Graphic Overlays

The Basics of Color Control

By September 19, 2018 No Comments

It doesn’t take a lot of study of a Pantone color book or even hanging out at your local paint store to know that different colors can mean many different things to different people. For example, if you mention the color white to most people, most would get a mental picture of what white means to them. The same goes for red, blue, green, yellow, or practically any other color of the rainbow, and many more. But when it comes right down to it, what one person means as a particular color can mean something entirely different to someone else.

Fields such as printing or painting are excellent examples of the concept of color control, or the ability to give a person precisely the color they have in mind when they want a particular color. The concept of color control also applies when there is a need for conversion among different color devices such as digital cameras, monitors, scanners, printers, and corresponding media. Imagine, for example, not only a printing job that has colors that do not match with other products representing the same line. Further, color control should be considered when you know you will be seeing a color on different devices. Color control allows you to achieve a consistent appearance of a color among all media, provided a device is able to deliver the needed color intensities.

As you can probably imagine, there is a lot involved when you are striving to achieve good color control, especially when you consider that there are a practically infinite number of combinations of printers, ink, and media that must be compared and considered. Further, these different media must be calibrated along different lines in order to allow this control in relations to a standard color space.

This control is often done from pre-defined samples which are printed and measured in order to have an idealized description of the color when the color is created. These are usually called profiles. Profiles are created for the purpose of describing an image or to describe the color space of the media being utilized.

The ability to control color is not limited to the type of printing being used, ink, or media, but also by the data format and space that is printed. This is largely thanks to the technology that has been made available in recent years. In fact, only a few years ago, when the technology did not exist, color control was largely just a matter of “by guess and by golly” on the parts of the people who worked to create the finished products.

Contrary to popular belief, color control involves much more than just aesthetics. Color control is also a matter of precise mathematical combinations. By adjusting those numbers, which most often consist of three or four components, color can be adapted to a particular device, e.g., a printer or other space that can then be added to a color model. For example, when a given color is needed as part of a printing job, the software can be used to make a new color to precisely fit an existing theme.

To a great extent, color is arrived at only after it reaches the intended platform, whichever that might happen to be, whether it be paper, a monitor, or anything else. Most importantly, however, color is what the surrounding light makes it, which is what makes color control so important. This makes not only the tools used in color control important but also the user of those tools. These users must understand the color control process and how the equipment they are using can be used to create images that are needed by the clients as well as other users.

A Look to the Future

It is easy to understand, even from just a casual reading of this information that much of the concept of color control depends on advancements that will no doubt be made in the technology of the future. It is easy to assume that just as the technology that has been introduced until today has made the advancements enjoyed now possible, so too will the advancements of the next few years make possibilities that we have never before dreamed were possible a reality.