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I am having a terrible time solving what seems to be a color discrepancy between what I am seeing on my monitors within the Affinity Designer & Photo applications and what I am printing out via my office printer as well as outside print services.  While Affinity Designer & Photo display bright, crips images within the monitor itself, my print jobs from any file format appear very dark and dull, even when printed through third party print shops.  I have had no issues in the past with other programs and their settings.  I am wondering if there might be a color setting that I need to change internally to help your program accurately display on screen what my (and outside) printers will produce. 

If you have any other suggestions, they would be much appreciated.

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That's a huge, complex and everlasting problem. I spent 30 years in the print trade and this issue never really went away unless everybody had calibrated monitors and the correct ICC profiles.


I don't have Designer but I can tell you the basics of colour management so you can see where to start.


Assuming all things are equal, your photo should be sRGB and we'll assume it is about right, from the colour point of view.


Monitors are never consistent, they vary widely between manufacturers and types (CRT, LED, LCD etc). Brightness and contrast settings can be changed (by design or accident) and the display will vary over time as the LEDs wear and even the light in your office affects the way you see it. So, unless you calibrate your monitor, what you see will never be what you get. Calibration devices (Pantone Huey, Datacolor Spyder etc) are basically little scanners that are temporarily attached to your screen. The software that comes with them calibrates your monitor by displaying several colours, one after the other, and scanning their value. It then creates an ICC profile. It does not !!! adjust your monitor. Affinity can use this ICC profile to adjust what you see so it matches the RGB file. Basically, if your photo is red, but your monitor is badly set and displaying orange, Affinity will do it's best to adjust it's output so you see red. In a manner of speaking. ;)


The next part of the equation is the change between RGB light (on your monitor) and CMYK ink that the printer uses. For a desktop printer, it will take your RGB file and convert it according to it's own preference. If the manufacturer knows it prints a bit heavy on Magenta ink, it's internal calibration will take your RGB file and convert it to CMYK, reducing the amount of Magenta on the way. It also makes changes according to what the printer settings are and the paper you are using.


That's basically an ICC profile, but on the printer side. They both compensate for inaccuracies in conversion. 


What gets complicated for litho printing is that you should really convert to CMYK. Affinity does this but you need to use the right conversion table. Printer processes and paper varies a lot, all of which greatly affects the result. You will have noticed how much better the results are if your office printer has good paper, like photo paper, compared to cheap copy paper. The main issue with litho is a thing called "dot gain".


Basically, the water and ink mixture soaks into the paper and like a fountain pen on blotting paper, the ink spreads. In the case of all of the dots making up your image, the picture will look darker. To combat this, in software like Affinity, there are conversion tables, go to "Edit" "Preferences" "Colour" and the "CMYK colour profile " decides which table Affinity uses to compensate for this. Using "US Web coated SWOP", which most software seems to use as a default, would result in the lightest printed result because Web Offset printing spreads the dot the most, the colour profile table compensates by reducing the dot the most. When it gets printed, the dot gain makes it look darker so it should end up as you intended. With something like Euroscale coated on a glossy paper, dot gain is minimal, so the table reduces the dot the least. The problem would be if you used the wrong conversion table.


When if comes to an office printer, you could go to "Print" "Colour Management" and you will see what Affinity is using. You could set Colour Handling from "Performed by App" (Affinity decides) to "Performed by printer" and see what that does. Your printer might well have installed an ICC profile, make sure Affinity is using that.


However, nothing is going to help you much if your monitor is way out.

Windows PCs. Photo and Designer, latest non-beta versions.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi @toltec / guys. Can you possibly help with another colour set-related issue (which is how I found this thread). The issue I thought @hr4art was going to describe is that Affinity Designer (and Photo) both seem to apply some kind of adjustment to their (my) workspace so that images viewed in any other application on the same monitor/session (ie side by side) seem to have completely different properties (roughly 10% desaturated) in the Affinity workspace compared to the same image viewed in Fireworks, Photoshop, any/every browser and every other app I've tried.


I'm sure Affinity Designer is doing something really clever but as a professional graphic designer who only works in the digital space, it's driving me mad and can't find any way to turn off this adjustment. The pics shown in the other thread/post show exactly what's going on (but not how to fix/remove it): https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/41155-designer-imported-images-appear-washed-outbrightened/.


Many thanks in advance to you/anyone who knows what/where this setting is and how to turn it off.


PS I'm using the latest Affinity Designer build but the same issue has been around since pre-release versions. My main workstation here is a Windows 10/64bit, if it makes any difference.



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I am using the Google logo image from the other thread. Note that the image from that thread has no color space assigned and so it is "RGB" but not a particular rendering space. My AD is using Adobe RGB as its default RGB profile and so the image is therefore assigned Adobe RGB upon placing it.


In the screen shot below, the image on the left is in an AD document that has RGB/8 as the document color space. It is using Adobe RGB as mentioned above.


In the middle is an AD document that has a CMYK profile as the default color space (US Sheetfed Coated in this case).


The image on right is from inside PhotoLine and I have assigned the Adobe RGB profile to it.




I think that in the other thread, the OP has imported the image into a CMYK document. An image editor such as PL or PS and even FW is going to open it as an unassigned RGB image. But with AD (and perhaps APhoto...but I don't have it), the AD document that an image is brought into will convert to the document color space.


I don't have any idea if this is your issue or not, but without any test documents it is sort of just guessing, isn't it?



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Guys/team Affinity. With a little testing I've just realised that, in my case, I need to use a different Colour Profile to the recommended/default sRGB IEC61966-2.1 for web/digital work. IE using sRGB IEC61966-2.1 seems to desaturate the colours (all colours) of every image I bring into Affinity Designer's workspace. If I switch to Adobe RGB (1998) the colour match (from any other app/browser to Affinity) is much better whereas it's only if I switch to use the colour profile of my DELL U27313H monitor that the colours match perfectly (as far as I can tell). I'm on a Windows 10/64bit workstation here.


Request: Can this 'feature' or a good explanation of what's going on here be added to your Help section, tutorials and anywhere you can mention it. I don't have this issue with any other professional design/art programme I use and whereas I'm sure the option must be there some very good reasons that perhaps don't apply to anyone, like me, that only work in the web/digital sphere - unless I've missed a very important tutorial somewhere in my 20+ years working as a digital designer.


PS Your otherwise excellent Affinity Designer WorkBook (book) doesn't mention any of this either. IE there's nothing in it at all about colour calibration and the tools/presets that might be needed to work with colour in AD (or AP).

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  • 1 year later...

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