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There is a known problem that an average projector displays colors quite differently from what they are supposed to be. My problem is that they are different from what you see on a computer display. And I am wondering whether there is a solution to simulate projector-like colors on a computer display. I know, for instance, that Scribus offers an option to simulate colors in a way they will look after the project is printed with chosen properties. Is there anything similar for a hypothetical projector which I will use to display a couple of slides with line plots?

The background is following: I often give presentations and I always notice that the slides I prepared on my laptop looked very different from what they look like once they are projected. The pictures I have on my slides usually include line plots and schemes. I already know I should avoid yellow lines because those often become invisible, but I was hoping I could solve the problem generally. I am using LaTeX if it matters.

p.s. Here is a discussion which runs into "it's impossible".

  • Probably your projector needs an upgrade. You can use a color calibrator xrite.com/colormunki-display but sounds like your projector is not that good. I have no problem with yellow at all. – Rafael Apr 8 '16 at 15:46
  • That's precisely my point. I am not after getting a fancy projector -- I am usually not the person in charge of it, so I, unfortunately, have to adjust. Or just be prepared that people don't care enough to calibrate their projectors (although, I am quite sure it wouldn't solve the problem completely). – Ufos Apr 8 '16 at 16:09
  • Without knowing the projector type and settings used it's pretty impossible to adjust for – Zach Saucier Apr 8 '16 at 16:58
  • I understand that. But there might be known systemic biases. – Ufos Apr 9 '16 at 14:04
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    @PieBie, unless you have a deterministic world, you cannot simulate arbitrary something. Never. What I was trying to say (and I knew it won't be easy to formulate), is that I would want to get the common weaknesses to be simulated. Yellow color is usually poorly visible because the lamps are often not completely white, and the background is neither, and the room light often tends to be yellow as well. There might be other problems known only to people who are actually familiar with details of the way projectors work. But I do understand I am asking for something waay to vague. – Ufos Apr 12 '16 at 16:51
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If you are dealing with one specific, old or poorly calibrated projector, Joojaa is right, you may want to use a profile to simulate it on your monitor. But if you are producing presentations for a number of different projectors, each with their own quirks and colour biases, I would recommend designing with the following in mind:

1. Avoid bright greens. I find these are the most unpredictable of all colours.

2. Avoid overly thin typefaces. These are likely to pixelate, especially at smaller sizes.

3. Avoid light greys. These will often appear white.

I'm sure there are hundreds of other tips and tricks out there, but these are the ones I always have in mind when designing for older projectors.

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    @Ufos also use colours opposite each other on the colour wheel - brown and orange can appear similar, green and red are less likely. – Metasomatism Apr 12 '16 at 18:13
  • Yep. Ran into this while reading another question – Ufos Apr 13 '16 at 13:33
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You can do this with color profiles. Any profile aware application should be able to give you a simulated estimate of what the color would be. Also if you configure your operating system to account for the profile it will try to correct the images within gamut.

Any colorimeter that that can measure a reflected color in these conditions can be used to produce a profile. Its just that its rare to find the kinds of colorimeters that would do well in these situations. Off course a colorimeter only helps if you know the display device. In my experience random projectors all display colors wildly worng, Ive even had once a lecture in hall with 4 prjectors that ALL showed different as in (pink, was magenta, red, pastel pink and one showed more or less a slight blue cast) colors.

Anyway profiles should not, in these cases, be about doing exactly the same color as getting the most out of the resources of the system.

The biggest problem is that unmaintained stuff tends to be eratic.

  • Yeah, the keyword here is eratic. I guess, I will have to start collecting a dataset. – Ufos Apr 12 '16 at 16:56

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