CHROMiX

Need Advice/Direction

I’ve looked at several posts and you guys seem like you know what you’re talking about, so i decided to post and ask for guidance.

I have a design/print company (small :laughing: ). Right now I spend a lot of time trying to guess what’s going to come out of my printer because I can’t trust what I’m seeing on my screen. I’m fairly confused with the whole color management thing and I don’t know if my issue is monitor calibration/profiling, printer profiling, or both. At my workstation, I’m working with an HP vs19b LCD monitor (I know it’s not one of the standards, but it came with the computer) and I’ve got an IKON branded CPP500 color copier/printer made by Konica Minolta. If I could get to a point where I didn’t have to print 4 or 5 times just to get the color right, that would be great. But I’m not sure where to start. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Hi,

Apologies if this is too simplistic a response.

I cannot claim to be an expert because I only started to learn about this during the last two years.

If you have not profiled either Display or Printer it is likely that the problem will come from both, but it is probably impossible to accurately attribute how much from each without measuring them.

The graphics application you are using needs to support colour management (Photoshop does fully).

If you want to understand about colour management, I found that “Real World Color Management” by Bruce Fraser did an excellent job of explaining things.

You have some choices on how to proceed with this, but the costs are not insignificant. Profiling the monitor needs to be done by someone who has equipment and direct access to the monitor (to measure it “on-site”), whereas the printer can be profiled either on-site or “by post”.

However, the costs of ink / toner and paper wasted are also worth considering against the outlay to fix the problem. For me, simply the time I saved (not making bad prints) convinced me that the money was well spent.

If you buy the equipment to do both yourself (high initial cost but very low running costs), then you would probably need to consider at least the Gretag Macbeth Eye-One Pro (or equivalent) plus the Eye-One Match software (either bundled free for RGB profiling or relatively inexpensive for CMYK). Whether you need RGB or CMYK depends on your printer driver software rather than your printer. Eye-One Match software (bundled with Eye-One device) is much less costly than ProfileMaker Pro, but gives very good results with Photoquality Inkjets and Photoshop.

If you choose to only profile your monitor and get someone else to profile the printer you can use a less costly “spider” type display profiling colorimeter. This would mean that every time you need to profile the printer you pay the charges for a professional service (by post). ( = lower initial costs but running cost not zero.) The lower cost colorimeter (e.g. Eye-One display) is a less flexible device and may also be a less accurate device in-use than the Eye-One pro “PhotoSpectrometer” (I have only used the Eye-One Pro device.)

I can’t say whether you would have to make profiles often for the printer, but it may be less stable with time than an inkjet printer, so the running costs might make purchasing the more expensive equipment (Eye-One Pro) worthwhile.

A third option would be to get someone to visit you to make an initial set of profiles, decide then for yourself whether it was/will be worth the money and make a more informed decision on next steps.

Maybe someone else has direct experience of the printer you are using so they can give some more specific advice.

You might also need to consider whether the image source (scanner or camera) needs calibration or profiling, because this might affect your purchasing decision.

Simon

Thanks so much for your reply, Simon. To me, the response was pretty detailed and not simplistic at all.

Concerning printer color space, I’ve been doing everything in CMYK lately because it seem to be more closely matched to what I’m seeing on screen. When I switch to RGB, it’s really off. So I guess I’ll stick with CMYK on output.

Do you have any suggestions on good places to purchase the Eye-One Pro bundle? I’ve looked a little, but I’m always open to suggestions. Anyway, thanks again for your reply and if anyone else has any more input on the subject, please post!

I cannot advise on purchasing Eye-One simply because I live in UK so I know nothing about US sources (except they always seem less expensive than UK ones!).

As far as CMYK as a working space is concerned, it is not something I have done so cannot comment. I usually use either Adobe RGB 1998 or (more often) Pro-PhotoRGB as a working space. Some people advise against using a “large” space like ProPhoto but I normally keep files in 16bit until the last moment to avoid problems with the “excessively large” space. Both of these spaces suit both my scanner or digital camera source data pretty well. Having said all of that, I sometimes switch to “Lab” in Photoshop for specific tasks.

My comment in the earlier post about CMYK versus RGB was simply that the profile creation software needs to create profiles EITHER in CMYK or RGB and that the decision on which to use in the profile is made for you by the software which drives your printer. In the case of (for example) Epson Inkjet printers, although they use CMYK (and other) inks, the driver software (supplied with the printer) actually needs data in RGB format (which it then translates internally to control the ink flow). You simply don’t get access to the CMYK side, UNLESS you use different driver software (a third party “RIP” for example). Not knowing your printer I cannot say whether or not you would need to pay for the (slightly more expensive) CMYK version of the Eye-One…but I am sure a reputable Eye-One dealer could assist you. Chromix (Steve Upton an others) - who operate this forum - seem to be pretty expert in this area.

I hope this clarifies a little.

Simon

I have a Creo RIP with my printer, and I’m fairly certain that CMYK would be best for me. Again, your comments and advice are GREATLY appreciated!! :smiley:

Pretty simple really. You need to calibrate and profile your display on a regular basis (its a device that changes it’s behavior over time). The same set of RGB or CMYK numbers should always produce the same color appearance right? As for the output device, you need a profile for that. This tells applications like Photoshop the info it needs to know display those numbers on the profiled display.

