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FLEXO Magazine : August 2008
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES FIGURE 1. THE CIE CHROMATICITY DIAGRAM. IMAGE COURTESY X-RITE.. Color Gamut Quantified A New Approach to Analyzing Color Gamut By Bill Pope Editor’s Note: This article is the result of work done by the author while at RIT in sup- port of its Color Printing Outreach Initiative. H igh-impact color continues to be a goal of consumer products com- panies (CPCs) and anyone else who uses print to communicate, gain mar- ket share and increase sales. As a result, all those involved in the value chain, such as designers, suppliers, and printers, aim to contribute positively toward this goal. As efforts have been made to increase the colorfulness of print, it has been difficult to quantify the size of one’s color gamut. Recently, there have been developments by various color management software vendors to provide tools that quantify the size of the color gamut by evaluating ICC profiles. This paper introduces a new color gamut analysis tool developed at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) along with an overview of the other com- mercially available applications. Using these approaches, case studies will be presented showing gamut differences between various combinations of printing technologies and consumables. 48 F LEXO IN THE BEGINNING The impact of color on the human vi- sual response system is well understood in all facets of visual communications, rang- ing from television to the various forms of print. At one point, each of these was monochromatic, or just “black and white.” Computer monitors have gone from vari- ous single-color versions (green, amber, gray, etc.) acting strictly as terminals for interacting with a computer to now high- definition color-managed displays that enable remote soft-proofing and are re- placing hard-copy proofing systems. In packaging, fast-moving CPCs under- stand that the link between the shelf ap- peal of the package and sales is very direct and very strong. Gains in market share have been directly tied to enhancements in graphics, design, the use of various visual enhancement features (i.e. holo- graphic films, etc.), and color. To enhance the colorfulness of the printed product or enlarge the gamut of reproducible colors, AUGUS T 20 0 8 www. f l e x o g r a p h y. o r g colorants (inks) have been focused on as a chief component. To expand the gamut, multiple ap- proaches have been developed. One ap- proach has simply been to print CMYK process inks to higher solid ink densities (SID). While this approach does enlarge the gamut to an extent, there are often trade-offs. First, if printed to too high of a density, a color can actually lose chroma- ticity and result in a smaller gamut. There can also be issues associated with thicker ink film, such as drying or curing prob- lems, troubles with stability on a printing press, higher cost for the printed product, and others. Another approach has been to use colorants beyond CMYK. This approach is referred to as “expanded gamut print- ing.” Here, complementary colors are used to reproduce colors that cyan, magenta, and yellow cannot in combination. One system, known as Hexachrome, utilizes orange and green to accomplish this.
Flexo Sustainable Fall 2008