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Bo Cook

Printing issues - colours changing from screen and file to print.

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Hi there,


I wonder if someone out there can demystify this issue. 


I design, and therefore output my own designs, and I also work for another designer and I output her drawings the same way - viewports/sheets etc.


We share colours (I know I must create different ones for her but I am always time limited in her office for any housekeeping, so she uses mine).


However, here lies the mystery: I dropbox her files and she sends them to the printers. I send my files to the printers from my dropbox. Bear in mind we have the same colour palette. My plans come back with a really brown overtone to the greens of the lawns and plants. Hers print as her the screen colours (more or less). Now I draw both drawings on the same computer using the same software and with the same colours. We use the same printers. I dropbox mine for them to pick up and print, she emails. She emails from a PC but I doubt that has any influence.


This only impacts A2 and A1 files; A3 they print with the correct colours. 


I have checked the CMYK they picked off the file on their printer and it is actually different to the CMYK of the actual colour used VW are

C 0.11

M 0.00

Y 0.1615

K 0.0173


Printers emailed me 

Cyan: 39%
Magenta: 1%
Yellow: 43%
Black: 0%
These are completely different - 3x more Yellow and Cyan!! 
IS there a way to fix this?
Many thanks in advance


Do any of you know what this may be?

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Are you using colour management or one or both computers? It can really mess with what you see on your screen or get from your printer as colours may get adjusted according to colour profiles if those are used and not calibrated properly (or if one is using it and the other not).


How are the A1/A2 and A3 files printed? Directly or through PDF files?

Edited by Art V

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No idea! What is colour management? Can I be inadvertently? They are printed from PDF as the printers don't have VW viewer. 


So I make the same drawing on the same laptop, using the same colours, and they are printed at the same printers. The only difference being mine I dropbox and they access from the dropbox folder, and the designer I work for takes them from dropbox and emails them. I wondered if there was anything in there that caused the issue. OR something historic in VW- like when I made the templates or something. I am seriously wracking my brains. It is a complete mystery.


But please explain this colour management if you have a moment, and tell me what I should be doing. I'd really appreciate it!


I've sent the same file off to another printers and we collect tomorrow so will see how it looks.



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Extremely simply said: Colour management basically involves measuring your monitor, printer etc. against a known standard (e.g. a series of colour values) with the use of a calibration/measurement device and create a profile to ensure reliable colours between various colour managed devices.


What happens is that the calibration/profiling device reads the colour values on your screen (after doing some initial setup) and then determines the deviation from the known values. You can do the same for a printer. Then a profile is created that tells software how to "translate"  those measured values towards the known values (i.e. shift of colour values) from e.g. a monitor to your printing device so that you get a reliable colour output (assuming calibrations were done correctly). Colour calibrating your monitor may also give a difference in display of colours if the non-calibrated state was quite a bit off.  (This description is a bit loosely worded, but I don't want to make it too technical)


If one is using a colour managed system and someone else not they may not see/print the same colours. Your red, green or blue may be different from what the other person may see on their monitor. And this can affect printed output as well.


What also may be happening in your case is that one of you has colour profiles set in software print settings that are not correct. As mentioned above, those profiles basically contain a translation of colour values (i.e. shift of colour values), so it may mess with your output as well as it will tell the printer to correct the colours by adding more of a certain colour or using less of a certain colour and it will be the wrong kind of correction if it is the wrong profile. You could check in your print settings if a colour profile is being used. You should be able to see this in the colour management tab of your printer properties or through the advanced settings.


Another thing that might be causing your issue is if your printer settings contains adjustments to the colours, if you have that option. Resetting those adjustments to 0 or 50% depending on what scale is used may solve the issue.


Dropbox and e-mail should in no way affect colours of files you transfer through it, if it would I'd be worried about other things first such as file or data corruption.


Something else regarding RGB and CMYK colours.... most home and office printers are actually RGB devices despite using CMYK toner or ink, it is best to use RGB colours if possible to minimize colour shifts from translations when sending it to the printer.

When you say you "dropbox your files to the printer" what does that mean/do? Assuming you mean printing device when you say printer and not a commercial printing bureau that does the printing for you.


Edit: BTW, I guess you are not using colour management, unless you accidentally changed something, but the designer you work with might be.

Edited by Art V

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