What Is ZePrA?
ZePrA is a hot folder-based color server for optimizing TIFF/JPEG/PSD/PSB image files and PDF data with DeviceLink and ICC device profiles.
ZePrA’s primary application is the automatic color conversion of CMYK printing data, installation in media-neutral workflows with RGB data, and Multicolor processing.
The navigation panel of ZePrA 5 allows quick access to all main workflow functions. It is controlled by the Home button located on the left hand side of the application window.
Click to download a pdf version of the Quick Start Guide
Main Setup and Overview
- macOS® or macOS® Server Version 10.9 and higher
- Microsoft® Windows® 10, Home or Pro
- Microsoft® Windows® 8, Home or Pro
- Microsoft® Windows® 7, Home, Pro, Ultimate or Business
- Microsoft® Windows® XP SP3, Home or Pro
- Microsoft® Windows® Server 2016
- Microsoft® Windows® Server 2012
- Microsoft® Windows® Server 2012 R2
- Microsoft® Windows® Server 2008
- Microsoft® Windows® Server 2008 R2
- Microsoft® Windows® Server 2003, Standard or Enterprise
- Minimum Dual Core Processor (Quad Core or more recommended)
- Minimum 2 GB RAM (4 GB or more recommended)
- Minimum 1024 × 768 resolution (1280 × 1024 or higher recommended)
- macOS: CoPrA, ColorAnt and ZePrA are running in 64 Bit mode, with Measure Tool running in 32 Bit mode
- Windows: ZePrA is running in 64 Bit mode, CoPrA, ColorAnt and Measure Tool are running in 32 Bit mode
- CoPrA needs very little RAM for profile calculations
Installers for the respective platform install the application by default either in the folder Applications (macOS) or Programs (Windows). Begin installation by double clicking on the installation package.
After accepting the Software License Agreement, select the destination volume and choose between a Standard Installation or a Custom Installation. Standard Installation installs all components (e.g. the Measure Tool in CoPrA or the DLS-Manager as described below).
ColorAnt: The integration of ColorAnt (or ColorAnt’s Measure Tool with CoPrA Basic) allows to measure test charts for profile creation from within CoPrA.
DLS-Manager: Allows installation of DeviceLink Sets. DeviceLink sets are standard DeviceLinks that will perform a variety of standard color management tasks. A complete list of sets and profiles can be found in the online help.
- CoPrA software
- Additional software: Profile Manager (integrated into CoPrA) and ColorAnt or ColorAnt’s Measure Tool
- ColorAnt M is included in CoPrA M to XL.
- CoPrA XXL includes ColorAnt L
- CoPrA Basic includes ColorAnt’s Measure Tool.
- USB stick (dongle) or computer based license
- Editable test charts to use with the DeviceLink tool Editing (in the folder EditTargets after installation)
- Test charts and reference files including Multicolor charts for creating printer profiles (in the folder Testcharts after installation)
- Printed Quick Start Guide
- Access to Online Help
The folder EditTargets can be found under:
Windows: C:\Program Files (x86)\CoPrA5\EditTargets
The folders Testcharts can be found under:
Windows: C:\Program Files (x86)\CoPrA5\Testcharts
These folders can also be accessed by using the entries Open EditTargets folder and Open Testchart folder in the menu Tools.
The context sensitive Online Help opens up in a web browser after clicking the question mark icon of the respective program window, the F1 key or using the Help menu entry Online Help. An active internet connection is required.
Installing a Permanent License
A permanent license will be provided by your dealer after purchasing the application. Permanent licenses are available as computer-based or dongle licenses.
Computer-based licenses are always tied to the computer on which the software (CoPrA, ZePrA or ColorAnt) is installed. This is useful for temporary test purposes. Computer-based licenses are also required if the computer lacks an USB port or space for an USB dongle, i.e. a rack server.
USB dongle licenses are serialized to the dongle. The USB dongle communicates with the appropriate software license and enables the software to be used on different computers. To assign the license to the USB dongle, it must be connected to the computer before starting the software.
After purchasing the software, a permanent license file (*.lic) will be sent via email.
