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Reap the Rewards of Correct Color

(June 2014) posted on Wed Jun 11, 2014

Tips on color management and how to 'get it right' for your customer.

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By Jared Smith

So we use gray as an indicator of how neutral we’re printing. A good rule of thumb is that if you can print a neutral gray using approximately the same amount of cyan, magenta, and yellow (eg, C20, M20, Y20, K0), you have a lot of things right. If your particular inkset requires values like C35, M28, Y19, K0 to get a neutral gray, that’s totally acceptable as well. On the other hand, if you need to send C80, M08, Y40, K00 to get a neutral gray, something is certainly off. The point here: The values across all colors should be similar to get a neutral gray and, more importantly, that you indeed achieve a neutral gray.

One of the primary visible digital-printing issues seen in the marketplace are prints that are intended to be “black and white” or grayscaled, but which obviously appear green, pink, or blue. Usually, this is due to a cast of color somewhere in the workflow.

The main cause for these casts: Your device has not been linearized, gray-balanced, or G7-calibrated to ensure its ability to output neutral grays. To linearize and gray-balance a print device simply means to get rid of any cast and get it printing neutral without wasted ink. In order to eliminate the cast, we must first identify it. Yes, there are ways to achieve neutral grays (and achieve a neutral printing device) by not using the G7 method, but here at bluemedia we have found G7 to be a proven method to achieve neutral gray 100-percent of the time.

Note: Before we start printing and comparing output, ensure that your printing device is in stable condition. This means that it needs to be free of any mechanical or electrical defects, and all maintenance completed. It does you no good to figure out your color-cast problems, but still have some a printer-maintenance concern. That maintenance concern, once adjusted, could throw the color-cast solution you’ve just initiated into disarray. So, first, bring your printer up to speed mechanically; once you are confident that your printer is in great working order, you can move to the next step.