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Alternatives for Print-Device Simulation: An Overview of Modern Approaches to Neutralizing Color Out

(May 2007) posted on Thu May 24, 2007

Tired of tying up presses and personnel as you try to emulate the output of your printing equipment? Discover some powerful methods you can use to improve color matching with any CMYK inkset, substrate, or line count on any printing device.


By Mike Ruff

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Here’s a statement that many in the graphic-arts community will disagree with: Using a proofing system to simulate the appearance of a press’s output has caused the loss of millions of dollars in labor and materials in our industry and has made potentially very profitable printers—the ones who really know how to print—unprofitable. Print-device simulation eats up man-hours and press time like Pac-Man gobbling his way through those little dots. A press should be used to produce sellable product and not be tied up by printers who are trying to simulate color appearance. Large- format presses, regardless of imaging technology, are simply not financially feasible proofing devices. You have other options.

 

Common sense will tell you that an 85-line/in. print and a 150-line/in. print won’t match unless you adjust the tonal values to match. That’s why the graphic-arts industry has international standards for color appearance. If a print facility were to conform to international standards, it would need two proofs to simulate the two different line counts. But why? Color management in prepress allows for the adjustment of tonal values, which ultimately leads to color matching. So why work with two proofs when you can just move the tonal values to a specific target? This simple approach to color matching makes it possible for many printers to match their many different print configurations to one standard.

 

Tonal-value adjustment allows colors produced by offset, screen printing, digital imaging, and other print technologies to match one another. All print devices can be standardized to one color target. A standardized color target can turn print shops into money- making machines. Such companies have a free, unrestricted workflow where litho, screen printing, and digital output all match the same color appearance at the correct viewing distance.


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