Putting Color Management Front and Center

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					process & workflow


                                                Putting
    Color Management
                    Front and Center
    By Marc Welch
                                                                      required colors. This interactive, skills-based approach
                                                                      takes an inordinate amount of time and many operators
        Recently, color management                     has become     don’t have such skills. Meanwhile, as the operator fixes
    a more important requirement for wide-format signs and            some colors in the image, something else in the image gets
    displays. The technology is maturing, becoming easier to          ‘broken’. The whole approach is based on subjective visual
    use, and customers are more aware of the advantages in            assessment and no one ever gets all the ‘stars’ to line up.
    delivering consistent, accurate color.                                 Similarly, when printing with different inks (solvent,
        There are two key components to wide-format color             aqueous, etc.), on different machines, with different RIPs
    management. One is accuracy—the ability to replicate col-         (Colorburst, EFI, Onyx, and others), centralized color
    ors to a standard or the brand and product colors for cos-        management is far better than individual printer-based
    metics, fashion, etc. The other key is consistency between        systems. Ultimately, after the system is up and running, all
    printers. One digital printer is comparatively easy to color      a printer needs is a spectrophotometer and a measuring
    manage, but multiple printers are a challenge. When using         process that virtually anyone can follow.
    multiple, different digital printers, a flexo press and an off-        A good centralized color management system also
    set press, the objective is still consistency between the print   supports using a single, standards-based, color corrected
    processes, but the task becomes insurmountable without            image file that can be safely sent to any printer as a PDF
    the right tools.                                                  file. This approach also delivers files more ‘forgiving’ to
                                                                      changing conditions. Some color management systems
    Science Replaces Skill                                            additionally deliver customized separations optimized to
        Many companies become experts in image editing in             the specific printer, ink, and media. This produces more
    order to output consistent color. This method requires            consistency, ink savings, improved drying and better adhe-
    lots of skill. The operator outputs a proof, goes into the        sion to the substrate.
    ‘adjust image’ function of a photo editing program, and                Because a centralized color-managed system is based
    experiments with the image until the output matches the           on scientific measurement, it is more reliable. Once
                                                                                      installed, anyone can run the system. The
                                                                                      incremental costs are for software, an auto-
                                                                                      mated spectrophotometer, hardware (an
                                                                                      existing computer may be suitable), installa-
                                                                                      tion and training
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: Many companies become experts in image editing in order to output consistent color. This method requires lots of skill. The operator outputs a proof, goes into the 'adjust image' function of a photo editing program, and experiments with the image until the output matches the required colors. This interactive, skills-based approach takes an inordinate amount of time and many operators don't have such skills.
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