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Using the Color Calibration Tool for Consistent Results

October 19, 2016

Rachel Halford

Canon’s Color Calibration Tool in the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer driver is a robust tool that will enable you to optimize your color reproduction in your printing workflow. This article will take you through the basic media configuration steps when using Canon media as well as third-party papers.

Getting Started

Before beginning a color calibration, a few basic preparation steps will help ensure success and repeatability in your color workflow. First, make sure that your print heads are clean, that the head height is correct for your paper type, and that your print heads are properly aligned. Next, make sure that you have sufficient ink for several prints in your cartridges. Finally, allow your media time to acclimate to the temperature of your room if it has recently been shipped or is stored in a slightly colder area.

Once these steps are complete, you can either use the front panel of the printer or the Canon Quick Utility Toolbox to create your custom color calibration. (If you do not have the Canon Quick Utility Toolbox installed, you can download the installer at this link.)

What is a Color Calibration?

Calibration is a process that ensures that your paper is receiving the exact amounts of ink specified by the driver to create your desired colors. Ink output can change because of small variations in ink and paper production, as well as shifts in humidity and ambient temperature in your work area. It is usually a good practice to calibrate your media whenever you open a new package of paper, replace an ink cartridge, or at least once a month.

To perform the calibration, your printer will print a small pattern on a sheet of your paper, allow the ink to dry, and then measure the pattern with a built-in densitometer. Your printer software will then compare the printer’s output to the expected values, and make adjustments to correct for any deviations in the printed pattern.

Calibration Types

Common Calibration

The common calibration can be thought of as a global printer calibration that is good for general use on many different paper types. With a common calibration, you can execute the calibration once for many different times of media, saving time and materials. Any media that does not have a unique calibration will default to the common calibration.

Unique Calibration

Unique calibration adjustment values are applied only to the media type that is being calibrated. This type of calibration is appropriate for high-quality printing where color precision is important. When you perform a calibration for Photo Paper Plus Glossy II, Photo Paper Plus Semi-gloss, and Matte Photo Paper types, those calibrations will only be applied to that paper type. If a unique calibration does not exist, the printer will default to the common calibration.

Front Panel Calibration

To initiate a calibration from the front panel of your printer, select Maintenance at the Home screen, then select Color calibration. Choose Auto adjust, and then OK to confirm that you want to begin the calibration process. Specify your page size and paper type, then press Settings and OK to begin the calibration. Load a single sheet of A4 or letter-sized paper into the rear feed tray of the printer.

Once you have ensured that the test pattern has begun printing properly, feel free to go get yourself a cup of coffee - the complete process takes about 10 minutes.

If you feel that the calibration did not perform correctly or your printed output seems inaccurate, you can also choose to Enable/Disable Adjustment Values or to Reset Adjustment Values in the Color Calibration screen.

Quick Utility Toolbox Calibration

The Quick Utility Toolbox gives you the option to maintain one or several printers via either a network connection or USB. With this software, you can check that your calibrations are up to date, initiate a color calibration, and check the progress of a remote calibration.

Start by selecting your printer in the Printer List. Click the Calibration button to begin the calibration process. Pull down on the Media Type menu to select the media type that you would like to calibrate. You will need to verify that a single sheet of A4 or letter-sized paper is loaded into the rear feed tray on the printer, and that the correct paper type is selected on the front panel of the printer. When you are ready, select OK to begin your calibration process. The Calibration Monitor window will launch, and you will be able to monitor your calibration’s progress. If needed, you can select a calibration in process, and click the Cancel Calibration button to cancel.

Applying Your Calibration

Once your calibration is complete, you can select your unique calibration value in the front panel of the printer, or in the printer driver under your paper type. If there is a discrepancy in the settings between your printer driver and the printer front panel, the printer driver will override the front panel settings.

Color calibration is an important and frequently overlooked step in maintaining color accuracy both between printers and over a period of time. By spending a few minutes on a regular basis with color calibration, you can ensure that your prints remain faithful to your artistic vision.

Rachel Halford
Rachel Halford

Rachel has over 15 years of experience in product development, training, and support in color management and inkjet printing at Canon, X-Rite, and the Graphic Intelligence Agency.

Rachel Halford

Rachel has over 15 years of experience in product development, training, and support in color management and inkjet printing at Canon, X-Rite, and the Graphic Intelligence Agency. When she isn’t lending her expertise in writing and training on graphic technology, Rachel enjoys photography, cooking, and exploring the Michigan beaches with her family.

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