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LCD monitors are, for the moment, not as color accurate as CRT monitors. They are very hard to calibrate and also let reflected light interfere with color consistency if not viewed directly face on.
This will all probably change at some point over the next few of years, but most high end prepress professionals will generally stick with good CRT monitors for the moment.
Good LCDs (and they do need to be good) do tend to give a sharper image and better detail though.
I spent 10 years or so in the printing industry when DTP was making it's debut. A great many of those years we spent chasing "monitor calibration." The bottom line is for print, there are colors outside the CMYK gamut in RGB, and vice-versa. You simply can't produce some colors accurately in both media, one deals with subtractive color (pigments) and one deals with additive color (colored light.)
The same is true, really, for any color medium, whether it's CRT's vs. LCD, painter's pigments vs. CMYK, whatever - every device is going to have a different interpretation no matter how you try because the way it produces color uses different resources.
So here's the 'secret'. You work with your final output medium, then use the color level values in your graphics program to match up.
An example: for CMYK printing, get out the color swash book and look up the CMYK color value (under balanced light!) for any given color. Open the file in Photoshop or other graphics program. Hold the eye dropper (or any tool) over the corresponding color area, then look at the values in the Info box. When the CMYK values in the program match up with the values in the swash book, your color will match.
I gave up on "visual calibration" years ago. A close enough approximation is just that, close enough, for precise output use the numbers. Although most designers want to "look and go," in the long run color placement by the numbers is actually easier and frees you from monitor calibration anxiety.
I get the feeling that LCD monitors may not be able to display as many colors as a CRT.
If you Google for recent news about Apple getting sued about their portable displays you will find some interesting information on the subject.
But yes, generally LCD monitors do tend to dither colours, although I believe that some high end LCDs do now display a much wider gamut of colours. To what degree these match mid-to-high-end CRTs for colour fidelity is debatable.
The class-action lawsuit targets the new glossy displays that Apple has included with its recent Macbook and Macbook Pro lines since the product refreshes last year. According to advertising, Apple claims the new displays have "blacker blacks" and "whiter whites" than ever before, asserting that the contrast ratio on the screen is superior to that of other notebook displays. However, the lawsuit alleges that these screens actually show heavy dithering, illustrated by graininess and sparkling effects.
Furthermore, the suit claims that Apple was aware that its displays are substandard, but marketed them as the superior product anyway. When complaints began to surface in Apple's forums, posts were deleted or heavily moderated. Many people were told they were "imagining the defects" or "being too picky" about the quality of the display.
My experience with an LCD vs. CRT is that the LCD seems to create more pronounced JPG noise in contrasty areas of some images. I've increased the quality setting in Photoshop that I use to create images as a way to combat the effect, but it still bugs me. The number of bytes to store these images is naturally higher as a result.
I want my photos to look good for my online audience. These "great" new monitors are making that more difficult for me.
I found the discussion of printing vs. viewing on a screen interesting, but it's not really a concern for me. My concern is strictly about monitors and I'm figuring that more and more people online are using LCD monitors these days, so I needed to get one for myself in order to see what they are seeing, and possibly adjust my images accordingly.
Colour Purity: This is where the CRT monitors take a clear advantage. However the best LCD monitors are very good and for an average user the difference is hardly noticeable in side by side comparison. The difference can vary from slight to significant depending on the quality of the LCD monitor used in comparison.
Contrast: Traditionally the CRT monitors always had better contrast and LCD monitors were lagging behind. Recently some of the best LCD monitors have come very close and according to some they match what the CRT is capable of in terms of contrast. This aspect of the monitor helps in correct tonal characteristics in low light situations. A high contrast monitor is likely to produce black as black rather than dark grey. High contrast is most important for gaming and movie playback.
Dead Pixels: What are Dead Pixels? Dead Pixels are simply pixels on the LCD monitors that do not function. Dead Pixels are not repairable hence they stay there for good. Dead Pixels can easily be identified in programs with white background; you can spot them in the same place every time you switch on your system. In the early days the issue of dead pixels on LCD monitors was a big one confronting most of the manufacturers, however, the manufacturing practices have greatly improved over time and dead pixel issue is very much controlled based on the experience gained. Still many manufacturers themselves are confused as to the Warranty Policies they need to enact for replacement of those monitors with dead pixels. The top manufacturers have no problem replacing the monitor within the warranty period. So when shopping for an LCD monitor check the dead pixel policy indicated in the warranty. Also check for dead pixels once you install it in your system. If you spot a dead pixel within the warranty period get a replacement.
I started a new thread, a rant, about colors: PMS vs RGB vs CYMK. I have a comparative chart online which shows the actual color and corresponding colors if anyone is interested.
Ah, I see the initialism PMS which has been deprecated in favor of Pantone Color Guide for obvious reasons. ;)
If you have a chart online that shows Pantone Colors along with their trademarked numbering system and color breakdown, be prepared to get a C&D from Pantone. I've been a lucky recipient of one of those. I used to have the ultimate Pantone Color Conversion tool on the net until that C&D came. ;)
I find that the color on LCD monitors is much more vibrant due to the backlighting from the display. I remember when LCDs were first becoming popular. I went and bought one. Worked with it for a couple of hours and took it back. I just wasn't ready for that type of color shift. I needed to see what the rest of the world was seeing.
I too come from the traditional print side and have been immersed in color since 1990. We use Radius press monitors in the art department. For true color calibration to occur, you have to take into account all the variables in your working environment. Heck, I remember when the Radius rep came out to show us how to do "exact" color calibrations. Oh, that was fun! We even went as far as donning a black smock so light was not reflecting off our clothing.