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CHROMiX ColorNews Issue #37 - X-Rite's Optical Brightener Module

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

Issue # 37
May 27th, 2009


Table of Contents


1. CHROMiX News - Print Verification now available in Maxwell
2. Shows and Events
3. Color Industry News
4. 'Optical Brighteners Part 2 - X-Rite's OBC' - an article by Patrick Herold
5. CHROMiX Open Box items for sale
6. ColorNews Administration (feedback, subscriptions, etc.)




MAXWELL Update: Real-time Print Verification


ColorShuttle and Maxwell now have real-time Print Verification!! The much-anticipated Pass/Fail feature in Maxwell (implemented via ColorShuttle software) is ready for beta testing.

ColorShuttle 3.2 now provides immediate print verification with Pass/Fail calculations and reporting in the client software itself. This captures the best of both worlds: 1) Immediate feedback (on screen) and reporting (labeling) for measurements AND 2) Longer-term trending, control and notification via Maxwell's centralized, online color Tracks.

We've streamlined the measurement process down to 4 clicks on the Eye-One itself. One to calibrate, two to scan the target lines, and one more to save, verify, label and upload the measurements.

But there's more. We've built a comprehensive sync feature into ColorShuttle that ensures that the metrics and tolerances in ColorShuttle are always correct and the labeling is current as well. You can change the tolerance of Maximum delta-E in Maxwell, for instance, and each copy of ColorShuttle in the field using that reference will use the new numbers for the VERY NEXT measurement. Two clicks in Maxwell and ColorShuttles across the globe immediately obey your command. THAT's power.

Did we mention labels? ColorShuttle uses advanced layout capabilities for its label reporting / printing function. As a result, our labels look better than from any other system available; easily including YOUR logo and other graphics, a constantly expanding set of reporting fields and all the metrics you've specified in Maxwell. Add a metric in Maxwell? No problem. The VERY NEXT label printed will include it, whether it's on the same machine or across the country.

Naturally, for the updates to occur in real time, ColorShuttle must be able to access Maxwell across the Internet. BUT, ColorShuttle continues to perform pass / fail functions and print labels when offline. All measurements are stored in a reliable store-and-forward database and uploaded into Maxwell the next time Internet access is available. This is what we mean by the best of both worlds: reliable client-side measuring and reporting WITH centralized control and aggregate reporting.

There's no other system like it. Period.

Want to try it? Email us at maxwellbetatester(at) and we'll send you a link to the latest beta version of ColorShuttle 3.2. The Mac version is available today, the Windows version is coming soon.

Want to learn more and see it in action? Check out our free Print Verification webinar next Thursday (at) 11 am Pacific time. Email maxwellwebinar(at) to be added to the invite list.

As you can tell, Print Verification in Maxwell is like no other system offered so far. The technology under the hood is comprehensive and we appreciate your patience as we've developed it. We could really use your help testing these new functions so if you have a chance, give it a try and don't forget to use ColorShuttle's or Maxwell's feedback functions to let us know what needs work.

For complete Maxwell product information, go to
If you'd like to register for a free one month trial Track, email us at or call CHROMiX Sales at (866) CHROMiX ext 1. Find out for yourself how easy it is to use, and how much time and money it can save you.

We've also created a new discussion area for Maxwell and ColorShuttle! Check it out.

ColorValet Pro versus ColorValet Print

Both Mac and Windows versions of ColorShuttle 3.1 (the ColorValet Pro client software) are in late beta testing and going well.

Many people have asked what the differences are between our traditional ColorValet Print service versus the new ColorValet Pro service. This would be a good time to differentiate, so we created a matrix to aid in this: ColorValetPrint_vs_ColorValetPro

