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Messages - Greg_Firestone

#1
Quote from: baker7 on May 17, 2016, 03:23:52 PMYeah, I feel like I'm back to square one.  Giving it more thought I'm not sure how the color server could remedy this issue..  maybe I'm still confused with our's and new clients' digital printer profiles and our press plate profile.  I don't think anyone uses RGB in the garment industry as CMYK seems to be the standard.

My question about RGB was to help determine what profile you are using.

Quote from: baker7 on May 17, 2016, 03:23:52 PMThe problem we're having is mutoh output is very different from Press machine (Akiyama) output for our new customers.  Also their digital sample sheet they give us (which we heatpress onto fabric) is richer and more intense in color than from what we print out on our Mutoh.. (different profile and different ink) of the same Tiff img.

It's not uncommon for one press to have a larger color gamut (range of colors a device can reproduce) than another. Are the jobs printed on each press related or independent? If they are related, you need to take the smaller gamut as use that as your output profile. You won't be maximing the larger color gamut, but you'll be making sure that you convert images to a CMYK that is reproducible on both presses. If the jobs are independent, you can optimize them for each press.

Quote from: baker7 on May 17, 2016, 03:23:52 PMSo the profile that you're talking about seems like a universal standard profile..  now that I think about it some more, correct me if I'm wrong, I don't think that'll help my situation as I would ultimately need the digital printer profile and ink they used so that it would come out the same on our digital printer.  Also translating the accuracy of changes in colors onto the press plates is the other problem we're having.

If you fingerprint your presses, you can try supplying your new ICC press profile to the customer. This way they will design their output within the color gamut of your device.

Quote from: baker7 on May 17, 2016, 03:23:52 PMOur existing clients' jobs are still dead on accurate even when we make changes to the image (via photoshop) it duplicates it perfectly on both Mutoh and press plates.  For our new customers I just don't understand why making changes to the image files print fine from Mutoh but when we make the plates it's all jacked up.  In such a case would we have to make new plate curve for each of our new clients and use accordingly?  Man that seems like an expensive job.

Something's not right. What profile are the existing client's using when they create jobs for you? What are the color settings in Illustrator or whatever application they are designing the artwork in?

Quote from: baker7 on May 17, 2016, 03:23:52 PMOne last thing, before I got here they were on Brisque and the computer it was on broke.  I don't know why they didn't replace it with the same program but the tech we flew in from Ohio replaced it with Prinergy (Harmony) and took with him the hard drive Brisque was on.  Ever since then they started having all sorts of issues with color matching.  From what my boss tells me everything was accurate and the changes to image files would duplicate itself perfectly on the Akiyama.  Never an issue.  He said to get the profile curve and linear curve on the Akiyama sorted out they called in a professional 3 different times. 

I don't know what else to do or what to actually do..  this seems like it's beyond my knowledge and capability.  He wants me to fix it but if a professional color guy can't remedy this what the hell can i do?

There are a lot of variables to deal with. If they changed inks or papers in the press room, that could result in changes in the output. You really should consider having a color consultant come in.
#2
Quote from: baker7 on May 17, 2016, 12:52:34 PMI'm talking to myself now, but wait if any profile needs to converted it would be the Mutoh color profile onto the img, right?  Okay, so how do I do that?

*correction: I meant converting img file profile to our Mutoh profile

To start with, if you have an RGB image in Photoshop and you're converting it to CMYK for your Mutoh press, what CMYK profile are you using? This is your destination ICC Output profile. It could be an industry standard profile (e.g. SWOP), a vendor supplied profile, or a custom press profile.

If the accuracy of that profile is not great, you'll need to have someone fingerprint your press (As Ear mentioned above) or choose a different profile. This will make sure that the color is accurate for the specific substrate and ink set. You shouldn't need to apply any further curves or adjustments to an image if the profile is accurate.

A color server will then take whatever files you supply it and create an device-link/4d conversion on the fly to the output profile. You can't do this in Photoshop. You'll need special software to do this.
#3
Quote from: baker7 on May 17, 2016, 11:33:28 AM
Quote from: Greg_Firestone on May 16, 2016, 11:23:13 AMexisting CMYK documents (with whatever profiles are attached) and convert them to your press profile(s).

What if these documents don't have any profiles attached?

Depends on the software. They should allow allow you to define a default profile (if one is missing) or with some solutions, it can analyze the file and make an educated guess at which color profile was used.
#4
Hi Baker,

Have you looked at using a color server? This would allow you to take existing CMYK documents (with whatever profiles are attached) and convert them to your press profile(s). It's a cleaner way of doing a CMYK to CMYK version since you won't go through L*a*b* and risk the generation of 4-Color blacks. Instead you would be doing a device-link /4D color conversion.

