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CHROMiX ColorNews Issue #62 - What Makes a Good Profile?

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  CHROMiX ColorNews
   Issue # 62 - Dec 12th, 2017

This Month's Contents

  1. CHROMiX News
  2. Latest blog entries in ColoRants (and Raves)
  3. Shows and Events
  4. Color Industry News
  5. Forum Topics, Random Bits, etc.
  6. Article - What Makes a Good Profile?
  7. CHROMiX Open Box items for sale
  8. ColorNews Admin (feedback, subscriptions, etc.)

For the very freshest color updates, check out our blog Colorants (and raves).

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CHROMiX News What the heck have we been up to?

Curve4 Updates

Much has happened since the release of Curve4 Complete earlier this year. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and Curve4 seems to be regarded as the best, most comprehensive Curve tool yet.

Here's a bit of history of the recent releases:
We launched with version 4.0 (Verify only) in September. In May we released the full Calibration and Complete capabilities in version 4.1, also enabling a demo mode. Version 4.1.2 had numerous updates and fixes in most of the Curve4 tools. In July we released version 4.1.3 which made improvements to CxF-format file importing and exporting, plus a temporary adjustment to CGATS output to compensate for i1Profiler handling issues. Plus more.

Curve 4.1.3 is the current version shipping.
Get it here!

Curve 4.2 is nearing release and includes eXact and Techkon Spectrodens support as well as a number of bug fixes. Check our website for the release or continue using Curve 4.x and it will let you know!

Curve4 at Ryerson University

Using Curve4, a talented student achieved a number of firsts at Ryerson University, plus became article-worthy in a popular industry magazine!

Congratulations Jenna Peters on your hard work!

You can read the Full Article in the November issue of Graphic Art magazine. While reading, check out the unique method she used for applying the G7 adjusted curves in Photoshop!

Instrument Compatibility Updates

One of the big aspirations for Curve4 was to work directly with the most popular measurement instruments. Curve4 currently drives X-Rite's i1Pro, iO and iSis; Barbieri's Spectro LFP; Konica Minolta's new FD-9 and Techkon's SpectroDens (Mac-only initially). Market response was loud and positive. We heard you. Glad you like it!

Here's an update of new or upcoming instruments for Curve4:

Techkon SpectroDens: The Mac platform worked via their direct-connect drivers from launch. Curve4.2 will have compatibility with the Win platform via USB. We're still working on WiFi connections so it (Wifi connectivity) will retain beta status. SCAN mode (only with the SpectroDens premium model) will be included in 4.2.

X-Rite eXact will also be supported in both Maxwell and Curve4.2 (both Mac and Win) via USB and Bluetooth. Plus, the eXact SCAN models will also be compatible with Curve4.2 and Maxwell.

Color Sentinel CSS 110 will also be supported with Curve4.2 and Maxwell, though only on Windows until their Mac drivers are available.

CHROMiX has also been working on Barbieri's new LFPqb. More to come on that later...

New Maxwell Features

We have been busy making Maxwell the most powerful and feature-rich cloud-based color management system on the planet! There are too many new features to list, as we are constantly improving both the web and the Maxwell Client. However, here are a couple of important new features:

Maxwell Digital PressWatch:
You can now measure the entire sheet width on wide presses like HP Indigo 10000 and 12000 models.
We've adapted our innovative Heatmap target technology to complete a cross-sheet analysis of almost any size press width including up to Grand Format size presses! Imagine understanding exactly where uniformity problems exist or even see classic mechanical issues from a press sheet, both visually and diagnostically. Multi-page targets make use of page numbers within bar codes to ensure targets are properly stitched together after scanning, regardless of the scanning page order. Digital PressWatch Heatmap does all this (and more) and in near real-time!

CHROMiX Sightings

Print 2017: Chicago - Print was back in the Windy city this last September 10th - 14th, and although it seemed slightly smaller, it seemed re-energized. Rick Hatmaker attended and met with customers and partners while there.

SGIA 2017: New Orleans - Just missing Hurricane Nate, both Steve Upton and Rick Hatmaker attended SGIA Sept. 9th to 12th. New Orleans is a great venue and treated everyone right. Spent time with customers, partners and met new friends.

Steve Upton was at Ryerson University, Graphic Arts Day in Toronto October 13, 2017 as a guest speaker. His topic was Calibration And How it Affects Colour Management. Attending were many Ryerson students and faculty (Reem El Asaleh, Abhay Sharma, Rich Adams and more) and even several notable ICC committee members (International Colour Consortium) including: Ray Cheydleur, William Li, Max Derhak and more.

