frequently asked questions
All press-setting applications:
Which spectrophotometer model
should I use?
can use many 45/0° models with Colorsource press-setting applications,
thanks to using standard CGATS spectral measurement files you can
easily produce with a wide range of instruments and applications.
we designed our applications for use with Eye-One Pro (or the equivalent
EFI ES-1000 O.E.M. model), for taking advantage of its fast scanning mode and
its excellent price/performance ratio. Today the Eye-One Pro has been
replaced by Eye-One Pro2 model, which still perfectly does the job.
should use your spectrophotometer in M0 measurement conditions: i.e. spectrophotometer internal light source matching
C.I.E. A illuminant
(2856 K incandescence) with no UV-cut filter. The applications may work when
using a UV filter but mind ISO12647-x and G7/IDEAlliance standards
target colors have been measured with no UV filter, so that small
differences may occur.
With or without UV filter, differences in paper
tints may still occur when using uncoated papers because of ISO12647-x
paper tints specifications. For more details on these issues, please refer to our regularly
updated paper about color printing
and proofing standards and to the applications user's
think it is not worth using any more expensive spectrophotometer model,
for 95% of publishing and packaging commercial print applications.
think the hand-held 45/0° proprietary pressroom spectrophotometers with
useless built-in functions are obsolete equipments, because they are
very expensive without bringing any significant advantage in real life
in terms of accuracy. And using them efficiently in the Print House
would anyhow require
connecting them to a PC running dedicated software!
for optimal safety at lowest cost, we advise you buying TWO spectrophotometers:
example, when producing color proofs, you should use one spectrophotometer for
calibrating and characterizing your color proofing system, and a second
spectrophotometer for checking your proofs control bars. Because if using
only one spectrophotometer and it becomes faulty, you will make mistakes when
characterizing your color proofing system, and then
the same mistakes
when controlling your proofs. So that you will happily certify bad
By the way, this is showing - once more - that
all the so-called
"ISO 12647 Color certifications" as they stand, are a pure joke: it
will always belong to
professional Proofs Users and Print Buyers doing their job by
controlling all color proofs and prints by themselves.
All press-setting applications: Where should I buy my
We still see nowadays some Vendors explaining our French Customers that
Eye-One Pro CANNOT measure lithographic offset plates, because it is a spectrophotometer!
In addition, they often explain their Prospects, depending on their budget, that Eye-One Pro is NOT accurate enough
for doing a professional print job and they should spend MUCH more money!
our 32 years experience on many different professional digital imaging
markets, including 22 years shared on the Graphic Arts market, shows us that
Graphic Industries is the market
where the more lies are told to Customers, and where ALAS the larger
numbers of Customers are still found trusting lies!
still see far too many lies told to Print Buyers as well. Because when smart qualified Graphic Industries Professionals duly
refuse buying bad or uselessly expensive equipments, some Vendors try - and often
- convincing some incompetent Print Buyers that they should impose
these bad tools to their Supply Chain!
This is how
so many bad and
uselessly expensive color-proofing systems, and so many other products,
have been successfully marketed, even when cleaver and qualified Print
refused them. Of course, ALL Print Buyers and Printer Producers are paying for the
bill of this persistent marketing bullshit that is quite specific to
people believe that anyhow, wasting a few dozen thousand dollars by
making some non-optimized investments on small equipments has no
importance, when compared with the million dollars investments required
for big printing machinery. However, we believe this may be the tree hiding the forest:
because there is no reason why heavy-investment tools would be optimized
and properly used, when some Vendors can still rely for
marketing their products on Customers technical
approximations and deep misunderstanding of modern print technologies.
consider persistent lies from some Vendors to Graphic Industries,
and so much bad information, are killing Graphic Industries. Therefore, Graphic Industries Professionals should train
properly in order to protect themselves from lies that cost them a lot
of money. They are the color quality Experts or they should be.
Professional Print Buyers should train
properly as well, in order to optimize their Supply Chain, install the appropriate
color quality processes, and advise properly they Supply Chain, rather
than putting them in trouble with bad advises and uselessly expensive
Most of Graphic Industries professional organizations are not
doing their job for protecting their own interests. Otherwise,
marketing bullshit would have stopped many years ago.
that as a conclusion, we can only strongly advise you training properly with
experienced Professionals completely independent from market Vendors,
and buying your instruments at lowest possible price on Internet. (Of
course, if prices look too good, do not pay cash in advance ;-))
application: Which control bar should I use?
allows you controlling all major classical CMYK control bars you will
find on CMYK color proofs, such as UGRA/FOGRA Media Wedges 2 &
3, G7/IDEAlliance, and Colorsource ISO12647-7 control bars.
note the G7/IDEAlliance control bar is royalty-free, so you can freely
incorporate it to your color proofs, but it has been designed
specifically for controlling CMYK proofs matching G7/IDEAlliance
standards and their strange "NPDC curves". You will find more
information about this standard at ISO12647 and Color Quality info
note that UGRA/FOGRA Media Wedges 2 & 3 control bars are NOT royalty free, so that
you should pay a license for using these control bars in your own color
ISO12647-7 color bar is a royalty-free control bar optimized for
controlling all CMYK proofs and prints, whichever standard, or custom print
configuration, you aim at. So that you and your Partners can use
Colorsource free control bar and check it freely with our free CMYK_Print_&_Proof
application: What is the difference with using a dedicated Plate Reader?
the offset plates were controlled by using a specific "Plate measurement
option" on CMYK densitometers. This always produced good results,
although densitometer's plate measurement option did not take into
account the plate model for optimizing its optical filtering wavelength.
a spectrophotometer with PLATE application is a quite a better (and
cheaper!) solution, because PLATE application analyses the
color of your plate model and optimizes its optical filtering process, in
order to produce even more accurate results than optical densitometers.
