Categories
Color Management Featured Article

Gamut! That’s Not My Color: Mac OSX Monitor Calibration Made Easy

I can’t stress enough how important it is to calibrate your monitor properly. If a picture is worth a thousand words, now you know what those words are telling you. Watch how to calibrate a monitor using i1Profiler software along with the i1Pro2 spectrophotometer on your Mac OSX.

Select the proper white point (color temperature) of your display. Adjust settings for proper luminance (brightness) that will match your prints or press sheets to your screen display. Mount the i1Pro2 to the monitor and run the color control patches. The i1Profiler software will read the known color values and create an accurate ICC profile of your monitor/display and store the new calibrated profile in your system.

Take the first step in matching your screen to print on your Mac OSX.

Do you have challenges matching your prints to your display? Please leave a comment below…

[learn_more caption=”Transcript of Video” state=”open”] This is Rick Rys from HiDefColor.com.

Today we’re going to go through the process of calibrating your monitor using the i1Profiler software suite and the i1Pro2 spectrophotometer from XRite. Once you’re inside i1Profiler, we’re going to click the Display Profiling box, and we’re going to take it into the Settings mode. In here, we’re going to select our display, which is our color LCD, and pick our white point of our monitor.

[0:30] We have multiple options here. I suggest that you go with the D65, which is 6,500 Kelvin temperature. Our luminance, we want to set this to 100 candelas per square meter. This will simulate more of the process or the environment looking at your printed material. Most monitors are too bright, causing your prints to come out too dark when your monitor calibration is incorrect .

[0:56] From here, we’re going to leave the ambient lights mark control sensor off. We’re going to click the Next button.

[1:06] From here, we’re going to calibrate the i1Pro2 spectrophotometer. I’ve placed the spectrophotometer on the white point balance point, the calibration target, and I’ll simply hit the Calibrate button.

[1:21] From here, the spectrophotometer will be referencing a known white point that is neutral. That will balance out the sensors inside the spectrophotometer.

[1:34] From here, we’re ready to start the process. At this point, we’re going to leave our Automatic Display control checked. The Adjust Brightness/Contrast and RGB Gains…we don’t want to mess with this button right here.

[1:49] Here’s our different color patches that we’re going to be displaying on the screen, which will be read by the spectrophotometer. We’re going to start the measurement process. At this point, I’m going to hang the spectrophotometer onto the monitor to begin the calibration process. The device is now connected to the display. I’ll hit the Next button.

[2:16] At this point, the software is going to run through approximately 100 different control patches, which are going to display a known LAB value, RBG value to the screen that the spectrophotometer is going to read.

[2:32] Through the calibration process, through the process of creating the profile, it will read the displayed values and what they should actually be displayed on the screen. It’s a relative database comparing the two. That’s what creates the calibration process for your monitor.

[2:47] We’re going to speed up the process to go through these colors. We’ll be back in just a minute.

[2:53] OK. We are done with reading our color patches. By the way, that process takes upwards of six to seven minutes. Obviously, we edited it down so we don’t have to bore you to death with that process.

[3:22] Up on the right hand side of the screen here, these are the patches that we read. You can notice that they’re cut with a diagonal line. The value on top is what the actual color should render as. The color on the bottom is what the spectrophotometer actually read our uncalibrated monitor actually reading.

[3:45] That being said, what we’re going to do now is create a relational database between the known color values and what was displayed, and then sync those up together. We’re going to do that by clicking the Next button.

[4:00] At this point, we’re going to name our ICC profile. This is going to be the MacBook Pro and today’s date. That way, I know just by looking at that that that’s for my MacBook Pro. By having the date in there, I can choose the most recent profile.

[4:22] From here, I can set a reminder that reminds me every four weeks to actually create the new profile — a reminder for me to go back and double check my calibration. From there, I click Create and Save Profile. My ICC profile has now been generated.

[4:40] You’ll notice the change with the screen. Look at the gradient here, my gray scale, my gray ramp. From before, and after. Now I’m balanced all the way through my tonal range with the proper gray.

[4:56] That is it. I can’t stress enough how important monitor calibration is. I have a saying that if a picture is worth a thousand words, this will tell you what those thousand words are telling you.

