Studio XR

Mention the words ‘colour calibration’ and you’re likely to induce a technicolour headache in many Mac users. Although the days when poor monitors and bad printers reduced many an artistic endeavour to the colour of mud are long gone, fine-tuning what you see on screen with what you actually get out of a printer is still a royal pain.

Colour Confidence hopes to offer a one-box solution for good colour management and colour correction. Inside you get a Monaco Optix XR colorimeter, Kodak Color Management Check-Up Kit and a slightly superfluous selection of inkjet papers. Like all the best bundles you save a few pounds buying everything together.

The pick of the pack is the Monaco Optix XR, a chubby mouse-like colorimeter that dangles down over your screen. You can use this to calibrate and profile the display to ensure accurate and consistent colour throughout the digital workflow.

Setting up the Monaco Optix XR is painless enough; a supplied counterweight and suction cup give added support while the device calculates your monitor. Install the provided software, plug in the USB cable, follow the on-screen prompts and you’re away. You’ll need to create your profile using the same ambient lighting conditions you use when viewing images with the profile so avoid light and weather extremes during setup.

If you’re unhappy with the results you can fine-tune them, or simply discard the profile and start again. You may think the Monaco Optix XR is a device you’ll only need to use once, but the manufacturer recommends you calibrate and profile your display regularly for both consistency and to measure monitor drift.

The Kodak kit adds a set of seven photographic prints and a CD containing the original files so you can test the accuracy of both screen settings and printer. Here results are still dependent on the quality of your printer and the paper you use.

The Monaco Optix XR should work in harmony with many third-party imagining applications such as Photoshop. If in doubt, online PDF guides to colour management plus an FAQ should answer any queries.

OUR VERDICT

If colour is a priority in your Mac's life then something like Studio XR is vital. It's not cheap but does have the potential to save money, which could be wasted on ink and paper, while ensuring peace of mind when delivering work to clients. That reassurance alone is priceless.

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