Activating a License
Load the license file in the tab License details under Registration to activate the application.
After installing the permanent license file, the licensed modules are displayed under License details.
Using One License File on Multi-User Systems
Copy the license files of ColorLogic applications into the following folder:
- Create the folder if it does not exist.
- Check the folder permissions.
- When the application is launched, it will check the specified folder by default.
Copy the license files of ColorLogic applications into the following folder: C:\Users\Public\Documents\ColorLogic\LicenseInstall.
- Create the folder if it does not exist.
- Check the folder permission.
- When the application is launched, it will check the specified folder by default.
License status: The expiry date for time limited versions of the software (for example, NFR or demo licenses) is shown at the bottom right of the software window. No expiry date is displayed for full versions.
Available Features: Shows the activated modules and add-ons.
Complete instructions on how to download and install ColorLogic applications and how to request and activate a demo license can be found here.
Workflow creation using Auto Setup
ZePrA has six standard auto setup configurations based on the most common color management tasks in print production. To create a queue and the associated configuration for processing data in just a few steps, simply follow these brief instructions.
Sharing Settings With CoPrA and ZePrA
With ZePrA 6 and CoPrA 4 (CoPrA SP is included with ZePrA 6 L packages and above) is the ability to share DeviceLink settings by simply clicking on the box Share with ZePrA within CoPrA
Note: This function is only available if BOTH ZePrA 6 and CoPrA 4 are installed on the same system.
Additional details about sharing between CoPrA and ZePrA are available in the Online Help documentation by clicking on the blue “?” buttons.
Step 1: Selecting a Setup Mode
Start ZePrA and click on the Home button on the left in the main window. Click on the Auto Setup option in the Navigation Panel.
Use the Auto Setup wizard to create a new configuration and/or a queue for a specific task. Files that can be processed include: TIFF, JPEG, PSD or PSB image files, as well as PDF files.
Normalize and convert colors to new output condition
Data is first converted to the document color space or output intent (normalized), so that files have a common color space. The colors of the normalized data are subsequently converted to the required target color space using a DeviceLink profile or select Use SmartLink option to calculate ICC profiles selected as the Document Color Space and Target Color Space (requires SmartLink license).
Normalize color to Document color space or output intent
Data is converted to the document color space or output intent (normalized), so that files have a common color space. After conversion, the normalized file consists of one color space and any spot colors.
For example, when PDF objects are in the RGB color space, the embedded profile converts them to the document color space via the rendering intent defined in the PDF.
Within a Save inks workflow, data is first normalized to the document color space and then optimized using ink application of the data with the selected SaveInk profile, either by using an existing DeviceLink profile or by choosing one of three ink saving options via the SmartLink function.
Optimize Total Area Coverage
Using an Optimize Total Area Coverage workflow, data is uniformly converted to the document color space (normalized) and subsequently optimized using a specified TAC reduction profile or the total amount of color selected under Desired TAC if Use SmartLink is selected.
Direct Color Conversion to New Output Condition
PDF files are directly color converted to the required output condition (target profile), without prior normalization to the document color space. This setup mode is particularly useful for data prepared in media-neutral fashion, e.g. RGB image data with ICC profiles. This mode permits the best exploitation of the gamut of the target color space.
Apply Gradation Curves Only
Adjust data without CtP compensation curves in the RIP, by using ZePrA to correct the gradation of data on-the-fly.
Step 2: Choosing the conversion
Depending on the setup mode selected, there are several choices for conversion.
Document Color Space
To ensure consistent conversion of data to the document color space or output intent, select the required document color space here and also the output intent if necessary.
Use Existing DeviceLink Profile
When a suitable DeviceLink profile for a workflow is present, this DeviceLink profile configures the source profile of the file, if files without embedded profiles are processed. The target profile is set by the DeviceLink profile.
By purchasing a ZePrA SmartLink module license generating high quality DeviceLinks on-the-fly is available. This avoids issues with normal ICC conversion and optimizes the quality of color conversions.
