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CHROMiX ColorNews Issue #50 - Curve3, the Evolution of G7 Calibration

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  CHROMiX ColorNews
   Issue # 50 - November 28, 2012

This Month's Contents

  1. CHROMiX News
  2. Latest blog entries in ColoRants (and Raves)
  3. Shows and Events
  4. Color Industry News
  5. Forum Topics, Random Bits, etc.
  6. Article - Curve3 - The Evolution of G7 Calibration
  7. CHROMiX Open Box items for sale
  8. ColorNews Admin (feedback, subscriptions, etc.)

For the very freshest color updates, check out our new blog Colorants (and raves).

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Find full details about subscriptions, etc at the end of this newsletter.

CHROMiX News What the heck have we been up to?

Curve3 - New!

At the recent GraphExpo CHROMiX and HutchColor announced Curve3, the industries best G7 tool yet. We demonstrated Curve3 from multiple points on the vendor exhibition show floor. For a thorough explanation of these new features, please read this month's ColorNews article below by Steve Upton.

Here is some helpful information about pricing and availability:

Curve3 Arrival: We hope to release and ship in December

Grace Period: Any purchase of Curve2, Verify or Virtual Press Run (VPR) after September 1st, 2012 is eligible for a free upgrade to the equivalent Curve3 product when it ships. But don't worry, we'll send all existing Curve2 owners ample opportunities to upgrade.

New Pricing:
$1199 for new Curve3 (same as Curve2)
$2499 for new Curve3+VPR (same as Curve2+VPR)
$99 for new Curve3 VERIFY (same as Curve2 Verify)

Upgrade Pricing:
$599 for upgrading Curve2 to Curve3
$1099 for upgrading IDEALink Curve to Curve3
$749 for upgrading VPR (only) to Curve3 VPR version
$0 for upgrading Verify to Curve3 Verify version

Also, as a side announcement and by popular request, there is a new 'Demo' mode for Curve3. Demo mode allows users to test the interface as well as the main calibration and verification functionalities of Curve3 (including Verify mode) without a serial number. Sample files are included and must be used for Demo mode.

Maxwell News

Maxwell's desktop software client is now called 'Maxwell Client' to make things clearer and simpler.

PLUS... iO Measurement Table Support is here! Maxwell Client beta version 3.5b27 (Mac only), now supports X-Rite's iO Measurement table (Gen 1 or Gen2). So far, testing is going extremely well and we expect to make a formal non-beta release soon. Also, the Win version should be available by the end of year as well.

FWIW.... Maxwell is growing strong and now has over 70 million measurement colors to date!

Isn't it time you gave Maxwell a look today? Maxwell is the most innovative cloud-based system in the printing industry today.

Maxwell can remotely supervise the performance of almost any device from your web browser. You can track, trend, verify and analyze workflow devices ranging from spectrophotometers, LCD monitors, printers, proofers and presses. Plus, Maxwell will help you determine the performance or conformance to industry standards or in-house tolerances for every device. Maxwell includes strong Pass/Fail features and custom label printing. Maxwell also has a strong 'layered' notification system and can alert any person(s) or group(s) involved in the chain of information.

CHROMiX Sightings

GraphExpo 2012: CHROMiX and HutchColor were honored to work with Konica Minolta in their booth at this year's GraphExpo in Chicago. Featured was our Software Developer Kit (SDK) for G7 calibrations called CurveCore SDK. Konica Minolta has now embedded CurveCore technology into their Color Care package available for many KM printers and presses. Here's a YouTube video of the great Don Hutcheson giving a quick overview of Color Care. What a showman!

PIA Color Management Conference 2012: CHROMiX will have a vendor booth presenting Curve3, Maxwell, ColorThink, etc.
Steve Upton will be presenting at these times:
Monday 12/3 11am-12noon Vendor Session: Curve3 and Maxwell update
Monday 12/3 2:15-4:30pm Computer Lab: Profile Verification and Assessment
Tuesday 12/4 10:45-11:45am General Session: Future Trends for Color Management in the new Communication space (he is co-presenting with Julie Shaffer of PIA) -plus-
Pat Herold will be presenting at this time:
Sunday 12/2 1:15-2:15pm 'Color Managing Wide-Color-Gamut devices', Challenges and Opportunities

The Print Industries of America (PIA) Color Management conference runs from December 1st through 4th and is in in Scottsdale, AZ at the Valley Ho. For more conference info:


CHROMiX Blog Here are some of the recent posts to our blog: Colorants (and raves)

Shows and Events Color-relevant gatherings to plan for

December 1st - 4th, 2012 - Color Management Conference presented by the Printing Industries of America Hotel Valley Ho, 6850 E. Main Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251. CHROMiX will be there in force... so please look us up.