As an overview of ColorValet Pro:
UNLIMITED profiles for ONE RGB-controlled printer! CHROMiX has expanded the world's largest custom print profiling service into a unique new service available to anyone printing to an RGB-controlled device (most ink jets not using a RIP, photo printers, etc). For $199, anyone can have unlimited RGB profiles for one printer for 18 months. These are the same top-of-the-line profiles you've come to expect from CHROMiX. This is an ideal service for those who dream of experimenting with varied paper types and styles - and we do all the measurements. Also, as a ColorValet Pro customer, you automatically have access to other profiles in the ColorPool for your printer model. Every time you and other ColorValet Pro customers make a new profile for a printer model, your profile is automatically (and anonymously) entered into the ColorPool. This gives you instant access to media profiles that have already been built for that printer. No more waiting to see how a paper profile will work. Also, use ColorPool profiles for soft-proofing to find the optimal paper for your image and needs. As the ColorPool grows, so grow the possibilities! Finally, the ColorValet Pro service includes a Maxwell Track. All measurements submitted for a selected paper are added to the track so you can trend your printer, confirm its quality over time and even receive email notifications from Maxwell's Notifiers when the color shifts outside your target zone.

The final versions of ColorValet Pro and ColorPool access will be available very soon after a short beta testing period. However, if you buy now or before the final commercial version is released, you will receive a 10% discount (Net price $179). That's a savings of $20. Also, if you buy now, you will be able to start making profiles early by volunteering to help us finish the beta testing of ColorValet Pro and ColorPool. Your 18 month period won't begin until the final version is released.

For more information about ColorValet Pro see Ad below or go to:
. The website includes a comprehensive FAQ that should answer all your questions.

Other CHROMiX News:


CHROMiX has been testing the new EIZO FlexScan S2242W LCD monitor (List $899). In addition to other calibration products, we tested the S2242W with EIZO's new EasyPIX calibration software bundled with EIZO's new EX-1 calibration instrument (Bundle List is $189). Our results? Wow! For the money, the S2242W will be hard to beat on many levels at this price range against any mid-range/intermediate product including Dell, Apple or HP. Unfortunately you'll need to wait until the next ColorNews issue #38 for our formal comments and reviews of these products. However.... if you call CHROMiX Sales, you can get a sneak preview of our results. There's also some surprising testing information we probably can't publish, but would be happy to discuss off-line. ColorGear Sales 866-CHROMiX x1 (206-985-6837 x1)

The ColorWiki website is becoming quite popular as a standard resource and reference point for many people, so CHROMiX continues to expand information that we supply to the ColorWiki, almost daily. Did you know that you too can contribute information to ColorWiki? If you see ColorWiki areas lacking information, you can contribute your knowledge and let others benefit. Check it out

ColorNews (this publication) now has its own forum on! Each issue of this newsletter tends to prompt responses from our readers and we often don't have enough time to respond to everyone (sorry!). So it seemed time to create a discussion area on so anyone can ask questions, make suggestions, take issue with our prognostications or whatever. Come on by and have a chat!

PRICE MATCHING POLICY: Through the years, many people have purchased 3rd party color management products from CHROMiX because of the additional value that CHROMiX provides (pre-sales advice, post-sales help, support, and a fabulous sense of humor). In most cases, we've been able to price match (or come close) if asked. We never want price to be an issue if you want to buy from CHROMiX. In an effort to make this policy more visible, we've added a 'Price Matching Policy' star burst near the price for most 3rd party items for sale on our website. If you have any questions, call us toll free at (866) CHROMiX, ext 1.



June 8th-10th, 2009, IPA Technical Conference, Intercontinental O'Hare Hotel, Rosemont, IL. In its 44th year, the IPA Technical Conference is a premier event for showcasing the latest advances in graphic technology and workflow innovations. If you're attending and want to save $150 for the registration fee, feel free to use Coupon Code 09TCEN during on-line registration. Provided by our friend Eric Neumann. To register:
For the Brochure:

June 18, 2009, The Pacific Northwest Color Management Users Group Portland Chapter presents Technology Ruined My Life! Printing, Change, and why, yes, you do have to learn this Color Management Stuff presented by Jim Dittmer, CMUG Advisor & JDA President. Event to held at 6:30 PM at The Oregonian, Portland, OR. Members $10, non-members $20. For RSVP and more information:

June 19th, 2009, Gjovik Color Imaging Symposium 2009 organized by the Norwegian Color Research Laboratory at Gjovik University College is collaborating with SCIA, the organizer of the 16th Scandinavian Conference on Image Analysis SCIA2009, to combine both events into one. The overall theme is called 'Putting human vision into image processing and evaluation'. Eli Peli and Sabine Suesstrunk will be the keynote speakers at the Gjovik Color Imaging Symposium 2009. For more:

