Since TomH brought up this topic, the subject's been bugging me ... my scanner/monitor/printer setup was pretty good, but not 100% ... so I would "make allowances". What I really want is prints that look just like the screen.
What I've learned is that to do a professional job a) you need money b) you should have a specialist monitor and graphics card
Since I can't afford a dedicated photo system (and refuse to give up flight simulator and other "games") I decided to see what I could do on a no cost basis with my Sony E400 monitor, Voodoo 3000 and Windows ME system with CorelDraw/Photopaint 9 printing to an Epson 1270 and using a Nikon LS30 scanner.
All the above components have some form of colour management built in, and the first thing I learned on reading up on the subject is that the various bits are probably fighting each other - eg. the printer driver is "correcting" something that's already been corrected by Corel.
So the first thing I did was simplify - I removed any device profiles, disabled colour management and set monitor and graphics card back to factory defaults. Then using a really useful document I found at
I used the chart in figure 5 to get the brightness properly adjusted on my monitor. Next I used another chart I got from
to confirm colour balance. These were viewed through a web browser - this is important, since a web browser does not attempt to apply colour management.
Next I brought the second of the charts into photopaint with the colour management system turned off - and it looked fine. When I set the colour management to use the icm profile for my monitor, it looked distinctly greenish. I left the management off.
Now the printer. First try (based on previous success) was to print with no colour management. Disaster. OK, next try with the Epson 1270 profile - much much better, but the blues were a bit off. So I decided to create a custom profile in the printer driver. After some trial and error, I was able to produce output which matched the screen pretty closely - in my case, the saturation setting needed to be increased.
Finally the scanner. Laking a reference slide, I used a well exposed slide with a good range of colours. I turned colour management off, and reset the gamma setting to suit my new monitor settings. And it worked.
Now I can scan an image, view it in photopaint, and print it with the image looking pretty much the same at each stage. It took about half a day to do, and quite a bit of ink and paper ... its not quite perfect, so some more tweaks to the printer settings are probably required, and this will need to be done for each type of paper I use, but it's better than it was. The moral, if there is one, is simplify - adding additional colour management tools, profiles etc. is probably complicating things. Get back to basics and use only what you need.
Colin K. Work, Pixstel