February 3rd-6th, 2013 - TAGA 65th Annual Technical Conference Portland Marriott Downtown, 1401 SW Naito Parkway, Portland, OR. This year s TAGA conference features a complimentary walk-through tour of NORPAC, one of the Pacific Northwest's premier paper manufacturing plants

February 21st-23rd, 2013 - DSCOOP8 Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center Nashville, Tennessee, USA. DSCOOP is a COOPerative of HP Graphic Arts Users to collaborate and share information. CHROMIX plans on being there promoting Curve3, Maxwell and Digital PressWatch.

Events Calendar: For all current and future events, bookmark this calendar.

Color Industry News What's going on in the world of color

Nano technology

Benny Landa, visionary and inventor of the HP Indigo, discussed his new Nano technology at GraphExpo 2012 in Chicago. He promises Nano technology will cause a new printing revolution. He also goes on to say that books and newspapers may vanish eventually, but packaging will remain a huge industry.

v4 ICC Profiles

Tom Lianza (in the ColorSync Forum), just recently pointed out an update to the International Color Consortium's messaging about version 4 ICC profiles. There is a great resource tab at the top right corner that outlines v4 topic parameters. Its worth a visit if you haven't been there recently.

12th Edition of Printing Guidelines Publication

IDEAlliance released the 12th Edition of Printing Guidelines Publication, which is a 44 page guide with the latest Best Practices and Specifications for Printing.

Forum Topics and other bits  Popular topics from and other things we've found along the way.

Gen 1 iO Table Note for Upgrading:   Generation '1' i1iO Table will NOT support the new i1Pro 2 device without an upgrade. The cost is ~$400 plus shipping to X-Rite. The upgrade is only handled by X-Rite Technical Support. Phone: 888-826-3059 Ext#3 or

Color as a defense mechanism?:   We found the following color-related story on the NPR iPhone App 'A Berry So Shiny, It's Irresistible (And Inedible)' by Christopher Joyce. Another interesting color phenomenon....

ISO 13655 'M' title designations:   A quick overview summary of the ISO 13655 'M' title designations for measuring. Just because.

M0 Standard Illuminant A (Most historical instruments will fall into this category)
M1 Standard Illuminant D50
M2 Uses any Standard Illuminant and a defined means of UV exclusion (UV-Cut)
M3 Uses any Standard Illuminant and a defined polarization filter

Curve3 - The Evolution of G7 Calibration article by Steve Upton

In 2006 Don Hutcheson and I began work on our first version of G7 calibration software, IDEALink Curve. Since then the software, and G7, have come a long way. In late 2009 and 2010 we released Curve2, separating the branding from IDEAlliance and updating the software in numerous ways. Besides our continuous improvement to the underlying engine, we introduced a multiple-run document format and radically upgraded the graphing and visualization tools.

For Curve3 we wanted to address user requests, offer improvements for specific printing technologies and also improve the underlying engine and tools so all users would get better results.


Without a doubt, the thing that affects G7 calibration and the output of Curve most is the behavior of the printing device, and to a lesser extent, the behavior of the measurement device. When our users have issues with calibration we usually ask for data and the files we receive are almost always borked in some way (not to put too fine a point on it).

It's a natural thing for the variation and idiosyncrasies of printing processes to appear in their measurements. It's also an interesting struggle to "idealize" the measurements - to reduce the effect of transient problems while trying hard to avoid removing the essence of the process itself. We want to get a good representation of the printing device, but we don't want individual printing blemishes or other defects skewing the overall results. We are usually faced with producing a set of curves from a very small set of data that will be used over months of production. Determining which data to keep, which to throw away and which to bend into conformance, is a critical balancing act.

