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Controlling Color

(January 2011) posted on Wed Jan 12, 2011

New developments in color-management tools, technologies, and standards.

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By Stephen Beals

Standards and training
G7 certification: The IDEAlliance ( has created an “Official G7 Master Printer and G7 Expert” database, which is now available on the IDEAlliance home page. The organization now offers G7 training classes and a Color Management Professional Certification program as well as a basic Color Management for Printing certificate. The Professional Certification program includes modules in photo and pre-media as well as printing.

CxF, a ‘universal container’: In response to an increased need for the interpretation of color data across media, X-Rite has developed CxF (Color Exchange Format), a file format designed to accurately and unambiguously communicate all commercially relevant aspects of color across devices, applications, and geographies. CxF is an XML (Extensible Markup Language)-based color specification applicable to any industry including design, print production, film and video.

CxF acts as a universal container for carrying the entire set of color reference data supplied by the content creator. CxF can include spectral color values, named colors such as Pantone, color spaces and appearance effects (specific lighting conditions, type of substrate, type of ink, density, opacity, transparency of the color, gloss, texture, position and shape of color patches), as well as commercial aspects, mathematical, optical conditions, etc. CxF is able to integrate data from ICC color profiles, CIE-Lab, XYZ, RGB, CMYK, Pantone, RAL, NCS, Toyo, HKS, and more.

XRGA instrumentation standard: X-Rite has also released a new instrumentation standard, XRGA (as reported in our December issue, pg 16). There are a couple of reasons for the new standard. One is that when Gretag and Macbeth merged, differences in the calibration standards used in the legacy product lines needed to be addressed. The process allowed the company to implement new advances in color technology to the calibration standards for ISO-13655. The company says, “For most of our products, the switch to XRGA results in very small differences in measurement values, so many customers will not need or want to make any changes. For customers who wish to update to XRGA, X-Rite will provide seamless means to move existing databases to the new XRGA standard.”

Andrew Rodney, owner of The Digital Dog in Santa Fe, New Mexico, notes that while this new standard for instrumentation has its benefits, it will also have, “effects on legacy data from non-XRGA standard measurements and those who will need to continue to produce data using newer, XRGA-compliant instruments.”