EZcolor 1.5

Frustratingly, what you see isn’t always what you get when it comes to colour. Unless you’re clued-up about colour-management, it’s likely that your scanner, monitor and printer interpret colours differently. Graphics professionals use expensive colour profiles with Apple’s ColorSync – but EZcolor is for those who want colour accuracy with the minimum of expense. It works by building custom ICC (International Color Consortium) profiles for your monitor, scanner, and ink-jet or laser printer. These profiles provide a description of each device’s range of reproducible colour. EZcolor compares them and makes the necessary adjustments, to ensure that colour is interpreted accurately across all devices throughout your workflow. The app walks you through the profile-building process in a point-&-click, screen-by-screen fashion. You can have all profiles completed in 30 minutes. The most important improvement with version 1.5 is that it’s no longer a product good for just limited office use and those with a scanner and ink-jet at home. Now, it generates CMYK profiles, as well as those for RGB, making it an entry-level solution for professionals. There are two options for building a monitor profile: manual or automatic. For the latter, you’ll need to buy Monaco’s Sensor. This device sticks to your screen with suckers, and colormeterically calibrates your monitor. It does this by analysing swatches of colour generated in EZolor’s monitor-profile screen. It’s more accurate than generating a profile manually, because it doesn’t rely on subjective visual judgement. This gives you more confidence when “soft proofing” – using your monitor to simulate output. To create a scanner profile, you have to scan in the supplied test-card-like IT8 colour target. Be careful with this target, because if you tear it, it will cost over £50 to replace. Scanner profiles reduce the need for image clean-up, by capturing colour accurately in the first instance. I was creating a profile for an Agfa Snapscan e50. Although scanners can be operated from within EZcolor, Agfa’s ScanWise software kept crashing it – and I ended up scanning-in the colour target outside of EZcolor and importing it to create the scanner profile. A 35mm transparency target is available, but it costs around £60 extra. Ouch. To create a printer profile, you print a supplied colour-target TIFF, and then scan this in using your newly profiled scanner. You can create a profile for each type of printer paper being used. It’s in Photoshop that the profiles come into their own. They allow for a printed image to be matched to an original while being viewed accurately on-screen.

OUR VERDICT

EZcolor is for anyone who wants maximum colour performance with minimum fuss. With its new CYMK functionality, version 1.5 also provides a low-end alternative to rival expensive and in-depth colour-profile products.

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