ColorNews Issue #68

The Ideal Room With A View

  CHROMiX ColorNews
   Issue # 68 - June 24th, 2019

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 - The Ideal Room with a View
  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?

Curve 4.2.5 update released

This new version, v4.2.5, includes a number of fixes to bugs resulting from the change to Mojave. This will resolve issues with printing reports and on-screen display of color (especially white points).

CHROMiX Upcoming Sightings: Print United 2019

CHROMiX will be at Print United in October: Steve and Rick will be present; contact Rick Hatmaker if you would like to meet up while there.

At the conference, Steve Upton will deliver a presentation titled 'Understanding Print Gamut Graphically' on October 24, 2019, 3:00 PM CDT. More details here.

Also at Print United, Maxwell will be used for the 2nd year in a row by SGIA in their 2019 Product of the Year awards. Maxwell is used as the back-end color database and reporting engine for submitted contestant print entries. Ultimately, the resulting Report Card summarizes the color quality objectively. Rigorous judging criteria was developed in Maxwell to evaluate color qualities for each submitted print. We're delighted that Maxwell continues to be trusted and used for these important tasks.

CHROMiX and the journey to 64bit apps

Our Mac users may have noticed that the current version of macOS, Mojave, will be the last version to support 32bit apps. This means the new version of macOS, dubbed "Catalina" (10.15) and expected sometime in the fall, will require apps to be 64bit. CHROMiX apps are currently 32bit, but rest assured, we've been aware of this impending transition for quite some time and have been moving our apps over to 64bits.

Obviously, this is going to be an important transition, as many of our community's tried-and-true tools will stop working.

We'll be keeping you up to date on our progress as we move forward. Here are a few details as these changes pertain to our software:

Curve4 - the plan is to create a 64bit version of Curve4 to be released sometime in the fall. This will be the same app as is currently shipping now, and it will not be a paid upgrade)

ColorThink - the plan is to create 64bit versions of ColorThink and ColorThink Pro, ideally in the fall; however, this timeline may slip as the new versions will have a bunch of new features and will be paid upgrades.

Maxwell Client - the plan is to create a 64bit version of the Maxwell Client to be released sometime in the fall. The Client is free with Maxwell services, so no upgrade fee ever applies.

As you can tell, the above is in regard to our current plans. We've made great progress and feel confident we can meet our milestones, but as with any transition, we will be susceptible to challenges we discover along the way. Those who would like to help beta test these new versions, please let us know at As we mentioned, we'll keep you up to date as things progress.

CHROMiX LinkedIn page

Check out the latest with our LinkedIn page. We consistently update this with fun and useful stuff.


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

  • Gamut Ins and Outs - Steve Upton wrote this comprehensive article about the ins and outs of gamuts for the March/April edition of the SGIA Journal- check it out.

  • Secret Color Codes - A thoughtful provocation by color sleuth Pat Herold.

Shows and Events Color-relevant gatherings to plan for

June 20th - 26th, 2019 - ITMA, the Textile and Garment Technology Exhibition, will take place in Barcelona, Spain.

August 13th - 15th, 2019 G7 Training at IWCO - Idealliance is sponsoring a G7 Training at IWCO in Chanhassen, MN. Our partner, Don Hutcheson, will lead the training. Be forewarned, these fee-based events are popular: the last event was full to capacity!

September 24th - 27th, 2019 - LabelExpo Europe, Brussels. Largest label expo in the world.

October 3rd - 5th, 2019 - Print 2019, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL.

October 3rd, 2019, 8:00am - 4:30pm Pacific - John Harrington, our colleague and friend, has just announced the 2019 JVH Digital Festival and Print Contest in Seattle. This free 1-day event has run strong for many years. To sweeten the deal, our own Pat Herold will be speaking about color management topic. We highly recommend attending and participating if you happen to be in town.

October 23rd - 25th, 2019 - Print United (formerly SGIA), Dallas, TX. An expansive and comprehensive display of printing technologies and supplies, education, programming and services. As mentioned above, CHROMiX's Steve and Rick will be there. Be sure to check out Steve's presentation, 'Understanding Print Gamut, Graphically' at 3:00 pm on October 24th.

