© 2002 Ron Ellis Consulting                                                     Color Management Pre-Site

Color Management Statement of Expectations

A Color Management System when properly implemented can dramatically cut proofing costs, provide more accurate proofs, automate the proofing process, and provide faster turnarounds than conventional proofs. Prior to beginning to color manage a digital proofer it is important to examine the expectations and realities involved in creating an accurate digital proof.

Color Management Systems (CMS) can get color “80% there” out of the box. This means that a properly used CMS system has the potential of getting you much of the way there. A common misconception is that using CMS will get you an exact match to a proofer or an actual press. In some cases this may be true, but in many cases further tweaking and adjustment over weeks or months may be needed to perfect the CMS profiles. In some cases there may also be problems with the way a rip or other software uses the CMS profile, with papers and stocks, and with printing devices and their ability to remain linear or have a big enough color space to use CMS profile to produce an accurate proof. Spot colors may also present problems depending on these factors and a combination of the software that is use.

Unrealistic Expectations:

     After printing patches and reading them, the profile that will be created will be an exact match for my proofing system or presses.

     Even spot colors will match perfectly.

     CMS and profiles can be implemented in one day.

     A profile will work on all papers and devices

Realistic Expectations:

     After printing patches and reading them, the profile that will be created will allow my printer to generate as close a match as it is capable of to my proofing system. If this is not as close a match as possible my operators can edit and modify this profile manually over the next several months to make it closer. The end result I will get will be to make my printer match my proofing process as closely as possible.

     Spot colors may require modifications to my workflow, or working with appropriate CMS tools and RIPs in order to be able to simulate them to my liking.

     Printing test targets on analog and digital proofers and reading them is time consuming and slow. Prior to printing a target it may be necessary to linearize or adjust the basic printer’s output. This can also be slow. Printing a target can take up to 1-2 hours depending on the device, and reading a target can take 1-2 hours. Generating the profile is quick, but may be require tweaks, edits and other modifications to be usable. In 2 days I can learn the process of generating and adjusting profiles and most likely can make “80%-90%” there profiles for several devices, as well as learn how to adjust them and tweak them over time.

     The Matchprint or other analog proofing system in place may be the most consistent process in my plant and may be the easiest and quickest process to profile. In order to profile my presses I must have process quality control in place and use the same paper, inks, and run to the same numbers as I generated the profile from to develop a matching press profile that is“80%-90%” there. In some cases and situations it may not be feasable to develop a press profile. A press profile may I create may need extensive tweaking over time to become an accurate press profile for my pressroom.

     Each paper stock and device will require a separate profile.

The benefits of using CMS are well known:

     Dramatic reduction in proofing costs. (For example using an HP or Epson, proofing costs can be reduced to a few dollars for a 30 x 40 color proof that can meet or exceed the quality of the current contract proof).

     Reduce cost of proofing equipment, allowing smaller printers to obtain higher quality digital proofs at lower cost.

     Automation of proof requiring less manpower. Most digital proofing does not require having an operator feed multiple layers of substrates and laminates through machinery.

     Less remake and rework.

     Faster turnaround.

     Capabilities of remote proofing and viewing on customer sites.


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© 2002 Ron Ellis Consulting