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CHROMiX ColorNews Issue #36 - Optical Brighteners in Paper

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Welcome to ColorNews, a periodic update on things related to Color Management.
We strive for a newsletter of high value to our readers.
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C H R O M i X C O L O R N E W S

Issue # 36
March 17th, 2009 ~ Happy St. Patricks Day! ~


Table of Contents


1. CHROMiX News
2. Shows and Events
3. Color Industry News
4. 'Optical Brighteners in Paper' - an article by Patrick Herold
5. CHROMiX Open Box items for sale
6. ColorNews Administration (feedback, subscriptions, etc.)




A New Service: ColorValet Pro unlimited profiling service:

CHROMiX has expanded the world's largest custom print profiling service into a unique new service available to anyone printing to an RGB-controlled device (most inkjets not using a RIP, photo printers, etc). Announcing 'ColorValet Pro'! For $199, anyone can have unlimited RGB profiles for one printer for 18 months.

That's right, for one RGB-controlled printer, UNLIMITED profiles! These are the same top-of-the-line profiles you've come to expect from CHROMiX. This is an ideal service for those who dream of experimenting with varied paper types and styles - and we do all the measurements.

But wait, there's more! As a ColorValet Pro customer, you automatically have access to other profiles in the ColorPool for your printer model. Every time you and other ColorValet Pro customers make a new profile for a printer model, your profile is automatically (and anonymously) entered into the ColorPool. This gives you instant access to media profiles that have already been built for that printer. No more waiting to see how a paper profile will work. Also, use ColorPool profiles for soft-proofing to find the optimal paper for your image and needs. As the ColorPool grows, so grows the possibilities!

Finally, the ColorValet Pro service includes a single Maxwell Track. All measurements submitted for a selected paper are added to the track so you can trend your printer, confirm it's quality over time and even receive email notifications from Maxwell's Notifiers when the color shifts outside your target zone.

ColorValet Pro and ColorPool will be available very soon after a short beta testing period. However, if you buy now or before the final commercial version is released, you will receive a 10% discount (Net price $179). That's a savings of $20. Also, if you buy now, you will be able to start making profiles early by volunteering to help us finish the beta testing of ColorValet Pro and ColorPool. Your 18 month period won't begin until the final version is released.

For more information about ColorValet Pro see Ad below and go to:

The website includes a comprehensive FAQ that should answer all your questions.

ColorShuttle and DisplayWatch beta testing has been going extremely well and we are ahead of our projected schedule. Expect a final release soon.

An overview:

ColorShuttle, Maxwell's new client application, bridges the gap between the browser and your computer. ColorShuttle 3.0 directly supports the i1 and iSis hardware and uploads measurements right into Maxwell Tracks for immediate use anywhere in the world. It also creates and monitors hot folders, so you can measure color using practically any hardware and software that can save measurements into a file format Maxwell can understand. What does ColorShuttle 3.0 NOT do? It doesn't yet do real-time proof verification (immediate pass/fail feedback). That feature and many others will arrive in steady progression.

DisplayWatch is a service provided by ColorShuttle and Maxwell where any system's display can be continuously monitored for calibration updates, and calibration / profiling data is uploaded into Maxwell for tracking and notification alerts.

A Maxwell Track is any item (printer, paper, monitor, etc.) whose activity you want to monitor. Also, Notifiers within Maxwell alert you when the item associated with the Track falls outside of tolerances or fails to meet certain requirements.

For complete Maxwell product information, go to
If you'd like to register for a free one month trial Track, email us at or call CHROMiX Sales at (866) CHROMiX ext 1. Find out for yourself how easy it is to use, and how much time and money it can save you.

We've also created a new discussion area for Maxwell and ColorShuttle! Check it out.

Other CHROMiX News:

Finally, a Maxwell webinar for our European friends!
Maxwell & ColorShuttle webinar Overview and Tour with Steve Upton on Thursday, March 26th, 2009 at 9:00 AM Pacific (12:00 PM Eastern US, 4:00 PM London, 5:00PM Germany). 1 hour. Free. Webex IP audio so no need to dial in for audio. Expand your color managed mind. RSVP Email:

ColorNews (this publication) now has its own forum on! Each issue of this newsletter tends to prompt responses from our readers and we often don't have enough time to respond to everyone (sorry!). So it seemed time to create a discussion area on so anyone can ask questions, make suggestions, take issue with our prognostications or whatever. Come on by and have a chat!

