We produce projected slides (RGB) and printed posters (CMYK) that sometimes appear adjacent to each other. We find that the same graphics looks very different in the two mediums. How can we adjust the RGB values to match or come close to the CMYK appearance?Sample of color problem

  • Hi parboy, Welcome to Graphic Design.StackExchange. We hope you enjoy your stay and sharing here.
    – Stan
    Aug 24 '18 at 21:30

You need to calibrate your printer and your projector using specialized hardware like Colormunki photo.

One primitive way to do it is to use your graphics card's software and tweak it a bit to get closer to the print.

You also need to use some standardized lights to view the print. In modern led lights there is a unit called CRI (Color rendition index), the closer the number to 100 the better.

Fluorescent lamps have a CRI very low, so normal office lamps will do a bad job.


You will have to create similar viewing conditions for both of the images if not industry standard ones.

The colour matching is the subject of "Colour Management." Within that is what is called "Standard Viewing Conditions." It involves characterizing and calibrating your "display monitors" to match. The degree to which they match is an issue

To begin, the slide and the print should have the same "White Point" and be illuminated at sufficient intensity that the "whites" in both appear to match. This alone is going to get you very close to your goal without modifying the file to compensate for display differences.

In normal press-check situations, a calibrated RGB monitor displays the correct "slide" physically located beside the "print" inside a viewing booth with the correctly illumination inside——all this in a consistently lit neutrally coloured room.

  • I had hoped for some basic technique to get the colors close - I don't expect to get a calibrated match, but if you look at the attached sample, you can see how dramatic the color difference is. Since I don't have control over the print or the projection, is there a technique to get the colors in the ballpark?
    – parboy
    Aug 27 '18 at 20:35
  • @parboy The problem is the mismatch between the projector and the poster illumination colour temperature. The easiest way is to match the colour temperature of the print by "warming-up" the projector white point from 6500°K to something nearer the illumination used for the print (3400°K? to start) using the display preferences controls. That will put you in the infield. Let your eyes adjust then compare. If you know how the print is illuminated, you can dial-back the colour temperature of the projection.
    – Stan
    Aug 27 '18 at 22:07

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