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Zeroing in on New Ways to Match Color

(July 2008) posted on Thu Jul 24, 2008

Visually judging the accuracy of color between printed samples is a process that many printers use. Unfortunately, this method leads to downtime and waste. Here you

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By Bruce Ridge

We can slightly alter digital proofs to give us a visual representation of perceptual/process-color images that have a slight shift out of balance. This is not to say that you should print your process-color images out of balance. But, in reality, you’ll not always be able to print in perfect balance. You’ll work with many images in which one area or subject is far more important than the rest of the image. In those cases, we can generate several proofs or one large proof with critical image areas that are slightly shifted out of balance to get a visual representation of how it’ll affect the critical image areas. Doing so before the job hits the press permits us to establish a visual representation of that on-press tolerance that all of the print specifications allow. The big difference is we can now see what that tolerance does to the entire image or isolated critical image areas.


Spot-color tolerancing

Absolute zero color tolerancing creates a similar disconnect with spot colors. Either you try to match a single color chip and allow someone to reject the color based on their ability to perceive any difference in the color, no matter how slight, or you use one of the color-tolerancing methods that relies on Delta E math. The recent formulas used for determining color tolerancing, such as ones offered by the Colour Measurement Committee and other organizations, are much more accurate for predicting how a color will appear to the human eye. But does it predict the way your customer will see the color? Remember, we all see color differently as it is one of our unique senses, just like taste. And there are people out there who will eat kimchi or liver and onions! Being a print buyer doesn’t necessarily mean the person has excellent color discrimination or an understanding of printing limitations.


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