ColorNews Issue #9

5 Color Management Myths


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

Issue #9
October 21, 2003
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Welcome to ColorNews, a periodic update on all 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.

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Table of Contents
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1. CHROMiX News
2. Color & Product News
3. Industry News
3. Shows and Events
4. ColorFAQs - this month's FAQ is on Five Color Management Myths
5. ColorNews Administration (feedback, subscriptions, etc.)

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CHROMiX News
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Since our last ColorNews issue (July 15th) many things have happened at CHROMiX that are worth mentioning here:

** The CHROMiX PARTNER PROGRAM is now officially launched! We are very excited about this and we hope you will be too. Read below or go to click here to find out how to 'get with the program'

** Check out how to get a FREE Eye-One Display and other CHROMiX ColorGear Winter SPECIALs!! See details below.

** Five Color Management Myths

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Color & Product News
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GretagMacbeth has finally offered an upgrade path to ProfileMaker Pro 4.1 for it's many Eye-One Pro users. Until December 31st, 2003 take $500 off when you purchase the full version of ProfileMaker Pro 4.1. See CHROMiX offer below.

Adobe InDesign versus Quark Xpress:
a) David Blatner recently did an overview comparison between InDesign and Xpress. The article is at
click here
b) Seybold San Francisco conducted a shootout between InDesign and Xpress. Read Sean Cassidy's summary article at:
click here

Rumor has it that Integrated-Color is releasing a much enhanced version of ColorEyes 2020 called ColorEyes Portrait. This version apparently will have a greatly enhanced and expanded target that samples from the most difficult tonal ranges. Cost and features will be announced at Photo East show in PhotoPlus Expo in New York that starts October 30th. Stay tuned.

Pixel Genius LLC has released PhotoKit SHARPENER for Mac and Windows. SHARPENER provides a complete image "Sharpening Workflow". From capture to output, PhotoKit SHARPENER intelligently produces the optimum sharpness on any image, from any source, reproduced on any output device. But PhotoKit SHARPENER also provides the creative controls to address the requirements of individual images and the individual tastes of users. For more information go to:
click here

Nik multimedia, a developer of tools and plug-ins for photographers and designers, has a $100 Photoshop plug-in that reduces random imperfections (noise) in digital camera images. Called Dfine, the plug-in now offers profiles for 80 digital cameras types.
Dfine, first available in May, is also useful for minimizing artifacts from excess JPEG compression, such as the "ringing" near hard edges that occurs when the camera's quality setting is too low. Interestingly, Dfine offers the option of automatic action, via predefined camera profiles, or direct user control over the process.
For manual operation, the software lets a user define up to five colors in which noise is annoying and assign an appropriate level of reduction. It also provides nine detail-specific brushes for particular kinds of noise or artifacts, or for particular kinds of image content such as skin, sky or hair. Pressure-sensitive tablets (e.g., Wacom Intuos) allow applying the brushes according to pen pressure. The software also supports basic image improvements, such as contrast and color-cast removal, by pen pressure or dialog box.

Heidelberg announced their support for the free exchange of ICC color profiles.
Recently, the ICC and TC130 appealed to manufacturers of ICC-based color management software to lift restrictions in their end user license agreements.
click here

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SHOWS & EVENTS
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- Apple, Adobe, Hewlett Packard, Quark, Extensis, GretagMacbeth and others are sponsoring a road show in various cities called DRIVEN BY DESIGN. This event is for Design and Publishing professionals. Find out dates and locations at
click here

- The Pacific Northwest Color Management Users Group is having an event October 23 in Portland, OR. The subject will focus on using color management with the two leading compositing products: Adobe InDesign and Quark Xpress. The event will be at The Oregonian, Oct. 23 at 6:30PM. $10 for non-members.
Peter Constable of Adobe will be presenting Adobe InDesign and Dan Reid of Renaissance will present Quark Xpress. Expect a lively comparison and contrasting of each product followed by a user Q & A. Hmmm...should be interesting.
click here

