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Taking Control with Color Management

(May 2006) posted on Tue May 23, 2006

This article examines the benefits of color management and uses an actual job to demonstrate how color can be controlled.


By Rick Auterson

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You have in your hands the Delta E (the difference between a sample color and a reference color) information for a thousand colors. These data tell you how well the workflow reproduces color. I have written an Excel workbook to take advantage of this information. The workbook reads the measurement data for the MatchPrint and compares them to the measurement data for a color-managed target. The information is then collected into a frequency distribution of Delta Es (Figure 2). Another way to check the performance of the equipment in the workflow is to select a range of builds that are impractical to print and eliminate them (Figure 3). An example might be a build of 300% total color (100C, 100M, and 100K).

Proofing

Stock is a big factor in proofing. The difference in very light colors between a proof and a print has more to do with the difference in the color of the proofing base compared to whatever stock you use for the job. Some styrenes are, for example, a little blue. How can you print a faint touch of blue that is less blue than the stock is already? Well, you can't. If the customer wants a white baseball, then it'll be the color of the stock. Four-color process just works that way—unless you flood the sheet with white ink, which we do when we print four-color-process graphics on blue PVC.

Leave stock simulations alone. We had this bright idea once to get some really white proofing stock—whiter than anything we print on—and use it as a base on which we would simulate the stock we intended to use in production. The process was tedious and painful. It yielded some great proofs, but we saw enough awful proofs that we decided to try other approaches. We even had our consulting guru, Mike Ruff from ReyHan PGF, tied up with this thing. If you can make stock simulations work, that's great. But we have found that our stock colors are so light and so neutral that they require a finer touch than the inherent variation in the proofer.


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