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FLEXO Magazine : July 2011
A correct visualization of your packaging design is crucial in a professional environment. Very good viewers—for example, implemented inside Adobe Illustrator—can help designers work with predefined press settings to detect printable tonal percentages, as well as to simulate dot gain and registration errors and to calculate the total area coverage in your file. There are even more specialized applications that can help designers. In an Adobe Photoshop plug-in, you can view your special ink separations in full color overprint. The colors will match a lot closer to the printed result than they would when using the standard Photoshop spot channels. And unlike spot channels, you don’t have to give up any Photoshop feature, like layering. A filter can automatically calculate special ink separations to match the appearance of a CMYK target. The plug-in can create totally new separations for any combina- tion of two, three or four spot-colors. The result is displayed, so you can further enhance the image with a very accurate display of the overprint colors. Many other plug-ins exist—including a preflight tool to assure the correct color set has been used in the design—to help the design and prepress process up front. CENTRALIZED COLOR ENGINE How do we go about achieving color consistency? In most design and production environments today, the color informa- tion varies and is fragmented. You may have certain swatches available in Illustrator, but not in Photoshop. Actually, each workstation and even each application, likely has its own color information. Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop have their own color libraries with different values. Maintaining color consistency means manually copying information from one ap- plication and one workstation to another. This is difficult in the best of times and virtually impossible the rest of the time. As in a production environment, we also need to share color data throughout the packaging supply chain. We al- ready share files, fonts, images and production specifications. We also need to share the critical color information that goes along with the brands and packaging. A centralized brand color workflow takes you one step further. It’s based on a digital color standard, where inks are defined no matter how they will be reproduced. These colors are centrally accessible from an organized color database— to the designer, the brand owner, prepress and the printer. And, it shows how real ink will print on the real substrate. A good color engine is the perfect platform for centralizing and managing all your critical color data. A color engine is a central color database for all color critical packaging data. In combination with the color database, a color engine provides the perfect tool set for creating and maintaining critical brand colors, creation of spot color profiles and other color conver- sion settings. The color engine maintains consistency through- out a production environment by ensuring every application and operator works with the same color critical data. There are other advantages to a color engine. Maybe you are interested in ink optimization—a process to adjust the www.flexography.org July 2011 FLEXO 39