Touch7 takes just one mouse click inside of Photoshop to produce up to a 7-colour separation of an image. However, Photoshop does not provide an accurate colour representation of any separation with more than CMYK or RGB images,” said Touch7’s Founder and CTO, Richard Ainge. “We are not a colour management company so we partnered with RemoteDirector to provide us with an OEM version of their technology.”
Mark Geeves, Director of Sales and Marketing for Touch7, explained: “We have targeted the digital press and printer markets with our Touch7 Soft-Proofing solution since people forget these presses are really production machines and there is a real need not to use them as proofing devices until the design is ready. If printers take six minutes of production time to produce 10 proofs a day then you have one hour of production time wasted.
“Touch7 creates an extended colour gamut separation in seconds,” continued Geeves, “which saves hours of manual masking and now with our Soft-Proofing solution, digital presses and printers are more productive as well.”
Touch7 is powered by Khaos Technology, a developer of Adobe plug-ins and software tools for the printing industry.
The Color Conference, held this past December in Phoenix, was an orgy of expanded gamut software, tools and technologies. In sunny Arizona there were solutions for expanded gamut printing from Heidelberg, Esko, Xerox, GMG, CGS and PANTONE. It is now important for commercial printers to understand this new revolution in expanded gamut printing, as more of the industry’s biggest technology providers are developing substantial products in this area.
In general, we have printed for a long time using four process colours – CMYK – and when a customer needed something more colourful we created a separate spot channel plate and ordered ink or requisitioned the ink from the in-house mixing lab. This is the way we have worked for many years in offset and flexography. Digital devices, such as the HP Indigo, are also able to print with extra colour units and Indigo customers throughout North America order their spot colour toner from a lab in Rochester. In this type of usage, the spot colour channels did not expand the overall gamut per se, they just sent some colours to the separate plates or printing units.
Colour paradigm shift
Expanded or extended gamut printing is a paradigm shift in terms of colour and colour gamut. In expanded gamut printing, we move from four-colour printing to seven-colour printing and our base set of process colourants is now seven colour, which can be different for different systems. For example, the new PANTONE+ Extended Gamut swatch book is printed using CMYK plus Orange, Green and Violet (OGV). The Xerox iGen5 has a 5th toner station and can extend the colour gamut with CMYK plus Orange, Green or Blue (OGB). The swatch book is available as a traditional swatch book as well as in software – PANTONE Color Manager – and shows how spot colours would be reproduced in seven colours (CMYK+ OGV).
We can create an ICC colour profile for this extended gamut process and analyze the extent of the expanded gamut using colour management tools. One indicator of the increase in gamut size and volume is to assess how many more spot colours can now be accurately reproduced by mix of the CMYK+OGV ink set. The big advantage is that we can reproduce many more spot colours without using separate spot colour printing! In other words, we do not need to make spot colour plates and order spot colour inks to accurately reproduce many spot colours.
In addition, we have the benefit of just keeping the press running with this expanded colourant set and no press wash-ups. Only the most colourful of spot colours with the most exacting and high-paying client would now warrant traditional spot colour treatment in making a separate plate and ordering a spot colour ink.
In an extended gamut printing process, many more spot colours will now be in gamut of a seven-colour process. An important new requirement is that software tools need to give you an indication of the accuracy with which the process can reproduce any given spot colour. Every colour management vendor at the Phoenix conference was showing new software that enabled users to gauge their seven-colour-process ability.
Proof is in the pudding
The new world of expanded gamut printing also needs to consider proofing. We still may need to create inkjet proofs for the customer. The inkjet proofer must be able to accurately proof the CMYK+OGV press sheet. An inkjet proofer does not need to have exactly the same OGV colourants as a press, but it does need to have the ability to print the increased gamut, so typically the Epson Stylus Pro 7900 has CMYK + OG, while the Epson Stylus Pro 11880 has Vivid Magenta to try and keep up with a CMYK+OGV press. It may be non-intuitive, but there is no requirement for the inkjet proofer to have cartridges that match the units on the press it is trying to simulate. An inkjet proofer can use any inks as long as it can create a sufficient colour gamut to proof the press colours.