One area of improvement we've considered is smoothing. There are a number of methods of smoothing printing measurements and the first one we implemented was averaging, built into Curve since version 1.0. Averaging is OK at reducing the effect of errors or outliers occurring on single sheets but it relies on the user printing and measuring multiple sheets - the more the better. In some cases multiple sheets are not available and even when they are its effect is still limited.

Another method of smoothing input and output data is to fit equations to curves. This has limitations as well, and doesn't take into consideration many of the patches you bothered to print and measure.

For Curve3 we set out to apply a smoothing method that was comprehensive. We implemented a multi-dimensional smoothing algorithm that can use all the printed patches if required. The more measured sheets you throw at it the better but it actually does quite a good job with a single sheet. That's still no excuse to not measure multiple sheets. Really.

From a user perspective it's as simple as checking a box to turn smoothing on. We've found it makes an amazing difference on rough, difficult measurements from flexo printing, digital printing and other ill-behaved printing systems. Many instruments struggle with noise in dark colors and this can create significant problems with toning and grey balancing darker colors. Curve3's smoothing makes great strides in damping this noise.

Special Inks

G7 is all about near neutral colors and they are typically made up of Cyan, Yellow, Magenta and Black inks, even if other ink colors are used in the printing process. Due to G7's concentration on CMYK, the toning of additional channels has been left out - until now. Curve3 now has a "Special Ink" mode in addition to the existing G7 and TVI modes.

But how do we calibrate these alternate inks, you may ask?

We can't use standard filtered density or even the popular colorimetric dot gain calculations as the color filters don't line up with the alternate ink colors. Instead we consulted Mark Samworth of ESKO / Artworks who has many years of experience with calibrating packaging systems. His technique is to use the "percent delta-E" method. %DE calculates the delta-E between paper white and the maximum ink value and then linearizes to that value. For example the 50% tint is calibrated to be at 50% of the maximum delta-E value. It's simple, straight-forward, and field tested in hundreds of installs. It's also now part of Curve3.

Spectral VPR

Curve2's Virtual Press Run (VPR) module has received rave reviews from happy users. By reading in a full IT8 target (or other profiling target if desired) along with your P2P target, VPR curves the IT8's color values, saving you the extra press run. In Curve2 VPR curves the Lab values to simulate the curved press run. In Curve3 VPR curves the full spectral values. Now you have the full complement of measurement information with which to build profiles, determine density values, etc.

New Black Point Options

Curve2 follows the G7 specification for gray balance aiming. Think of it as a straight line from the measured paper color (or a user specified paper white) down to "absolute black". This works well for a printing system where the 300% CMY patch is dark and somewhere near neutral.

For those printing systems that produce non-neutral CMY patches and don't have much control over the color of that patch (like digital) Curve3 allows the black end of the gray aim to be set to the CMY patch color. There's the possibility that a system calibrated in this manner might fail G7 tolerances. But for those not attempting to be within tolerance, it can create smoother grays with less abrupt transitions as each channel reaches 100%

Until now Curve has held 100% values steady; all curving happens between 0 and 100%. Curve3 allows the option of changing the maximum channel values in order to gray balance the maximum CMY patch. For inkjet systems and anything else that can afford to reduce the gamut slightly, this can greatly simplify gray balance and take care of ink limiting in one step.

Improved Error Reporting

Sometimes Curve would let you get away with bad reversals or other data problems. Curve3 is better at providing errors when you need to know your data is outside the range of useable.

User-Specified Starting Calibration

If your initial press run was made with non-flat curves either accidentally or due to printing necessity, Curve3 can now accommodate. The initial curves used in your RIP can be entered into Curve for curve calculating. Easy peasy.

We're proud of how far G7 has come and how Curve has helped facilitate its adoption across multiple industries and across the globe. In Curve3 we're confident we've moved things forward and have created an even better tool for anyone striving to achieve G7 with a minimum of expense and effort. Curve 3 is expected to ship before the end of 2012 and will be entering beta testing soon.

If you want to be included in an overview webinar, please send us your email address to sales (at) and we'll let you know when it's held.

Thanks for reading,

Steve Upton

   To read this article with images in ColorWiki, click here.

ColorNews Administration (feedback, subscriptions, etc.)

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Entire Contents of CHROMiX ColorNews (c)2012 CHROMiX, Inc. CHROMiX, Maxwell, ColorThink, ColorNews, ColorSmarts, ColorGear, ColorForums, DisplayWatch 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.