Coming up:

PIA's Color Conference 2018 is in San Diego January 13th - 16th. Steve, Pat and Rick will be there espousing color. CHROMiX will be in the Vendor area showing our software tools and services. Come say hi to us at our booth. Catch our vendor presentation Sunday or Steve's presentation Monday, both listed below:

Sunday 2:50 pm CHROMiX Vendor presentation: 'Updates on Curve4, Maxwell, ColorThink and more'.

Monday 1:10 pm Analysis of Expanded Gamut Printing (Steve Upton).

HutchColor Sightings

Although he is sighted everywhere it seems, our colleague, partner and friend, Don Hutcheson is teaming up with Ron Ellis (another friend and colleague) January 25-26 at The Wynn Hotel during EFI Connect 2018, the annual EFI Worldwide Users' Conference in Las Vegas, NV. They will be teaching a two day accelerated G7 Expert/Professional training. Sounds fun. You can find out more and/or register at Idealliance. Be sure to apply the promo code in this webpage to receive a discount.

CHROMiX LinkedIn page

Our CHROMiX LinkedIn page has been revamped and more interesting than ever! Our LinkedIn posts range from industry specific technologies to interesting articles about color. Check us out and see if you don't agree! And, of course, feel free to follow us at LinkedIn


CHROMiX Blog Here are some of the recent posts to our blog: Colorants (and raves)

  • Color Management in the Cloud with Maxwell - Steve Upton is interviewed by Cary Sherburne of What They Think on how Maxwell is being used to monitor color within companies and around the world. He describes how Shutterfly is using the Maxwell solution in photobook printing.

  • Extending your ColorThink knowledge - Think your ColorThink Pro skills are current? Here are some more ideas for how to use it even further...

  • ColorThink to the rescue! - Pat Herold often gets called to help solve some pretty interesting problems. Check out this unique solution using ColorThink Pro

Shows and Events Color-relevant gatherings to plan for

January 13th - 16th, 2018 - PIA Color Conference, Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina,
1441 Quivira Road, San Diego, CA. If you're into COLOR, this is the event for you. All color focused. CHROMiX will be there for the entire conference with a table in the Vendor area. Come by and say hello or discuss your color issues and questions with Rick, Pat or Steve. We'll also have a 20 minute vendor presentation of Curve4, Maxwell, ColorThink and more on Sunday Jan 14th at 2:50 pm, presented by Steve Upton. Also,on Monday Jan 15th at 1:10 pm, Steve will present a Color Management Print Production topic titled 'Analysis of Expanded Gamut Printing'. We hope you can make it to the event, but if not, reach out to one of us for an update afterwards!

January 23rd - 26th, 2018 - EFI Connect 2018, The Wynn, Las Vegas, NV. Annual EFI Worldwide Users' Conference.

May 7th - 8th, 2018 - InfoFLEX 2018 and Form, Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, IN. Package printing and converting technologies show-cased.

September 25th - 27th, 2018 - Labelexpo Americas 2018, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, IL.

September 30th - October 3rd, 2018 - Graph Expo 2018, McCormick Place South, Chicago, IL

October 18th - 20th, 2018 - SGIA 2018, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV. Largest premier trade show for the printing industry in North America. Products and technology ranging from dye-sublimation, screen print, packaging, wide-format, grand-format, traditional litho, label and much more.

Events Calendar: For all current and future events, bookmark this calendar.

Color Industry News What's going on in the world of color

Apple released MacOS High Sierra and iOS 11

In September Apple released version 13 of the operating system OS X:
macOS High Sierra. Apple's new OS includes new photo editing and organizational tools, updates to Safari, updates to iCloud, Spotlight, FaceTime and more. CHROMiX has tested our software tools with High Sierra. For Curve4, ColorThink Pro, and the Maxwell Client our initial testing looks okay with no updates needed. We will continue to evaluate and update the software as needed.

Barbieri announced new Spectro LFP qb

Barbieri takes their LFP technology to the next level with the new Spectro LFP qb. Commercial release expected end of Q4 2017 or Q1 2018.

v1 New Features includes:

  • Adds new measurement mode M1 Part 1 / Method A for reflection and transmission (Conformance to ISO 13655-2017)
  • Removable measuring head (spectral unit) for measuring spot colors
  • Camera-supported sensing unit for instant automatic target positioning
  • Measurement of fluorescent inks (up-down mode)
  • Faster than LFP - twice the speed
  • Ethernet connection
Moreover, CHROMiX has already started working at integrating the LFP qb and its capabilities into our Curve and Maxwell tools. Stay tuned...