There are pressures on commercial printing today to increase colour gamut and reduce costs. Using an expanded gamut set meets both of these requirements. It is more economical to use an expanded gamut ink set rather than wash up of spot colours for individual jobs.
We are likely to see increased use of expanded gamut tools and printing in all areas of commercial offset and flexo package printing. We have already seen installations of digital presses with an expanded gamut toner ability. Based on the tools and technologies coming to market, from all the major companies, expanded gamut printing is here today and growing tomorrow.
“Extended colour gamut grinting is nothing new to the printing industry, however, Touch7 with it’s automated and simple one-click colour palettes and plug-ins, empowers designers and prepress personnel to do in seconds, what currently can require hours in manual processing and masking,” explains Geeves, Touch7’s Director of Sales and Marketing.
“The developments by ink companies, print engines, RIP manufacturers and ICC profiling tools has been extensive over the past years, however, no one has really focused on the necessity for providing creative tools for designers, so that they can utilize these developments and reduce their cycle time to production,” continues Geeves.
He explains Touch7 is designed as an intuitive system to help brands utilize extended gamut printing at a fraction of the time and cost associated with doing manual processing, and without the necessity to send files through a dedicated colour separation system. Geeves explains this opens up extended gamut printing to some of the industry’s smallest print shops.
Richard Ainge explains the "true power" of Touch7 lies in its automated ECG colour palettes and plug-ins for Adobe CC, which allows designers to create artwork in an extended colour gamut, without having to leave the Adobe environment.
Touch7 is comprised of three primary components: Touch7 Photo, Touch7 Vector and Touch7 Soft-Proofing.
PantoneLIVE Private Cloud is described as a secure, cloud-based repository that allows packaging converters and commercial printers to store and share existing proprietary colour libraries across the colour supply chain. The PantoneLIVE ecosystem itself is designed to digitally communicate colour between brand owners, designers, premedia, ink suppliers and printers. The model is meant to ease the workflow process and ultimately deliver consistent colour and to meet customer expectations.
“In addition to the Pantone Matching System, many converters have invested time and resources developing their own colour libraries and standards for specific customers,” said Adrián Fernández, VP, PantoneLIVE, X-Rite Pantone. “Leveraging the benefits of the PantoneLIVE model to streamline colour specification and communication, we are now enabling printers to publish proprietary colours in a private cloud infrastructure.” X-Rite explains all colours published in PantoneLIVE Private Cloud are available for selection within PantoneLIVE-enabled prepress systems such as GMG and Esko.
X-Rite has also expanded on its PantoneLIVE initiative with its new PantoneLIVE Rationalization Service that is designed to analyze and consolidate a printer’s colour library to improve colour consistency, increase production efficiency, and avoid wasteful duplication of colour.
Over time, X-Rite explains a printer’s colour library can grow substantially, including potential issues of duplication, which can become unmanageable or inefficient in ink matching and production planning. “Printers and converters can benefit from the PantoneLIVE Rationalization Service by analyzing and consolidating colorrs that are so close together in the colorr space that they are effectively the same,” said Chris Halford, Technical Director for PantoneLIVE Services, X-Rite Pantone.
“We have worked with a number of converters who have seen a 30 percent to 45 percent reduction in their colour libraries,” continued Halford. “This creates a leaner colour palette with fewer colours to manage and a smaller inventory of inks. This saves time, budget and reduces errors. The remaining colours in the digital library can be easily accessed, giving the printer and the brand owner the confidence that their colours are consistent, no matter where the item is produced or what substrate is used.”
Color Mapping is another service included in the PantoneLIVE Rationalization process, whereby client colours are mapped to standard Pantone Matching System (PMS) colours and to PantoneLIVE dependent references. With this mapping, X-Rite explains a converter’s entire packaging supply chain can make use of both Master and Dependent Libraries within the PantoneLIVE ecosystem.
EFI explains the ES-6000 can read thousands of colour patches in minutes and accommodates M0, M1 and M2 measurement illumination conditions, which better allow for managing the complexities of measuring optically brightened substrates. “Making sure that press profiles are up to date and digital presses are properly calibrated can be a challenge,” said John Henze, VP of Marketing, EFI Fiery. The company states its new spectrophotometer can read up to 2,500 patches on a single A3/tabloid sheet in just 10 minutes.
