Color Scanners–The Color of Digital Originals


Handling the sheer volume of scans seems to be a more daunting, more demanding task. It isn’t solely the imagination of your prepress manager.

Lucky for the prepress manager, scanning has been brought to an all-time level of ease, thanks to a robust product market laden with devices that boast built-in gradation curves, preset color look-up tables and expanded capabilities to digitize reflective and transmissive art at an impressive array of scanning depths and optical densities.

From the AgfaScan T-5000 from Agfa Div., Bayer Corp., to the vertical-drum Tango from Heidelberg Prepress to the Fuji C-550 or the EverSmart family from Scitex, the field of devices from top vendors the likes of Anitec, Epson, Howtek, ICG North America, Kodak Professional, Optronics, Purup-Eskofot, ScanView, Screen, UMAX and others is impressive.

Color is the shared focus.

While color issues on the input side are clearly not as provocative or controversial as are color concerns on the output side, there is still much room for deliberation.

What are scanning trends today?

  • The migration from scanning in CMYK formats to the CIELAB format, which offers flexible re-purposing using ICC-standard profiling, is promoting faster adoption of device-independent, multimedia publishing workflows.

  • The move away from CMYK-specific scans to RGB-specific scans to, again, adopt true device-independent scanning.
  • The expectation for Pantone’s Hexachrome to carry new levels of color to the scanning environment.
  • The emergence of the need for multitasking workstations, all feeding into one server, all linked to the same color management tool, empowering a series of scanners.

Don Rogers, product manager for scanning systems at Heidelberg Prepress, offers a CIELAB perspective on CIELAB significance.

“An important factor in the scanning process today is the clear benefit of scanning directly into CIELAB. CIELAB scan data can be used again for different CMYK requirements, or even different RGB requirements, just by attaching the correct output profile,” Rogers explains.

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