[5:08] Until next time, thanks again and have a great day. [/learn_more]

X-Rite i1PRo2 and i1Profiler software. Learn more here

 

Categories
Blog Featured Article Printing

Online G7 Master Printer Certification

HiDefColor.com is proud to be part of G7 Master Printer network!

The G7 Master Printer Certification is a qualification program that identifies printing companies that have been trained to print to G7 Neutral Print Density Curves ensuring gray balance across the tonal range. The advantage to facilitating a G7 workflow guarantees print buyer expectations of the closest color match from proof to press and across other methods of printing from offset to digital to large format products. Although all methods of printing (offset, digital, large format) have their own color gamuts, the effect of printing to neutral density print curves results in a visual color match of each different product to the human eye.

The result is your branded identity will have a visual color match from different locations and different printing devices.

The G7 Master Printer Certification also means we use modern colorimetry technology and employ G7 process controls to guarantee color quality.

HiDefColor.com is one of the few online printers who are G7 Master Printers. The G7 Master Printer status is audited and renewed on a yearly basis.

HiDefColor.com prints to the GRACoL CMYK print specification on offset, digital and large format products.

Have you heard of G7 Master Printer Certification? Please leave your comments below…

 

Categories
Printing

Staccato/FM Screens Produce Larger CMYK Color Gamut

Staccato/FM Screen Gray Ramp
Tonal range comparison of AM screening versus FM (Staccato) screening

Staccato/FM screens ability to produce a larger CMYK color gamut is one of the best secrets to producing quality color on press.

Conventional halftones, often referred to as AM screens (amplitude modulated), distribute ink over a grid of dots that increase in size for darker tones. Throughout the tone scale, the frequency of dots remains the same, but the size or amplitude increases. The ink and water requirements vary greatly throughout the tonal range, causing a basic lithographic instability for which there are no on press controls.

An alternative to traditional halftones is Staccato/FM/stochastic screening. The ink water requirements are more evenly distributed throughout the tonal range thereby overcoming the inherent instability of the AM screen. Staccato/stochastic halftones are often referred to as FM screens (frequency modulated), because the number and frequency of dots changes with tonality. Note that the average size of dot structures remains relatively constant through the tone scale. The dots are positioned in a pseudo random pattern to avoid moiré and patterning problems.

Many people are aware that FM screens brings certain quality benefits to print, but few have realized the true potential of stochastic to deliver more predictable and stable color to their presswork and a larger CMYK color gamut.

Let’s look at the comparison of primary colors (Red, Green, Blue) and how the screens compare in trapping/overprinting subtractive colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow).

 

Primary Red

Stochastic/FM tonal comparison red overprint showing larger CMYK color gamut
solid Yellow ink trapping/overprinting Magenta tonal range
Observe how much finer the FM/stochastic screen appears

 

Primary Green

Stochastic/FM tonal comparison green overprint showing larger CMYK color gamut
solid Yellow ink trapping/overprinting Cyan tonal range
Observe how much finer the FM/stochastic screen appears

 

Primary Blue

Stochastic/FM tonal comparison Blue overprint showing larger CMYK color gamut
Magenta tonal range trapping/overprinting solid Cyan ink
Observe how much finer the FM/stochastic screen appears

 

Notice the greater range of tones in all three primary colors with Staccato/FM/stochastic screens resulting in a larger CMYK color gamut.

This demonstration shows that Staccato/FM/stochastic screens print cleaner, with greater vibrancy and a midtone color gamut that is not achievable with AM screens.

In the example above, you can see the effect in a number of areas. If you look in the Magenta patches you will see a distinct difference between the AM and Staccato/FM/stochastic screens.

The tiny dots that make up a Staccato/FM/stochastic screen are actually more efficient at trapping and remitting light than AM screens. A small amount of light on the edge of every dot gets scattered through the paper and through the ink. This is what is called optical gain.

With Staccato/FM/stochastic screens, a larger percentage of the light that hits the printed sheet passes through the ink. This means that less ink is required for a given visual tone and the increased optical effect filters out a greater percentage of the complementary colors that are reflected from the paper surface. It is the complementary colors that contaminate the color we should be seeing and there is less of it getting through with Staccato/FM/stochastic screens.

True High Definition Color.