The ES-6000 spectrophotometer, developed through EFI’s relationship with X-Rite, is specifically integrated with the EFI Fiery Color Profiler Suite. Using the spectrophotomer on a print shop’s local access network provides for colour management of multiple print engines in a single shop location.
Multiple people can use Fiery Color Profiler Suite to print colour patch pages that can be fed into the ES-6000 for automated measurement. The ES-6000 then communicates results back to the correct user for completion of the colour management or verification process.
GMG OpenColor, which tackles the interplay of inks for creating predictive profiles for overprinting, among more common colour management operations, received the InterTech Technology Award, FTA Technical Innovation Award and a Technical Innovation commendation from the European Rotogravure Association.
“OpenColor 2.0 is a substantial upgrade to our first release… We feel very confident that we added and optimized features according to our target group's needs and made the software easier to use,” said Victor Asseiceiro, Product Manager for OpenColor.
OpenColor 2.0 features a completely redesigned user-centred interface. GMG explains a project-based view provides more flexibility in handling measurement data and creating profiles, while at the same time allowing for more safety in terms of data control and transparency. Each packaging product can be managed via a project folder, which holds all related information in one place.
Also new to version 2.0, a centralized data management systems provides for more accurate and consistent results across multiple sites. GMG explains OpenColor 2.0 offers more control in terms of publishing functionality so that only approved data and profiles proceed into production.
GMG OpenColor 2.0 also comes with new correction tools for determining potential sources of error, optimizing measurement data and editing profiles. All corrections are visualized in a live preview.
The new GMG OpenColor multichannel test chart generator is a tool to create individual test charts for all packaging applications. GMG explains virtually any number of patches can be defined in various overprinting combinations and with full control of the separations. All test charts created with GMG OpenColor can be measured within the application, with the software supporting the most commonly used measuring devices in the industry.
X-Rite Inc. of Grand Rapids, Michigan, has introduced an updated PANTONE Certified Printer Program for commercial printers and packaging converters to address new industry standards.
The PANTONE Certified Printer Program reviews and analyzes a range of colour operations from preflight, file preparation and proofing to ink formulation and mixing, and process control in the pressroom.
The process begins with a PANTONE Certified Printer Audit conducted by an X-Rite specialist. The audit process isolates issues that compromise colour accuracy and is the basis for the implementation of standards-based procedures so that operators can produce consistent colour.
“The PANTONE Certified Printer Program closes the gap that exists between the many other certification programs available today which cover only part of the workflow, or simply a press or a proofer,” said Mark Gundlach, Training Development Manager at X-Rite. “This program is unique in that it ties all areas of production together, from prepress and ink formulation to the pressroom with a focus on both process colour and spot colour reproduction. This applies to digital, flexo, litho and even grand format print production.”
PANTONE Certified Printers follow standard operating procedures throughout the production operation when specifying CMYK colours based on their print standards. PANTONE colours are specified and formulated using spectral data from the PantoneLIVE digital libraries.
Packaging converters and printers that earn certification are then able to use the PANTONE Certified Printer logo in sales and marketing efforts.
Epson has introduced its new SpectroProofer-UVS, described as an inline spectrophotometer for its 17-, 24- and 44-inch Epson Stylus Pro printers. Developed jointly with X-Rite, these optional SpectroProofers provide automated colour management and verification-related tasks in a range of proofing applications.
The new SpectroProofer-UVS models support the M1 measurement illumination standard and are UV selectable between M1 and M2. Additionally, Epson explains the UVS models support up to 50 percent more patches per scan and slightly faster measurement times.
The SpectroProofer series is designed for colour consistency between Epson 17-, 24- and 44-inch printers, making them suited for commercial graphics, package proofing, and remote proofing applications. Current SpectroProofer owners have the option to upgrade to the new ILS30EP component of SpectroProofer-UVS models.
“The new SpectroProofer-UVS models were designed based on direct feedback from customers, and build on the more than five years of success of the current SpectroProofer series,” stated Larry Kaufman, Product Manager, Professional Imaging, Epson America Inc.
