Why and how should the printer be calibrated?

The primary purpose of calibrating your printers is to avoid unwanted color cast and optimize the color image. The emergence of a color cast results from the fact that the color composition varies among the individual devices. For example, a calculator has a different method of displaying individual colors than a printer. So color management plays a very important role here.

In order to be able to correctly adjust the screen, scanner and printer, it should first be checked whether the respective latest driver versions of the manufacturers are installed. These are needed to get a high quality of presentation and flexible setting options. Next, the color temperature on the monitor should be adjusted. The color temperature determines the intensity with which a color impression should take effect. In this case, a high color temperature appears cool and turns into a bluish, a low on the other hand warm and reddish.

Calibration of the Monitor

Also an important part of the calibration of the monitor is the grayscale wedge, which usually displays the different gray levels between black and white in descending order, mostly by means of a crossbar. You can find it on the internet and have it displayed on the screen. Now the contrast on the monitor is set to 100% and the brightness to 0%. Then both components are slowly increased or downgraded equally, until just a difference can be seen on the grayscale wedge between the two brightest and darkest points.

Calibration of the Scanner

For the calibration of the scanner also a distinction of the grayscale is needed. The scanner may have a color chart with grayscale wedge attached to it, otherwise it can be purchased from specialist dealers. It is not recommended to use color charts of your own, as these can be faulty and therefore the image can not be created according to the desired requirements. Now the template of the grayscale wedge is scanned in and saved as a TIF file.

The resolution should be 300 dpi. Then the image is opened in the respective editing program and each gray tone of the color chart is matched individually to the basic colors. This means that the colors red, green and blue should have equal proportions on each shade of gray. For some programs, this process is done with the so-called "pipette tool". The final result now determines the template for calibrating the scanner.

To calibrate his printer, the previously scanned grayscale wedge is now printed on a paper used in the future. Here, the different shades of gray should be visible to the naked eye. If this is not the case, change the color settings in the options of the printer driver. Practical help with general printer calibration is "ICC Profile".

These determine the different color representations of the devices, and help to match the color reproduction between computer and printer. An optimal calibration adapted to the respective printer, however, varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.