Callas releases pdfToolbox version 9.4

This new update ramps up support for the upcoming ISO PDF 2.0 standard, adds a few minor features to the preflight and correction engine, corrects some existing problems, improves Explore PDF navigation and more. pdfToolbox version 9.4 is free to version 9 users or those with a current SMA.

Color Sentinel announces new CSS 110 handheld spectrophotometer

At Print Chicago 2017 Color Sentinel introduced the new CSS-110, a handheld portable spectrophotometer. Building on Color Sentinels ILMS (in line modeling spectrophotometers), the new CSS-110 touts Bluetooth, USB connections, Factory calibrated illumination, 3-Year warranty and a very affordable cost at around $999. Color Sentinel has a strong reputation in the industry as an OEM supplier of inline spectros to over 15000 Xerox presses in the field. Color Sentinel Systems began shipping the CSS-110 in the fourth quarter this year and plans to ship a new line of Power Scan track scanners in the first quarter of 2018.

CHROMiX will provide compatibility of the CSS-110 with our Curve and Maxwell software.

Idealliance launches BrandQ program

Idealliance is spearheading an effort to help define a common language that industry players can use to simplify interacting. BrandQ designations will be part of a larger program to be likely called the Certified Supply Chain program. Here's the first public release, as reported by WhatTheyThink. CHROMiX will be following this effort closely and will incorporate relevant BrandQ and Certified Supply Chain language into our tools.

Techkon SpectroDens has SCTV

The SpectroDens is one of the first instruments (so far) to support SCTV directly in the instrument. As Techkon says, "Spot Color Tone Value (SCTV), defines a metric for assessing intermediate tones of a spot ink. This method for the calculation of spot color tone values produces approximate uniform visual spacing of tones between substrate and solid ink values. This new industry standard, ISO 20654:2017, has been designed specifically for spot color inks and to replace the use of the older Murray-Davis and Yule-Nielsen dot area calculations which fall short when used with spot color inks."

Curve4 makes use of SCTV calculations when calibrating spot colors.

X-Rite supports SCTV

The latest update to the eXact includes support for the latest ISO Spot Color Standards (SCTV) as well, separately configurable for Spot Colors, C, M, Y, and configurable functions for Tone Value, Tone Value Increase (TVI), TVI Table and Print Characteristics. This update is free to existing eXact customers on Dec. 18th in the Resource Room (requires login).

X-Rite and ColorPartner of Germany join forces

The Ci6X/ColorScout A+, a solution for automating industrial inkjet applications will combine the ColorPartner ColorScout A+ automated color measurement table plus X-Rites Ci6x spherical spectrophotometers. The solution will measure color on metallic, wood, plastic, ceramic and textured materials. It will be made available through a variety of RIP manufacturers and CHROMiX.

X-Rite updates the ColorMunki

and the new i1Studio is the result.

Forum Topics and other bits  Popular topics from and other things we've found along the way.

Understanding color blindness 'visually':   This is a really good article for highlighting what someone with color blindness might see. Recommended.

Cloud-based Myths:   CHROMiX is an early inventor and innovator of a cloud-based system for graphic arts called Maxwell. We continually develop Maxwell forward and support many customers worldwide. However, years before the term 'cloud' became mainstream, there were many objections to cloud-based solutions along the way. Times have changed. Cloud systems are now mostly considered reliable and in many cases, vital to business. It's great that history has vindicated cloud-based services and has created many believers. So, for those of you hold-outs who are still "cloud doubters," go ahead, read this short article, and ponder what you may be missing. Don't worry, it's very succinct and objective. :-)

Color to ease the weary commuter:   A color story, right in our own Seattle neighborhood (where CHROMiX is located).

What Makes a Good Profile? from Pat Herold

What is a good profile?

I recently ran across a customer who was wanting some verification that our printer profiles were good. This particular customer was already a bit mislead by some color management myths so he was already a bit dubious about our credibility. It was hard to know what to say beyond "Well, yeah - they're really good!" and maybe stomping my foot for emphasis. I could brag about how we have been making profiles for almost 20 years and have customers in over 90 countries, but it would be more productive to describe all the thought that goes into making a "good" profile these days.

As an aside, we published another article a while back that can act as a companion article to this one: Making a Better Printer Profile That article was more of a practical primer for those making their own profiles, while this one deals more with the philosophy behind a good profiling engine.

