IDEALink vs. FanGraph paper

I’m doing some of the preliminary work in order to prepare for G7 calibration. When it come to calculating the NPDC curves with FanGraph paper, what is the tradeoff vs. using the IDEALink software. In other words, how much time and effort is saved with the software? For now we’ll be calibrating an Epson inkjet and a Presstek DI press. Is really feasible to expect that this could be done using the FanGraph paper?

Good question.

The benefit to using the FanGraph paper is that it is free. If you already have a measurement instrument, it would cost you nothing to implement. The FanGraph paper system does work. It is accurate.

The obvious trade off on the other hand is that it takes longer. You basically have to plot your measurements manually. If you’re not familiar with how to do it (if it’s your first time), it will take even longer - while the software is quite quick and easy: You just click and drag measurement files into Curve and it does all the calculations automatically.

There is also a sense in which accuracy is improved by using the software. With the grey finder, you’re doing things by eye. The FanGraph has you looking for the nearest curve. On the other had, the software will scale everything exactly to the G7 curve using the measurements from instrument readings.

When thinking about time, it’s helpful to keep in mind the multiple times you need to do this process. To properly calibrate a press you are supposed to take samples from multiple places in the pressrun and then average them all. (The software averages all the measurements entered into it.) The time involved will be multiplied by how many printers you want to have G7 calibrated (both your Epson and the Presstek.) And then people usually like to check periodically to make sure they are still close to the specification, and again the software makes this a lot easier.