July 20-21, Total Immersion: VDP Taking it to the Next Level, Pittsburgh, PA, 2 days hands-on training and planning strategies to take VDP to the next level. Presented by David Zwang and Julie Shaffer of Printing Industries of America. For more:

August 6, 2009, The Pacific Northwest Color Management Users Group Portland Chapter presents NUREG, LLC: An international perspective on color, production workflows and how these affect interaction with global customers. NUREG has an interesting story to tell . Join us at this FREE event at the Lucky Lab Beer Hall by 6:30 PM, 1945 NW Quimby, Portland, OR for CMUG's annual summer event (beer involved!). RSVP at
Not posted yet.

September 11th-16th, 2009, GASC presents PRINT 09 or myPrint 09, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL.

September 24th, 2009, The Pacific Northwest Color Management Users Group Portland Chapter presents Tyler Boley: Bringing traditional photography standards into the digital age. Event to held at 6:30 PM at The Oregonian, Portland, OR. Members $10, non-members $20. For RSVP and more information:
Not posted yet.

September 30th - November 1st, 2009, IDEAlliance presents the 25th Annual Conference on MarkUp & XML at the Hilton Arlington, Arlington, VA. For more information:

November 18th, 2009, The Pacific Northwest Color Management Users Group, Seattle WA Chapter presents Barry Haynes: Photoshop with Bridge and Photoshop actions to automate color correction tasks and other Production Tips. Event to held at 6:30 PM somewhere in Seattle, WA To Be Determined. Members $10, non-members $20. For RSVP and more information:
Not posted yet.

December 6th-8th, 2009, Printing Industries of America (PIA) presents the 11th Annual Color Management Conference, The Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, Phoenix, AZ. Attendees include beginners to experts for this ALL color management only conference. New this year: a Full Digital Track (color management for printers) produced by the Digital Printing Council, a Pre-Conference Session focusing on color management processes for sheetfed, flexography, web printers, and finally a Pre-Conference Annual Off-Site Photo Shoot for both beginners and experts.

For more details or to register colormanagementconference2009


Color, Product & Industry News


EFI released version 4.0 of Colorproof XF for software color proofing and Fiery XF. Features include a new Dynamic Wedge, Intelligent calibration, enhanced spot-color simulation and automatic proofing with the Epson Stylus Pro 900 series. For more:

Eizo recently announced several new FlexScan LCD models, the S2432W 24.1" and S2242W 22". The specifications on each are solid. Also, each model touts a surprising resolution of 1920 x 1200 which is unusual for wide screen LCDs. Even more surprising is the price point: the S2432W List is $1399 and the S2242W List is $879. CHROMiX has tested one of the early coveted models and will provide a bench review in the near future (from a color management perspective, of course). We're excited about these models because of the appeal to customers who want good color but find the ColorEdge series out of reach or justification. These Flexscan models will stack up very well against Apple, Dell and other prosumer to low commercial grade LCDs.
Press Release for S2432:
Press Release for S2432W and S2242W:

Epson America and EFI have collaborated to create their most complete proofing solution to date. Combining the Epson Stylus Pro 7900 or 9900 wide format ink jet printers with EFI's latest EFI Colorproof XF v4.0 for Epson, the new bundle is called the Epson Stylus Pro 900 Series Proofing Editions. For more:

Sun Chemical and the Novel Device Laboratory of the University of Cincinnati have developed new Electrofluidic Display (EFD) technology that for the first time ever electrically switches the display appearance in a manner that provides high quality color reproduction comparable to conventional printed media. EFD technology enables the production of reflective displays exhibiting vastly superior color gamut compared with existing electrowetting, electrochromic and electrophoretic displays, while providing improved contrast ratio, lower power consumption, and competitive cost. A new company called Gamma Dynamics LLC was created as a result of this collaboration to commercialize EFD technology. Sun Chemical will be the sole supplier of the new pigmented fluids that are used in the EFD devices. Polymer Vision Incorporated, the world leader in flexible and roll-able display technology, will contribute critical know how to developing the first commercial products. The new EFD technology will be sold to manufacturers of electronic smart windows, components for e-readers, e-books, cell phones, car dash boards, scoreboards, large point of purchase displays and other diverse display applications. Information supplied by WhatTheyThink

Xerox Corporation launched the ColorQube 9200 Series multifunction printer, the world's first high-speed solid ink multifunction printer, which cuts the cost of color pages by up to 62 percent compared to traditional color lasers - without compromising print quality. For more:


Forum TOPICS and Random Findings:

An ethical question, what would you do?

