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Implementing Color Management in Tough Times

(March 2009) posted on Mon Mar 16, 2009

Tips to ensure color quality even when there's not much money to spare.


By Stephen Beals

John Pannozzo, one of the owners of Colorbyte (a Mac- and PC-based RIP), says his company is selling more RIPs to more serious amateurs than to professionals. He says his customers by and large don’t really think they need a RIP, but they do need help with CM. For that reason, every new iteration of the company's basic software attempts to simplify the CM process. As you might guess, for that market space, Pannozzo also sees a big push from producing a static image to photo-related products: greeting cards, photobooks etc. So in addition to all of the bundled profiles, Colorbyte has added frames and borders, background, and text capabilities so that users can output those diverse products from within the RIP application.

Wasatch takes a similar approach on the signage and graphics side of the market. But Wasatch does promote the use of spectrophotometers and other color-calibration instruments to measure and verify color, and builds links into its software to take in data from a wide variety of devices. Using the slogan "great out of the box color," the company promotes the ease of use of the SoftRIP product: "Almost anyone can begin printing accurate color with a minimum of training.'

The software includes a suite of color features, and all settings that can affect your color are bundled into one profile. Users can select the profile that matches their print conditions, and if any adjustment is needed, it's easy to make quick alterations with color correction tools similar to those found in design applications. A "color lock" feature ensures against accidental corruption of color settings, which is especially useful in larger shops where many operators interface with the RIP. Again, the point is to make achieving proper color matches as simple and painless as possible.

Bundling and more
Onyx takes the approach of making its RIP software "play nice" with a wide variety of third-party calibration instruments. This allows the data to be brought directly into the RIP’s tool kit. What this mitigates is the need to translate profile data seamlessly into the RIP. Rather than handle all of the data input through separate software, the Onyx approach is to allow literally dozens of calibration devices from a variety of manufacturers to input directly into the RIP software.


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