Metzgers a G7 Master Printer

Opening ShotJohn Denver said it best.

“So I photograph when I can, work when I should”

Disclosure: OK, so that’s not an actual line from a song, but the real song contains references to a fiddle. And the song was heard during a Broncos-Steelers football game, so no assumptions should be made about my musical tastes.

Life feels busier than ever, squeezed by demands to do more in the same time frame. It feels like there isn’t always time to do what needs to be done, let alone what we want to do. Maximizing the opportunities, especially in our free time, becomes more important than ever. As Thomas P. Murphy has said, “Minutes are worth more than money. Spend them wisely.”

When there's time to unwind.

I wrote in my initial blog entry that photography is one of the activities that recharges life. And that happens outside, whether in nature or in a bustling city. Photography has a second component… preparing the digital photo for web viewing or printing. I shoot in a RAW format, which typically requires color correcting. All digital cameras produce a color cast associated with various lighting conditions, hence blue-ish in daylight and orange-ish in incandescent lighting. There may be occasions where this is acceptable or even desirable, but for the most part what I want is proper and accurate color, regardless of lighting conditions.

Council Lake, UP
Council Lake, UP 

Most photographers prefer to be behind a camera instead of sitting in front of a monitor. If color correcting photos is a part of the workflow, is there a way to maximize the time available to a hobby or interest like photography?

I use a tool called a WhiBal® card, which reflects all colors through the spectrum equally. One click of the eyedrop tool in Adobe Camera Raw, and I can quickly balance the color cast, reducing the time spent working on a digital photo. I could likely get the color right eventually, either using the white balance presets or moving the sliders around, but the WhiBal® card helps me get there faster.

Using a White Balance Card

Making blue really blue.

As Metzgers has increased its product offerings, we asked, “Is it possible to make everything color match, whether it’s from a commercial press, a digital press or wide format printers?” Clearly the substrate, gamut and other print characteristics will vary for the different print products. But one of your marketing campaigns, from collateral and packaging to signage, might incorporate all three printing devices, so color matching is important. A goal was set to improve print predictability and color consistency, but also eliminate excess waste and time trying to achieve color matches.

Metzgers turned to a tool called G7, which focuses on colorimetric data for gray balance in mid-tones as well as neutral tonality. Using various color charts, scanning equipment, color management software and print runs, we were able to achieve what IDEAlliance calls a shared appearance in our output. Because the print products have the same gray balance and neutral tonality defined by G7, they will look remarkably alike to the human eye.

The G7 process allows Metzgers to match press to proof, or press to press, even digitally with an end result that IDEAlliance certified Metzgers as a G7 Master Printer.

It wasn’t quite as simple as using a WhiBal card and the click of a mouse, but the end result was the same: better color in less time.

Tags: equipment - digital

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