PDN has an interesting aspect to the recent Miss California Photo controversy.

Beer. There apparently is more to the color of BEER than color. We found this amazing website and enjoyed it thoroughly.
We think anyone who appreciates beer and/or color will too:

ColorForums Monitor Forum:

Black Luminance Range.. what is realistic?\

> ========================================================

G7, GRACoL, GRACoL7 Confusing Terms explained:

It's not too often that we see something of any topic or subject matter in the realm of color management explained as concisely as this interview by Margie Dana with Randy Allen of Concord Litho in NH.


TAKE Action, VOTE:

We recently saw on a forum a fellow asking Microsoft if they will please put color management into Internet Explorer 8. Microsoft has requested that this issue be "put to a vote".

You might need a .NET passport user name and password to cast your vote.
Our Pat Herold went through the procedure, but there does not seem to be any feedback on results of voting. Yet.


This Month's Feature Article:

'Optical Brighteners Part 2 - X-Rite's OBC'

by CHROMiX's Patrick Herold


== X-Rite's OBC 1.0 ==

In the last edition of ColorNews, we delved into the world of Optical Brightening Agents in paper (OBAs), and how their presence can cause problems with creating accurate profiles. Today's article talks about a software module made by X-Rite called the "Optical Brightener Compensation Module" or OBC, that compensates for, and neutralizes the undesirable effects of OBAs in pressroom situations.

ColorNews articles are specifically designed to be informative rather than commercial, so we don't normally publish reviews of software or hardware here. (We publish them on the website). However, there hasn't been very much said about this software and how it works, so we thought you'd find it interesting.

The OBC system utilizes a special measurement capability of the iSis instrument, and also make use of your eyes to take into account how *much* optical brightener is being used in the different papers and how the OBA's react in different viewing environments. Keep in mind that OBAs require ultraviolet light shining on them in order to fluoresce, so a particular paper may look brighter or not, depending on the light source. The OBC module interfaces with X-rite's ProfileMaker and Monaco Profiler software, and requires using the iSis automated high-speed chart reader.

When I first heard about this product, I had a hard time understanding what exactly it was. Is it a software program? Is it some kind of hardware? It works *with* Monaco Profiler and GretagMacbeth ProfileMaker, but how?

The package itself does not have much to it. It is essentially a software disc and a small envelope full of gray cards in various shades with a small rectangular window cut out of the middle of each of them.

When the software is installed, you'll see the OBC program, instructions on how to use it, and a collection of profiling target images. They provide a 918-patch target image for RGB profiling, and a 1734-patch target image for CMYK profiles in various paper sizes. These are adequate for most needs. If you are working with ProfileMaker, there is a way to create your own targets and have them be used in this process.

The procedure is simple:

Print the appropriate target.

Once your printed profiling target has fully dried and the inks have cured, follow four steps using the OBC software:

(Step 1) Read the target with an Isis spectrophotometer using the OBC program. The program automatically checks to see if you have a ProfileMaker or Monaco Profiler dongle attached.

The iSis will measure with both UV light included and filtered out (UVi and UVx). These two measurements are used by the software to make a preliminary correction for optical brighteners. (To fine tune things, step three has you comparing a print from your printer in your actual viewing area, in your own real-world lighting.)

(Step 2) The program creates a sheet (TIFF) of gray color bars using the measurements. Save the Tiff and print it using the same settings you used for printing the target.

The program warns that this "process may take a couple of minutes." That estimate is on the optimistic side. Depending on the speed of your computer, this can take 5 - 10 minutes or more, and during this time, there is no indication of any progress being made. You may think the software is hung. Don't get impatient and kill the program. This is a great time to go have a coffee break or discuss how Gonzaga is going to do in the tournament next year.