The new SpectroProofer-UVS will begin shipping in late-October 2014.
Goss International reached a strategic cooperation with graphic software provider Alwan Color Expertise. The agreement focuses on providing repeatable colour accuracy for Goss Sunday Vpak press users across applications like labels, carton and board, and flexible packaging printing.
“This is particularly critical when using special ink formulations and substrates that have been specified by brand owners, often with little regard for the technical challenges involved,” stated Mike D’Angelo, managing director of Goss International Americas, noting a lack of colour control in this segment, which Goss first entered in 2012. “In response to this need, we have identified Alwan as the perfect fit for Goss, complementing our own product design expertise with their established ISO development credentials.”
Goss Sunday Vpak 500 and Vpak 3000 web offset press models for folding carton, flexible packaging, pre-print and label applications are available in web widths from 520 mm to 1905 mm (20.5 to 75 inches) and print at speeds of up to 457 metres (1,500 feet) per minute. Key features include quick-change sleeve adapter technology for efficient, cost-effective size changes, and advanced offset inking, tension and control systems.
As a result of the new cooperation, software solutions provided will include on-press colour matching, press calibration, and print proofing and verification, all of which are available for CMYK and extended gamut printing, spot colour and HiFi colour production.
GMG has introduced version 4.9 of its ColorServer technology with new PDF/VT-1 compatibility, CMYK to RGB conversions and support of IDEAlliance file standards.
GMG ColorServer automates the colour normalization of PDF files, which is designed to provide accurate CMYK to CMYK, RGB to RGB, RGB to CMYK, CMYK to RGB and spot colour to CMYK conversions, while preserving the integrity of the black channel. The result, according to GMG, is a standardized and simplified colour management model for more consistent print results across a range of print processes and substrates.
The PDF/VT-1 file format, now supported by ColorServer 4.9, continues to gain momentum for work requiring high-speed personalized content such as transactional applications like credit card bills and bank statements, as well as with jobs like direct mail, catalogues, photo-books, coupons and tickets.
Along these lines, GMG is releasing a 64-bit native version of ColorServer 4.9 to meet the required processing times of high-speed inkjet systems. The current 32-bit version of ColorServer 4.9 has also been optimized to deliver processing times of up to 3,500 variable-data PDF pages per minute (depending on hardware configuration and job specifications).
The Paper Adaption Tool in ColorServer allows print service providers to recalculate a file’s colour data against a particular support material, even if the proof simulates a different final stock. For example, the Paper Adaption tool can adjust print data to match an ISOcoatedV2 proof, even if the production material is different.
GMG ColorServer 4.9 also now supports the new FD 5 and FD 7 spectrophotometers from Konica Minolta.
Ryobi MHI launched a new colour control system called INSTA.COLOR, which stands for Integrated Smart Technology and Automation for Color Print, during a mid-May open house event in Marietta, Georgia.
The company ran live demonstrations of its flagship 8-up Ryobi 920 series press with INSTA.COLOR for more than 60 printers. Ryobi states INSTA.COLOR allows the press to come to colour with sellable work in as few as 25 sheets, while also helping the press hit 6-minute make-readies.
“INSTA.COLOR provides color fidelity well beyond pre-set densities and gives Ryobi users the control they need to meet their customer’s precise color demands,” explained Chris Manley, President of Graphco, Cleveland, and co-founder of Graphic Systems North America (GSNA).
GSNA is group of six distribution companies carrying Ryobi press technology, which includes Canada’s KBR Graphics Canada and Canadian Printing Equipment, as well as Print & Finishing Solutions, G.E. Richards, Paper Handling Solutions and Graphco. GSNA was formed in 2013.
The GSNA open house event was held May 7 to 8 at the Ryobi MHI North American Demonstration Center. INSTA.COLOR leverages Ryobi’s PDS-E SpectroDrive scanners with closed-loop print density monitoring. It allows for on-press colour adjustments as needed.
The Ryobi 920 press series can be integrated with both INSTA.COLOR and LED-UV instant curing. The 920 press is available in up to 10 colours with fully automatic simultaneous plate changers, reaching speeds of up to 16,200 sheets per hour.