Moreover, PLATE application allows you averaging your measures on
various plates with different screen angles, for even better accuracy.
it is true that (good) plate readers may bring you some advantages, for following
Plate readers working process is quite different: The instrument makes
plate digital microphotography's, and then uses image analysis in order to directly assess your plate dot geometrical areas, so
that you do not need calibrating first the N-Factor of your plate
computing accurate geometrical dot areas from the optical
densities measurements produced with densitometers or spectrophotometers, first
requires measuring the N-Factor of the plate model you are using: We believe this operation is fast and easy
with PLATE application. For more details about
N-Factor and how to measure it with PLATE application, you can
download and read the application user's guide.
Your plate model N-Factor can slightly vary depending on the location
where you measure it on a plate. So that you may find 0 to 0.5 %
differences between a (good) plate reader and PLATE application
course, these potential very small differences between the results of a
plate reader and PLATE application will have no consequence at
all on the final print quality, because in the end CMYK_Gravure
and SPOT_Gravure applications will produce perfect prints meeting
the TVI curves you expect.
a conclusion, we have often advised big Print Houses owning all the
other necessary control tools to invest into a good plate reader, but we
consider this investment is NOT a priority for any Print House that does
not own all priority equipments such as Eye-One Pro
you are a Company where buying a plate reader can reasonably be
envisaged, we advise you investing into a plate reader able to measure
your geometrical dot areas, not only on your offset lithographic plates,
but also on your color prints. Because coupled with using your spectrophotometer, this will allow you measuring both the optical
and mechanical parts of your press dot gains: No use at all for your day
to day work, but quite useful as a press diagnostic tool, if your print
process shows abnormally high dot gain curves.
Because CMYK_Gravure and SPOT_Gravure applications
allow you compensating very high dot gains with very good accuracy, but
abnormally high mechanical dot gains mean that your press is in bad
conditions and you should consider solving this problem for optimal results and
to our own experience and our expert Customers, offset plate readers models
such as X-Rite iCPlate or Techkon SpectroPlate are quite
good instruments. If you buy iCPlate, we advise you buying the
version including geometrical dot area measurement on prints.
course, they may be other good models on the market that we do not know,
but in all case, we think buying more expensive models than iCPlate
or SpectroPlate is a pure waste of money. For example, you should rather not
buy a 4000+US$ plate reader model that makes 4 to 5% measurement errors
when unplugged from mains and working on its internal battery ;-)
applications: Should I afford a pressroom scanning spectrophotometer for setting my
offset press ink keys color bars?
scanning spectrophotometers are good tools for getting more
productivity at press-setting stage, but we find in the field most of
installed systems are hardly used, because they are badly installed and
parameterized, and Staff is not trained properly. Apparently, many Print
Houses find they are a kind of decorative element on their presses.
press-setting applications are an excellent tool for programming properly all Market pressrooms scanning systems. Moreover, our
experience proves that if a Print House is not able to set
perfectly all their printing presses by using Colorsource applications, there is no chance they will
manage it with their expensive scanning systems, which sometimes do not
even guide them for setting the optimal solid inks densities! So that an excellent
and quite affordable learning curve for any Print House consists into mastering
their presses with
Colorsource press-setting applications first.
Quality control: How should I specify and communicate a spot color?
properly designed swatch book should specify each spot color not by a
mere Lab D50 2° (or else) apparent color, but as full visible
reflectance spectrum: This is the only way for fully specifying the
color, as you will perceive in any lighting and viewing conditions.
colors you perceive on a physical swatch book, in your appropriate
viewing conditions, are always printed with errors. Because it is
impossible to formulate perfectly hundreds of different inks, and then
print each of them with perfect appropriate ink thickness.
real swatch book errors will be acceptable or not, depending on each
tint and on your tolerances. However, no tint on a swatch book should be
considered reliable, unless you have measured this tint on your swatch
book and compared it
with its specifications in your digital spectral inks library.
Print Buyers and Print Producers on any Supply Chain must refer to the same spectral data
for spot colors communication and reproduction, without dumb and inappropriate marketing changes of
these swatch books specifications that oblige all market Actors to
update all their software applications, and create many ambiguities and
initiative for promoting the royalty-free spectral library CxF file format
(Color eXchange Format acronym), where all PANTONE tints official
reflectance spectra were published for a low cost license (~ 53 US$) and
accessible with using free "CxF reader" i1Share
application was an excellent initiative. However, apparently these market
transparency efforts have been dropped
since X-Rite acquired GretagMacbeth... and PANTONE.
marketed swatch book claimed as being standard should have its full
technical specifications published and accessible to all involved
Professionals on the Supply Chain.
Buyers and Print Producers should refuse using any swatch book that is
not clearly specified by a spectral data library, and we think Print
Industries professional organization should have asked a long time ago these standard spectral
data libraries be published as ISO standards with their full
can you get the PANTONE up to date spectral data for controlling them
before you install them on a press, and for controlling all printed PANTONE inks?
controlling your PANTONE inks prior to installing them on your
printing press, and for controlling your printed PANTONE inks, including
the ones printed on your PANTONE swatch books, you need knowing the
official up to date spectral reflectances data that are published by PANTONE.
can download and use our free CxF3_to_CGATS application with its
user's guide that allows you making a much better use of all
PANTONE CxFv3 digital libraries. This utility allows you converting all Pantone
Color Manager and/or X-Rite Ink Formulation digital libraries
from their CxFv3 format to open and convenient CGATS normalized text files.
format advantage is that it allows you using your modern PANTONE digital
swatch books with the best applications, including MeasureTool, i1Share,
ProfileMaker ColorPicker module and Colorsource SPOT_Color_Manager.
You will find more details by downloading:CxF3_to_CGATS