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Got colors that don’t match?

We Bring You Back From Chaos

  • Color management
  • Job management
  • Automation and customization
  • Prepress and printing standardization

About Color Management

The best way to look at a workflow is to consider every step of the way, from initial image to screen to desktop printer to prepress and production and to press. It’s a long road with specific areas of expertise along the way. No matter where you are in the chain, you would get an overall understanding of the whole process with deeper knowledge of your specific area.

Whether you’re a photographer, an artist, a designer, a retoucher, a production artist, a prepress operator, a printer, there’s a lot to find out. Photographers, for instance, grapple with whether to shoot in RAW format and whether to deliver RGB or CMYK files. How much retouching should they do? What’s the best way to communicate with the client? Ad agencies have always juggled fast and high volume printing with color accuracy. Is there a machine somewhere that will give them predictable color fast? Printers look for standards that will allow them to match a proof to their press, and a press to another press. Should they move to G7?

With evolving technology comes an endless supply of new questions. In our commitment to provide the best possible solution, we test RIPs, new software, papers, printers. If you’re curious about a specific RIP or printer, please give us a call.


Contact Erica Aitken info@rodsandcones.com (831) 421-0131

About Proofing

Proofing is a word that means a lot of different things. Softproofing for example, is finally available and so precise that press sheets are matched to monitors. Inkjet proofs can achieve a match of greater than 98% consistently and have become today’s contract proof. Some inkjet printers have sophisticated built-in color management including a spectrophotometer. And laser printers who could never produce accurate color consistently are finally reliable for fast, high-volume accurate prints.

On press, things move all the time. Standards are constantly questioned and new methods developed. Do you go with SWOP or with G7? Or both? Should you accept a file displayed on a monitor as a contract to match on press? Who decides what the standards will be and how do you make sure that your file is correctly printed?


About GRACoL7

1. What is the difference between GRACoL, GRACoL7, and G7?

  • GRACoL is a set of specifications for commercial printing developed by the GRACoL committee, a member of IDEAlliance
  • GRACoL7 is the latest version of these guidelines
  • And G7 is the methodology used to meet these specifications

2. What is a traditional press standard based on?

  • SID (Solid Ink Density)
  • TVI (Tone Value Increase or Dot Gain)
  • Wet ink trap
  • Print Contrast

3. What are the limitations of traditional press control?

  • SID specifications do not reflect an individual press’ capability
  • TVI is set to different values for different printing processes (i.e. sheetfed, web, newsprint)
  • TVI and SID do not define the appearance of color on press

4. What are the advantages of the G7 method?

  • G7 measures substrates and colorants using colorimetry rather than density
  • It uses gray balance as the primary control measurement
  • It establishes a Neutral Print Density Curve (NPDC) as a target for the reproduction of highlights and shadows
  • Although they remain important metrics, SID and TVI are no longer the primary process controls

5. Why is Gray Balance important in evaluating a press sheet?

Because when neutrality is defined and maintained, color will usually look correct and stay consistent through a press run

6. Why is it better to use colorimetry than density?

  • Because colorimetry considers color and color balance rather than the weight of ink on paper
  • And because it gives the ability to define the appearance of color and to monitor color change

7. What is a Neutral Print Density Curve (NPDC)?

  • NPDC is a target curve defined along the entire tonal range. GRACoL7 defines a specific NPDC curve that allows the press to run to its natural tendencies, using plate compensation curves to correct for unwanted behavior.
  • It uses the entire tonal range not just the traditional TVI 25%, 50%, and 75% values, giving you the entire shape of a curve, from highlight to shadow

8. How is Highlight Range (HR) used for process control?

  • As a quick check to visually compare a 50/40/40 CMY patch to a 50K patch
  • As an additional checkpoint, to check gray balance in the 50/40/40 CMY patch
  • And to monitor the TVI of the press run

9. What are the benefits of the G7 method? They are:

  • Faster make-readies because the press operator can quickly determine the ink balance on the sheet using neutral and black patches
  • Better control on press because G7 uses colorimetry
  • Gray-balanced plate curves improves the press’ ability to print neutral through the whole tonal range

10. Am I a good candidate to switch to G7?

  • Yes, if your color make-ready is taking longer than you’d like
  • And if you want to spend less time measuring press sheets
  • Also if your customers complain about the quality and the consistency of your color
  • Or if you need to match color appearance across multiple presses or press types.

