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CHROMiX ColorNews Issue #20 - Color Management Myths 29-33

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Welcome to ColorNews, a periodic update on things related to Color Management. We are striving for a regular consistent newsletter of high value to our customers. Please let us know what your interests are so we can address these concerns in our coming issues.


C H R O M i X C O L O R N E W S

Issue #20
September 7th, 2005


Several Quick Notes of Interest:

** Drum ROLL please : : : :
CHROMiX is very happy to launch COLORTHINK PRO! We will be demonstrating the new Pro ColorThink at Print '05 on booth 8633 at McCormick Place in Chicago from September 9-15th. If you're in the area, come by and see a demo. More details below.

** We are delighted to announce that CHROMiX is now selling Kodak's new Profile Editing software. We are very excited about this opportunity, since we have had many requests for this software and it is difficult to source. See below news item.

** The CHROMiX Color Management Utility Kit special has been very popular this summer. Here's the deal: when you buy either an Eye-One Pro solution or an X-Rite Pulse ColorElite solution, CHROMiX will send you a FREE Color Management Kit. See ad below.

** TRADE in your old measurement device and get up to $200 off your next GretagMacbeth Eye-One purchase! See details in ad below.

** Yet Another Five Color Management Myths - an article written by CHROMiX President Steve Upton


Table of Contents


1. CHROMiX News
2. Color, Product & Industry News
3. Shows and Events
4. Tech & Education Notes
5. Yet Another Five Color Management Myths - an article written by CHROMiX President Steve Upton
6. CHROMiX Open Box items for sale
7. ColorNews Administration (feedback, subscriptions, etc.)




Since our last ColorNews Issue #19 on July 20, 2005, here's what's been happening at CHROMiX:

CHROMiX will be at Print05 in Chicago showing off our much-anticipated COLORTHINK PRO! We'll be in booth #8633 at McCormick Place in the ColorManagement.Com booth (about 1/2 way in on the far right side). Come by and talk with us or get a demonstration of our newest software. We would love to meet you if you are attending the show.

ColorThink Pro offers major enhancements to 3D color graphing and ICC color profile analysis. Also introduced is a ground-breaking Color Worksheet tool for workflow modeling and color analysis and our new ColorCast profile technology.
For the ColorThink Pro datasheet (500K), go here:
Click Here
For the press release:
Click Here

CHROMiX is announcing our new ColorCast technology.
ColorCast technology alters ICC profiles by embedding color transformations into normal ICC device profiles. The result is a profile that is usable with any ICC compatible system but contains complex proofing or modeling transformations. "ColorCast technology is remarkable because, while there is considerable color wizardry going on under the hood, the resulting profile is still a regular ICC-compatible print, scan, or monitor profile." explained CHROMiX president and ColorCast creator Steve Upton "As a result, soft and hard-proofing of multi-color and abstract profiles is now available in ANY application, print driver or RIP that supports ICC profiles."
For the full press release:
Click Here

CHROMiX is now selling the Kodak ColorFlow Custom Color Tools profile editor. Custom Color Tools is a Photoshop plug-in that allows editing of output profiles using the Photoshop editing tools we are all know. Until today this great editor has been very difficult to find. Now you can order it easily from our site, anytime. (Mac OS X-only)
Click Here

CHROMiX will hold its last 'PHOTOSHOP DIGITAL WORKFLOW with COLOR MANAGEMENT' training class of the summer on September 21st, but has added a Fall class on November 18th. It is a one day workshop being held from 9:30 am - 4:40 pm, at the Seattle Evolve facility. The cost is $300. Recent attendees have let us know how effective this class was for them. This could be just the class to kick start your color management knowledge base. Please join us. For more details follow this link:
Click Here

ColorThink 2.2b16 beta is now available. It is a free update to the current ColorThink software. We continue to add fixes and look for feedback from our users. Download a copy, give it a try, and let us know what you think.
Click Here

The number of users and topics of discussion continue to grow at our website. Check it out if you are looking for answers to technical problems. It's free!
Click Here

If you're debating whether to get either the GretagMacbeth Eye-One or the X-Rite Pulse ColorElite, Rick Hatmaker of CHROMiX wrote an informative review of both solutions. Find the article at Digital Imaging Techniques (August issue):
Click Here

Finally, please let us know how you like the new ColorNews RSS Feed service on our home page. We welcome your feedback.


