What the heck have we been up to?
Long silence from CHROMiX
You may have noticed that there has been a long gap between this issue and the last one. Not to worry! We're still here doing all the things we're known for including building better software. As Steve describes it, we've been in development hibernation for a long period.
The benefits of course are our customers. If you're a Maxwell user, version 5.5 of the client is a significantly more enhanced tool (explained below). If you're a full Curve user, get ready for the new versions coming this Fall. Right now, we'd like to introduce you to Curve4 Verify, explained below. Thanks for reading!
Curve4 VERIFY is here!
CHROMiX and HutchColor are proud to announce the first release of Curve4 which will be the VERIFY tool. And as the name implies, it verifies!
The additional Calibration and other tools will be available later this year. They will ultimately be all together in the same application just like in Curve3. We decided to release Curve4 in two phases as we wanted to meet the market need for a G7 Master-level verification tool as soon as possible. So to be clear, there won't be a "Verify" version and a "Calibration" version, but rather an initial Verify release and then a larger update later this year that includes the rest of the toolset.
First, a summary of the features of Curve4 VERIFY release:
1) Integrated measurement. This has been our #1 user request and we listened. Curve4 will directly drive i1Pro, iO, iSis, Barbieri LFP and Konica Minolta FD-9 instruments. You can load target data files created by MeasureTool, ColorPort, i1Profiler and Barbieri Chart Generator and use them for any instrument (with certain limitations like iSis)
2) Full G7 Master-level Verification. Grayscale, Targeted and ColorSpace levels are all available and the results are clearly and graphically communicated.
3) Mix-and-Match targets. Combine multiple targets in the Verify Tool's measurement list to create the required set of patches. For example, if you printed a P2P51 and an IT8 target on press, load both sets of measurements and Curve4 will extract the combined patches required for G7 Master verification.
4) Simple Proof Verification. For those who just want a simple proof verification, without the stringent G7 Master requirements for targets, load/read any target and get proof pass/fail results.
5) Verifications are auto-saved into files and previous verifications easily accessed. Curve4 introduces a new file type: .VerifyC4, and creates one each time a new verification is requested. Less technical users don't need to deal with them but more expericed users can rename them, arrange them, send them to others or submit them for technical support.
6) Create References for easy, stable configurations and set one as the default. The combinations of G7 compliance levels, tolerances, SCCA selection, gray balance methods and Color References is mind boggling. Curve4 makes it easy to bundle each combination you use into a Reference, give it a name you like, and select it from a popup when creating a verification. Setting one Reference as the default means less-technical (or just busy) users just click "new" and start measuring and you'll have confidence they are getting the right results.
The measurement tools are inherited from our years of development on Maxwell so they are stable and have some great features. One great feature is the newly-introduced MemoryScan function that stores the position of a target (for iO, LFP and KM FD-9) and quickly scans other targets placed in the same position. Read below in Maxwell Client v5.5 for more on this functionality.
Is that all?
Actually, for the Verify release, that's about it. We purposely kept the user interface as clean and straight-forward as possible. This is the tool that your customers can easily use to do periodic verifications.
For more about Curve4 Verify.
CHROMiX released Maxwell Client v5.5
Released this last June, v5.5 of the Maxwell Client (MXC) is significant. Features include:
Fully supports the Barbieri LFP:
We take full advantage of this great instrument and it's fully integrated into our MeasureWatch Control system so reflective/transmissive, filtration (M0, M2, M3), aperture, speed, etc are all controllable and tracked. MXC 5.5 supports Barbieri's auto-positioning targets and we also added MemoryScan to make it faster and work with targets lacking auto-positioning markers. More on MemoryScan, below.
Fully supports the Konica Minolta FD-9
We also take full advantage of this great new instrument with full M0, M1, M2 filtering and 1x, 2x2, 3x3, and 4x4 virtual aperture support. Plus, we've enabled Manual and Memory positioning for the FD-9.
