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Topics - Greg_Firestone

It's 2016 and if you're a printer or publisher who is not using an ink saving solution, you really need to ask yourself "Why?". Saving ink is not a new concept and there have been several waves of technology and techniques over the years with each method improving upon the last. The most commonly used software technology today utilizes 4D color conversions; it's a mature technology that has been on the market for more than 10 years. If you've investigated ink saving software in the past and weren't happy with the results, it's worth taking another look. Many printers and publishers are successfully using it and saving up to 30% on ink costs. To better understand how you can benefit from ink saving software, let's look at how it works and what benefits it provides.
The concept behind ink saving software is very simple. Chromatic inks – cyan (C), yellow (Y), and magenta (M) – are more expensive than black (K) ink. In theory, adding equal levels of CMY create a neutral gray. Black itself also creates a neutral gray. If you can replace equal levels of the chromatic ink (CMY) with achromatic ink (K), you can effectively reduce the amount of expensive ink with less expensive black ink while maintaining the same visual output.

Now that we understand the general idea behind ink saving, let's look at how the process has improved. The traditional method of reducing ink was to apply a CMYK to CMYK conversion. The risk with this process is maintaining the purity of colors during the conversion. An object that is 100 K could convert to a 4-color black (a build of K which has amounts of CMY in it). If this happens, you could have quality issues on press. Neither your pressmen nor your customer are going to be happy. The evolution of 4D color conversions has resolved this problem. In 4D color conversions, primary and secondary colors are maintained; it functions differently than traditional color management. This approach allows you to optimize the color space for your output device, maintain pure colors, and perform a more advanced reduction of CMY. The quality of the ink reduction and the amount of savings vary by software provider as each has their own algorithm to reduce CMY and increase K.
There are significant benefits to running ink saving software, both from a monetary and a quality standpoint. From the balance sheet perspective, you will save money. It's not uncommon to achieve your ROI within the first year. The amount saved depends on a many variables. The list is long, but some key points are software settings, job data, and press configuration. Most ink saving solutions have different levels of ink saving from minimal to aggressive. You determine the right threshold that maintains your quality level and provides the most savings. The type of jobs you print will also impact your savings. The more process (CMYK) color, the better. Both short and long runs can save ink, so don't worry about run length. Lastly, press configuration impacts your ability to save ink. Savings can be achieved with older mechanical presses, however greater results can be realized with a digital ink system because there is superior control over the amount of ink delivered to each zone.
Increasing the bottom line is great, but not at the expense of sacrificing quality. One of the biggest concerns of ink saving software is that you will comprise quality to save ink. If this was truly the case, there would be thousands of printers and publishers with pitchforks angrily chasing after the software suppliers. When properly implemented, ink saved files are easier to print and result in higher quality output. Here's why:
  • Increased color stability – For each printed color, pressmen need to control a variety of settings on press to achieve consistent color. When builds of C, M, Y, and K are combined, it becomes even more challenging. By reducing the amount of CMY, there is less ink, water, and solution to deal with, and therefore fewer variables to manage. This makes it easier to achieve consistent color, not only during a single or multiple press runs, but across multiple presses.
  • Improved neutrals / gray balance: As mentioned earlier in the article, equal amounts of CMY theoretically create a neutral gray. In reality, printing inks aren't pure and it's difficult to achieve neutral gray with CMY. By reducing the chromatic inks and replacing them with K, neutrals will be easier to achieve on press because they are using K to make gray instead of combinations of CMY. 
  • Reduced show-through: This refers to the condition when printed ink on the back side of a page is visible on the front side. This often occurs on thin paper stocks when there is too much ink on the page. Paper can only absorb so much ink and when there is too much ink on the page, it "shows through". Ink saving software allows you to reduce the total amount of ink on the page (known as TAC or Total Area Coverage), thus eliminating or reducing show-through.
  • Reduced ink set-off: This occurs when ink has not finished drying and comes in contact with another page (usually during folding) resulting in the unwanted transfer of ink to the second page. It creates a ghosting effect. With a decreased amount of ink and water on the page, ink saved files will dry faster in coldset printing and require less heat in heatset printing. When your output is thoroughly dry, you won't need to worry about set-off problems. 
  • More details in shadows: Ink saving software users have reported more details in the shadow areas on both coated and uncoated stocks. This is a result of the 4D color conversions reducing the TAC and amount of ink in the dark areas of the page. More enhanced details result in greater customer satisfaction. 
Are there additional benefits to incorporating ink saving software in your production workflow? Absolutely! I've really only touched on some highlights. There are many more advantages, from faster make-ready to improved color registration, which will boost cost savings and improve print quality. If you haven't looked at ink saving software or you tried it in the past and weren't happy with the results, you really should look (again). You can save money and improve print quality. Your accounting department, pressroom, and customers will appreciate it.

