ColorNews Issue #70

Instrument Spotlight: i1Pro 3 Plus

  CHROMiX ColorNews
   Issue # 70 - December 17th, 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 - Instrument SpotLight: The X-Rite i1Pro 3 Plus
  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?

Catalina 64-bit Updates


Curve4 v4.3.2 64bit beta was released to address Mac OS Catalina and Mac 64-bit compatibility. There has been a couple of subsequent releases for minor fixes. The current beta now has feature-parity with the Curve4 4.3.2 with the exception of being compiled for 64bit and using 64bit versions of hardware drivers. All instruments are now supported. However, we emphasize that it is a beta, and we advise that you test for the same functionality as the currently functioning 4.3.2 Curve4 before fully using.

ColorThink Pro Mac

ColorThink Pro 3.0.8 64-bit beta was released to address Mac OS Catalina and Mac 64-bit compatibility. This is a departure from the plan discussed in our last newsletter. We found that many users upgraded to Catalina quickly and we wanted to ensure they didn't have to go without their trusty ColorThink Pro. Again, as this is a beta version, we strongly advise that you test for the same functionality as the currently functioning 3.0.7 ColorThink Pro Mac before fully using.

ColorThink v2 Mac

ColorThink 2.x is not compatible with Mac OS Catalina (64-bit) so we have removed it (the Mac version) for sale from our store. Please contact us directly at sales (at) or by phone if you need to purchase it for an earlier version of the Mac OS. We are working on an upgraded product and more information will be provided about our path moving forward. Sorry for this inconvenience. Note: The Win version ColorThink v2 v2.3.3 is still for sale on our website.

For those on Mac OS Catalina (64-bit), we recommend ColorThink Pro, which is fully compatible with Catalina.

Maxwell Client

Maxwell Client (any version) is not yet compatible with Mac OS Catalina (64-bit). We advise all Maxwell clients to continue using their current version until we have a beta for you to test.

CHROMiX Upcoming Sightings: PIA Color20 January in San Diego

CHROMiX's Steve Upton, Pat Herold and Rick Hatmaker will be in attendance at this event. Contact rick (at) if you would like to meet up while there.

At the conference, Pat Herold will deliver a presentation titled "I Love a Color Management Mystery" on Sunday December 11th, 2020 from 10 to 11am.

Steve Upton will be presenting our Color Tools Session titled "Advances in Gamuts, Graphing, and Color Monitoring - See what's coming in ColorThink 4 and Maxwell", also on Sunday, Jan. 12th at 3:00 pm for 20 minutes in the Sorrento Room.

For more details, see below under the Shows and Events section.

SGIA Using Maxwell for Specification Working Group

Maxwell is being used in SGIA's efforts to establish, evaluate, and monitor printing standards. Check out the LinkedIn posting below from our good friend Ray Weiss for more details.

CHROMiX LinkedIn page

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

Instrument Spotlight: i1Pro 3 Plus from X-Rite

This quarter's Instrument Spotlight Article is about the i1Pro 3 Plus. It's written by Pat Herold, manager of CHROMiX Technical Services. Pat uses instruments such as the i1Pro 3 Plus regularly in our Seattle measuring lab. He has a unique perspective and many insights we think you will find valuable.

Enjoy the article below!


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

  • CHROMiX Blog - If you are not aware, CHROMiX has a regularly updates blog that we try to keep it light and topical. Check it out!

Shows and Events Color-relevant gatherings to plan for

January 11th -14th, 2020 - The 2020 PIA Color Conference will be held at the Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa in San Diego, CA. This is the best color-focused event in North America; both Steve Upton and Pat Herold will have be speaking. CHROMiX will also have a table display in the Vendor area manned by Rick Hatmaker.

