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FLEXO Magazine : January 2014
happen on press. Models are based on characteristics of the ink, substrate and print method. These modeling tools are in their relative infancy but have great promise in the near fu- ture. In order to take full advantage of these new capabilities, especially in an automated environment, there needs to be a standardized way of passing this color data within a PDF file. DEMYSTIFYING COLOR MANAGEMENT So, what are these magic software applications doing? By getting information about ink opacity, trapping charac- teristics and what happens when a color is screened, one can produce a model of how the inks will act in a given print method, substrate and ink sequence. This will allow the color development process to generate a realistic version of the color at the beginning, where a decision can be made based on final result. Color conversions and proofing can also be made more accurate, giving a final result that the printer has a better chance of executing. The minimum information needed for a given spot color is the spectral data of the solid. This, however, has limited use when put into the context of how the actual ink and color will behave when printed. If a solid color is being printed, then that is all that is necessary. If you want to know what the color will look like screened, then additional modeling based on some assumptions about the print conditions would need to be performed. It is recommended that, if a spot color will be screened, there should be a full tint ramp from 100 percent of the sub- strate (no ink) to 100 percent of the ink, in 10 percent incre- ments. If the ink will interact with other inks, this same scale should also be done over black ink, so that the opacity can be calculated and used for modeling. This would also show the effect that changing the ink sequence or the hue of one of the inks would have on the overall color. Some of these concepts have been around for quite some time waiting for computer technology enhancements, instru- mentation developments, file format capabilities, new mod- eling methods and some hard working industry volunteers to come together at just the right moment. That time is now. ADVANCING WITH CXF By using the structure provided by CxF, color needs can be communicated right inside of the PDF file. As this process be- comes more widely adopted, vendors will build tools that allow the automatic extraction and usage of this very precise color information. It may seem that this makes things more compli- cated, but the truth is, it has always been this complicated. With this technology, we now have the opportunity to be able to successfully manage and control the details. The challenge to the vendors is to develop tools that will handle the complexity while offering a clear usable interface not only for a novice, but also an expert, with a smooth transition between the two. Once the needed standards are in place, the GWG is com- mitted to working on best practice workflows, documentation and collaboration with vendors to make it a valuable tool for blindly exchanging PDF files worldwide. ABOUT GWG GWG is an international organization dedicated to building specifications and best practices for publishing and pack- aging workflows. The group is instrumental in identifying processes that need to be standardized and works with the appropriate standards organizations to bring them to fruition. GWG celebrated its first decade in existence in 2012. Mem- bers come from all sectors of the industry and all parts of the globe and are comprised of end users, graphic organizations, hardware and software vendors, consultants and members representing fields in education. Subcommittees are formed to address needs as they arise. GWG currently is comprised of the following subcommittees: • Color Management • Compliancy Testing • Cross Media • Documentation • Job Ticketing • Marketing & Education • Office Document Printing • Packaging • Process Control • Specifications • Variable Data For more information about the CxF format, go to www. colorexchangeformat.com. For more information and periodic updates on all GWG related activities, visit www.gwg.org n About the Author: Gary Russell has a BPA degree in photog- raphy and has been working in the graphic arts industry for 45 years. Most of this time has been spent developing new technology and processes. He holds patents for new halftone screening technology for the flexographic industry and has been actively involved in color reproduction since the begin- ning. He has also been a contributing member of the GWG for the last seven years. www.flexography.org JANUARY 2014 FLEXO 43 Association Members (18) BPIF United Kingdom CMBO The Netherlands DDPFF Denmark ERA Europe Febelgra Belgium FESPA United Kingdom FTA USA IdeAlliance USA IDP Group The Netherlands Medibel+ Belgium IDEAlliance USA PDFX-ready Switzerland Printing Industries of America USA Rotasion.no Norway Taga Italia Italy UNIC France VIGC Belgium VSD Switzerland GWG ASSOCIATION PARTNERS