Towards a universally usable colour profile
Uwe Junglas is Ifra's director of consulting.
newspaper techniques: ISO 12647-
Uwe Junglas: Since the release of the ISOnewspaper26v4 profile, in July 2004, more than 5000 companies (newspapers and advertising agencies) have downloaded the profile, and we still get almost 50 downloads per week on the Ifra website.
The level of use is still dependent on the countries and the size of the advertising agencies.
Big agencies don’t have problems using that profile because they understand colour management. But it is still difficult for smaller advertising agencies and very often the newspaper have to adapt the ads or they have to help the smaller agencies if they want to get good results.
We are working with the prepress providers to include the profile in their applications. Some did have it implemented like Agfa, OneVision, Adobe Acrobat, but in some it is still missing, such as Adobe Photoshop.
nt: Until 2004, several profiles were used, including those of the national quality projects conducted by Ifra: QUIZ (Germany),CINCO (Spain), CQ2 (Italy),KWIK (Netherlands) ICONS (India) and ACER (Latin America) place those used in North America and in Asia. Do we now have a worldwide profile?
U. Junglas: Ifra has been publishing ICC profiles since the early 90s. During the mentioned national standardisation projects, we wanted to give the projects name to the profile. QUIZ for Germany, CINCO for Spain, in the beginning the profiles were different, but we found out that the differences between the different countries became smaller and smaller.
We then gave the profile a different name and finally with version 4 we introduced the ISOnewspaper26v4.icc profile in 2004.
What we have in the ISO standard is the ideal colour space, colour patches referring to this profile. Since then, theoretically, if the newspaper was following the standard, all their advertising agencies and the entire newspaper (editorial photo and graphics) could generate good quality pictures and ads.
We published also a profile for the U.S., based on the same characterisation data but with a tone value increase of 30 percent.
We also made a special profile for the Indian maket because they wanted higher saturated pictures.
Due to the higher use of CTP in recent years in the U.S., the average dot gain there became lower. In October 2006, the SNAP committee changed the recommendation from 30 percent to 26 percent tone value increase.
We also found out that the differences in the colour values (characterisation data) became smaller and smaller. Therfore, we are working on a solution on one common worldwide profile.
nt: One of the good things with the ISOnewspaper26v4 profile is that it implies working with GCR. But aren’t you a bit ambitious with the high GCR level you fix in the profile?
U. Junglas: Grey component replacement (GCR) is a decisive means of reducing colour fluctuations in printing. An interesting effect of GCR is savings of colour inks and therefore production costs.
Another interesting side effect is to reduce the start up time of the press and the waste. So all those advantages, money saved and quality, advocates for an ambitious action in the use of GCR.
As a reminder, every overprinting of three chromatic colours (cyan, magenta, yellow) includes a share of grey. The size of this share is determined by the same shares of each chromatic colour.
For example, if 40 percent cyan, 50 percent magenta and 20 percent yellow are overprinted in one place, the grey share of this colour is 20 percent each of cyan, magenta and yellow.
Taken together, this colour share (around 20 percent) produce a grey impression. Instead of the 20 percent of each chromatic colour, black could also be printed.
The advantage here – provided that this is applied throughout the image –is that printing can be done with a lot less colour ink without changing the colour impression. This effect is utilised with grey component replacement in the colour separation.
The decisive point is that the increased use of black and reduced use of chromatic colours. Ifra Special Report 2.16 (1996) evidenced this situation. It even proved possible in most cases to reduce colour fluctuations and colour tone changes in print by 50 percent.
In the ISOnewspaper26v4.icc, the GCR is 'built-
The new ink saving tools are exactly doing the same. Saving ink by reducing the grey component.
If you have not used GCR before, then the savings are very significant. If you are using the ISO profile already, then the saving is lower, but there is still potential left for this software to reduce the ink costs.
However, there are also some backdrafts with GCR, so its use should always be well tested and all productions steps should be considered. That is what we are always working on.
nt: Why do we still notice production problems to your opinion?
U. Junglas: The value of the standard is to tie together production processes that often are working independently, with their own quality goals.
Just imagine you run a chemistry plant and to produce a product you have to follow six different steps. You would focus on the end result, and adjust the processes together to reach that end result. In newspaper production we don’t focus enough on the end result.
The key issue is to put all the process steps together and follow the guide (the standard). After having done so many quality projects, we know, at Ifra, that if you follow all the steps carefully it works everywhere in the world, whatever equipment and materials you use.
Page first published: 12.04.2007