 31, 2008; 06:03 a.m.

You have a problem for which there may not be a solution. First thing is you have to correctly color calibrate your monitor ( I am assuming you are working in color). There are several good calibration devices. Spyder and X-rite calibration devices for monitors are reasonably priced. Pantone makes a very well priced device but I have no experience with it. The second thing is to calibrate the printer. Here is where you have a problem, since you have no control over the
CostCo printer. Optimally you would be able to color calibrate the printer and apply profiles for the type and brand of photo paper you are using. If you want to print what you see in the monitor, you need your own photo printer and calibrate it yourself; ( Same companies above make color printer calibrating devices) and then obtain the paper profiles over the internet from the manufacturer. Finding what paper CostCo uses should be pretty easy, but what type of printers they use is more difficult and how and what they use for color calibration, if anything is very difficult. Most important is color calibrate your monitor, then see if you still have a problem. Good Luck.

Danny Wong , Dec 31, 2008; 08:37 a.m.

First you calibrate you monitor to the industry standard using one of the devices mentioned.
The you load the ICC profile for the Costco location and printer. They can be obtained at http://www.drycreekphoto.com/icc/. Some costco location has better run machines due to the staff's attitute.

Ben Bangerter , Dec 31, 2008; 09:25 a.m.

You appear to misunderstand the purpose of calibrating a monitor. A monitor is not calibrated so it will "sync" with some particular printer. Monitor calibration is done so that the colors displayed on the monitor are an accurate representation of the colors described by the numerical values of the pixels in an image. The process generates a device-dependent profile for the monitor, which is essentially a table that maps the pixel RGB numbers in the image to a different set of RGB numbers to be sent to the monitor. When you make adjustments to an image (in Photoshop, for example) you change the RGB values in the image, which represent colors in some standard device-independent working space (sRGB, AdobeRGB, ProPhotoRGB, etc.) so the image "looks right" on your calibrated monitor.
Now, when it comes time to print, the numeric RGB values of the pixels in the image need to be translated into RGB numbers to be sent to the printer. This requires a device-dependent profile for the printer, either one you explicitly specify (i.e. in the Photoshop print dialog) or one implicit in the printer driver. If you do your own printing, you have control of the process. The printer profiles provided for current inkjet printers (by printer or paper manufacturers, and specific to a particular printer, paper and inkset) are generally very good. (It is also possible to generate profiles specific to your own printer, using a (rather costly) device yourself, or through a commercial service, though for most people this is not necessary.) The commercial printing world (Costco included) is a bit of a jungle however. Generally, if you prepare an image using a calibrated monitor, and provide an image in the sRGB color space with a resolution of 200 ppi or higher at the desired print size, and have the option of specifying "no adjustments," the resulting print will be a decent match to what you see on your calibrated monitor.
The generic monitor profiles provided by monitor manufacturers are far less accurate than are the printer profiles provided by printer and paper manufacturers, for a variety of reasons. The bottom line is: if you work with a calibrated monitor, you have a reasonable chance of getting prints that are a decent match to what you see on your screen. If you don't, all bets are off.

Patrick Lavoie , Dec 31, 2008; 09:36 a.m.

"..There are many threads on monitor calibration , but I have not found one that addressed my specific question..."

They ALL have the same thing in common; people dont get what they see on there monitor when they print. Same as you.

They ALL have the same solution; buy a calibration device and calibrated your monitor to a industry standard.

As you see, youre question have been ask zillion time : )

Don E , Dec 31, 2008; 11:33 a.m.

"I just wanted to ask if there was a cheaper way and how to calibrate with the Costco printers."

Have you been using software that came with the monitor, or the software that came with your video card? If so, I would recommend setting everything to "off" or barring that to "defaults" or whatever it may be called; also remove anything they may have put in the startup directory. Using the OSD controls, set your monitor to 6500k. If you have brightness or contrast controls, set them to a comfortable level.

Go to Dry Creek as noted above, and see if your local Costco has a profile there. Get it. Follow the directions on how to prepare your images. Burn them to CD, tell the clerk "no corrections" (if you've made your own in an editor or in-camera). If there isn't a profile, convert to sRGB, but otherwise follow the directions. What you get back is the best you are likely to get without having used a calibration system.

I have a calibrated monitor and use my local Costco for 8x12 prints doing the above. The prints match very well with the monitor display.

Edward Ingold , Dec 31, 2008; 01:39 p.m.

Bryce,
You need to understand the basis of color management. Then you will see why your question is invalid.

Color management is based on the image file, sort of a star configuration. Your monitor is calibrated so that the image file is displayed as intended, color for color. Your scanner is calibrated so that the colors in the item being scanned are accurately represented in an image file. You use a print profile (printer calibration) so that the colors in the image are accurately reproduced. In other words, the scanner, printer and monitor calibrations are separate and independent. If calibrated correctly, the print will match your display reasonably well.

"Reasonbly well" is not perfect. For one, the mechanism of displaying color is completely different between a monitor and a print - one is emitted light, the other reflected. Second, it is hard to reproduce light/dark balance, in part because ambient light affects how you will make adjustments on a monitor - the brighter the room, the lighter the print. Light also affects the appearance of the print, hence the accuracy of the comparison. In the end, you can only hope for consistency - parity is a myth.

neil poulsen , Dec 31, 2008; 08:01 p.m.

What confuses things is that some labs will give clients a photograph and a file. Then, they'll ask them to adjust their monitor so that the picture on the screen (from the file) looks the same as the photograph in hand. So, they think they are "calibrating" their monitor to the lab. I have one of these "calibration" kits that a lab in Portland gave me.

If someone asks you to do this, run like crazy in the opposite direction! (I think that I'm paraphrasing Andrew Rodney on this. One of those guys.)

The basic color management strategy is the following. Calibrate the monitor to industry standard. Calibrate printer to the SAME industry standard. Then conclude that, because the monitor and printer are calibrated to the same industry standard, they will be synchronized color-wise to each other. With good quality equipment, calibrators, and good technique, this is a reasonable conclusion to draw.

neil poulsen , Dec 31, 2008; 08:44 p.m.

As to a monitor calibrator, you need a decent one. It'll last a long time. Maybe you can find one used, like an old X-Rite Monaco system. They were excellent.

If you can find even the X-Rite (formerly Gretag MacBeth) Display II colorimeter (the puck), you can download the software free. The "permission" to use the software was built into the colorimeter on these models.

Bryce Covey , Jan 06, 2009; 03:50 a.m.

Thanks for all the help, it was useful.
I realized the question involved two different processes, but I worded it poorly.
I have chosen to go with the Spyder 3 Elite. Imaging Resource had them on sale and I've spent so much on everything else I didn't want to be cheap on an essential step in photography: color.
I will post when I see how well it performs. Once I have that installed and working I will sync with the Costco printers through the methods stated in earlier posts. Thanks.

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