Spectrophotometer is a color measurement tool used by graphic arts professionals who require a high level of color accuracy and consistency. A spectrophotometer uses a fixed light source and sensor to measure the amount of light that is reflected by the inks and media surface. To maintain the highest level of accuracy, the light source’s wavelength is set to a known reference point and then a standard color, such as white, is first scanned to calibrate the sensor.
A spectrophotometer is able to measure light across the entire visible spectrum and capture the complete range of spectral and reflective characteristics for each color on a printed reference chart (aka patches). This capability makes it the ideal tool for gathering the data needed in color-critical environments where objective color accuracy is required.
What is the Role of a Spectrophotometer in Color Management?
Color management in a graphic arts environment is accomplished via a profiling process whereby each type of print media used in the operation is imaged with a reference chart of color patches and then scanned by a spectrophotometer to measure the color values that result. These color values can then be used to make the adjustments needed to achieve the desired state of accurate and consistent color reproduction.
When the spectrophotometer’s scan operation is completed, specialized software then analyzes the data and compares the results to a set of standard values. The variance between the measured and standard values can then be used to generate a target profile for each device and media type used in the operation. In addition to the variance values, the profile-generation software also takes into account the physical characteristics of the media as well as the color gamut of the inks.