COLOR CONTROL -- Managing the Variables
Returning to the question of a definition for color management, consultant and educator Don Hutcheson agrees with Veitch's Hookway that actions taken in the pressroom are a core component. Hutcheson helps teach a Graphic Arts Technical Foundation course entitled "Color Management in the Pressroom," in addition to being a principal with Hutcheson Consulting in Washington, NJ, which specializes in color management services.
"In reality, there is very little pure application of color management—in the ICC sense—within the pressroom," Hutcheson concedes. "But the pressroom is such a critical part of a fully color-managed system, that it is incorrect to say color management doesn't take place partly in the pressroom."
Color management in the pressroom is about how to stabilize and optimize the printing conditions, or perhaps multiple conditions due to the use of different stocks and presses, the color consultant says. This is accomplished through a program of measurement and changes in materials and processes.
The approach to color management in the pressroom that Hutcheson espouses starts with setting a standard of printing on a specific press with a given media. The next step is to figure out how to optimize the press and printing conditions to meet that standard, and then maintain it on an ongoing basis.
"Without a defined standard of printing and consistency in achieving it, color management is aiming at a moving target. If the output process is always changing, then you can only accomplish a limited level of effectiveness with color management," he asserts.
The end result of this process should be a press sheet that was run at what the operator considers to be the sweet spot of the press with a given set of materials, according to Hutcheson. This sheet can then be used to develop ICC-based profiles for use in the prep department.