All Posts By

Mark Gundlach

How to Calibrate your Monitor in 10 Steps

How much time, paper, and ink do you waste re-printing images because the color isn’t right? Before you blame your printer, consider your monitor. When you work on an un-calibrated monitor, you can’t trust the colors you see on-screen, making it hard to make good editing decisions.

Luckily, monitor calibration is a breeze with i1Profiler software. Wizard-based, it walks you through every step in the profiling process. Basic and advanced modes allow you to modify your settings based on your calibration needs. i1Profiler comes with our very affordable i1Display Pro colorimeter and all of our professional spectrophotometers.

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Ready to trust your on-screen colors? Here are the ten simple steps you need to follow to calibrate your monitor or laptop display.

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Learn how to maximize your color measurement devices

In color production, mistakes can happen anytime, anywhere… during specification, formulation, manufacturing, assembly, quality control, or (unfortunately) all of the above. Every mistake adds up to wasted time and materials, and stacking errors across a production workflow can get expensive very quickly.

How can you stop this error stack from happening? If your job requires you to get color right, spectral data should be your best friend.

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One of our favorite eLearning courses to help customers maximize the accuracy and efficiency of their color measurement tools is Color Measurement Essentials. Each module includes videos to teach the basic concepts, plus hands-on exercises that allow you to practice what you learned using your device. Although the exercises can be applied to other instruments, they were developed with the Ci6x series in mind.

Each module also includes a short quiz to ensure you retain the key concepts. An overall score of 80% or higher earns a certificate of completion – a great way to impress your customers!

Sound interesting? Read on to learn how Color Measurement Essentials can help you increase accuracy and efficiency in your color workflow.

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End Your Print Rework Cycle with Softproofing

Softproofing – the ability to simulate how an image will appear in print right from your monitor – can save a lot of time and effort in your printing workflow. Although many photographers already rely on it, anyone who designs, approves, prepares or prints brand and color-critical images can also benefit.

Here’s why.

A typical color workflow includes a lot of editing, proofing, rework, and approvals. Even then, what comes off the printer is often a disappointment. If you’re working from a monitor that is displaying the wrong color, it’s impossible to make good design and editing decisions.

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With softproofing, designers can create with actual specified colors (no more trial and error!), project owners can approve layouts without physical proofs (predictable color!), and printers know exactly what’s expected of them when they receive a job (no surprises!).

Today we’ll explain how to set up softproofing…

  1. Ensure your monitor can produce accurate colors,
  2. Calibrate to optimized settings,
  3. Create an ICC profile, and
  4. Convert the display so all of your applications are using the profile

…Plus share tips to help you get the most from your calibrated and profiled display.

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Looking for increased productivity on press?

As the range of substrates, inks, and printing technologies has expanded, so has the challenge of maintaining color quality. A workflow based on digital standards is the easiest way to achieve accuracy and consistency across shifts and sites, regardless of production requirements. Adding a quality control solution like ColorCert® to your workflow can boost your bottom line even more.

ColorCert provides specific modules focused on each part of the workflow, helping flexo, gravure, and offset printers remove subjectivity, analyze data, and deliver increased productivity for the packaging industry.

Today we’re highlighting how ColorCert is helping UK-based Ultimate Packaging create a more efficient ink kitchen, improve premedia, produce fewer proofs, enhance customer relationships, and achieve an amazing 200% improvement in quality.

ColorCert ScoreCard Dashboard

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Effective Color Control on Metallized Substrates

You’re at the grocery store, trying to choose a new snack. With so many brands on the shelf, how will you decide? If you’re like most consumers, you’ll probably reach for the most attractive package.

Foil Snack Packaging

Color and packaging play a leading role in brand success, and metallized substrates are more popular than ever. Consumers love them because they convey quality and offer additional strength and protection, but for printers, metallized substrates are expensive and make color control a challenge.