The sheet of gray bars is printed and cured for a reasonable period of time.

(Step 3) Bring it into your viewing area. Here's where the envelope with gray cards comes in. The window cut out of each of the gray cards is the same size as each of the gray samples on the sheet you just printed out. The idea is to hold each gray card over the corresponding column of gray samples, and slide it up and down until you find the one that matches the cover gray card. (You will take the letter that corresponds to that match and plug it back into the software.) There are light gray, medium light gray, medium dark gray and dark gray cards. There is a complete set for matte finishes and for glossy.

Depending on how much optical brightener is in your paper, you may see a big difference between the gray bars on your printed sheet, or they may look almost identical. If you can't see much of a difference, that's an indication that there's not much correction needed, so don't worry about it too much. This is especially true for the darker gray columns. It is not surprising if you can't see much of a difference with optical brighteners when the paper is mostly covered up by ink!

Take the four letters that correspond most closely to the samples, and enter those into the "Select Gray Patches" step back in the OBC program. There is also an option for "NA" if you don't see any difference.

(Step 4) The OBC program rolls this whole brightener correction into a new measurement file, which can then be plugged into your ProfileMaker or Monaco Profiler application, and the profile is built as usual.


This really works! When viewing our final test images in our custom viewing environment, the X-Rite OBC prints were clearly the best match, the neutrals the more truly gray. Profiles made without a software correction to the OBA, and profiles made using UV filtering alone, did not look as good as the X-Rite OBC prints.

We tested this with RGB and CMYK profiles, matte paper and glossy, and the results were equally good with each variable. Naturally, the benefit of this module will go up with the amount of OBA in the paper.

Also keep in mind that X-Rite's OBC module is intended for press room and other color-critical environments where a light booth is used. It is not all that applicable to the average photographer printing to an inkjet sitting beside their desk. Photographers are going to want their prints to be optimized to be viewed best under normal daylight as the illuminant, rather than a specific lighting condition.

A few problems:
As with any 1.0 program, there are a few issues, but nothing that is insurmountable.

- The software has a clever knack of remembering where you were in the process the last time you used it. This is handy, since it does not allow you to save the process at certain points. However, it also means that on subsequent trips through the process, it might assume you are doing the same target as before. So, if you first made a profile for your CMYK press using a tabloid-sized target, and now you are making an RGB profile using a letter-sized target, when you open the program it will start at Step 3 of the process, still using the measurements of your tabloid, and will tell you to go on.

A little bit of back stepping through the wizard and you can get back to step one, click the Clear button to eliminate your previous measurement, and proceed with your new target. You can even override this condition by merely inserting a new target into the iSis. The bar code information on the target tells the software which target it is scanning, and you are asked to confirm this change with a dialog box.

- When using ProfileMaker, making CMYK profiles, there is a known bug that forces the total ink limit to 320. The manual offers a workaround, and there are other easy steps available to be allowed to adjust up to 400 if you wish. Not a big problem.

- The process of matching the gray printed bars with the gray standards is a bit difficult if the two paper types are significantly different. For example, I tested this process using office bond paper, and the lack of good ink coverage made the bond paper look lighter compared to the gray standards. If you stick with standard prepress media, the supplied matte and glossy cards should match well.

Finally, I have just received the results of an unscientific survey of ColorNews subscribers which shows that a significant number of you have not even tried my apple cider vinegar tip from last month. You don't know what you're missing. Just the right amount (not too much) will add zest to an otherwise boring smoothie. Good for other drinks too!

Thanks for reading,

Patrick Herold
CHROMiX Tech Support / Lab Operations

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Entire Contents of CHROMiX ColorNews (c)2009 CHROMiX, Inc. CHROMiX, Maxwell, ColorThink, ColorNews, ColorSmarts, ColorGear, ColorForums and are trademarks of CHROMiX Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. CHROMiX ColorNews is intended as an informative update to CHROMiX customers and business associates. We are not responsible for errors or omissions. You may not copy or reuse any content from this newsletter without written permission from CHROMiX, Inc.