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Embracing New Proofing Technology

(September 2008) posted on Tue Sep 23, 2008

Proofing tools have come a long way in a short period of time.

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By Stephen Beals

Kodak Colorflow, Alwan ICC Color processor, GMG Colorproof, and EFI Colorproof XF are all examples of software that can be integrated with a variety of RIPs to create and utilize device-link profiles (a special kind of ICC profile that directly converts the color space of the input device into the color space of the output device). Many color-management experts I’ve talked to strongly recommend RIPS that support device link profiles. These days, that’s not hard to find.

SpotOn! Press LLC, meanwhile, has released one of the first technologies to institute process control in the pressroom using the G7 methodology. SpotOn! is recognized by IdeAlliance as an official G7 Support Tool. It gives the user a visual dashboard of press conditions by attaching a small target to each job, simplifying the data-gathering and evaluation process. The SpotOn! technology displays how a press or proofer performs to the ISO 12647 standard for inks and overprints, along with the G7 Neutral Print Density Curve and gray balance. Users run an i1 scanning spectrophotometer over the color control strip and SpotOn! automatically generates easy-to-read graphs and tables arranged in a "dashboard"’ style layout. The technology filters jobs by job number, job name, customer, press, operator, paper name, paper grade, paper finish, run length, and custom data.

Using this filtered data, trend charts are generated that show variance from the ISO standard, Neutral Print Density Curve deviation, gray balance deviation, Density to DeltaE trends, and other data. The trend graphs indicate how close to the ISO 12647-2 standard the press is performing and what solid ink density is necessary to keep the inks and overprints within specification. The software also trends data over time so that printers can see how different papers, inks, and other print supplies affect print performance.

Across the marketplace
Other new developments in proofing and related technologies have also cropped up across the marketplace in the past few months. Here are just a few examples:

* For large production houses, Colorgate has released a Quality Assurance Module (QAM) for ProductionServer5, to integrate quality-assurance technology throughout the shop for high-end large-format printing. The system makes it possible to make reliable statements on color consistency in digital printing as well, allowing users to monitor any fluctuations in quality and provides a built-in assistant with a direct connection to the system’s MDS technology (Media Device Synchronization) for recalibration.