Without a SmartLink license, CMYK objects with embedded profiles are treated like objects without profiles (i.e. like DeviceCMYK) and converted using the selected DeviceLink profile.
Note: When neither the SmartLink function via Auto Setup or via the Configurations panel is available, normal ICC conversion is performed for objects with an embedded ICC profile.
Setting up SmartLink
Normalize and convert colors to new output condition – the file is first converted to the document color space that has been preset and/or, if available, to the output intent. This is followed by an additional conversion from the Document Color Space and/or the output intent to the Target Color Space via DeviceLink generation with SmartLink.
Direct color conversion to new output condition – performs direct color conversion via SmartLink from the Document Color Space and/or the output intent and of the objects under Images and Vectors, to the Target Color Space with DeviceLinks. Images and vectors with embedded profiles are converted directly to the target profile and not normalized to the document color space prior to conversion.
Save inks and Optimize Total Area Coverage – preserve the appearance and gamut and apply individual ink saving or limit the total area coverage. The data is normalized to the document color space prior to applying SmartLink.
The SmartLink methods in ZePrA 5 take into account the various requirements of different printing conditions. Printed colors are correctly matched and optimally separated for the required printing process.
Traditional Print – Classic: Offset, gravure or newspaper printing.
Traditional Print – Automatic: Conventional printing, but the color and paper of the target color space deviate significantly from the output intent or the document color space.
Large Format Print – Inkjet:
Inkjet printing including large format
Digital Print – Toner: Digital production copiers, laser printers.
Choose a Rendering Intent to be used for calculation (Fig 3.3). In addition to the four standard ICC Rendering Intents, ZePrA offers its own conversion methods:
Standard Compression: to convert between gamuts of different size.
Blackpoint Compensation: for gamuts of similar size. Similar to Relative Colorimetric conversion with black point compensation, but with better definition in highly saturated colors and hue accurate color rendering. Not suitable for small gamuts.
Absolute Compression: if the gamuts are of similar size, but the paper color differs significantly.
Dynamic Compression: if the input and target profiles have a very large dynamic and contrast range, e.g. for RGB-to-CMYK conversions.
Minimal Compression: allows an absolute colorimetric reproduction and compensates only close to the black and white point.
Creating a Gradation workflow
By using gradation curves, printing characteristics can be directly incorporated converted file. Simplify compliance with printing standards and compensate for unknown variants in the printing process resulting from varying parameters, e.g. substrate and ink. After adjusting the data, the only requirement is linear conversion in the RIP software of the output device.
The best practice is to apply a pure gradation correction to ready-to-print PDF/X-1a files, which consist solely of CMYK and may include spot colors.
Options for Creating Gradation Workflow
Use curves from external file
Load an external file with the gradation curves for process colors and/or spot colors.
Start with linear external file
Create an initial configuration with linear curves. Add production data later.
Choose curves from default options in ZePrA or curves that were created using Curve Management.
Normalize Output Data
The Auto Setup for Gradation workflow allows the user to choose whether or not to normalize the PDF file.
If PDF/X-3 or X-4 files contain RGB or CMYK objects with embedded profiles, use ZePrA to normalize the file.
Choose an ICC profile to be taken as the Document Color Space if the output intent in a PDF file is missing.
ColorLogic recommends activating the Prefer Output Intent check box, so that an existing output intent always has priority over the set Document Color Space and is preserved.
Step 3: Choosing and saving queue names
Define a Queue Name that corresponds to the name of the configuration.
Below the Queue Name, define the Base Folder in which the queues are to be created.
To create queues (hot folders) in the Base Folder, select the Create Queue option.
The configuration of the workflow is now completeand ready for production
Main Setup and Queues
The Overview button is an overview of the queues and the associated configurations in ZePrA. The queues (hot folders) created using the Auto Setup wizard typically have the same name as the associated configurations (these can also be user defined).
ZePrA configurations are associated with queues, however, the queue and its configuration are managed separately. Configurations can be assigned to Queues. Refer to ZePrA’s online help for details.
To quickly access a queues folders and convert data, right-click a queue in the list and open the associated context menu.
