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Color Management--Discussing Today's Color

November 1999
The call for open, device-independent color management is driving more and more prepress workflows. Are closely woven color management tools on the way out? Is ICC compliance the best route for color control?


BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO


An overall ease of use and a simplification of the process; these may be the two strongest desires driving color management for any prepress professional advocating some sort of consistent, cross-platform, color management standard. Is International Color Consortium (ICC) compliance the answer? Are new, device-independent color management software solutions the key to unlocking color bottlenecks?

Recently, Printing Impressions posed these and other questions to a sampling of prepress technology providers. Their responses create a landscape of the color management situation—a landscape ready for continued cultivation and refinement.

Prinergy Process Control
Steve Prescesky, product manager, Creo Products: Printers have always strived to deliver accurate and consistent color. This task has been made easier with the process control provided by CTP digital imaging coupled with desktop color management software. This combination enables printers, as well as their clients, to enjoy the benefits of predictable, high-quality color. To complete the picture, prepress workflows must embrace advanced color management engines, process control and bring content creators into the manufacturing process.

End-to-end color management begins at the content creator's DTP system and ends on the signed-off press sheet. Robust color management engines, such as the industry standard Linocolor, are embedded in Apple's ColorSync software. Accurate color measurement instruments and profiling tools, which were once only available for lab use, are now very affordable.

Despite all this innovation, printers don't expect a simple jump into a full, open-loop color managed workflow where all color problems disappear instantly. They realize that they must start with a solid building block of imaging consistency and calibrated output, integrated with a suitable prepress workflow.

Prinergy, the new page-based workflow management software from Creo and Heidelberg, is equipped with integrated color management. The system is automated and can track input and output color profiles, perform color conversion and manage output seamlessly to a variety of devices.

With Prinergy, color management by Linocolor can occur in two stages according to the needs of the job at hand. The first is refining where color management can be employed to color-separate files in the manner best suited for the press. This results in an industry standard, PDF digital master that can be viewed and even edited by the original content creator. The second stage of color management in Prinergy is color matched proofing, which applies device-link profiles to allow the proof to simulate final presswork.

 

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