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FLEXO Magazine : September 2010
Technologies & Techniques color shift problem still existed. This is the “old technology ” that is now claiming to do the same thing as the new image optimization software we are seeing today. Image optimization is not GCR. It optimizes the gray com- ponent and provides better more accurate color, better press control and ink savings. Image optimization is not just linking to different start points of GCR. It removes neutral color and will add chromatic color (CMY) where needed to correct the output to the original intent. Basically, gray component is removed but not at the expense of color accuracy. This is why some are saying, “It is just GCR.” It is not. It is image opti- mization. The results are amazing and printing is becoming almost idiot proof with image optimization done correctly. In order for you to see a comparison, Figure 2 shows a light GCR (that is the most common conversion from an RGB file) next to a heavy GCR that would be used by a RIP. The heavy GCR is attempting to save ink just through increasing the amount of GCR. Figure 2 proves that, in some images, heavy GCR will adversely affect the color. Notice the grayed-out shadows. At a casual glance it looks OK. Upon closer inspec- tion, there are some major problems with heavy GCR on this image. Remember, on some images, heavy GCR is fine. Photoshop default is medium GCR. It works most of the time, but optimized images look much better. The casual Photoshop user that converts the image to CMYK from RGB is using medium GCR and doesn’t even know it. The reality is that UCR and light GCR look about the same. Medium is good for most images and prints better than UCR and light GCR. Heavy GCR is a risk if you don’t know what you are doing or not paying attention. Really good prepress providers in the flexographic print industry can navigate these waters with heavy GCR and even use selective GCR to produce some amazingly good results. For those of us who are not as skilled, image optimization has automated this process, and, as a bonus, improved the image quality and accuracy by doing the job colorimetrically. If you look at the three images in Figure 3, you will see the heavy GCR image has some major problems in the neutral shadows. The rust colored sofa is grayed out in the shadow. The blue dress is shifting to purple. The emerald background shadows have no color left in them. This is an example of removing gray component by just linking to a higher GCR setting. Now notice the optimized image on the right. The color has actually been improved and it used 21 percent less ink than the light GCR image. In Figure 4, the black is turned off, so you can see what the software is doing to the CMY colors, while removing gray component. It is obvious why the color looks better in the optimized images. Notice the original light GCR conver- sion and compare it to the optimized image. The color has actually improved. Optimization added color! It saved color where it could, but added color to make it more accurate to the RGB file. If you look at the three colors down, you see Figure 2. Less Bulk theDi fference! Experience We’ve assembled the finest plate processing equipment for tag and label printers looking to create or update a prepress department, like the ESKO 1712 flexo plate and film imager. The ESKO 1712 is a small footprint, cost-effective imager that is feature rich. The 1712 images up to A3 size (16.5" x 11.8") and .12" thick in 9 minutes and 30 seconds (customers report a 20% cost reduction in plate processing). The AVflex 8000 is also designed for limited space and offers everything you need to process eco-friendly, solvent-wash plates up to 12"x 18". This multi-function system includes a 2-brush rotary washout unit, exposure section, oven and plate finisher. A&V complements these systems with printing plate materials from industry leaders that include Flint Group and Toyobo, and provides support and a level of service second-to-none. Put our 45+ years of flexo experience to work for you. A narrow web prepress department with... MORE BRAWN Toll-free: 866.282.7697 Fax: 800.223.6869 www.AndVre.com | info@AndVre.com See us at Labelexpo Americas booth #929 AV_9588_Esko_AVflex.indd 1 7/26/10 1:39:26 PM 66 FLeXO september 2010 www.flexography.org Light GCR Original Heavy GCR Conversion B/G is Losing Color HVY GCR is Graying Out the Shadows. 3 Colors Down 3 Colors Down Blue Dress is Shifting to Purple FLX_Sept2010_mech.indd 66 8/31/10 5:42 PM