You may have resolved your issue already but I thought I would provide you more specific feedback about what you should do.

To qualify my perspective, and opinion, I work for a company called Electronics for Imaging (EFI, Inc.) and I am a Tech Sales Specialist in the Southern Region supporting the IKON channel. Before I go any farther I should tell you that EFI makes competitive products to the Creo controller called Fiery and PowerPress that connect to the CPP500. IKON provides multiple RIP controllers for the CPP500 in this situation you were sold a Creo. I will also qualify that whether you buy a Creo, Fiery or PowerPress what I am about to share with you is something that has to be addressed with any of the afore mentioned, OR ANY, RIP controllers.

You may have a monitor calibration issue but more than likely your output is drifting due to changes in the output control. First, color laser technology is known to drift for many reasons (internal temperature fluctuations of the printer, change in paper stock, calibration of printer, toner density shifts (i.e. auto calibration “adjusting” in the printer, etc.).

First it is important to isolate where the shift occurs. If you are re-processing your native document from the source application through a RIP and then printing separately processed documents then you may have Color Management Issues (CMS). If on the other hand you are re-printing a processed file from the RIP to the printer and seeing the shift then you either have a printer or RIP calibration issue or you are changing toners or paper.

Before I suggest a fix I should point out to you that you should contact your local IKON Color Solutions Specialist (CSS) to try to enlist their help for stabilizing your color output. You could have a CMS application issue but it may also be a combination of CMS and printer calibration issues. If your customer sends you a file with CMS values and you open the file and apply different CMS settings and then the rip applies its CMS settings and then you print the file on a non-calibrated printer then you will spin your wheels and waste a lot of time trying to control the color shift behavior.

Regarding a fix for you. Here a list of standard suggestions:

1). You need to calibrate the printer.
a). The CPP500 has a USER calibration feature called “Printer Gamma Sensor Adjust (PGSA)”. You need to do this whenever you feel the color is drifting (assuming the CMS and RIP system is stabilized).
b.) The CPP500 has a SERVICE calibration feature called “Printer Gamma Offset Adjust (PGOA)”. The PGOA sets the density standard that the CPP500 will come back to whenever it performs an “auto-adjust”. Your IKON Service technician can set internal switches that control the behavior of how often the “auto-adjust” is performed. By default the CPP500 will perform an “Auto-adjust” after every 250 clicks, including in the middle of a 500-click print job. If you are noticing color shift in your output on high quantity jobs your IKON service tech can change the switches so that the “auto-adjust” only occurs after 1000 clicks and not in the middle of a job. There are other switches that can completely alter the “auto-adjust” behavior. This step is extremely important for controlling the density behavior of the printer. Imagine that you send CMYK values 50/75/0/5 to the printer for 500 clicks. If after 250 clicks the printer density changes 10% then your 50/75/0/5 color value could change to 40/65/10/15. You will see a different color on paper if the density target resets drastically. In short, contact your local IKON branch to validate that the PGOA has been performed. Further, PGOA should be completed after every major service.

2). You need to calibrate your RIP to the density output of the printer.
You have a Creo which is a non-EFI product so I can’t help you on this step.

3). Your RIP CMS settings need to be set properly to handle the CMS characteristics of your files.
Working in CMYK color space will limit the color gamut of your files. If you are more comfortable using it OK. On the other hand you may just need to reset your RIP RGB CMS characteristics to better control color conversion behavior. Fiery and PowerPress print controllers provide the ability to associate separate RGB, CMYK and Pantone values when processing files. Again I can’t speak to the CMS controls in the Creo but you should engage your local IKON CSS for assitance on this matter. Some RIPs apply a global curve adjustment to every (RGB, CMYK, Pantone) object in a file, a BIG mistake.

Finally, if you feel you need to create ICC profiles of your monitor and printer to create a tighter CMS workflow EFI sells a product called, EFI Color Profiler. The EFI Color Profiler (ES-1000) includes a spectrophotometer (Eye-One), Monitor and Printer profiler software. The ICC profiles can be used by any ICC compliant RIP but when used with a Fiery or PowerPress the spectrophotemeter also supports reading spot colors and the Fiery and PowerPress allow for spot substitution. The EFI Color Profiler is also used by a Fiery and PowerPress to calibrate color density of the printer so that the RIP can adjust the output values to compensate for the density fluctuations of the printer whenever the Fiery Calibration is run.

We also have a new version of the Color Profiler that should begin shipping by middle of October. This new version provides all of the features of the old in addition provides an extensive suite of visual tools to help users evaluate input vs. output and display out of gamut colors in 3-dimension. This enhanced suite will allow you to:
1). Create Monitor and Printer ICC profiles
2). Create Device Link Profiles
3). Preview target image on screen as original or with new profile applied
4). Measure target vs. output
5). Compare ICC target vs. industry standard color gamut in 3D-model.
6). Modify ICC target to better match source input
…among many other features.

I think I have hit you with enough and I have to go. Good luck to you and please contact your local IKON CSS given the time I know they can help you achieve desirable results.