Colorants (and raves) - CHROMiX Blog

Musings on color management, CHROMiX products and services and other relevant topics.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Award-Winning Curve4

 We have just learned that Curve4 has won a software design award!  The Xojo design awards for 2018 have just been announced at the Xojo Developer's Conference in Denver.  The report is that judging the winners was not easy because of a large number of great entries.

Curve4 received the award for Best Specialty App for 2018!

All of you who marvel at the complex calculations and the powerful new features in Curve4, even while the user interface is easy and intuitive - well... you're not the only ones to be impressed.








Monday, March 12, 2018

Better transmissive profiles

A few years ago I posted here about the popularity of our transmissive profiles.
http://blog.chromix.com/2010/07/transmissive-profiles.html
Now, these profiles are faster, better and less expensive.  Since that post in 2010 we have invested in a state-of-the-art Barbieri LFP spectrophotometer, which makes it possible to take transmissive measurements using our standard target. 

The word "transmissive" means we are capturing the measurements of the color as it passes through the clear or semi-opaque material.  The effect of a light source transmitting through the semi-clear media and through the ink can best be captured using a spectrophotometer that is specially made for this purpose.  You might use transmissive profiles if you are producing images intended to be back-lit in light boxes or other such displays.

Before, we would have to charge $150 per profile for RGB Transmissive profiles because of the great deal of handling involved in making these measurements using the DTP-41T.  Now, we use the same target we use for the ColorValet Pro service.  This means that ColorValet Pro customers can now get transmissive profiles for only $49 more per profile.  And for our regular ColorValet customers, we have been able to lower our price for standalone RGB transmissive profiles to $99.00.    (CMYK transmissive profiles are still $150.)

https://www.chromix.com/colorgear/shop/productdetail.cxsa?toolid=50191

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

ColorThink to the rescue!


Tropical fish, or defective profile?


I got a call from a printer today who decided to order a custom profile from us.  He's up against a deadline and the canned profile from the paper manufacturer is giving him a lot of banding.

Always curious about bad profiles I asked him to send it to me so I could take a look.  I ran it through some of the tests we do using ColorThink Pro, including Viewing a Rendered Gamut.  (See the "tropical fish" gamut above.)   CTP showed pretty quickly strange handling of blues, and a section of outer gamut magentas were being mapped to color locations well inside the gamut!

It turns out this profile was made using Monaco Profiler, considered one of the best profiling engines of its time, and not too long ago at that.  It occurred to me that even with a good profiling engine, you never really know what you're getting when you build a profile - unless you have a means of checking it out - seeing its shape, if the measurements match the gamut, if it renders appropriately.

This was a publicly distributed profile, going out to users of this well-known brand of paper. My customer said he was using up more paper trying to deal with his "banding" issues than he used adjusting color. To tell the truth, the profile is not so terribly bad that it produces a lot of bad color. In fact, depending on the content of the image a lot of prints might come out fine. But this customer spent a tremendous amount of time and paper trying to solve this problem while running different calibrations and head alignments with Epson. He had a deadline coming up, was supposed to print 40 x 60 inch inkjet prints, and ended up overnighting a new target to us because he was running out of time.

Some people who have never heard of ColorThink (there are a few) ask me why they should get it. How is it going to improve their color tomorrow? And I don't have a good salesman answer for them.  I say something about how it does not fix things so much as it's a diagnostic tool.  That's about when their eyes glaze over and I can imagine what they're thinking - they don't need another diagnostic tool that gives them cool things to look at but has no practical value.   So this real-world example is just one of many, many examples of the practical value of ColorThink Pro. If this customer had CTP, he would have quickly uncovered the cause of the banding that would have saved them more time and money in just one use than the program cost.  When you've got a problem - that's when you need ColorThink.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Want to learn more about ColorThink?

ColorThink Pro is one of those wide-open tools that are only limited by your imagination. It is popularly known for its 3D Grapher, that lets you visualize the location of colors and profiles.  But when it comes to using the ColorThink Pro Worksheet, lots of people don't know what can be done with it.   I have posted a couple of new videos to our Tips and Tricks playlist on YouTube that can help you get started.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL064AE0D476E8CC58

Using the Worksheet to push numbers through a profile:
https://youtu.be/C5zx0d0A4xc?list=PL064AE0D476E8CC58

Using ColorThink to help in the color matching industries:
https://youtu.be/nVjzOpWlIIg?list=PL064AE0D476E8CC58

Friday, August 11, 2017

Color Management in the Cloud



Steve Upton is interviewed by Cary Sherburne of What They Think on how Maxwell is being used to monitor color within companies and around the world.  He describes how Shutterfly is using the Maxwell solution in photobook printing.

How can you describe all that Maxwell can do in only 3 minutes!?



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Curve4 new features - the video

Steve Upton and Don Hutcheson explained the new features of Curve4 recently in a webinar.  There are so many new tools and modules in this new version of Curve that it really helps to watch the makers explain it all.  