October 24th - 26th, 2019 - PhotoPlus Expo 2019, a conference for professional photographers, enthusiasts, videographers, students, and educators.

January 11th - 14th, 2020 - PIA Color20 Conference, San Diego, CA. The CC is probably our favorite event, so it's not surprising that CHROMiX is sure to be there. Steve and Pat will both be speaking, and Rick will be at at the vendor table. CHROMiX is also a Platinum sponsor this year! For more details, check out our third quarter ColorNews, out in September.

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

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

Barbieri introduces Textile Edition Spectro LFP qb

The new Spectro LFP qb Textile Edition is a special version of regular Spectro LFP qb, specially designed for digital textile printing. This includes digital dye-sublimation and direct-to-garment printing. Upgrades from LFPqb model are available. CHROMiX proudly sells at Barbieri products.

basICColor says goodbye

After almost 20 years in the color management business, basICColor GmbH closed its business operations May 31st, 2019. CHROMiX, a primary basICColor reseller in North America, has removed all basICColor products from our store front for the foreseeable future. We're sad to see them go- hopefully Karl Koch and the folks at basICColor will re-emerge again somewhere in our industry.

For those looking for alternatives to basICColor products, please give CHROMiX Sales a call to discuss the options available at (206) 985-6837 extension 1, or email at sales(at)

ISO 20677

International Standards Organization created a New Color System in ISO 20677, "Image Technology Colour Management - Extensions to architecture, profile format, and data structure". This new architecture will support new potential applications that are emerging, as tomorrow's color communication will require a more flexible and extensible system.

The new standard includes a new PCS (Profile Connection Space), which will be more flexible. Instead of being fixed on D50 colorimetry, it will allow any illuminant, any colorimetric observer, and any number of PCS channels, thus enabling spectral and other connections between profiles.

20677 will support connections to v2 and v4 ICC profiles, preserving investment in these profiles and allowing for an easier transition between the old world and the new.

Interestingly, this could eliminate the need for large libraries of profiles and the challenges of profile selection, allowing for the selection of a single profile for a range of conditions.

CHROMiX will be following these developments closely and ensuring that our software supports these new profiles when appropriate, allowing for their exploration as our users become accustomed.

i1Pro3 announced

X-Rite announced a new hand-held i1Pro device called the i1Pro 3 Plus. It features an 8mm aperture and a new LED illuminant that improves device reliability. The i1Pro 3 Plus allows supports measurement conditions including ISO 13655 M0; M1: D50; M2: UV Excluded, M3 Polarized. It scans reflective and transmissive; it simultaneously measure M0, M1 and M2; it has a longer ruler, and a new iO Table will emerge to support it. The i1Pro 3 Plus has been optimized for digital printing on a range of materials and surfaces, including ceramics, textiles, glass, metal, wood, vinyl, plastics, thin films, cardboard, paper, and more.

Idealliance GAMUT Podcasts

Idealliance's new GAMUT Podcast disseminates information about everything from gold standard practices, brand management, measurable supply chain management programs, global print standards and design intent. It also discusses measurement and evaluation, global supply chain communication, proof-to-print alignment, workflow and process control standardization, color management and control, design thinking, and stories of transformation from extraordinary minds within the print and packaging supply chain.

Idealliance Print Properties and Colorimetric Council (PPC) UPDATE

The Idealliance PPC has initiated a new and clarified set of objectives, goals, and a statement of current projects. These current projects include Expanded Gamut Printing, New CRPCs (including a Universal Digital Dataset), G7 and ICC Profiling, Working with Spot Colors, TC1617 (proposed IT8.7/5) and datasets, Updated Paper Calculation Spreadsheet, and several more. These guys never sleep!

New course added to PIA iLearning Center

The Printing Industries of America has just added this new course, 'How to Visually Evaluate Color', taught by Joe Marin.