Regards,
Greg
#5
Enjoy Orlando. Better to go in fall vs summer, especially if you'll be wearing a suit. 
Regarding the color server features... so far the beta testers love it so. We've had very positive feedback.

Just a couple general question as they relates to the original post - can a printer using extended gamut or fixed ink sets utilize ink saving software? If it's a packaging printer, they're probably not using ink saving as it's not as widely used in the flex world, but curious about an offset shop that may run 4C + Spot(s).

Might be interesting to create a new thread regarding Extended Gamut and Fixed Ink sets so forum members can ask questions on it. 

Greg

#6
Hey ABC,

This article is more about general ink saving software versus our new 4D color server feature. However, there are some overlaps as their built on similar technology.

Sadly I don't think I'll be going to either. OneVision will be at Drupa. Graph Expo is still TBD. Are you coming to Graph Expo?

Greg
#7
Adobe Acrobat / Re: Editable PDF's
May 06, 2016, 03:02:22 PM
Quote from: Joe on May 06, 2016, 02:48:09 PMThanks, I have pinned it and will give it a read as soon as the nuts all leave for the weekend here. ;D

Haha. Thanks again. If it's really bad, you can delete it :-)
#8
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.
#9
Adobe Acrobat / Re: Editable PDF's
May 06, 2016, 02:39:33 PM
Quote from: Joe on May 06, 2016, 02:27:50 PMGreg. Feel free to post the article here and I'll make a sticky of it. If you don't mind that is.

Totally! That'd be great. I'll post away.
#10
Adobe Acrobat / Re: Editable PDF's
May 06, 2016, 01:36:45 PM
Quote from: Tracy on May 06, 2016, 12:55:23 PMThose sound amazing, I like that you can adjust without changing the black to 4c, which can be a problem.
I will check it out, doubtful my boss will go for it, but a girl can dream :laugh:

Tell your boss that it will save the company money (that should help). There are also many print quality benefits. I'll PM you a link to the article I wrote as it might have some useful stuff to convince your boss.

Greg
#11
Adobe Acrobat / Re: Editable PDF's
May 06, 2016, 11:56:54 AM
Hi Tracy,

There are two types of solutions which can help you out - Color Servers and Ink Saving Solutions. Both utilize 4D / Device-Link profile conversions. They perform CMYK to CMYK conversion without going through LAB. When you convert to the desired profile, the Total Ink Limit should be within the correct range. They also allow you to preserve pure colors - your 100% black will remain 100% black instead of converting to a Rich Black. The advantage of an ink saving solution is that there is an additional algorithm that performs an advanced GCR utilizing the gray balance of the output space. It's not just a curve and it won't ink save if there's nothing to ink save. Here's a list in alphabetical order.

Agfa - Apogee Inksave
Alwan -  ColorHub or PrintStandardizer
CGS - Oris Press Matcher
GMG - InkOptimizer
Kodak - Plugin for Prinegy
OneVision - InkSave Pro

There's probably some other ones out there as well. I'm partial to the OneVision solution for obvious reasons  :rotf:

I actually just wrote an article on ink saving software and the benefits. Was thinking of posting it on the forum but it's not super technical.

Thanks for the welcome back. I'm working on the print side again after spending the last few years working on some digital publishing solutions.

Regards,
Greg
#12
Adobe Acrobat / Re: Editable PDF's
May 06, 2016, 11:20:29 AM
Quote from: Tracy on May 06, 2016, 11:07:09 AMI edit images for ink density- a lot
worst part of the job for me

There are software solutions that can automatically do this for you. They can look at ink density of text and graphics as well. If you spend a significant amount of time doing this, might be worth looking into it. Unfortunately it's not built into Acrobat or Pitstop. They're usually stand alone apps or an add on for your existing workflow software.

Greg
#13
General Prepress / Re: Giant, messy files
May 05, 2016, 11:35:48 AM
Hi there,

As the others have said, rasterizing helps but is not ideal. And in your case, I don't think you can easily upgrade hardware. Do you happen to have some example files you could provide? I like to provide problem files to my developers so they have samples for future feature requests. You're not the only printer that has this problem, especially as files become more and more complex.

Greg
#14
Enfocus / Re: Learning Pitstop 13
February 26, 2016, 09:43:55 AM
DeviceN exists in PDF 1.6 or later so saving back down to a lower version PDF will remove it. It's related to DeviceN. Generally you'll see it when someone is using spot colors. While the file you processed was K only, maybe some other color info was in the file.

Greg
#15
Kodak Systems / Re: ICC profile question
December 03, 2015, 01:45:46 PM
In Europe ISO is pretty big: http://www.eci.org/en/colorstandards/offset. There's a good chance it will be a color profile from them. As Joe suggested, go with PDF/X so the profile is embedded. Then you can choose how you want to handle it.

Regards,
Greg