Techkon, a German developer of densitometers, spectrophotometers and software for colour control with a North American division in Danvers, Massachusetts, unveiled its new PressLink technology, describing it as a “closed loop print colour control solution.”
PressLink is comprised of hardware and software components that, Techkon explains, enable both automatic presetting of the ink fountains at the start of a press run as well as continuous automatic adjustments based on target values throughout the press run. PressLink runs based on a range of industry-accepted file formats and is compatible with most press manufacturers.
The system connects prepress directly to the press using Ink Presetting software. As the press starts running, the operator scans press sheets with the SpectroDrive to ensure the accurate density has been achieved. If accurate density is not achieved, then Techkon Expresso Software will send the right settings to the ink keys to make the necessary adjustments on the fly, thereby providing closed-loop colour control.
PressLink is available in thee different packages, as well as in custom configurations, including:
PressLink Ink Presetting
Calculates ink coverage for each ink zone and all colours based on CIP3, JDF or TIFF file from prepress. Automatically presets press ink keys for optimal ink coverage.
The Techkon SpectroDrive automatically scans entire colours bars while simultaneously sending spectral colour and density measurement data wirelessly to a PC running Techkon software.
PressLink Closed Loop System
The Techkon SpectroDrive measures press sheet colour bars and automatically adjusts press ink keys to maintain optimal ink coverage. Ink keys are set based on target density or minimum achievable Delta E.
Techkon, a manufacturer of colour-measuring instruments for the printing industry, is introducing new functions for its SpectroDens handheld Spectro-Densitometer.
The advances include a new scan-function for individual control elements. The instrument can measure density and spectral values of up to 54 patches in one scan, based on new pattern recognition algorithms. For the scan, no guide bar is required because the instrument’s four wheels keep straight alignment while scanning. SpectroDens algorithms detect that the colour bar being scanned is correct, has the correct number of patches and that the colours are in the right sequence. SpectroDens displays an error message if the incorrect number of patches are scanned or if the scanning speed is too fast or too slow.
Techkon’s SpectroDens now also features support of the common ECI/bvdm Gray Control Strips tvi10 and M i1 with ISO-Check functions. This, according to Techkon, allows users to perform a check in accordance to ISO/PSO within three seconds.
New ISO 12647-2:2013 values are also now included in SpectroDens as well as its supporting SpectroConnect software. These new target values and tolerances for offset printing were published in December 2013.
Teckhon’s updated SpectroDens instrument is also designed to work with the Substrate Corrected Colorimetric Aims (SCCA) formula, designed to account for variances in paper colour, developed within the IDEAlliance Print Properties & Colorimetric Committee. SpectroDens allows users to measure the paper and, based on those measurements and using the SCCA formula, calculate new aim points on the instrument. This helps with colour matches for substrates containing optical brightening agents.
All new functions are free depending on the instrument version by firmware update of SpectroDens. The updated instrument will be showcased during the upcoming Ipex exibition in London from March 24 to 29.
X-Rite Inc. introduced version 1.5 of its i1Profiler system with an emphasis on creating accurate device links to better drive a range of printing processes (inkjet, toner, offset) and to manage legacy print work.
i1Profiler v1.5 includes a new Device Link Profiling feature for colour mapping from one device to another, which includes an emphasis on creating what X-Rite describes as digital-to-digital and digital-to-offset links. Version 1.5 allows for re-targeting colour data values when a job is being printed – in maintaining colour separations.
Frank Maeder, X-Rite Product Manager of Imaging Solutions, states that in addition to running equipment more efficiently, customers using i1Profiler v1.5 should see benefits in the vibrancy and saturation of printed materials and efficient use of inks and toners.
Beyond the new Device Link Profiling feature, the i1Profiler v1.5 update also includes: M1 support for i1iO in spot mode, support for the Hutch Color (HCT) targets for scanner profiling, support for the Ugra/Fogra Media Wedge CMYK for large-format printing, and enhanced display and projector profiling.
Device Link Profiling is available free of charge to current X-Rite customers with i1Pro 2. Users must have an i1Pro 2 instrument with an i1Profiler Publish license or a USB dongle with an i1Profiler Publish license to unlock Device Link.
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