PRICE MATCHING POLICY: Through the years, many people have purchased 3rd party color management products from CHROMiX because of the additional value that CHROMiX provides (pre-sales advice, post-sales help, support, and a fabulous sense of humor). In most cases, we've been able to price match (or come close) if asked. We never want price to be an issue if you want to buy from CHROMiX. In an effort to make this policy more visible, we've added a 'Price Matching Policy' starburst near the price for most 3rd party items for sale on our website. If you have any questions, call us toll free at (866) CHROMiX, ext 1.




March 23rd, 2009, IDEAlliance 'PROOFING SUMMIT. Proof to Press: Best Practices. Survivor's Guide to Best-in-Class Proofing', Marriott Marquis, New York, NY. Learn from top industry experts best in class practices and how you can become more efficient, productive and knowledgeable with your proofing strategies. For more event information:
To register:
(One of these sites may have an expired certificate)

March 24th, 2009, 6:00 PM Pacific Northwest Color Management Users Group, Seattle Chapter, presents: Thom Schroeder of REI: 'Studio Workflow & RGB Correction'.
For more information or to RSVP:

March 30th-April 2nd, 2009, ON DEMAND Conference & Expo. Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA.

April 23rd, 2009, 6:30 PM, Pacific Northwest Color Management Users Group, Portland, Oregon Chapter, presents: Steve Upton of CHROMiX: 'Forward thinking'. Steve will talk about color management and its problems (micro and macro). He will also talk about his visions about how to solve many of the problems plaguing our industry by illustrating the new CHROMiX Maxwell service. For more information or to register:

May 5th-8th, 2009, CONTROL 2009, Stuttgart Exhibition Centre, Stuttgart, Germany. CONTROL is an international trade fair focusing on quality assurance.
For more information:

June 8th-10th, 2009, IPA Technical Conference, Intercontinental O'Hare Hotel, Rosemont, IL. In its 44th year, the IPA Technical Conference is a premier event for showcasing the latest advances in graphic technology and workflow innovations.

September 11th-16th, 2009, GASC presents PRINT 09 or myPrint 09, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL.


Color, Product & Industry News


Adobe released Photoshop Lightroom 2.3 and Camera Raw 5.3, including updates to its pro photo management application and to Photoshop CS4's RAW conversion plug-in, respectively. Adobe has posted the final versions of each, for Mac and Windows. Support for Nikon D3X and Olympus E-30 RAW files were among the changes in both the application and plug-in.

Adobe also released an update for Photoshop CS4 for Mac and Windows. Version 11.0.1 primarily fixes bugs. You can update via the update feature within Photoshop, or as a standalone updater from Adobe.

Alwan and Enfocus announced the release of PDF Standardizer, a joint partnership between the two companies. PDF Standardizer is a PDF automation tool to assure PDF's standards compliance to PDF/X-1a, Ghent PDF Workflow specifications, ISO 15930-1 and compliant color optimization to ISO 12647. Information at either

Datacolor, (aka ColorVision) announced the SpyderCube, a tool for setting white balance as well as checking or establishing the density of highlights and shadows in a scene. Expected price $59. For more information:

DIMA (as part of PMA 2009) posted the winners of the Digital Printer Shootout:

EFI announced Colorproof XF 4.0 and Fiery XF 4.0. New features are: Dynamic Wedge(TM) (patent pending) - Control the key colors in your job, Intelligent calibration, Enhanced spot color simulation, Wizard based licensing, set up and configuration, and Support of Adobe PDF Print Engine v2.0. More 4.0 information:

EIZO announced the release of EasyPIX, a color matching tool ideal for digital SLR camera users looking to match colors between their monitors and photo prints. With the EasyPIX software you can match the monitor's color and brightness with that of the photo paper and then create a monitor profile.
For more information:

EIZO ScreenSlicer is a Free desktop monitor software utility that allows an entire screen to be effectively used though partitioning. Multiple windows can be easily aligned and dropped into the partitioned areas in single- or multi-monitor environments for convenience. Windows only.