Which color would you prefer? Please leave your comments below…

 

Categories
Blog Design Featured Article Media Photoshop

VIDEO: Advanced Sharpening and Noise Reduction in Photoshop

This VIDEO will show you how to get the most dynamic and sharpest images in your printed marketing material. This is a two-step Photoshop sharpening technique that will show you how to create the sharpest images without creating noise in smooth midtone areas of your photographs.

This is one of my favorite Photoshop sharpening tips in reproducing beautiful photography on press. All images are not as sharp as they can be when converted from raw files. These days there is a lot of post image processing that needs to be done with digital images. One of the key things that is overlooked is how sharp the image is. We now work with incredibly sharp LCD displays and images seem to jump off the screen. Unfortunately, when an image goes through the RIP (raster image processor) process in prepress, the image is naturally softened in the screening process.

Remember, your photography is only as good as the printer you choose!

Let me know what you think. Please leave your comments below…

[learn_more caption=”Transcript of Video” state=”open”] Hi. This is Rick Rys from HiDefColor.com.

Today, we’re going to talk about one of the greatest Photoshop sharpening techniques to take your photographs from a good photograph to a great photograph.

[0:13] Notice the transition there. This will demonstrate how to take a great photo and make it into a true high definition color print when it’s printed on press.

[0:25] All right, let’s get started here.

[0:27] As you can see, I am working in the LAB color space right now. You can work in RGB and get the same results. I prefer using LAB. Just keep in mind you want to convert to CMYK at the very last moment so always work in RGB or LAB.

[0:43] First things started, we’re going to do a Select All and we’re going to copy and create a new Alpha channel here and paste our document or image into our new Alpha channel.

[1:03] We select that and we’re going to Filter, Stylize and click the Find Edges. Now what Find Edges will do is look at all the sharp contrasting points in the image and basically highlight those and create a line drawing for you.

[1:21] From here, we’re going to go on to our curves, which is our Command M and we’re going to alter this channel.

[1:30] First thing you want to do… In a nutshell, what’s happening here… We’re going to sharpen the darkened areas. The white areas will not be sharpened so we’re going to maintain our smooth, crystal clear, creamy midtones and not create any noise in there from excessive sharpening.

[1:49] First thing, you’d want to grab our shadow end of our curve and bring this over all the way up to 50%. At the same time, you’d want to take our highlight end of our curve and bring this up to about 20% or so.

[2:09] You can see right now we’ve created a much higher contrast now in this line drawing. And again just to make another adjustment here, we want to make our black areas a little wider as possible so we’re going to add some more density to that black and kick it up. You can see they’re almost intersecting each other.

[2:29] At this point, we’re going to click OK and we’re going to go into Filter and create a Gaussian Blur on this image. The blur will spread the black areas to create a subtle transition between these smooth areas and the sharpened areas.

[2:50] So, select Gaussian Blur and use anything… I prefer to use two and a half pixels. That seems to work fast for me. So, select 2.5 pixels and click OK.

[3:04] Now back to curves again. You could see we softened up the image.

[3:07] Now we go back to curves and harden up that edge a little more. So we’re going to bring our shadow end of our curve all the way up to 50% again. You could see how much darker we made that so we’ll get more sharpening in the areas. There is no information in our white areas here so those areas will not be affected by the Photoshop sharpening filter. Click OK.

[3:32] At this point, we’re going back to our full color image and go to Select and Load Selection. Notice we’re going to select our Alpha channel that we’ve created and click OK. Now that selection is brought to place. We’re simply going to hide the selection just to save on our eyeballs there.

[3:57] And now we’re going to do our sharpening. The selection is going to just isolate the areas that we want to sharpen. Go to Filter, Sharpen and I’m a huge fan of Unsharp Mask. It goes back to the old days of running the old color drum scanner. At this point, I’m going to play around with the amount.

[4:21] Now the amount is how much the adjoining pixels are affected. I like to go real high on this number, anywhere between 150 and 200. For this tutorial, I’m going to select 200 and it’s a high number but keep in mind we’re only affecting those images in the selection itself.

[4:41] You’d want to keep the radius anywhere between half a pixel to one to one and a half. If you go any thicker, you’ll create a severe halo effect around your images. If you’re looking for an artistic point of view, you may want to do that but I would not ever recommend doing that. So we’re going to stick to one pixel.

