*** Introduction ***
In the last several weeks several readers have mentioned that they are forwarding these e-mails to others. That is perfectly fine, but anyone can get on the list by sending me their complete contact information.
*** Jim Raffel’s Week 6 Golden Nugget…Why Measure ***
Over the years I have gotten the comment that ColorMetrix does not “fix” the problem. This comment would be similar to a carpenter saying that a tape measure does not fix his problem cutting 2X4’s to a specific length when he had been eyeballing it all along. If the tape measure is not used, or is used incorrectly, the statement is accurate.
If on the other hand the tape measure is used to measure and mark each 2X4 BEFORE it is cut many fewer 2X4’s will end up in the waste pile (Remember when your Dad taught you to measure twice cut once?). The same holds true for the measurement of printing process.
Here is just a partial list of all the places we should me measuring to improve color reproduction:
- Any monitor used for critical color work (yes monitor calibration is a form of measurement).
- Any proof viewed for color (I know a great little software company called ColorMetrix that can help you with this!).
- Printing plates need to me monitored with an accurate plate reading device, so we know what dot percentages we are sending to press (You can also catch processor problems by doing this, just ask Gary Briney who will be at the User’s Group Conference again this year).
- Press sheets – for Density, Dot Gain (TVI), Print Contrast, Trap, and Colormetric values like L*a*b* with Delta E tolerances.
If you are not measuring in all these areas, please ask yourself why not? It is neither difficult nor expensive to acquire the tools and knowledge necessary. Even better, once you have made the investment, you will be amazed at how quickly the returns begin to flow in via reduced time and material waste.
Imagine using the data you collect in the pressroom to tweak the curves in your CTP device. If press performance changes you can adjust the device to compensate for the changes, and have a more stable production environment. Then, you can utilize your plate reader to confirm that the changes made in software are making it to the actual printing plate.
Imagine verifying that each proof made is color accurate and can be reproduced on press. This also means that the proofs you show your customer can be matched on press. I am not sure I can imagine a worse scenario than putting a proof in the hands of the customer that “they love” that we are not capable of matching on press.
So, if you are not measuring in all of the above mentioned places, perhaps you should considering investing in the correct tool for the job and getting it done today.