- October 30 - November 1, PhotoPlus Expo in New York, NY. There are more than 100 photography and design seminars and hands-on workshops taught by world-renowned experts with a focus on cutting-edge innovations in digital imaging products and techniques. Also there is over 200 manufacturers and suppliers of photographic capture, storage, output and display equipment and services, learn and get inspired in the Photography + Design For more information:
click here

- November 13-15, Graphics Canada will be in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. For more information:
click here


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CHROMiX Launches Partner Program
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Over the past five years we have performed many color management installations for customers large and small. One important thing we have found in each case was questions about _your_ customers. "OK, I understand this, now what should I tell my clients?", "Is this the right calibration tool for my customers?". A big part of our training is integrating workflows together across companies. Just because your color is great doesn't mean your life is easy yet, does it?

With that in mind we have created a comprehensive program for working together with you and your customers. We are launching the first fruits of this program today:

The CHROMiX Partner Referral Program.

At its core is a simple idea. Link to us, put a small ID in the link and share in the revenue when anyone buys anything from our site within 30 days of the original link. How can this help you?

- Defer technical support - chances are good you're not in the color business. We're in the color business. Let us take care of it for you.
- Share in the revenue. Our Partner Referral Program fees are paid out quarterly and vary from 3% to 15% of each sale.
- Find solutions for your customers' problems. Be a hero, cement your client relationship.
- Receive better customer files. Better color means less problems. Ironing out your workflow is only part of the color solution.
- Off-load customer proofing maintenance. If you are installing systems, calibrating displays and building profiles for customers, we can help. And we can do it according to your workflow specifications.

All CHROMiX Products and Services are available in this program. This means:

ColorGear - all of the GretagMacbeth, Monaco, X-Rite, Fuji, ICS, GTI, ColorVision,
Sony, LaCie and all other manufacturers products for sale in our comprehensive
online store are eligible under this program.
ColorThink - our industry leading software is helpful to everyone working with color
ColorValet - top quality custom profiles for print, press and transmissive output
ColorSmarts - consulting, training, seminars, technical support - all eligible

This is a big deal, for us and for you. For us it represents the culmination of many months work rebuilding our web commerce systems and creating a program that makes sense for all involved. For you it represents a chance to help your customers, differentiate yourself from your competition and make some money in the process.

We've been speaking to many of you over the past months and have found excellent partners in many different industries including: photographers, consultants, printers, photo labs , industry orgs, stock agencies, technical writers, ad and marketing agencies and others. The Partner Referral Program is designed to be flexible and easy to setup. It is open to businesses and individuals and even international partners.

To get started just visit our site at click here and click on the "Partner Pavilion" link at the top of any page - or follow this link: click here. Signing up is easy and free. Then add links to your website, forum postings, opt-in newsletters (NO spamming, please). We have created graphic icons to use if you like. All the information you need to get going is in the Partner Pavilion.

We are very excited to launch this great program and look forward to working with you closer for better color and better business.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at: partnerProgram(at)chromix or call 206-985-6837 or toll free (US & Can) 866-CHROMiX (866.247.6649) extension 1

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ColorFAQs
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Each month, 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.

This Month - Five Color Management Myths

I keep running across "understandings" in the field, the media and on the Internet. It seems like a crime to let these statements and confusions pass without some attempt at clarifying them so I have tackled a few of the more common ringers I've been hearing.

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Color Management is not useful in CMYK-only workflows.
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"We can't use color management, we're a CMYK shop"

I can't tell you how many times we've heard this. While many shops work fine in CMYK-only mode, they can certainly benefit from color management in several ways:

1) Hard Proofing - creating effective press simulations on an inkjet is a challenge. If you don't use ICC profiles for the task it can be VERY difficult. I have been told by a number of printers that they have no color management in-house and yet they use inkjet proofing. After a little investigation they are surprised to discover that ICC profiles are in use in their RIP creating their proofs. Sometimes it's all been setup by "the vendor" and they didn't realize how it worked but they are missing out on other opportunities as well....