Color, Product & Industry News


GretagMacbeth Customer Loyalty Program - is getting close.
We really wanted to have a fully fleshed-out program for you by now (REALLY wanted to) but it turns out to be more complicated than we had anticipated. We are very close to having all the forms & coupons available and will forward all the information to one who responded to the announcement in ColorNews #19. If you want to get added to the list, please send a quick note to sales(at)

In July X-Rite (Monaco) released Colorport - a new utility that lets you use the DTP70 with 3rd-party applications such as ProfileMaker. It is free and downloadable at:
Click Here

Nikon and Adobe have agreed to commit to future Camera RAW Development. This is potentially big news to photographers who have continually wrestled with varying RAW formats in their workflows. For the whole story:
Click Here




September 8-10, 2005, PMA Fall Imaging Conference and Mini Trade Show at Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego, CA.
Click Here

September 9-15, 2005, PRINT '05 and CONVERTING '05 at McCormick Place Complex, Chicago, IL Because of its mammoth size and international presence, PRINT occurs only once every four years and will take the place of GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO in 2005.
Click Here
CHROMiX will be there at Booth #8633 at McCormick Place.

September 11-14, 2005, Seybold Chicago at Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Chicago, IL.
Click Here

September 28-29, 2005, Digital Imaging '05 at Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport, CA.
Click Here

November 29 - December 2, 2005, Seybold San Francisco at The Palace Hotel, San Francisco, CA.
Click Here

December 4-6, 2005, PIA/GATF Color Management Conference at The Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, Phoenix, AZ. This is the largest US show with exclusive focus on color management technology. Hear about the latest tools, workflows, and trends in producing high-quality color.
Click Here


Tech & Education Notes

CHROMiX would like to thank contributing members Alan Rew and Richard Brackin for suggesting these great (and free) online articles:

>From CHROMiX:
1) The classic article, 'Color of Toast' from CHROMiX's own Steve Upton should be considered an essential to your color management education library:
Click Here
2) Here are a few color management terms defined for your assistance:
Click Here
3) And finally, here is a 27-minute online overview of color management from Steve Upton ranging from from displays, applications and output issues. (QuickTime movie). Steve has a talent for making color management accessible and easy to understand.
Click Here

For a good introduction to Color Management, download the free PDF on Photoshop CS2 colour management by Martin Evening at: Click Here

To explore whether ProPhoto RGB color space is right for your photographic workflow, check these articles out:
Click Here
and Here

And finally, has published an online color management and color science glossary from Bruce Fraser. According to Bruce, it is not exhaustive (yet), but will be updated with additional terms as needed.
Click Here


Yet Another Five Color Management Myths - an article by CHROMiX President Steve Upton

Each issue, our President Steve Upton will take time to answer questions we receive on a regular basis. If you have specific questions or comments, please see below for how to make submissions.

Now why would I go thinking that I had found and covered all the myths out there? After I finish a list of them, I think "Well, that's it! Better deal with the larger subjects that have been gathering," but no. So, this month I have a few more for you..

Myth #29: The more patches on the printer target, the better the resulting profile

>From the "I can't believe I haven't covered this yet" department. This one is a classic. I think it perpetuates because, well, sometimes it's true. A lot of the time, actually. But not all the time - that's why blanket statements like this should be avoided and we should all fall back on that old, worn color management favorite, "It depends".

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing / using a profiling target.

1) You are trying to sample the behavior of your printer as effectively as possible. You are printing about a thousand patches which are going to be used to create a profile with 15-25 thousand color entries, which is going to be used to process images that contain 50-500 thousand colors. To say there is interpolation going on is a major understatement. "Effective" means the RIGHT patches, not just the right number of patches.

2) More patches is better IF they are spaced well in your printer's space AND if your printer has non-linear behavior that needs to be mapped. Your printer may obey RGB or CMYK, but it speaks Lab. Many profiling targets evenly space patches according to RGB & CMYK numbers. If you are profiling an inkjet, chances are that it changes density and hue in strange ways when the ink gets heavier. An effective target will have more patches in the problem areas and less in others.

3) More patches is BAD if your printer is very linear (like a well-behaved printing press). In this case more patches introduces waves into the system which are caused by abnormal behavior of the press. Abnormal as in "here today and gone tomorrow". Fewer patches will make smoother profiles and overcome transient problems.

4) As much as you might like to be democratic, you don't care about all colors and all color shifts the same. We see shifts in neutrals before we see them in other colors. Our visual system has evolved to watch out for sick people and bad food. This means that we might need to sample neutrals, flesh and food colors more than others, and ensure that hue shifts are never seen.

I am sorry to say that it is not easy to determine which targets are best for your system without trying them. Nor is it easy to create targets without some experience in the field and the right tools. But it can help. If you need help, let us know and we'll see what we can do.

Myth #30: If your RIP doesn't allow total ink limiting, just limit each channel.

It is surprising and disappointing to find RIPs being sold today that only offer ink limiting by the channel.

A bit of a review.

When you set up a new RIP, the first thing you discover is that it can be a bit wild with the ink until you get it under control. If you are trying a 3rd party paper with a new RIP, you might be startled to see ink puddling, curdling, and pouring down the paper when you print a profiling target.

