enter image description here

I have this image that is used as a cover page of a magazine I made. When I print it, it prints a very dark image and does not show the spiky designs at all.

I saw some suggestions to use Photoshop curves but I'm not sure it's the same problem.

My monitor is not calibrated at all. I'm using InDesign but the image is a JPG in RGB mode.

  • 2
    If your screen isn't calibrated [forget that you're also randomly changing profiles CMYK to RGB] even you have no idea what it actually looks like... & yes, it looks pretty dark to me too.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 23 '18 at 16:01
  • 1
    Start with research on the subject of "Colour Management." Calibration is only one aspect of the issue. Whole books cover this single difficulty.
    – Stan
    Mar 23 '18 at 16:14
  • 2
    The trick is to "cripple" your monitor (which has a wider gamut than printed material) so that it shows the more limited capabilities of print more accurately. It's the opposite of what you're trying to do. Intuitive—it's not. Just knowing and teaching this has paid my rent for decades.
    – Stan
    Mar 23 '18 at 16:18
  • 1
    Most home/office inkjet printers can't handle CMYK files. They are designed to print RGB images, with sRGB colour profiles.
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 23 '18 at 17:24
  • 1
    @BillyKerr - I wasn't even going to go there... ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 23 '18 at 17:29

Study Colour Management.

Find and worship "CMYK 2.0 by Rick McCleary." I use it as my course text.

Tip: What you should be trying to do is to get your screen to look like the print.

Begin by making your studio viewing conditions graphics-industry standard and stable. Block out all sources of variable illumination (windows). All illumination should be the correct colour temperature (5000°K), the correct brightness (500 lux - at the desk surface) without glare in a neutral background. Tape all switches and light sources so they don't change.

Profile your printer. Calibrate it. Find and print a standard IT-8 test image on standard paper without brighteners. Consult your printer (the thing) literature for the recommended printer-paper stock number.

Calibrate your monitor and adjust the gamma to recommended values. Display the test image on your monitor and adjust your monitor to match the print. Shield the monitor from the light spill you use to examine the print. Ideally, the print is in its own viewing area near the monitor. Shield the monitor from the viewing area lighting.

Now, you can begin to zero in on creating your miracle. Compare the two standard images. They should match favourably.

The subject of how closely they match is a vital issue that I can't deal with here; but, there are test targets to help you determine how closely hues must match. The more closely you want your work to match reality will be a cost issue as there is expensive technology available to help you with proportionate expense to accuracy

The reason you must go to all this trouble is that printed (reflection copy) has a much more limited gamut, brightness, and contrast than any projected image. You must "cripple" your monitor to get them to match. It is a specialty shared by the photographer, graphic artist, pre-press service, and the print house.


  • for now i have calibrated my screen with windows 7 color calibration tool, I'll look into that book soon. But i'll have to say that my screen looks kind of dull in compare to previously.
    – shinigami
    Mar 23 '18 at 17:38
  • Honestly, you cannot calibrate a screen manually. You need to spend the money on the hardware. Human eyes are so malleable that without considerable practise, they are so easily fooled. Hardware colorimeters are harder to fool.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 23 '18 at 18:02
  • "Study Colour Management." Talk about an answer that is both annoyingly perfect and yet so boringly depressive at the same time. Isn't there an EASY and FUN way?! haha Mar 23 '18 at 19:28
  • 1
    @mayersdesign The easiest way is to hire me (U$650/day + expenses). Students tell me I'm the "Tom Waits" of graphic design. Slightly more difficult would be to take my Colour College course. 3rd, find out how close you have to be: ∆E (one ∆E = a just noticeable difference) and buy the necessary instrumentation to achieve that. Hang around printers (the people) and pre-press people. Hardest of all is to work under pressure of deadline in ignorance. (Maybe I should put my course online.)
    – Stan
    Mar 23 '18 at 20:07
  • haha Well sign me up! Mar 23 '18 at 20:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.