[5:06] Our threshold determines which pixels are sharpened and which are not. A higher threshold value means that there’s a huge contrast difference between pixels that are affected. Since we have our selection, it’s a moot point so it really doesn’t matter. So I’m going to stick with a threshold of zero.

[5:26] You can see as I move through the image and click on and off, you’ll notice that there is a great deal of sharpening happening in the contrasting areas but look at the midtone areas. They’re perfectly clean and not affected at all. Just an incredible cool little tool to utilize to create dynamic looking photographs. So click OK and we are done.

[5:53] At this point, we’ll go ahead and save our image and just to show you up close, we’ll zoom in here and you can see the difference between the two. Turn on… And turn it back off again… And turn it back on. Just an awesome looking sharpening job.

[6:15] OK, thanks for tuning in. Look back for more tutorials in the future. Take care. [/learn_more]

Image: www.montenagler.com

 

 

Categories
Blog Printing Video

VIDEO: Ink is a Printer’s Best Friend

 

This has to be one of the best videos I’ve ever seen. Please take a few minutes out of your day and watch this video. It’s great to see the passion people take with their jobs to produce the best color possible.

Our business truly is a craft run by passionate people who genuinely care about their work.

If you have an appreciation for Art, you will truly enjoy this video.

What could be more important to producing great color on press than ink?

 

Tip: View this at ‘1080’ full screen for best results. Press pause, let it spool up and enjoy…

 

Categories
Blog File Prep Video

VIDEO: Creating Perfect PDF Files for Press

This VIDEO tutorial will show you settings that will ensure print-ready PDF files for faster turnaround times and no output errors in prepress. Compression settings will ensure quick upload times to HiDefColor.com.

This PDF workflow will also eliminate the need to convert any of your images to CMYK. No worries, these PDF settings for press will work just fine with images already converted to CMYK.

Did you find this tip helpful? Please leave a comment below…

[learn_more caption=”Read Transcript of Video” state=”open”]

Hi. This is Rick Rys from HiDefColor.com

00:04 Today’s tutorial never convert to CMYK is a cool little export option out of indesign CS5 that will eliminate the need to ever convert to CMYK.

00:15 This cool little RGB workflow will eliminate a lot of disk space and save you a lot of time along with a lot of confusion regarding having two files of the same image.

00:27 You can see we have an image here that’s created in indesign CS5 it consists of an RGB bitmap image, you can see the color space is RGB, and it is tagged with the Adobe RGB color profile.

00:42 We also have a CMYK Adobe Illustrator image which is a vector graphic.

00:50 It’s important to note that the image is created with different values of gray. This is important because these color values of gray are built with black only and we want to make sure we do not re-separate this into a four color gray.

1:06 We also have a series of color swatches that are placed as pantone colors. Also, take note that we are using the LAB values of these colors.

1:21 So, once we are ready to go to press, we’re going to do a simple
export option out of indesign CS5.

1:30 We’re going to utilize the Adobe PDF X-4 standard. Once we select PDF X-4, we’re going to save our file and we’ll go into the export Adobe PDF presets and select X-4; change the compatibility to PDF 1.7 standard; select our page and then go through the individual tabs here.

2:00 Under compression, we want to keep these values the same. Where we’re going to downsample to 300 pixels per inch when our image is greater than 450 pixels per inch. This will allow for a much faster upload to the color server at HiDefColor.com

2:18 Under marks and bleeds, two things – select our crop marks and change our bleed to .125″ top and bottom, inside and outside

2:29 The output tab is the most critical. This is where color conversion is going to take place and convert our images from RGB to CMYK.

2:39 We want to focus on the color conversion pull-down menu. We want to select “convert to destination” and “preserve numbers”. The preserve numbers will maintain any native CMYK data within the document.

2:53 This is important for our placed Adobe Illustrator image where we want to maintain our gray values with just black ink only. Select preserve numbers and our destination this is where we’re going to convert to CMYK.

3:08 We want to make sure that we select coated GRAcOL 2006 color profile. The GRAcOL profile is the largest CMYK color gamut for sheetfed printing.

3:21 Under profile inclusion policy we want to make sure we include the destination profile in case we have to repurpose this or convert this to another press.