 

 

HONBLUE is the go-to company for the AEC community, providing printing, document reproduction, scanning services for archiving, and large format printing for presentation graphics. Over the last thirty years, the company has evolved its print services to serve advertising agencies, graphic design firms, and the travel industry which is so prominent in Hawaii’s economy. They use HP Page- Wide XL8000s, OCE Large Format scanners, and Canon printers. They also have two additional storefront shops, one downtown that shares space with Brue Bar (another HONBLUE holding), and one in Lahaina Maui. In addition to the coffee business, HONBLUE acquired three other companies which are all under the same roof except for the two storefront locations. One provides traditional offset printing while the second offers large format printing. And the third is a web-to-print small format and digital printing company. IT services all of the companies and there is some staff overlap and shared technology. Everyone pitches in for the larger orders. We assume that Matt’s business model has to do with his life and business on the island. Producing print products cost-effectively in the one of the most expensive cities in the US is difficult. And it’s not only the high cost of doing business, but also the expense of bringing materials such as paper and ink to a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. While there is intense pressure from less expensive online competitors, the value proposition is having the right mix of modern machinery, software and people to create a model of “high tech / high touch” that is successful in Hawaii. Quickly, Matt and his team realized that, with four print divisions operating mostly separately, repetitive actions, repeated errors, time-consuming tasks are quadrupled, a huge time drain and a logistic nightmare. In addition, the expectation that orders must be delivered very quickly, and the very low unemployment rate, motivated them to explore automation solutions.

Switch and PitStop Pro

Jaison VanDenover, Online Operations Director, spearheaded the move to automate HONBLUE’s workflows. Combined with the help of their vendor, Rods and Cones, he and Matt set out to define a vision for the future, where the work would go through faster, a client’s file corrected in no t ime and workflows would eventually overlap. As Matt Heim says, “The best thing Switch does is SOLVE PROBLEMS. Every day we are presented with issues on how to take the “mess” that clients give us and produce a good product efficiently. We can now customize a solution for a particular client giving us better integrity and velocity on the work.”

The first flow Jaison created was a preflighting tool consisting of PDF standardization for 4-color with bleed. The same flow was duplicated and modified to each division’s preflight needs. They are keeping preflight flows mostly consistent between departments with differences just for final output. Some of their repeat projects came with special needs and they created custom flows for them.

They also created flows to handle some tedious prepress functions typical of large format, like adding  hems and pole pockets. Also for large format, they created a flow that downsized the images of a project so as to compile a visual presentation of the completed installation. Switch is useful for moving files at certain times on the network and also for backing up their HP Indigo digital press and server settings.

They are extraordinarily independent, learning everything they can on their own, relying occasionally on support from Son Do (Rods and Cones) and from the Enfocus team. They know that their current flows are being utilized by staff and are saving considerable time. Equally important is that the flows help their teams get used to the idea of automation. While some employees mistakenly worry that their jobs are in jeopardy, Matt and Jaison rely on automation to free up time to focus on the really hard work and to give everyone the tools to  meet production deadlines and requirements. They are always adding, modifying and adapting current or new flows to meet each department’s needs. In collaboration with their web developer, they have already identified uses for Switch outside of the production environment to assist with the marketing department’s needs as well as with their infrastructure’s goal to communicate between application platforms. As for a vision that further consolidates some of these workflows to serve all departments at once, they are planning to use Switch to replace their current file upload technology. As Jaison explains “Each division has their own upload website which runs on the same technology, same network, same server. We want to  use Switch to integrate into our HONBLUE website the capacity to receive the files and route them to the correct department, perform a preflight and standardization to the files, then give an instant response to the client that the files are either OK or changes are needed. We also want to incorporate immediate online proofing for the files that are successively submitted through the departments’ preflight steps.” Although already significantly contributing to efficient production times, they are just starting, and intend to rely on Switch to solidly meet every challenge of an ever growing company.