ZePrA v7 released

In February, ColorLogic GmbH announced its newest smart color server, the ZePrA 7. ZePrA version 7 has many additions and improvements; most notable is the addition of PDF 2.0 Support. ColorLogic is among the first to support the new PDF 2.0 standard (ISO-32000-2), and also allows users to re-run jobs with Restore Configuration and supports for non-printing elements and PDF layers. It also includes preservation and color conversion of Photoshop PSD and TIFF layers and many other features. CHROMiX proudly resells ColorLogic products.

Push-2-ZePrA released

In May, ColorLogic GmbH announced Push-2-ZePrA, an Adobe Photoshop extension that allows color converting an image file with ColorLogic's ZePrA Color Server from Photoshop.

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

What Color Is a Tennis Ball?:   Whether you are an avid tennis player or disinterested observer, this story about the color of tennis balls may surprise you-

New embroidery machine dyes thread as it stitches:   Here's a short YouTube video of this new embroidery machine in action

A Case for Soft-Proofing:   A recent thread in Luminous Landscape explained two important concepts we recommend our readers become familiar with. First, photoshops out of gamut warning isn't the best, and second, people should use soft-proofing instead. Check it out.

Does Color Variation Matter as Much as We Think? A discussion:   A thought-provoking article- we welcome your ideas. Feel free to respond to us via our LinkedIn page, mentioned above.

Color Spaces: For Designers:   Not just for designers, this is an easy-to-read primer on different color spaces.

Images of Old Russia, From a Color Photography Pioneer:   Fascinating read.

The Ideal Room with a View by Pat Herold

The Ideal Room with a View

The environment in which we view a finished printed product is a piece of the color management puzzle too often overlooked. When holding a printed piece of paper in your hands, it is easy to think that it's the end of the story. Yet, the light used to illuminate that print is a vital component of how the color on the page is perceived. If you doubt me, take that print into the closet with the light off, and then tell me what color it is!

        human color perception

Let's review some basic color theory. When we see color, we are seeing light waves from a light source bouncing off of a surface and reflecting into our eyes, where our brains interpret these signals as colors. Rather than thinking that the object itself is the source of its color, it's vital to remember that the color of the object is largely dependent on the light waves striking the object to begin with.

One of the reasons we so easily take color and light for granted is because of chromatic adaptation.

Chromatic adaptation

Chromatic adaptation refers to the way our eyes "white balance" to the light source in our environment. Not merely a fun term to throw around at cocktail parties, chromatic adaptation is essential to understanding how our eyes view objects. Our eyes are not merely biological spectrophotometers that see and determine color. Our brains do an awful lot of automatic, subconscious color correction. Without chromatic adaptation, we would have a mess of a time trying to recognize consistent hues across different lighting situations.

30 years ago, just about every home was lit by traditional tungsten light bulbs, which give off a warm, reddish/yellow light. No one noticed it as red unless someone happened to take a picture indoors, without a flash. The picture would come back from the film processor with a very warm cast. If something similar happened in an office environment, the pictures would come back with a green tint. Nothing was wrong with the processing of these pictures: they were actually a perfect example of how dramatically chromatic adaptation works within the human brain. The photographs were showing what the environmental lighting actually looked like as recorded by the daylight balanced camera film; the reason they appeared different than expected was because individuals' perceptions were, unbeknownst to them, affected by chromatic adaptation. Similar experiments can be done with the manual settings on a modern camera with white balance turned off. Chromatic adaptation enables us to move between different lighting sources and see them as "normal."

In this day and age, your environment's light sources are even more varied. Besides the remnants of tungsten and F1 fluorescents that still remain, there are halogen lamps, fluorescents, and of course, LED lighting options in all shapes and colors. While our eyes and brains easily adapt to these different lights, artificial lighting can hide or exaggerate subtle color issues when we're taking a serious look at prints.