3:33 Under ink manager you’ll notice that we have our CMYK information here and also all of our placed Pantone color swatches. What we want to do to make sure is that we check the all spots to process. You’ll notice that it converted these into CMYK and more importantly, make sure that we select the use standard LAB values for spots.

4:00 This is important because this will use the LAB color data value for each
of those pantone colors for a much more accurate conversion into CMYK.

4:13 Once we select OK, then we simply export the file. Once we export our file, we’re going to open it up into Acrobat and you’ll notice that our file is here and we’re going to do a quick little preflight. We’re going to go into the advanced tab, print production and select output preview.

4:40 You’ll notice a little output preview window will open up. Notice that all are images have now been converted to CMYK! So we could simply go through the process and deselect our individual color and build our document: black, yellow, magenta, cyan for our CMYK values.

4:59 As we mouse over, you’ll notice that we are now in the CMYK color space and so have all of our pantone colors been converted to CMYK. More importantly, when we get down to our placed illustrator graphic, you’ll notice here that the gray is made up of black ink only. You’ll notice that up here, once I thumbed over the sixty percent screen of black, this was maintained by using the preserve numbers value for the convert to destination. This did not re-separate it into four colors.

5:33 The important part about this it saves a lot of time as far as balancing color on press and also eliminating any registration issues on press having to line up four colors for just one color gray.

5:47 Well, I hope you enjoyed this tutorial look back for more tutorials in the future

Have a good day!
[/learn_more]

 

Categories
Blog Printing

Why Color Looks so Good – FM Screens Explained

FM, AM, XM, Hybrid, Staccatto, Segundo, stochastic, conventional, 200 lpi, 175 lpi, 20 micron, 10 micron, first order, second order…What does this all mean?

NOTE: Screening is the process after rasterizing PDF files in the RIP (raster image processor) during prepress. Halftone screening is done through software and creates very small dots, or cells, that are imaged onto a printing plate. The tiny dots create the illusion of continuous tone photographs when printed on press.

FM Screening comparison to AM screening - stochastic versus conventional screening
Top: 200 lpi conventional (AM) halftone screen magnified 200x.
Bottom: 20 micron (FM) stochastic screen magnified 200x.
Image: Gordon Pritchard

Advantages to printing with FM screening versus AM screening:

  • Continuous tone photograph reproduction
  • Produces a larger CMYK color gamut on press
  • Renders greater detail
  • Eliminates moire patterns
  • Reduces ink consumption by as much as 10% – notice the ‘pooling’ of ink in conventional dot
  • Produces smoother gradients
  • More consistency in color throughout pressrun
  • Faster ink drying

Conventional screening (150 lpi, 175 lpi, 200 lpi) refers to AM screens, or amplitude modulation. This refers to halftone dots that are fixed on a grid, angled in 30 degree increments (except yellow: 15 degrees) and grow in size based on tonal value.

LPI = lines per inch

Stochastic screening (Staccato) refers to FM screens, or frequency modulation. This refers to micro-dots (20 micron, 10 micron) that are FIXED in size and tone values increase by adding more dots. The dots are rendered in a psuedo-random algorithm making them ideal for high definition details in photography and artwork. The micro-dots are rendered in a ‘weave’ to create very smooth tonal transitions.

Micron =1/1,000,000 of a meter

It’s important to note that FM screens produce a larger CMYK color gamut than AM screens. This occurs because light reflecting off the paper is filtered more efficiently, resulting in less ‘whiteness’ from the paper reflecting into the eye.

Also, reprints are less likely because of the stability in controlling color on press. FM screens are much less likely to be impacted by ink density variations on press. The ink film on press is much thinner and less likely to be affected. Notice in the enlargement photo above the ‘pooling’ of ink in the conventional halftone dots. This causes the press to use more ink than is necessary.

HiDefColor.com utilizes 20 micron Staccato screening for all color printing.

Have you ever seen printing with FM/stochastic screening? Please leave your comments below…

 

Categories
Color Management Featured Article

VIDEO: Never Convert RGB to CMYK Again

This VIDEO tutorial will show you the best method to convert RGB to CMYK for your images.

Running a color managed workflow has it’s benefits. One of which is the absence of having to convert RGB to CMYK. It’s not necessary to have multiple files for the same image.