 

 

HONBLUE is the go-to company for the AEC community, providing printing, document reproduction, scanning services for archiving, and large format printing for presentation graphics. Over the last thirty years, the company has evolved its print services to serve advertising agencies, graphic design firms, and the travel industry which is so prominent in Hawaii’s economy. They use HP Page- Wide XL8000s, OCE Large Format scanners, and Canon printers. They also have two additional storefront shops, one downtown that shares space with Brue Bar (another HONBLUE holding), and one in Lahaina Maui. In addition to the coffee business, HONBLUE acquired three other companies which are all under the same roof except for the two storefront locations. One provides traditional offset printing while the second offers large format printing. And the third is a web-to-print small format and digital printing company. IT services all of the companies and there is some staff overlap and shared technology. Everyone pitches in for the larger orders. We assume that Matt’s business model has to do with his life and business on the island. Producing print products cost-effectively in the one of the most expensive cities in the US is difficult. And it’s not only the high cost of doing business, but also the expense of bringing materials such as paper and ink to a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. While there is intense pressure from less expensive online competitors, the value proposition is having the right mix of modern machinery, software and people to create a model of “high tech / high touch” that is successful in Hawaii. Quickly, Matt and his team realized that, with four print divisions operating mostly separately, repetitive actions, repeated errors, time-consuming tasks are quadrupled, a huge time drain and a logistic nightmare. In addition, the expectation that orders must be delivered very quickly, and the very low unemployment rate, motivated them to explore automation solutions.

Switch and PitStop Pro

Jaison VanDenover, Online Operations Director, spearheaded the move to automate HONBLUE’s workflows. Combined with the help of their vendor, Rods and Cones, he and Matt set out to define a vision for the future, where the work would go through faster, a client’s file corrected in no t ime and workflows would eventually overlap. As Matt Heim says, “The best thing Switch does is SOLVE PROBLEMS. Every day we are presented with issues on how to take the “mess” that clients give us and produce a good product efficiently. We can now customize a solution for a particular client giving us better integrity and velocity on the work.”

The first flow Jaison created was a preflighting tool consisting of PDF standardization for 4-color with bleed. The same flow was duplicated and modified to each division’s preflight needs. They are keeping preflight flows mostly consistent between departments with differences just for final output. Some of their repeat projects came with special needs and they created custom flows for them.

They also created flows to handle some tedious prepress functions typical of large format, like adding  hems and pole pockets. Also for large format, they created a flow that downsized the images of a project so as to compile a visual presentation of the completed installation. Switch is useful for moving files at certain times on the network and also for backing up their HP Indigo digital press and server settings.

They are extraordinarily independent, learning everything they can on their own, relying occasionally on support from Son Do (Rods and Cones) and from the Enfocus team. They know that their current flows are being utilized by staff and are saving considerable time. Equally important is that the flows help their teams get used to the idea of automation. While some employees mistakenly worry that their jobs are in jeopardy, Matt and Jaison rely on automation to free up time to focus on the really hard work and to give everyone the tools to  meet production deadlines and requirements. They are always adding, modifying and adapting current or new flows to meet each department’s needs. In collaboration with their web developer, they have already identified uses for Switch outside of the production environment to assist with the marketing department’s needs as well as with their infrastructure’s goal to communicate between application platforms. As for a vision that further consolidates some of these workflows to serve all departments at once, they are planning to use Switch to replace their current file upload technology. As Jaison explains “Each division has their own upload website which runs on the same technology, same network, same server. We want to  use Switch to integrate into our HONBLUE website the capacity to receive the files and route them to the correct department, perform a preflight and standardization to the files, then give an instant response to the client that the files are either OK or changes are needed. We also want to incorporate immediate online proofing for the files that are successively submitted through the departments’ preflight steps.” Although already significantly contributing to efficient production times, they are just starting, and intend to rely on Switch to solidly meet every challenge of an ever growing company.

Rods and Cones: Perfect Color and Custom Workflows

We will get a match between monitor, printers and presses and we’ll make sure that your workflow is the most efficient in terms of time and cost. We can advise you on what printer is best for you, whether you need a RIP and which one, and if you would do better using the G7 method on press.

To get the most out of your resources, bring us in to evaluate your workflow. If in need of something more efficient, we’ll design a new workflow especially for you. Our proposal is backed by a ROI, technology, and the most seasoned workflow experts.

Contact Rods and Cones at (831) 421-0131 or email info@rodsandcones.com