Manual Positioning will display a grayscale image of your target on screen with un-scannable margins marked in blue.
Memory Positioning - use the Manual Positioning method to set the memory. Then for any measurements of that target, just insert the page and it will quickly find the target in the same position on the page.
MemoryScan (LFP, iO and FD-9):
With MemoryScan, a target's position on the scanning table/page can be memorized for rapid reuse. A separate memory is available for each target definition. Position a target on scanning table in the same position as before - heavy tape or markers are helpful to ensure target position is repeatable - then 1-click measuring saves tons of time. We've used this so much in testing that we're wondering how we lived without it before.
An iO with MemoryScan makes a compelling proof verification tool. For busy groups, this could literally save hours per week in proof verification scans. That pays for an iO almost immediately.
Click here for more information about MemoryScan.
Automatic Instrument Registration and MeasureWatch Verify support:
Plug an instrument into Maxwell Client and an instrument record is automatically created in Maxwell. All measurements by the instruments are tied to it in Maxwell. So if you're wondering if a failed print might be caused by the instrument you can link right to the instrument and then list all the measurements it's taken to see if the instrument might be at fault, verify it, and be sure.
If you have the MeasureWatch Verify service for an instrument, Maxwell Client will automatically configure itself for verification measurements. One more step toward zero config!
Customers who have already purchased MeasureWatch Verify for their instruments and are using it will find it pre-configured for this new version. Plug your instrument into any copy of 5.5 or later and you'll be ready to verify.
Click here for more information about Automatic Instrument Handling.
Multi-Page Targets and Large-Format HeatMap support:
Need to see if your extra-wide digital press (we're looking at you, Indigo 10000 and 12000 models) is consistent across the sheet? Until they make an instrument as wide, we need multi-sheet targets that stitch together after measurement to form one contiguous HeatMap. MXC 5.5 can handle it. Work with us to create targets for such a job.
If you are using AutoScan with barcodes on the iSis or FD-9, barcodes can now contain the page number allowing multi-page targets to be inserted in any order.
Click here for more information about Measuring Multi-page Targets.
i1Profiler and Barbieri Gateway target format support:
MXC 5.0 supported MeasureTool (CGATS), ColorPort (xml) targets
MXC 5.5 now supports i1Profiler (txf, pwxf), Barbieri Gateway (zip) targets
Importing targets from a variety of sources and using them for other instrument types is now available. Certain combinations won't work, such as a Barbieri target for an iSis (it won't have the bars and diamonds or any of the target dimensions required) and the Spectropad still needs a Barbieri target. But measuring an iSis target on the LFP? no problemo. Got a Barbieri target to measure with an iO? We've got you covered.
Pass/Fail evaluation for Hot Folders:
Measurements gathered from external instruments through the MXC Hot Folder mechanism can now be evaluated for pass/fail reporting just like direct-connect measurements.
And there's more, including a new Target Import Tool and tons of fixes and changes. All in all, this is the largest update we've ever done for the Maxwell Client.
Give us a call and see how we can help you with Maxwell!
CHROMiX in Idealliance video
Earlier this year, Idealliance featured Steve Upton (President of CHROMiX) in a video about the Importance of Process Control in a G7 Workflow. In 55 seconds, Steve shares the importance of using process control to manage errors in substrates and inks to save time and resources.
Watch the video
CHROMiX Sightings this Fall
GraphExpo 2016 Orlando - During the last week in September (25th to 28th) Steve Upton will be there for the duration. Easiest place to locate him would be Monday the 26th at the G7 Summit. Don Hutcheson, Ron Ellis and other friends will be there too. Come by and chat about G7, or whatever is on your color mind.
Color Conference (PIA) Phoenix - December 4th through 6th. probably our favorite conference as it is so focused on color. Steve, Pat and Rick should all be there espousing color, our tools and our services. Do come by our booth or catch one of our presentations.
