hen JD Milazzo and I began our journey into professional photography, there was no shortage of lessons to be learned. Most of those lessons were painful, and some were expensive, if not financially, in terms of the amount of time we spent recovering from whatever happened.
There was the time, for example, when we took some images on a DVD to be printed at the local print house. We dropped off the DVD and left confident that we would pick up the images in two days.
Less than 24 hours later, the phone rang. It was the print house. As far as they were concerned, all our images were orange on their CRTs. I listened patiently, then, perplexed, I walked over to my PC, opened the images in Photoshop, and stared at them. JD, whose desk was next to mine, wanted to know what I was staring at. I told him about the phone call, and I assured him that the images were not orange. He and I decided to go down to the print shop. We found ourselves staring in disbelief at what we saw. The images were orange. A few weeks later, when one of our first accounts asked us to deliver images formatted for CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, used largely for four color printing), we encountered the problem again. Saying that the images looked just fine on our flat panel wasn’t going to work. We had to find, and fix, the problem.
When I returned to the studio after meeting with the client, I asked JD to take a look at the images on his screen. Needless to say, once again, the images looked different. At first, we were puzzled – think about it – the beauty of the digital world is that a one is always a one, and a zero is always a zero. In theory at least. So, based upon that assumption, every CRT, or flat panel, should display exactly the same colors all the time.
Except that isn’t true.
How color is reproduced, we would quickly learn, isn’t simply a matter of ones and zeros being placed in a predetermined order on a screen. In fact, think about creating 16.7 million colors from just three: red, green, and blue. As we learned when we began to research how flat panels work, creating color is considerably more complex than sending a string of ones and zeros.
In this article in NyghtVision Magazine Volume 6 #4, we take a close look at the NEC Display PA322UHB-BK-2 and color management. Learn more about this product here. Some of the topics we discuss include:
- How an LCD monitor works
- Understanding color technology
- Basic concepts like LUT and gamut
- Reliability of color management