I'm So Angry I'm Seeing Red; Perfecting Color Modes in SAi Flexi featured image
Nov 05, 2021

I'm So Angry I'm Seeing Red; Perfecting Color Modes in SAi Flexi

If you use any sign software and try to print what you see on the monitor and it comes out, well way, way off, it can make you so angry you'll see red. By the way, that really
happens to people that are angry, they are more sensitive to red.

But what if you just want to print a good solid red? Of course, opinions on what is a "good" red vary, but perhaps a common answer would be, "I just want the red I see on my monitor!" Well let's see if we can help you out with some great options for printing red in SAi Flexi.

Which One is Red?
Here are several red squares all filled with 100% red. Can you tell the difference?

Most will answer no. But there is in fact a difference, the color mode of the red. Let's look a little closer:

I created each rectangle filled it with RGB red and then changed the color mode using the color mixer to five different methods of defining red. They all look the same when you view them on the monitor of most computers, but when you soft proof them, there are some dramatic changes. Remember, soft proofing is a way to preview the printer output using color settings available in Flexi.

Soft Proofing
I can't stress enough, that setting up a good soft proof is essential in printing software. Soft proofing is a way to allow your monitor to reflect how your printer will print the image.

In Flexi, go to the EDIT menu and choose Color Settings. The resulting menu will allow you to change, Display Settings, Input Profiles and Rendering Intents.

Display Settings
This is where you tell Flexi how to simulate color. Using a custom monitor profile will give you a better result, but if you do not have that, use the sRGB setting. Next set your printer and output profile.

Input Profile
This is where you define the color space to be used for defining the color. RGB input profiles vary from very small, like sRGB to larger like ProPhoto or Adobe RGB. You need to collect a few more than the default ones. You can add them easily. I suggest at least ProPhoto and WideGamut. (Download a few from here) Once you have them in a folder just right click on them to install them in Windows and then in Flexi, in the Input Profile TAB of color settings choose add and choose the ones you want.

Rendering Intents
For vector art as we are discussing here, you can choose to change the rendering intent from Relative to something like Saturation or No Color Correction to allow a change. Just remember to change them back for any new file you work on.

Soft proofing, if setup correctly can give you a better idea of what will happen to the color when printed. The same red color may shift a bit based on the color mode but is also influenced by the Input Profile and Rendering Intents. That’s what controls the "number", CMYK combination, for the red and how it is printed.

Let's test a couple of Input Profiles as well as Rendering Intents.

Input Profiles & Rendering Intents
Below, you can see the effect of changing the input profile, and on the last row, we just changed the input profile and the rendering intent as shown.

While none of the changes result in an exact match of the red on the monitor, no surprise, the last two rows seem to have a very deep red result and no doubt would print very close to what we see here.

Notice also, that in the last row, the red does not vary significantly from one square to the next, so regardless of the color mode, RGB, CMYK, Spot etc., the red would print about the same.

This means that if we can define the red to always use the ProPhoto input profile when printing, we would get red no matter the color mode given. Well, we can!

Defining Vector Colors with Color Management
If you examine the swatch table in Flexi, you'll see the red color on it. Double click that color and you'll get the following dialog box. Just change the input profile and rendering intent etc. for that color and save it.

From now on no matter the color mode of vector red, it will use the new color management settings. You can do this with any vector color, so why not adjust the entire swatch table in your Flexi sign software?

From now on, you'll be seeing red, but you won't be angry!

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