Viewing Booths

This dilemma is why viewing booths were invented. Color-critical workflows require some kind of controlled, verified space where you can trust that printed output is viewed in correct light. These booths or stands come in various sizes so you can place large or small printed material within and be assured that the light you're viewing is an accurate representation of the color, which is usually standardized to D50 daylight. Since the adoption of ISO 3664, viewing booths also include a consistent amount of UV light so these booths can more accurately imitate natural daylight. The print and graphic arts industry tends to use D50 as its standard illuminant of choice. D65 is a slightly cooler version of daylight that many in the textile and manufacturing world prefer.

Optical Brightening Agents

A few decades ago, Optical Brightening Agents (OBA's) were rarely used in printing. As the desire for brighter paper has become more commonplace, it became necessary to update the international color viewing standard. Since OBA paper is becoming more commonplace, the lamps used in viewing booths have been updated to contain a specific amount of UV light to more closely match what we get from the sun. UV light is what triggers the brightening and bluing of OBAs. A modern viewing booth will allow the viewing of a print in a manner that effectively imitates natural daylight. Proofing papers with a similar level of OBAs have also been developed, as have the press papers they proof; thus, everything works in tandem provided you use a viewing booth which supplies UV light.

The Ideal Room With A View

To do this right, you need a proper, fully-enclosed light viewing booth with a size proportionate to the prints you need to view. The room must have no exterior windows, which could bring in uncontrolled light sources and interfere with accuracy. The lamps in a viewing booth ought to be ISO 3664-compliant and within the 2,500 hours of use recommended by the manufacturer. The walls of the room would be painted with a neutral gray, non-reflective paint. Those in the room ought to wear neutral-colored clothing. While this may seem like overkill, the color of the walls and the people around the viewing booth can have a definite effect on the way a color is perceived. Oh, and the people making the color decisions would be female. (Women tend to have more accurate color discernment than men.)


Your immediate thought might be, "This all sounds good, but I just cannot afford a $3000 light booth."

Fair enough, but at least you now understand the need for one - that's a start! Apart from the ideal scenario described above, compromises are available. For instance, desktop viewers which start at about $500 may be closer to your budget. There are also a few do-it-yourself options. This said, be wary of consumer lamps that promise a certain Kelvin temperature on the label; they are not designed for professional color use. If you have a spectrophotometer that can take ambient light measurements, you can use this to confirm whether or not your lighting environment matches the advertised claim. CHROMiX has used SoLux lamps for many years and has had good results with them.

The overarching idea is to create a controlled environment with light as close as possible to D50 daylight. Minimizing strong colors in the nearby environment will also increase accuracy and reliability.

Other environmental concerns

We have written in the past about how the color of the walls, floor, and peoples' clothing, can make a difference in how human observers see color , and can even affect instruments in some cases. Consider, for example, a client of ours who was having a lot of trouble calibrating a display in a challenging environment. The equipment was working fine, but the result of the calibration always showed a red tint on the display. With some troubleshooting, they discovered that the strong red carpet in the conference room reflected light onto the face of the display, which was reflecting into the aperture of the colorimeter during its calibration.

If you're interested in learning more about this, we have also written about how a white or dark border around a print can make the image appear lighter or darker.

This is further evidence to the point that any strong color in your environment has the potential to throw off your "unbiased" perceptions.

Getting your Printer to Match your Display

Whenever we talk to folks about getting a printer and monitor to match, we often begin by changing the monitor. It is easy to change a few settings, recalibrate, and have the display produce a different color and brightness. Controlling the lighting under which you view your prints is the other half of the puzzle. Because it involves more work and is likely more expensive, this part of the puzzle often gets neglected. We recommend creating an ambient environment wherein the white of your paper is as close to D50 as you can reasonably make it. Get your illumination to D50, set your display to match the white of your paper, calibrate the display with a modern colorimeter, and you've done all the heavy lifting required to get your prints to match your display.

While the perfect viewing room might not be attainable for all of us, anything you can do to improve your viewing conditions and remove conditions that might contribute to viewing biases, will make your world a safer place for color.

Thanks for reading,

Patrick Herold

Further reading:

To view this article in the ColorWiki with images, click here.

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