2) Soft proofing - if the simulation profile from the proofing RIP is moved onto the workstation and setup properly in Photoshop, soft proofing can get quite accurate on a calibrated display. Hand that profile off to your customer and their soft proofing will improve significantly - so will their expectations. Moving color management upstream to the creatives gets the "reality check" of press gamut limitations in the hand of the people that need it. This arrives at a printer's counter as a much more realistic customer.

and no CMYK is harmed in the above procedures....


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There is some internal Lab/Color reference that the output of printers is compared to when profiling
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I have heard it time and time again. "First the target is printed, then the output is compared to the color that should have appeared. A profile is calculated to correct for the behavior of the printer."

Wrong.

Unlike a strict, conformist military academy, profiling a printer does not find out how a printer performs and then force it to conform to a certain behavior. Its much more like a hippie commune. The innate abilities of the printer are discovered and then a translation table is written to convert from the desired colors (Lab) to the RGB/CMYK settings most appropriate for the printer. This may sound like splitting hairs but it makes a big difference. When profiling a printer it is best to tune it up to the best of its abilities - regardless of the fact that you may want to limit the gamut later using a proof or press profile for proofing purposes.


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The gamut of RGB is larger than CMYK
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RGB = big gamut
CMYK = small gamut

Right? Wrong.

As illustrated in our last ColorNews newsletter, overlaying an RGB gamut with a CMYK gamut often results in overlap much like drawing a circle over a triangle. Bits of the triangle (RGB) extend outside the circle AND bits of the circle (CMYK) extend outside of the triangle.

This means that there are RGB values that cannot be printed on press - no surprise there. BUT it also means there are CMYK values that are often outside of the gamut of RGB. So sRGB, Adobe RGB (1998) and your monitor RGB spaces will typically not show/contain all the colors (especially Cyans and some press Yellows) that can be printed on press.

Most inkjet printers used without a RIP are accessible using only RGB. Even though the printer uses CMYK or CcMmYK, due to operating system limitations, your application can only speak RGB to it.

Does this mean that the gamut will be affected by the use of RGB?

No, whether you print to a printer using RGB or CMYK, the choice of one over another should not affect the gamut. That said, using a RIP may allow you to change your inking and enlarge the gamut. While you will access this larger gamut via CMYK it is not CMYK itself that gets you the bigger gamut... you'll just have to trust me on this one.


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A profile is for calibration
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Calibration is monkeying with your device to get it to some known, repeatable behavior (see military school, above). Setting a monitor to 6500K and gamma 2.2 or linearizing a printer is calibration. This is an important function and closely related to Color Management but it is NOT color management.

Once you have calibrated your device, then you build a profile for it. In the case of monitor profiles, the calibration curves from the graphics card are often embedded into the profile for safe keeping. This might seem to blur the line between calibration and profiling but pay no attention to that. The profile describes your wonderful device's behavior to the rest of your color-managed workflow so all your devices can get along and color can travel through your workflow un-harassed.


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5000K on a monitor is the same as 5000K in a light booth
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Why this is not the case is a particularly involved answer. As I mentioned in issue #2 of ColorNews, it simply isn't so in most cases and the why's are outside the scope of this newsletter.

Suffice to say that if you have a good-quality light booth such as one from GTI, the lights in the booth are typically fairly close to 5000K. Close or not, if you choose to have your booth near your display then you are choosing for it to be your white standard. If you calibrate your display to 5000K you will probably find that the white on display does not match a piece of paper in the booth. Try calibrating to 6500K or some other white point until you get closer. It is not a sin to tweak the white point using controls on the front of your display. Just remember that you'll have to do it each time you re-calibrate. This is one of the reasons why monitor calibration software with a wide range of color temperature settings is a better option. Something to think about at upgrade time...

I will stop at 5 Myths for this newsletter, I have many more waiting in the wings and I'll trundle them out in the future. If you have any you would like included / answered / dispelled in a future newsletter, please forward them to me at uptonCN(at)chromix.com

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