Blurred and lifeless colours at Lulu?

edited August 2009 in Story Games
I just uploaded my game to Lulu (Joy!) and wonder if the colours in the preview really are representative of what it will look like in print?

In my original pictures the cover is almost glowing, but in the preview it looks blurred and lifeless. What are your experiences on the matter?

The Lulu preview here

Compared to the original here

I will do a test print, but if someone can tell right away that/why it won't work I'd like to fix that issue first.


  • Always get a proof copy when making a print copy of a book, it's very important whether you're doing black and white or colour.

    I've done colour books through Lulu before and didn't have any problem with the vibrancy of the colours, but you have to allow for the fact that the contrast settings for your monitor may not match those of the printer's so there is likely to be some discrepency between what you see on the screen and what you see on the paper.

    Sadly there's not a lot you can do up-front to guarantee perfection first time. You could try printing a sample page on your own home printer for comparison, but since different printers produce different results from the same image this isn't a reliable test either.

    It's one of the weaknesses of digital print, I'm afraid. With a litho process you pick your colours from a swatch book and that's the colour you will get. You do it digitally and a whole slew of other variables can affect the process.

  • Not really an answer to your question, but be aware that Lulu isn't very consistent with how it renders colours. Different batches can end up with quite different colour balance.
  • I've had no trouble with the two batches of books I've printed through Lulu. In fact the vibrancy of the colour on the cover was more vibrant that my monitor would have led me to believe.

    Actually, I've really gotta get one of those pantone colour adjustment gadgets for my monitor before I start doing too much more colour graphical work on my PC (especially since I'm colour blind)...but that's another topic entirely. Luckily my wife was a professional colour matcher at one stage, and she was quite happy with the Lulu results.

  • Those bright green colours are possible to render on a screen does not really transfer to four colour print. In CMYK green colours consist of a blend of cyan and yellow ink. Here's a short explanation:

    So this would be expected with any printer, not just lulu. On the other hand lulu is rather notrious for unreliable colour reproduction.
  • Wilhelm, at a guess, I think the preview was generated by averaging over pixels. In that process, your glowing yellow has got mixed with black, producing a more muted tone.

    I don't think the preview reflects the print quality.

  • Ok. thanks everyone. I'll send it of for a test print then and see what it turns out like.
  • No, the preview doesn't indicate the quality. The preview image for The Dance and the Dawn is awful - it's just a black square with some smudges. But it prints just fine. You can see how the printed book preview looks, compared to how it should look, which the preview on the PDF version right under it, at this link, top of the page. I'm actually awaiting a customer service email to see if there's a way to override the preview image or something, cuz the cover is really striking and the black square just isn't cutting it.

    I've had generally good experiences with the color of Lulu books, in that I've never gotten something and it looked different from how I had expected. I haven't compared them across batches seperated by a lot of time, however.
  • Seconding the no -- the preview for Diaspora is terrible but the book in my hands is exactly what I intended.
  • Is your original an RGB file or CMYK?

  • I had some trouble with the cover on the first copy of SA, and it was quite fixable. I forget what the issue was, but do remember playing around with my color inkjet settings and printing out 1/10 scale cover images until I could replicate what Lulu was giving me, and then adjusting my Photoshop image until it printed exactly how I wanted it.
  • edited September 2009
    The picture had the wrong aspect ratio, so the clock on the back looks a bit stretched, otherwise it is fine. And the colours turned out great, and the pictures are as sharp as can be desired. As suspected the green light was not quite as radiant as on monitor, but good enough.

    So now I have TWO games on Lulu, both in Bork tho...

    Also I noticed that the book got significantly cheaper when priced in Pounds rather than Euros.

    Time to start working on my next game.
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