Printing Industries Press announced the release of Volume 3 of the Color Essentials series: Color and Quality for the Graphic Arts and Sciences series by Gary G. Field. The essays in this unique series prompt readers to break away from routine thinking when it comes to stubborn production problems that have plagued color reproduction for decades, and to see problems - and solutions - from entirely new perspectives. $40. For more:

X-Rite Announced Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2008 Financial Results. Despite X-Rites weak stock value, they reported a stronger balance sheet of $50.8 million in cash and a reduced debt balance of $270.9 million at year end. For more:

X-Rite announced a program to reach into the WideFormat and Signage market through distributor partner TekGraf:

X-Rite announced a New G7 Toolkit: www.xrite/toolkit


HOT TOPICS discussed recently in ColorForums:

Printer forums:
Difference between Monaco Profiler Gold and Platinum?

Monitor forums:
Old monitor had RGB, now only brightness. What to do?

Press Forums:
Idealink Curve - How far out can it correct?

ColorThink Forums:
User manual for ColorThink?


OTHER HOT TOPICS, articles and blogs we have followed that are worth sharing:

Print CEO:
The effect of the stimulus on the printing industry, Print 2: Internet 19 - by Cary Sherbourne

U.S. Government Printing Office: President Obama's Official Photograph
An interesting little video about the GPO.
Note the target on the press sheet, and the only one on the sheet other than the std press control bars... (the P2P target for G7)

Reuters Blogs:
And from a photographer's perspective: Air Force One:

John Paul Caponigo Insights blog:
Lots of 'insightful' stuff here. 'Color Theory' is excellent. Below that is a dialogue on the merits of appropriate monitor investment. Below that Solux lighting...

Digital Nirvana:
The Future of Print Trade Shows, by Roberto Wong

What They Think:
Price Cutting and Print Competition - Dr. Joe Webb
Applicable to any industry these days...
A number of iPhone apps for design work - several of them are for color and look pretty good!
Check out ColorExpert $9.99 or Palettes $4.99 or PhotoCalc $2.99

Figital Revolution:
Check out the One Minute Rant series if you're a photographer....


This Month's Feature Article:

Optical Brighteners in Paper

by CHROMiX's Patrick Herold


Optical brighteners are additives that paper manufacturers put into paper in order to help a paper look "whiter." They are also called optical brightening agents (OBA), or sometimes "artificial whiteners."

In order to make paper appear brighter, it is common for most paper manufacturers to add certain chemicals to the paper which can take invisible ultraviolet light and cause it to re-emit in the blue spectrum - or "fluoresce" - at a point that is just barely within our ability to see. While our eyes see this as a brighter, blue-ish white - a light measuring instrument will only see this as a different form of blue. That is why printer profiles made with paper using a lot of optical brighteners can end up printing out images that have a yellow tint to them. The profile is trying to correct for what it sees as too much blue in the paper.

Before you say "Well I use a really good quality paper - I'm sure they don't use this stuff," you should know that just about every paper that has a nice, satisfying "white" to it has some amount of optical brightener. In fact, you usually have to hunt around a bit to find paper that specifically has no OB in it. It's usually labeled "natural white" or something similar and is noticeably less bright with a small tint of yellow to it.

Examples of paper with OBA in it are common office bond paper, Epson Premium Matte, Luster, Glossy, etc., and most every other brand of commercial inkjet paper. Paper without OBA (or very little) include "silver halide" RA-4 process photographic paper, certain press proofing papers, fine art papers and other specific paper types that are marketed by paper manufacturers as having no OBA.

Before you panic and think this is the printing equivalent of hormone-injected beef, consider that this is a very reasonable way to get more white onto a paper. Without it, many of our papers would be rather drab looking by comparison, given the natural color of wood pulp and cotton. Consider that the chemicals required for bleaching a paper white might be worse in many ways than the OBA. You should be aware of some issues with this paper though.

The chemical agents in paper causing this fluorescence will 'run out of juice' over time (sort of like the pocket warmer in the bottom of my sleeping bag on our last camping trip. It was nice while it lasted.) That means that over the course of several years or even months, the apparent brightness of your paper will decrease; it won't be "glowing" with the artificial white that it does now. This is part of the reason why some people choose to print with "natural" papers.