At the conference, Pat Herold will deliver a presentation titled 'I Love a Color Management Mystery'

Time: Sunday December 11th, 2020 from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.
Overview: Patrick Holmes Herold and John Watson Thorburn will explore some of their more baffling cases in this collection of real-life color management mysteries. Increase your color detective skills as they share how they solved color conundrums and identified malicious measurements and wicked workflows. Not for the faint of heart, take a close look at graphically gruesome profiles with twists, digits, and folds and use deductive reasoning to solve them. Match wits with these famous color detectives and pick up several color sleuthing strategies while you're at it!

Also at the conference, Steve Upton will be presenting our Color Tools Session titled:'

'Advances in gamuts, graphing and color monitoring - See what's coming in ColorThink 4 and Maxwell'

Time: Sunday, Jan. 12th at 3:00 pm in the Sorrento Room.
Overview: Graphing and gamut calculations are going to take a major leap forward with new color spaces, gamut comparisons and save-able views in ColorThink 4. Maxwell is also gaining a new interface, fluid interactivity and streamlined data gathering. Join us to see what's happened in the last year and what's about change color management. Again.

CHROMiX is a Platinum Sponsor of this Color Conference event. Our specialists look forward to talking with you there!

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

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

Callas software releases pdfToolbox 11

With the Callas release of pdfToolbox 11, major improvements are expected across all markets. This release includes improvements to automated workflows and making PDF files production ready, plus significant additions for a number of diverse markets. Contact CHROMiX Sales if you need a free trial or more information.

Epson's NEW Spectroscopic Camera

Epson is developing a compact, lightweight Spectroscopic Camera to automate color inspections. Epson indicates this camera can easily be integrated into manufacturing lines. This is fascinating to us and has huge possible implications for CHROMiX and other software! Stay tuned.

Idealliance Releases New SCCA Calculator

Idealliance is releasing a Substrate Corrected Color Aim (SCCA) Calculator for automatic calculations For profiling and color management. Both IT8/7.4 and TC1617 (proposed IT8/7.5) datasets are included, plus an export function that automatically creates a properly formatted and named CGATS file for use in profiling and color management applications. Also included will be datasets for both CRPC 1-6, as well as GRACoL 2006 and SWOP 2006 3 and 5 datasets including XCMYK 2017. Finally, it includes adjustment to the Minimum Value Defaults.

Idealliance Introduces ECG target

A Global Expanded Color Gamut (ECG) Characterization Target is being introduced by Idealliance for use in characterizing and calibrating multicolor print processes.

Understanding the TC1617x (IT8.7/5)

Idealliance's Tim Baechle introduces the new TC1617x (IT8.7/5) printer characterization target, explains how it differs from its predecessors, details its benefits, and describes how printers can use the new target to improve the characterization accuracy of a printing system. This is a must read for everyone in the industry. Let CHROMiX know if you need a TC1617x for a device that is not supported.

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

Kevin O'Connor Obituary - San Luis Obispo, CA:   We are very sad to see our friend Kevin go. He was always a ray of sunshine that we will remember. We've known Kevin since before CHROMiX was founded in 1998 and he was always a great supporter of our efforts, including early alphas of ColorThink. He will be missed.

Why Neutrality In Your Images Is So Important - John Paul Caponigro :   

4 Ways To Achieve Neutrality In Your Images - also from John Paul Caponigro :   

Pantone game is here!:   Now you can test how good your Pantone memory recall is.

Pantone introduces PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue:   For your first Pantone test question...

Who owns the color Magenta?:   T-Mobile has claimed exclusive rights to the color magenta; a German court has upheld that. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this here or on our LinkedIn page. Join the discussion!

Tis the Season...:   Did you know that Reindeer are the only mammals that can see ultraviolet light? Imagine telling this story around the Christmas tree...

Instrument SpotLight: The X-Rite i1Pro 3 Plus by Pat Herold

This Instrument Spotlight features a brand-new instrument: X-Rite's i1Pro3 Plus, which began shipping at the end of summer. It fits a unique niche for those who want to measure fabrics, ceramics, matte papers, and also calibrate their monitor. This is the first i1Pro that supports all four ISO-13655 measurement modes (M0, M1, M2, M3). The included polarizing filter makes it particularly useful for measuring uneven substrates. It can also make transmissive measurements for those working with backlit signage - and it does all this at a price that is surprisingly affordable, considering all the features mentioned above.