First, let's look at what people want (or think they want) to see in a good printer profile:


Of course, you think you want accuracy in a profile, but what does that really mean, exactly? Accurate to your profiling target? Accurate to the original scene that you shot with your camera? Consider this scenario: Say you have printed a profiling target that has printed well, except for one blue patch that has an imperfection on it, or maybe the native variation in your measuring instrument causes one blue patch to be a little "off." You don't really want THAT to be "accurately" reflected in the profile do you? A good profiling engine will incorporate into its process a certain amount of smoothing to take care of just such anomalies.

On the other hand, a major use of printer profiles is to be able to predict on your display (soft-proof) what your image will look like when printed. Viewing a soft-proof allows you to make changes if necessary and get a perfectly matching print, saving you ink and paper. Here it is critical that the profile used in the soft-proof be truly accurate. Also, for the art-reproduction industry, accuracy is essential since that's kind of the whole purpose of the printing. Can you start to see how some of these choices depend on what industry you're in, and the purposes you have?


As mentioned above, smoothness is oftentimes preferable to accuracy. If you have a gradient (either an artificial color ramp from dark to white, or a natural gradient like a blue sky), you will want these color transitions to be smooth and gradual, not blocky and choppy. You don't want to see a blue sky with blocks of different shades of blue color. Facial colors especially should be very smooth. Since your profiling target probably didn't sample every single color in the blue spectrum, some smoothing - some interpolation between colors - has to happen. You really don't want the profile to reflect sudden changes between one sampled color and the next. You want it to make a smooth, realistic representation to allow all the blues in between to be reproduced.

Some profiling engines will spit out an accuracy number for their profiles, yet it is not all that clear what this number represents. But as you've seen so far, high accuracy is not necessarily what you're looking for. We have a profile accuracy test in ColorThink Pro. It provides a delta E value showing how accurate the proofing direction of the profile is.

Putting a number on the quality of the printing direction of a profile is not so easy. One thing we have come up with is a visual presentation of the printing / rendering direction of a profile. This offers a 3D gamut view of how the profile renders color. This is a great test of a profiling engine's smoothness. This can also be used to verify whether the profiling engine is making the most of the printer's gamut - or if large sections of gamut are being sacrificed to preserve smoothness.

Pleasing Color

Or do you really want a print that looks good? For many this is the bottom line. There's no point in producing an image that you or your customer do not like - regardless of how accurate the print is. I have created profiles for some workflows that departed from accuracy to deliberately boost the saturation of flesh tones, giving people shots and portraits a more rosy appearance. But generally to get pleasing color you will want to settle on some combination of accuracy and smoothness. Most profiling engines these days give you options for adjusting this one way or the other when building a profile.

Out-of-gamut colors handled well

Consider that sometimes, all this effort to achieve accuracy in reproduction is a lost cause! If your original color that you are trying to reproduce is outside the gamut of your printer, then it's beyond hope! There's no way that saturated blue is going to be reproduced accurately. Not really. Not if it is in fact outside of your printer's ability to reproduce. So a good profile will be able to move that impossible color into gamut for your printer, and hopefully it will look as close as it can to your perception of the original. Sometimes it's helpful to keep in mind that total accuracy of some colors is not going to happen. This applies not only to saturated colors, but also some shadows and dark colors like browns which are not in the gamut of some inkjet printers. Here's where it is helpful to have some kind of 3D graphing program like ColorThink, where you can bring in your images and compare where your pixels lie in relationship to your printer and monitor color spaces.

Make the most out of Perceptual

The other rendering intents are pretty straightforward, but dealing with colors in the perceptual rendering intent is almost a work of art. The different profile engines put a lot of research into perfecting how to bring out-of-gamut colors into gamut without desaturating other colors too much and make it all work in a pleasing way.

In version 2 of the ICC spec, the colorspace involved in the perceptual rendering intent was not very well defined, and different profile creators handled this differently. With version 4, the spec introduced a specific colorspace (the Perceptual Reference Medium Gamut) that the profiling engine is supposed to be using to convert to and from. So choosing a version 4 profile when you print may help if you use the perceptual intent a lot.

Unfortunately I don't think I had the presence of mind to explain all of this to my doubtful customer at the time. It was one of those times when I thought of all the right things to say long after the fact. Hopefully he was one who decided to go with us anyway, and was one of the many satisfied customers we have had over the years.

Thanks for reading,

Pat Herold

To view this article in the ColorWiki, Click here for ColorWiki article

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Entire Contents of CHROMiX ColorNews (c)2017 CHROMiX, Inc. CHROMiX, Maxwell, ColorThink, ColorNews, ColorSmarts, ColorGear, ColorForums, DisplayWatch 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.