Here are some of the recent posts to our blog: Colorants (and raves)
Shows and Events
Color-relevant gatherings to plan for
September 25th - 28th, 2016 - Graph Expo 2016 is in Orlando Florida this year at the Orange County Convention Center, North Hall. Steve Upton will be there giving private demo's of Curve4 Verify, and glimpses of Calibrate and Complete. You're sure to find him hanging with Don Hutcheson at the G7 Summit Monday, September 26; 1:00-5:00pm, North Hall; N320BC.
September 26th, 2016 - G7 Summit, and Solutions Theater Presentations. Hosted by IDEAlliance and Co-Located with GraphExpo at the the Orange County Convention Center, North Hall, Room N320BC from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. Don Hutcheson will be presenting 'The Industry's Gray Matter: How G7 is becoming the Brains of Print Production' on Sunday September 25th, from 3:30 to 4:00 pm. Our friend Ron Ellis is also there presenting 'Getting the Brand Back Together: What Every Print Buyer Needs to Know' at 11:00 am Sunday. And yes, Steve Upton will also be in the audience, so be sure to stop by and say hello to these guys.
October 18th - 21st, 2016 - IFAI Expo 2016, in Charlotte, NC focuses on the textile industry.
October 19th - 22nd, 2016 - PhotoPlus 2016 Conference and Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York.
December 4th - 6th, 2016 - The 2016 Color Conference, presented by the PIA, at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak, Phoenix, AZ. One of our favorite shows and places to meet our industry friends and customers.
Events Calendar: For all current and future events, bookmark this calendar.
Color Industry News
What's going on in the world of color
basICColor Input v5
basICColor input 5 was released late Spring, and added a few new things:
- Creates DCP and ICC-profiles
- Scanner and digital camera profiling
- Multi-target profiling
- 4 types of profiles: Art Repro / Archival; Photography; Capture One; Scanner
- Spot Color Correction
- Supports all common targets
- Supports individual targets.
Download a demo or purchase here
ColorLogic ZePrA 4.7.2 released
Significant update. The bug fixes are explained in the Online Help at ColorLogic. Order here..
ColorLogic ColorAnt 3.2.1 released
ColorAnt, one of the best data tuning tools we've found. Several bug fixes included with this release.
Idealliance Posts PQX Spec for Public Comment.
Good article explaining Print Quality eXchange (PQX) and the initiative.
Forum Topics and other bits
Popular topics from ColorForums.com and other things we've found along the way.
How Scientists Invented A New Blue (And Other Colors Created In A Lab)
A good read.
5 insane facts about color: We found this interesting, and bizarre at the same time.
Soft-Proofing: Benefits for the Graphic Designer: This is a great article from Martha DiMeo for a perspective that reflects Designers. We like seeing our tools mentioned too!
Ew! Ick! The worlds ugliest color is...:
New G7 Master Certification Levels Explained
from Pat Herold
One of my early jobs at a large photo lab was to go out and take test pictures that we would use to compare printers. A fun assignment to be sure - but ironically these were not very exciting photos for most of what I shot were pictures of concrete and driveways, gray barns, that sort of thing. That gray helped us to hone into subtle differences between machines like no bright subjects could. Some find that a knowledge of film scanners is helpful in seeing the value of gray balancing. It's sometimes easier for a drum scanner operator to understand and embrace G7 than for an old-time press operator who is still steeped in density and TVI curves.
But embrace they did, judging by the massive interest and adoption of G7 in recent years. This methodology has been taken on whole-heartedly by printing industry giants, as well as small print shops who know enough to take advantage of modern innovations. As the co-producers of IDEAlliance Curve, the very first implementation of G7 software in 2008, we have ridden the wave of adoption throughout North America and the rest of the world. It has been gratifying to see that we have been instrumental in helping so many printers make their lives better while coming into the modern age.
The original software was written primarily to provide a standardized means of calibrating printing presses, but as it has found a wider circle of adoption, we have added more features that make the software popular for digital press, inkjet printers, special ink printers, dye sub printers, and the list keeps growing.