The good RIPs have a number of ink testing charts you can print to find the right balance of ink for your paper. The first typically has inking from 0 to 100% in each channel. 100% on a wide-open RIP can mean way more ink than is recommended, but it is fairly easy to determine which percentage you should enter into the RIP software to stop the ink. This then becomes 100% whenever you ask for maximum ink and you can stop worrying about single ink channels over-inking.

The problem is that some RIPs stop there. This is woefully inadequate, as you soon discover when you reprint your profiling target and find over-inking as the inks get above 200-300%. A good RIP will then lead you through the process of printing a total inking chart which will layer inks in a few different orders so you can clearly see that your printer "loses it" above 280%, for example. Then you simply key this number into the RIP and it won't let ink get above that level.

If you try to limit the total inking by limiting the maximum amount in each channel, then you are forced to reduce this example RIP to about 70% per channel.

Have you seen 70% Cyan on your printer? Lame. Watered down.

Do it in each channel and you have squeezed the gamut of your printer down to something that is probably half the size it could be. Yes, you could print the target at full inking and then set the total ink limit in the profiling software to 280%, but then you will have a profiling target that is over-inked on many of it's patches - which is a waste of patches, ink and accuracy. (see previous myth)

So if you are RIP shopping (and I pity you if you are, as there are literally hundreds of them out there), then avoid the ones that only allow per channel ink limiting. They will be limiting your control and are a good indicator of a company that doesn't understand all they should to build good RIPs.

Myth #31: When setting up a RIP for proofing, you should match density and dot gain of the inkjet to the press.

If you somehow manage to get the same inks into your proofing system that you use on press (or at least the same hues) and it is producing dots exactly the same way as your press, then this MIGHT be a good idea. Otherwise, don't bother.

Inkjets and their inks are very different from press inks.

- The inks are different colors - so even if you match the density of Yellow, for instance, you won't ask for 100% inkjet yellow to match 100% press yellow. You (your profile) will need to ask for some combination of Yellow and Magenta or Cyan - and then you are beyond caring about one ink's density and into the realm of color management.

- The inks behave differently. As inkjet inks are laid down, they shift in hue. It's a nasty truth that can cause problems in more saturated colors. It can make ink-limiting a RIP a complicated task and you don't want to add a restriction coming from press behavior to the process.

- Inkjets don't (typically) use the same dot structure as the press. Inkjets often use some sort of FM screening, while presses typically use halftones (AM screening). Different dot size and shape means totally different dot gain behavior. It is a big waste of time to try to get inkjet gain to match press - in the linearization stage. This doesn't mean that the inkjet won't simulate the press's dot gain, only that it doesn't need to be calibrated to it. A subtle, but important, difference!

When it comes to inkjets matching a press, they can do a remarkably good job. The trick is to learn effective RIP configuration and profiling techniques, and rely on profiles to do the conversion work.

Myth #32: Relative Colorimetric intent means no color shift.

This confusion tends to arise when people graph colors in ColorThink and then apply profiles to those colors, creating vectors. When the relative colorimetric intent is selected, vectors appear that surprise people who've been led to believe that rel col means no shift.

Remember that colorimetric rendering intents come in two flavors: relative and absolute.

Relative means that, as colors are converted to the printer (for example), they are altered to appear correct RELATIVE to the new paper white point. Normally this is exactly what you want, as your eye will see the paper white and expect colors to be balanced to it. The perceptual and saturation intents also convert colors relative to the new paper color. Absolute is the intent that overrides the new paper color with an attempt to simulate the source white point (a press paper color simulated on an inkjet, for example).

If you don't want to see color shifts in your graphs, choose absolute colorimetric and you see graphs with the shortest vectors possible.

I should note that the shifts produced by rel col are typically not a bad thing when done properly. As mentioned above, the eye expects it and anything else would look odd.

Myth #33: The new SWOP guide (version 10) contains an effective summary of color management.

OK, so I'm getting on the soap box here, but please!

I'm sure the updated guide is effective at describing how to print according to SWOP guidelines (I really am sure, we are using it today) but the description of color management is contradictory and, in fact, violates at least one color management myth I have described before (#2, that there is some internal color reference that output is compared to)

I have a feeling it is a repetition of descriptions from previous SWOP editions but I shudder to think about how far back it was written.

Please, helpful SWOP people, rewrite the color management portion of the guide. Expand it to include updated soft and hard proofing information and perhaps even some information regarding printing using colorimetry in addition to densitometry. If you need help please let us know, we are happy to be of assistance.

There, I'm off my soap box.

Thanks for reading,

Steve Upton
September 7, 2005

For previous ColorNews articles follow this link:
Click Here


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