Feel free to share any experiences you've had with ink saving software or if you have any questions, I'm more than happy to answer them.
Job Description

OneVision Inc. is seeking a highly motivated Technical Support Specialist for its Andover, MA office. The ideal candidate should have a strong background in printing, prepress workflows, color management, and computer networking. The Technical Support Specialist will work in both a technical consulting and support role, providing help desk support, product demonstrations, and remote training. The candidate will also help communicate customer feedback to development and assist in the external release management of OneVision products to North American customers.

This is a non-telecommuting position.


  • BS in Printing Technology, New Media Publishing, or industry experience
  • Strong background in print production, color management, and prepress workflows
  • Advanced knowledge of PDF files (preflighting, modifying, editing) as well as experience with PostScript, EPS, and raster data formats
  • Practical experience with color correction, image enhancement, and photo retouching
  • Competence with Adobe Creative Suite, QuarkXPress, and Microsoft Office.
  • Excellent trouble-shooting skills with production files and multi-faceted workflows
  • Knowledge of computer networking (Mac and Windows), hardware support, and virtual computing environments
  • Strong communication and organizational skills with the ability to multi-task multiple ongoing projects.
  • Desire to learn new technology (e.g. digital publishing, etc.)

OneVision is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Compensation is commensurate with experience. OneVision provides a competitive compensation and benefits package, including: salary, 401k, Major Medical, and Dental.

The Company

OneVision is a multinational company specializing in workflow technology for the printing and publishing industry. Innovative products, high-value solutions, and solid management philosophies are key factors in the company's global growth and success. OneVision is headquartered in Germany with subsidiary offices in France, United Kingdom, Brazil, Singapore, India, and the US.

Email resume and cover letter to
General Prepress / Happy Holidays Everyone!
December 26, 2012, 11:48:53 AM
May your software not crash and your folders not jam.

Happy Holidays!  :banana:

Outdated so I'm removing. Will be posting a new one.

Kodak Had a Secret Nuclear Reactor Loaded With Weapons-Grade Uranium Hidden In a Basement

"Kodak may be going under, but apparently they could have started their own nuclear war if they wanted, just six years ago. Down in a basement in Rochester, NY, they had a nuclear reactor loaded with 3.5 pounds of enriched uranium—the same kind they use in atomic warheads."

- I can't make this stuff up.

Hi all,

Been a lot of rants lately about Adobe's new cloud program. I thought I'd look at things from a different standpoint. What technology has had a positive impact? (from prepress to finishing)

For example,
When CTP came out, there was a lot of negative flack. Systems were expensive, unreliable, etc. But now everyone seems to praise CTP and how it's improved and sped up plate-making. Those with CTP can't imagine going back to film.

So what else?

PDF? JDF? Digital Presses? Inline finishing?

General Prepress / Making digital editions for customers
February 22, 2012, 07:25:06 AM
Hey guys,

For those of you that print pubs, newletters, books, etc., are you getting many requests for an e-edition or tablet version as well to go along with the printed piece. I don't want to get into details about the different solutions. More interested to know if people are asking for this. Many publishers are doing this, but I wonder if print shops are getting requests as well.

Looks like they may shed photography to go more into printing.
General Prepress / Software Release of FixMyPrintFile
January 17, 2012, 09:01:28 AM
[I'm going to put my vendor hat on for a moment]

I'm pleased to announce that FixMyPrintFile from Premedia Software has officially gone live. Some b4print members participated in our pilot program and provided great feedback. The software is a cloud-based preflight and file optimization tool aimed at small and mid-size printers and publishers. It's not designed to replace your current preflight solution, but to provide another option when trying to fix problematic files. All you need is Adobe Flash and Acrobat Reader (or Pro) 9.0 or later.

As some had previously suggested, the software may also be a good fit for Graphic Designers or CSRs. When we designed the software, we decided to target users and companies which don't have advanced/extensive knowledge of PDF. I know this forum has a wide variety of knowledge levels so the software may or may not appeal to you.

The software can fix a variety of issues including over-inking, 4-color text and graphics, files which don't RIP correctly, and much more.

As a thanks to the b4print community, I'm able to offer a 10% coupon code on all of our packages which is good until 2/17/12. Just send me a private message if you would like the code.


Full details available at:
Hi all,

I'm currently working on a new preflight program designed for small and medium size publishers and printers. I'm looking for more pilot testers to provide user feedback which translates to "who wants to use the software for free as long as they'll give me feedback". I want to know what you like, what you don't like, what can we improve, etc.

It's a cloud-based solution so there's no software to install. All you need is Adobe Flash 10.0 or higher and Acrobat 9.0 or later (Acrobat Reader is fine). It imports any PDF, EPS, PS, JPG or TIFF and outputs PDF/X. It automatically fixes a ton of items including unwanted 4C black text and vector objects, over-inking problems, overprint issues, incorrect colorspaces, and more.

If you like to tinker with 100's of settings (which is probably most of the people on this forum), you might be disappointed because most of those settings are hidden from the end user. The software has preset job options designed for North American newspaper and commercial workflows. We plan on adding settings for additional geographical regions in the future.

If your interested in testing, drop me a PM and I'll provide you access. It's free to use, no strings or hidden sales agenda. I'm just looking for useful product feedback.