If you’ve established a good workflow for your paper-based products, but metallized substrates are throwing you for a loop, you’re not alone. Reflective surfaces are very different, and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other. Today we’ll look what does and doesn’t work, so you can add metallized substrates into your production repertoire.

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How to Become an Idealliance® G7™ Master Printer

X-Rite recently donated color management solutions from our i1 Family to Idealliance® for use at its partner laboratories at Cal Poly University and the Rochester Institute of Technologies. The universities are leveraging i1 calibration and ICC profiling solutions, including the new i1iSis 2, as part of Idealliance’s G7™ Master and G7 Process Control Master Qualification programs.

G7™ is a proof-to-print process control method that allows you to reliably and efficiently match the visual appearance of the output from multiple printing devices. It works by defining the gray balance and NPDC curves in conjunction with the traditional method of measuring tonal value increase (TVI/dot gain) for each color. G7 can be applied to any type of printing, regardless of the type of ink or printing method, including electrostatic, inkjet, offset sheetfed, offset web, and flexo.

It’s important to note that G7 is a process, not a standard. However, G7 qualification can help you achieve repeatable, consistent control over your production process by ensuring that your process colors are neutral and balanced, improving gray balance, and stabilizing color.

The G7™ Master Printer program is managed by Idealliance®, a not-for-profit association of leading print and electronic media service providers and their technology partners. Idealliance offers G7 Master Qualification to printers who can prove they’re capable of performing to G7 specifications. Qualification must be done by a certified G7 Expert.

Customers are looking for G7 Master Printers. Today we’ll look at how X-Rite’s Certified G7 Color Experts can help you achieve G7 compliance to stay competitive in the market.

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Tolerancing in Flexo and Offset Printing

Density only tells us one thing about a color – how light or dark it is. To compare and communicate accurate color in print and packaging, you also need to measure hue and saturation.

Today we’ll take a look at the two most commonly used color models:  CIELAB and L*C*h°, and the tolerancing methods that help us describe color difference.

cielab lch color tolerancing methods

The concept behind CIELAB and L*C*h° is similar to longitude, latitude and altitude … with three coordinates, you can describe the exact location of any place on our planet (or in this case, any color in color space).

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The PANTONE® Certified Printer™ Program

pantone certified printer program

Accurate color is important to brand owners and print shops alike. Brand owners want to know their specified colors can be reliably produced each and every time, and printers need a fail-proof workflow to consistently achieve those colors without rework and waste.

The PANTONE® Certified Printer™ Program makes it all possible.

PANTONE Certification helps printers establish and maintain effective SOPs and implement benchmark processes, from the ink kitchen through prepress and production. It’s a certification that’s designed to increase the value of a print shop’s investments instead of starting from scratch.

PANTONE Certified Printers can:

  • Achieve accurate color reproduction, for both PANTONE Process and Spot Colors,
  • Enforce quality control in all steps of the production process,
  • Drive consistent color across shifts and locations,
  • Reduce waste,
  • Increase profitability,
  • Market themselves with the PANTONE Certified Printer logo,
  • And best of all, start realizing ROI in 3-6 months!

When bidding for jobs, PANTONE Certified Printers have bragging rights because they know they’re producing the best possible color, day in and day out.

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Color Management in a Print & Packaging Workflow

Working in prepress holds a unique challenge. Even if your color workflow is tight, everything can fall apart if the customer’s file isn’t color managed.

We’ve all seen it. You receive a file that the customer claims is ready to print, yet when you open it on your computer, the colors don’t look right at all. You can’t send it to print without knowing for sure, because you’re the one who will take the hit for wasted time and materials if it’s wrong.

So how do you know if the customer’s file is good to go… or needs to be color corrected?

Knowing how color management works from beginning to end will help you better understand your role in the process and arm you with the knowledge to educate your clients so that future files received reflect the correct color intent.

color management print packaging

The goal of color management is to match color appearance as closely as possible from input to output and between devices. These images demonstrate a workflow without color management (above) and with it (below).

 

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