You can watch the YouTube video of the whole presentation here:

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Curve4 full release

CHROMiX & HutchColor announce Curve4 full release, completing expansion of essential G7 tool.

Curve4 full release brings G7 Master verification, industry-standard G7 Calibration, plus the powerful new Blend toolset together in one place.

Integrated Measurement - responding to the number one user request, Curve4 now drives the best instruments including X-Rite's i1Pro, iO, iSis, Barbieri's Spectro LFP, Konica Minolta's new FD-9 and Techkon's SpectroDens (Mac-only initially). X-Rite eXact support will follow soon.

Verify Tool (released Sep. 2016) has a unique visual interface aimed at print buyers and print professionals alike. It quickly summarizes a printing system's compliance to the newest G7 Master Pass/Fail Requirements, including Grayscale, Targeted and ColorSpace and SCCA. It also provides Pass/Fail testing of production proofs using standard ISO 12647-7 control strips and exports measured data for G7 Master submission. All current ISO 15339 CRPCs are included along with Idealliance's new XCMYK characterization data, and Curve4 also loads custom color aims.

"Verify Tool is a great leave-behind when G7 implementers are gone." explained Steve Upton, President of CHROMiX, "It's easy for customers to perform quick verifications with references set up beforehand by their G7 Expert."

Calibrate Tool (released today) is the upgrade of the industry's de facto G7 calibration tool, Curve3. New Ink Restriction and predictive color analysis provide pre-calibration that's superior to most RIPs' onboard functions - especially for dye sub and other challenging large format inkjet work.

"The new Ink Restrictions mode is a huge asset.", says Scott Martin of Onsight, an active beta tester, "Not only can it be used to determine the optimal ink restrictions for maximum saturation, but it can also be used to determine a neutral 100% CMY patch"

Experienced G7 implementers will love Curve4's streamlined features including "miniP2P" targets, which are much smaller for fast scanning and fit on smaller printing systems. P2Pless calibration operates with non-P2P targets like the IT8.7/4, and tiny ΔreCal targets can fine-tune an existing calibration with only a handful of patches that easily fit on a live job.

"Two of the biggest requests from Curve3 users was faster operation and the ability to recalibrate a press without printing a whole P2P target" said HutchColor's Don Hutcheson, creator of G7 and co-author of the G7 Master specification. "Curve4 fulfills that promise."

In addition to G7 calibration, Curve4 calibrates Spot Color printing by the new SCTV method from ISO 20654 and by the TVI method to ISO-standard or custom TVI curves - including ISO 2013 curves.

"For packaging, the ability to calibrate to the new SCTV standard, combined with its other innovations, puts Curve4 ahead of the industry!  SCTV is going to simplify and improve the way we print spot color inks, whether for a brand color or 7-color extended gamut printing." said Steve Smiley of SmileyColor & Associates - recently inducted into the FTA Flexo Hall of Fame. "With built-in measuring, fast G7 Master verification, support for CxF and SCTV and all the other new features, I am just overjoyed with Curve4."

Both the Verify and Calibrate tools have greatly-improved full page reports for printing or PDF export.

Blend Tool (released today) is a new multi-function toolset for modifying and enhancing measured data. It's a great place for measuring multiple press targets and then averaging and smoothing them together, tuning their white and black points and exporting to a variety of file formats. Black point adaptation improves measurements for profiles of uncoated or matte stock, correcting proof-to-press mismatches that have existed for years. Targets can also be merged to create different patch sets or have smaller subsets extracted. It even recreates missing patches, for example creating a P2P target from an IT8.

All tools import CMYK ICC profiles as source data and will directly download multiple production measurements from Maxwell, CHROMiX's online color monitoring service. Blended measurements can be exported or uploaded directly to Maxwell for use as custom color aims.

Curve4 manages all files with an easy work list to the left of each tool. Moving between files is fast and they can be organized into client or project folders. CxF and CGATS format measurement files are supported for importing or exporting color data.

Curve4 is available in three license levels: Verify, Calibrate and Complete.

Curve4 Verify is priced at $399, Calibrate is $1,599 and Complete is $2,999 with upgrades available to each level. A Demo mode is available in the free download.

Calibrate Tool with Ink Restriction and miniP2P is enabled by the Calibrate license. VPR, P2Pless, and ΔreCal require the Complete license. Blend tool requires the Complete-level license

Webinar:
Don Hutcheson of HutchColor and Steve Upton of CHROMiX will provide a full overview and demonstrate the new functionalities of Curve4 on May 31st, 2017 at 1:00 pm Pacific US. Attendees can register for the webinar simply by emailing <C4webinar(at)chromix.com>

Availability:
All Curve4 tools are available immediately. Upgrades are available for previous Curve owners.
Please go to http://www.chromix.com/curve4 for more information.