The original i1Pro was created by GretagMacbeth way back in 2001. A few years later, X-Rite acquired GretagMacbeth and continued to develop this workhorse through several 'revs' that increased its speed, added M-mode filtering, and upgraded the profiling software that accompanies it. The venerable i1Pro has been a ubiquitous fixture for color profiling in one form or another for decades. Every other manufacturer has had to work their business model around this instrument because it offers a reliable way to measure color spectrally while still being affordable for every print shop and color expert to own. That's why it’s big news when X-Rite makes a change in this lineup. The i1Pro 3 Plus looks in form and function much like the i1Pro 1 & 2, but its purpose and use are quite distinct from other devices.


The i1Pro 3 Plus is intended for current emerging print technologies such as textile printing and flexographic printing. These industries use unusual printing substrates, often employing low resolutions and uneven surfaces. A more dispersed dot pattern, or color that is broken by strands of fabric, can make it hard to get an accurate read of the color. It can be particularly difficult when measuring with aperture sizes as small as 2 or 4mm. The i1Pro 3 Plus has a whopping big 8mm aperture. Although the instrument is approximately the same size as an i1Pro 2, turn the i1Pro 3 Plus over and you see a big gaping maw of an aperture to enable a larger sample of the substrate.

We are delighted to see that X-Rite has finally listened to our long cry for polarized instruments. Short of using a $12,000 spherical spectrophotometer, being able to use a polarizing filter on a spectrophotometer is a great way to cut down on the specular highlights that tend to muddle the measurement of blacks. The polarization cuts surface reflections by filtering the light coming into the instrument from surface scattering so that dark colors tend to measure darker and are more defined. With these measurements, profiles can be made with greater shadow detail.


Due to its large aperture, the i1Pro 3 Plus requires specialized charts; typically made using the i1Profiler software from X-Rite. Different target sizes are available depending on the size of material you're working with. They range from 8.5 x 11" to A2 when working with transmissive targets. It's helpful to remember that everything is "Plus" sized when using this instrument except the instrument itself. These patch sizes will be a minimum of 16mm and are often even larger: the measuring ruler is almost 2ft long, and even the case it comes in is 28in long. This is all a consequence of the larger aperture.

A typical 2000 patch profiling target would take up 15 pages on letter-sized paper. Because of this, you'll find it useful to take advantage of i1Profiler's iteration ability. One can create a profile using a smaller set of patches, then make a 2nd iteration of the profile to fine-tune as needed.

A similar iterative approach is used when making transmissive profiles. First, print and measure a fixed set of 100 patches. Then, the software generates a second set of patches based on the results of measuring the first set.

This Instrument Spotlight is not intended to be a manual for how to use the instrument, but we think it’s useful to lay out the general steps involved in making a transmissive profile so you know what you're getting into:

  • Choose the page size to be used and print the template to be affixed to the light box

  • Measure the light box surface with the light off and with the light on

  • Scan the light box within the template area. This creates a matrix of data about the light box characteristics which is used to adjust future readings on the light box

  • Measure the substrate white point without the light box

  • Measure the actual test chart placed on top of the template on the light box, including multiple pages if necessary

  • Set the profile settings, such as GCR, size of profile tables, etc

  • Generate the second set of patches and print out new target prints

  • Measure the second set of target patches

  • Define the white point of the lightbox on which the finished print will be displayed. (Use the i1Pro 3 Plus to measure it if necessary)

  • Define the white point of your ambient lighting (most likely D50)

  • Create profile

As you can see, nothing is left to chance or assumed. The user has great control over the process, and this might include measuring on an unevenly lit light table or displaying on a different fixture than the one used to measure the targets. The downside is that this becomes a multi-step process which takes a while.