Imagine the time savings and hard disk space!

The important part to remember is to have tagged RGB images to start with. Color management works on the principle of ‘input’ to ‘output’ ICC profiles. If an image does not have a profile attached, the ACE (Adobe Color Engine) will not understand how to re-map the color conversion from RGB to CMYK.

These settings will ensure print-ready PDFs for faster turnaround times and no output errors in prepress. Compression settings will ensure for quick upload times to your printer.

How much time will this save you? Please leave your comment below…

[learn_more caption=”Transcript of Video” state=”open”]
Hi. This is Rick Rys from HiDefColor.com

00:04 Today’s tutorial Never Convert to CMYK is a cool little export option out of Indesign CS that will eliminate the need to ever convert RGB to CMYK.

00:15 This cool little RGB workflow will eliminate a lot of disk space and save you a lot of time along with a lot of confusion regarding having two files of the same image.

00:27 You can see we have an image here that’s created in Indesign CS it consists of an RGB bitmap image, you can see the color space is RGB, and it is tagged with the Adobe RGB color profile.

00:42 We also have a CMYK Adobe Illustrator image which is a vector graphic.

00:50 It’s important to note that the image is created with different values of gray. This is important because these color values of gray are built with black only and we want to make sure we do not re-separate this into a four color gray.

01:06 We also have a series of color swatches that are placed as Pantone colors. Also, take note that we are using the LAB values of these colors.

01:21 So, once we are ready to go to press, we’re going to do a simple export option out of Indesign CS.

01:30 We’re going to utilize the Adobe PDF X-4 standard. Once we select PDF X-4, we’re going to save our file and we’ll go into the export Adobe PDF presets and select X-4; change the compatibility to PDF 1.7 standard; select our page and then go through the individual tabs here.

02:00 Under compression, we want to keep these values the same. We’re going to downsample to 300 pixels per inch when our image is greater than 450 pixels per inch. This will allow for a much faster upload to the color server at HiDefColor.com

02:18 Under marks and bleeds, two things – select our crop marks and change our bleed to .125″ top and bottom, inside and outside

02:29 The output tab is the most critical. This is where color conversion is going to take place and convert RGB to CMYK.

02:39 We want to focus on the color conversion pull-down menu. We want to select “Convert to Destination” and “preserve numbers”. The preserve numbers will maintain any native CMYK data within the document.

02:53 This is important for our placed Adobe Illustrator image where we want to maintain our gray values with just black ink only. Select “preserve numbers” and our destination this is where we’re going to convert to CMYK.

03:08 We want to make sure that we select coated GRAcOL 2006 color profile. The GRAcOL profile is the largest CMYK color gamut for sheetfed printing.

03:21 Under profile inclusion policy we want to make sure we include the destination profile in case we have to repurpose this or convert this to another press.

03:33 Under ink manager you’ll notice that we have our CMYK information here and also all of our placed Pantone color swatches. What we want to do to make sure is that we check the all spots to process. You’ll notice that it converted these into CMYK and more importantly, make sure that we select the use standard LAB values for spots.

04:00 This is important because this will use the LAB color data value for each
of those Pantone colors for a much more accurate conversion into CMYK.

04:13 Once we select OK, then we simply export the file. Once we export our file, we’re going to open it up into Acrobat and you’ll notice that our file is here and we’re going to do a quick little preflight. We’re going to go into the advanced tab, Print Production and select Output Preview.

04:40 You’ll notice a little output preview window will open up. Notice that all are images have now been converted to CMYK! So we could simply go through the process and deselect our individual colors and build our document: black, yellow, magenta, cyan for our CMYK values.

04:59 As we mouse over, you’ll notice that we are now in the CMYK color space and all of our Pantone colors have been converted to CMYK. More importantly, when we get down to our placed Illustrator graphic, you’ll notice here that the gray is made up of black ink only. You’ll notice that up here, once I thumbed over the sixty percent screen of black, this was maintained by using the preserve numbers value for the convert to destination. This did not re-separate it into four colors.

05:33 The important part about this it saves a lot of time as far as balancing color on press and also eliminating any registration issues on press having to line up four colors for just one color gray.

05:47 Well, I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Look back for more tutorials in the future.

Have a good day!
[/learn_more]