The industry has embraced G7 so thoroughly that it's no longer enough to just say "Yeah, my printer has been G7ed." Now there are three levels of compliance with the G7 specification depending on the kind of printing that is done.
This is the level that we are used to seeing, found in the IDEALink Curve, Curve2 and Curve3 applications. A 300-patch P2P target print is printed on a stable printing system, and the measurements of that target are used to correct the ink curves to bring the printing system into alignment with the G7 ideal neutral density curve.
This is the fundamental magic of G7: regardless of the printing technology, if we can ensure that a printer or press prints the neutral tone ramp well, then all the other colors will tend to fall into line more easily.
Aligning the printing of the various different printing methods in a plant to this same neutral aim point is a tremendous step forward in getting these disparate printers to match. While achieving this G7 level will naturally help all the colors to be consistent, the only thing that's required at this level is for the K and CMY neutrals to be aligned to the G7 tone curve and the CMY neutrals gray balanced.
While very helpful in many ways there are obvious limits to what this grayscale method can do alone. If a customer were to wander into any old print shop that is proudly "G7 Compliant", he may be surprised that his saturated art work is not matching his expectations, even while the work is G7 compliant.
Somebody had the good idea that you can do a lot more than just match an ideal gray curve. You can also get your primary and secondary solid inks to match some industry-standard spec at the same time. This is where G7 Targeted comes in.
G7 Targeted is achieved when G7 Grayscale is achieved, plus the solid ink measurements for primaries and secondaries (CMY and RGB) and the substrate color are also within spec to one of the G7-based targeted color spaces.
This can be done according to the absolute white point, or using a substrate-relative condition.
One item that's not well known is that G7 Targeted compliance is not limited to only the reference print conditions in ISO 12647-2 or in ISO 15339. Any G7-calibrated data set can be used as a G7 reference print condition.
Those who want to can use their own color reference in place of the standard CPRC's but their files must be verified as being compliant with G7 grayscale. In the future, the full release of Curve4 will provide a means of utilizing user-imported references and ensuring they're G7 compliant before doing so.
Now, a printer can let customers know that they not only can hit G7 grayscale, but they can also achieve a higher level of compliance - and their strongest colors can hit, for example, the specific Lab values for "GRACoL 2013".
There is still a more stringent level of compliance that can be reached however.
G7 ColorSpace includes all the requirements of the G7 Targeted level (and therefore the G7 Grayscale level) and adds the matching to an entire reference print condition. This level shows that you are maintaining tight tolerances throughout the whole color space. An entire IT8.7/4 target is compared against the targeted color space and the average of all 1617 patches needs to be within a narrow range of tolerances. This assures that the printing system can indeed reproduce the entire color space, and not just the primaries & secondaries.
Again, like G7 Targeted, the tolerances for G7 ColorSpace can be relative to either the absolute white point or the substrate-relative aim values.
The G7 ColorSpace level is further divided into two separate purposes, for Sheetfed Offset printing, or for Proofing. There are slightly more stringent requirements for proofing. One requirement at the ColorSpace level for proofing is that all patches of the IT8.7/4 be within an average dE2000 of 2.
Obviously, everyone wants to aim for the highest compliance level that they can, but the level you'll be aiming for will largely be dependent on the kind of printing that's being done. For example, someone printing onto ceramic tile with an electrophotographic process, using non-standard toner colors will likely be aiming for G7 grayscale. Almost every kind of CMYK printing can be calibrated using G7, but this kind of process will not be capable of matching the standard CMYK process colorants, which are more likely to be used with G7 Targeted or G7 ColorSpace.
One might aim for G7 Targeted if printing with a offset press, and G7 ColorSpace might even be achievable by using good equipment and careful process control.
For more details concerning the actual tolerances for the three levels, see the IDEAlliance document.
To see at what level your shop will pass, get Curve4 Verify!
Thanks for reading,
To view this article in the ColorWiki with images, Click here for ColorWiki article