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DIGITAL digest 5-01

May 2001
Empowering Digital Photographers

MONACO—Digital camera back manufacturer Sinar Bron recently held an international press briefing here. The Mediterranean locale was chosen because it is home to binu-scan, the image processing software developer that has developed a new color-conversion utility for use with Sinar systems.

Sinar CeMagYK (pronounced "see magic") software was developed in response to the greater opportunities digital photographers have to manipulate images and exercise influence over the printed results, according to company management. The conversion software works as a plug-in to Sinar's CaptureShop image processing software and is billed as a professional prepress tool for preparing ready-to-print digital images.

The core of the CeMagYK software is the IPM (Image Processing Machine) from binuscan. The IPM reportedly enhances printed image quality through the application of special conversion tables, adaptive unsharp masking and a contrast-optimizing technique.

The RGB to CMYK look-up tables (LUTs) are said to be based on binuscan's extensive color expertise that is rooted in its genesis from the Binucci Printing House in Monaco. The LUTs were optimized for strong, saturated color tones in RGB, which offers advantages for photography of plastic parts and product shots. According to Sinar, CeMagYK also achieves life-like results in skin tones.

The adaptive unsharp masking function takes into account the scaled size of the picture and is tailored to the printing process. The contrast function is said to adjust all three (RGB) color channels to ensure that the full brightness level is reproduced. A batch processing feature enables all processing functions of CeMagYK to be applied simultaneously to several pictures with a single command.

The software supports common image data formats, but Jean-Marie Binucci, binuscan's president, recommends that PostScript-based formats be used for print workflows. He contends that the DCS file formats offer several advantages, especially compared to TIFF, in terms of workflow and quality control.

Since the majority of the editors assembled for the press briefing worked for photography publications, Binucci gave a brief tutorial on offset printing and how DCS/DSC2 can facilitate the process.

He explained that the DCS/DCS2 formats support preview images, which speed processing by reducing data handling requirements in page layout and other applications. The point also was made that the Sinar/binuscan software gives users options in terms of the size and resolution of file preview images, which can make them more usable in other applications.

The big workflow advantage, though, is that the DCS formats make it possible to use the layout program to efficiently perform tonal value adaptations if needed, he says. With this approach, the tonal adjustments are made via PostScript commands and do not alter the pixel values of the image data directly, Binucci told the journalists. This makes it possible to quickly reverse changes if desired.

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