Measurement Modes

The i1Pro 3 Plus can measure using M0, M1 & M2 modes, and it comes with a physical polarizing filter that can be attached to the instrument, allowing it to also measure in M3 mode. It's worth noting that all measurements are single-pass unlike the i1Pro 2, which required two passes for M1 and M2 measurements. That should save some scanning time! Visit for more information on these measurement modes.


The larger aperture not only requires the patches to be larger, it also means that more color information is coming into the sensor in the instrument. With reflective measurements, the i1Pro 3 Plus measures in much the same way and speed as other i1Pros. When we tested transmissive measurements of a densely-printed semi-opaque material, we had to slide the unit slowly and steadily in order to get a successful scan. If measuring using M3 (requiring the "polarizer" filter), then the measurements will need to be even slower and will take longer. i1Profiler even suggests the use of spot measurement (patch-by-patch measurement) if too many measurement errors are encountered. Again, this is a different instrument than the earlier i1Pro's, and its use will be different than what you might be accustomed to.

We were able to scan, in strip mode, two sets of targets (totaling 100 patches) and create a transmissive profile in about 30 minutes, not including the target printing time. This was using M1 without a polarizing filter and a reasonably bright backlight. The first time you run through this process, expect it to take longer.


The specs for this instrument show that repeatability of measurement on a white tile is 0.4 deltaE2000, and the maximum difference between instruments is 1.0 deltaE2000. These are very comparable to earlier versions of the i1Pro. Keep in mind that measuring on unusual media can be inherently "noisy". It's easy for measurements to be slightly off due to the weave of a fabric or the way light reflects off of a bumpy canvas. The final profile gamut might show some unusual shapes and angles due to slightly differing measurements. In order to smooth out this erratic behavior, i1Profiler automatically defaults to an advanced smoothing algorithm when doing transmissive profiling. If the shape of your final profile concerns you, remember that pleasing color in the final product is ultimately what we're after - not good-looking gamut shapes. Did I mention that this is a different instrument?


The i1Pro 3 Plus has a fixed aperture of 8 mm. This larger aperture size will tend to give a more complete sampling of the printed color than a narrower sample area, so it's recommended to use a larger size when measuring larger printed dots, prints made with low resolution, or an uneven surface such as fabric and canvas.


X-Rite's i1Profiler version 3.0 or later is required to work with the new i1Pro 3 Plus. The instrument comes bundled with software that is unlocked by the i1Pro 3 itself depending on the package that was purchased. The Basic package is mainly for those who want to purchase the instrument and calibrate monitors, but it is not intended for printer profiling with i1Profiler. It's fully capable of print measurements using other software such as Curve4, Maxwell and profiling packages like ColorLogic's CoPrA. The Photo package is for those wanting to make i1Profiler RGB printer profiles. Publish unlocks the rest of i1Profiler's features, enabling full support for monitor, RGB and CMYK+ profiling.

CHROMiX has been hard at work making this instrument compatible with our software. As of writing, reflective measurements are available in Curve4's 64bit beta version. Our Maxwell Client and ColorThink Pro software will also be supporting it in the future.

Other items of interest

YouTube video of i1Pro 3 Plus in action

As with earlier i1Pros, this instrument can calibrate your monitor as well. A new feature of the i1Pro 3 Plus is that is will calibrate extremely bright displays (up to 5000 cd/m2).

This is the first i1Pro to use all LED illumination. Theoretically, this should provide for more reliable and consistent measuring over time.

$1699 to $2999 at, depending on the model/features.

Wrap up
I'm always excited to see a new instrument come out. This new product fits a need for a relatively inexpensive device that can make polarized measurements. If you are a part of the flexo or fabric printing business, you know the difficulty of profiling your media. The large aperture, making for large patch sizes and smaller total patches, means that this is perhaps not ideally suited for everyday profiling, so don't throw away your present spectrophotometers yet. Added bonuses include the new single-pass speed and the new ability to make transmissive measurements.

Click here to see the i1Pro3 Plus at

Thanks for reading,
Patrick Herold

   To read this article with images in ColorWiki, click here

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