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Digital Remote Soft Proofing: The Key to Effective Color Communication

(June 2008) posted on Thu Jun 19, 2008

Digital remote soft proofing offers screen and digital printers a way to improve color control, speed up time to press, and greatly reduce rejects. Read on to find out more about this technology and some of the other benefits you can reap when you implement a remote soft proofing system.

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By Mark A. Coudray

The key to establishing white point for digital, on-screen viewing is to make sure the monitor’s white point matches the stock on which we print when viewed under calibrated D50 conditions. The problem for monitors comes from balancing the RGB values to create a si-multaneous match to the stock for both color and luminance. Thankfully, today’s inexpensive monitor-calibration-measurement hardware and software make this a fairly easy task. Examples of inexpensive monitor-calibration hardware and software include X-Rite’s EyeOne or MonacoOPTIX Pro and Integrated Color Corp.’s ColorEyes Display.

Monitor calibration is the second component. The traditional CRT monitor is fast becoming extinct, being replaced with LCD screens powered either by fluo-rescent or LED sources. Both of these are much more stable than the older CRT versions. Nevertheless, each monitor must be calibrated and profiled across the entire white to black range. Therefore, we need an easy way to frequently calibrate our monitors.

Validation software tracks calibration history and drift characteristics within an established acceptable range. The monitor is recalibrated only when the values exceed the accepted tolerance. This helps to minimize the amount of time it takes to achieve calibration. Validation is much quicker and less involved than an entire recalibration cycle. Recalibration also is in order when drift, time, or both exceed the established benchmarks. Validation works in concert with the ICC profile. The profile takes care of small variations, and a validation failure compensates for any large drift the profile cannot accommodate.

Consider working with SWOP-certified monitors. These include Apple Cinema Displays and Apple iMacs (G5 and Intel); Eizo CG21, CG210/211, and CG220/221; LaCie 321; and Quato IntelliProof 213.


Supply chain

With the lighting, monitors, and calibration under control, the next phase is to manage the supply-chain workflow—a considerably more difficult task. Problems arise when individual elements come from different creative sources and have a combination of virtual and hard proofs.


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