How can you tell if your paper has OBA's? The quickest way is to shine a black light on the paper. A black light lamp will cause the OBA's to glow in a big way. You've probably seen this effect with white clothing under a black light. Paper (or clothes) without artificial brighteners will not react to the black light at all. Black lights that screw in to normal household sockets are available, but sometimes hard to find. Your kid's "invisible ink pen" he got at the toy store probably has a black light lamp on it to illuminate the OBA's in the invisible ink.

For years Chromix has offered small, battery-operated black lights for this purpose. Here's a color management tool for only $15.00. In this economic climate we need more of THOSE.

As a special added bonus you can amaze your co-workers in the lunchroom by identifying when their bananas are ripe:


Now that I've found out that my paper (or my bananas) have optical brighteners, what do I do about it?

The industry has a long history of instruments that make use of some kind of UV-filtering. The SpectroLino/SpectroScan (now discontinued) had interchangeable filters that would connect to the end of its measuring head. One of these was a UV filter. The X-rite DTP-70 (now discontinued) came with a UV filter that would mechanically move in and out of the measurement path as needed by the user. The X-rite DTP-41 was available from the factory in either a UV-filtered model, or a non-filtered model. The same is true for the i1 Pro Spectrophotometer: You decide at purchase if you want it non-filtered, or UV-filtering built in.

The iSis chart reader is X-rite's replacement for the DTP-70. It can measure with UV light included and excluded, on the same instrument, even during the same measurement of a page. Its function is a little different than the others. The iSis has two different light sources:
- One utilizes normal, visible light (which is used to create the non - UV measurement file.)
- One utilizes UV light only, and this measurement is mathematically combined with the other to create the UV-included measurement.

This new instrument, handling its filtering differently, has led to some semantic confusion around this whole topic of UV filtering. Since the iSis does not have an actual "filter" inside it that filters the UV, it's not proper to call this measurement UV-filtered. X-rite follows a naming convention similar to their previous instruments, but it is arcane, and can lead to confusion. You can have "UV-cut" or "no filter" At CHROMiX, we have chosen a different naming scheme. We identify these measurements as what they are: "UV included" or "UV excluded" (UVi; UVx). We think these two terms can describe all such measurement conditions regardless of whether the instrument has a filter or not.

Also, to answer a question we often hear, the optional UV filter on the i1 Pro instrument does NOT affect monitor measurement and calibration. The UV filter is for the light source, not the reflected (or emitted) light that's gathered by the instrument. So UV and non-UV versions of the i1 will calibrate and profile displays identically.

A final not about filtering. While fluorescence discussions usually center around papers, pigments may be fluorescent too.

In addition, the GretagMacbeth (now Xrite) ProfileMaker software has a software algorithm that can automatically detect optical brighteners and corrects their effects in the profile. The i1Match software also applies this software fix when making printer profiles.

So far, these hardware and software solutions I've mentioned don't take into account how *much* optical brightener is being used in the different papers, or how the OBA's react in different viewing environments. At CHROMiX, we are looking into making use of a combination of UV included and UV excluded measurements to provide a more precise correction as part of our new ColorValet Pro service (mentioned earlier in this newsletter.)

In our next issue of ColorNews, we'll take a look at X-rite's Optical Brightener Correction (OBC) module. This can be a useful solution to some of these problems experienced by those who work in a press room or other color-critical environment where a light booth is used.

Finally, bananas will ripen more quickly if you put them with other (ripe) fruit. Mix over-ripe bananas with other fruit to add sweetness and consistency to a fruit smoothie. (Secret tip for CHROMiX ColorNews subscribers: Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar for a little added ZIP to your smoothie!)

News you won't get anywhere else!

Thanks for reading,

Patrick Herold
CHROMiX Tech Support / Lab Operations

Don't forget, you can discuss this article and anything else from this newsletter in


There is much more information on these subjects in our ColorNews archives in previous articles and color management myths, so check out the Reserved Articles section of for more information.


ColorNews Administration (feedback, subscriptions, etc.)

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Entire Contents of CHROMiX ColorNews (c)2009 CHROMiX, Inc. CHROMiX, Maxwell, ColorThink, ColorNews, ColorSmarts, ColorGear, ColorForums and are trademarks of CHROMiX Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. CHROMiX ColorNews is intended as an informative update to CHROMiX customers and business associates. We are not responsible for errors or omissions. You may not copy or reuse any content from this newsletter without written permission from CHROMiX, Inc.