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FLEXO Magazine : September 2010
Technologies & Techniques Image Optimization Cut ink usage and improve Print quality By Mike Ruff Since the Spring of 2008, the printing industry has been buzzing about the words image optimization. In this short article, I hope to impart an important understand- ing of what the fuss is all about and how legitimate it is. Those that have taken time to investigate image optimization are seeing an increase in productivity and much-needed profit margins in all types of printing—offset, digital, flexo and screen print. This is a new technology, not some old or re-invented prod- uct. However, just like a great song that comes along every decade, some old products with similar characteristics claim to “do the same thing.” T hey don’t. I hope to show an example of the new technology and encourage you to get moving on printing better, printing more accurately and saving a lot of ink at the same time. Image optimization will do that for you if implemented properly, and if you do not get sidetracked by • Using heavy GCR, color was much easier to control on press, but it is a non-colorimetric creation of a black channel and can cause unwanted color shifts in certain color combinations. • Manual selective GCR is slow and the manipulation of the color is still not colorimetric. • Image optimization removes neutral color and will add chromatic color (CMY) where needed to correct the output to the original intent. • Really good prepress providers can effectively use heavy GCR and selective GCR for amazing results. For the rest of us, image optimization has automated this process, and, as a bonus, improved the image quality and accuracy by doing the job colorimetrically. FIgure 1. 64 FLeXO sePteMBeR 2010 www.flexography.org UCR Example Light GCR Example Notice that the black starts a little earlier in light GCR. This makes Lt. GCR just slightly Smoother. UCR and light GCR. are virtually Identical. prepress FLX_Sept2010_mech.indd 64 8/31/10 5:41 PM