By Flip Phillips Macworld.com | on July 30, 2009
Price When Reviewed: 319
The AppSet plug-ins keep application colour settings in sync across applications like InDesign, QuarkXPress, and Photoshop, though there are some issues with Photoshop CS4 that require a small amount manual intervention. The colour palettes you create are automatically synchronized between the above applications as well as through a ColorMunki colour picker plug-in, making them available to any application that uses the standard Apple colour picker.
Lastly, there are advanced calibration settings for those who want to take ambient room lighting into account, or specify an alternate target illumination and monitor luminance.
Finally, ColorMunki Photo caps the suite of tools. It contains the same hardware as Design, allowing for printer and monitor profiling as well as grabbing colours from the real world. It also allows for projector profiling, which some folks may find handy.
The software is essentially the same as Design, but without the Pantone libraries, which most photographers won't care about anyway. The colour picking and manipulation software is separate from the calibration software, unlike Design and Create, but has the same essential palette creation and exploration features. There is also a DigitalPouch application that allows for 'packaging' images and their calibration information for sharing with others.
The useful thing here is that the person on the receiving end of the transaction doesn't need ColorMunki software to get the benefit. The package contains an application that allows for calibrated viewing on their end as well. As anyone who has had to try to verbally describe colour issues to their printer knows, this colour communication feature is a welcome addition to the photographer's toolkit.
Since printing and monitor display are fundamentally different beasts, it is very difficult if not impossible to always match colours between devices. There are colours your monitor can display that your printer can't print and vice versa. Even worse, your eye-brain-environment team has its own agenda when it comes time to deciding whether or not colours match.
That said, the calibration and profiling provided by the various products in the ColorMunki 1.1 suite resulted in consistent and realistic monitor colours across machines, while the Photo and Design products delivered print colours that matched well across a variety of image types (photos, graphs, and illustrations) with photos getting the best results.
The ColorMunki product line brings very good colour management down to the entry-level professional, advanced amateur, or enthusiast at a reasonable price. Both the hardware and software are easy to use and the digitizing features of the Design and Photo software make it an indispensable tool for those who need to match colours to paints, fabrics, and other physical objects.