The contextual menu controls the Start or Stop of each queue individually and open the hot folder associated with the queue.
The priority order for queues can be controlled (Fig 4.1) for file processing. Change the Priority of any queue by right-clicking on the queue to change the default setting Normal to High or Low.
Queue search: Enter a search term in the window at the bottom left of the Queue window to display specific queues.
Processed Jobs search: Jobs that have been processed may be searched by (Fig 4.3) name and/or shown by specific range (day, week, month or custom range)
The Start and Stop buttons at the bottom right of the window start or stop directly.
Queues that are inactive or invalid are highlighted in orange. Invalid queues may occur as a result of incomplete entries, or missing profiles.
The job list at the bottom of the window show which jobs are still pending and which have been processed.
If errors occur when processing files, or if ZePrA detects non-supported file type, they are highlighted in red in the Processed Jobs list. If warnings occur during processing, file processing continues and the job is highlighted in yellow and labeled with a warning. Warnings show what action to take.
Both the Pending jobs and Processed Jobs lists can be sorted by ID, File Name, Queue and Status. Clicking on the ID column places the most recently processed job at the top, while clicking on the Status column places the files with errors and/or warnings at the top.
Right-clicking on jobs under Processed Jobs opens a contextual menu where the following options can be chosen:
View soft proof
Show Job Properties
View properties the selected job
Save Job Properties
Save job properties as a pdf, html, txt or xml
Deletes selected job
The Configurations button creates and manages all the settings related to the handling of color and PDF specific parameters. The settings in Define Configuration include color conversion using ICC device profiles or ICC DeviceLink profiles, definition of workflows for mixed PDF files (CMYK, RGB, Gray, spot colors in a single document) and individual application of gradations and spot colors. All of these are available with different presets and optimization options, resulting in a wide variety of possible combinations.
The upper area of the window allows selection existing configurations, create new configurations, or renaming, deleting and saving configurations.
To duplicate and rename an existing configuration click on New. Enter the name, make any necessary changes to the settings and click on Save.
Queues are displayed in the Overview dialog according to the chronological order in which they were created, with the oldest at the top and the most recent at the bottom. However, changing the order of the queues can be accomplished by simply dragging the queue to a new position within the window or resorting (by ID, Name, etc.) the window by clicking at the top of the column.
All basic functions of queue folder management are available for modification; Input, Output, Originals, Warning, Error, Temporary Folder (Fig. 4.4) and the Define Queues dialog.
The Queue customization options include: appending the file name with a custom job id, assigning a new configuration for the Queue, post processing and generating reports to a specific folder.
The order in which queues are prioritized (higher or lower priority) for file processing can be controlled. In the Queues dialog, use the Priority option to change the default setting Normal to High or Low. Change the priority for a queue by right-clicking on it in the Overview dialog. Any setting other than Normal is shown in the Overview.
The Start and Stop buttons at the bottom right in the window enable all queues to be started or stopped directly. Queues may also be started and stopped via the contextual menu.
Step 4: Converting jobs via queues
The Jobs and Queues Overview window (Navigation Panel: Overview) gives an overview of the queues and the associated configurations in ZePrA.
To quickly access queue folders and convert data, right-click on a queue from the list and open the contextual menu. Select Open folder in the contextual menu (Fig. 4.1) to open the associated input folder in the file system, or simply Drag & Drop the file (TIFF/JPEG/PSD/PSB image file, PDF file) onto the required configuration in the Queues overview.
When dropping a PDF file to the Input folder of the created queue, ZePrA automatically converts it in accordance with the color management specifications and saves the converted file in the Output folder. The original file is moved to the Done folder. Jobs/files that have issues are saved in the Error folder.
When defined jobs with warnings are placed in the Warnings folder. Processed Jobs appear in the Processed Jobs list.
Incorrectly processed files and file types that are not supported are highlighted in red in the Processed Jobs list. The Pending jobs and Processed Jobs lists can each be sorted by ID, Name, Queue and Status (click on the ID or Status column).
Right-clicking on a processed job opens the context-sensitive menu. Generate a soft proof (Screen Preview), open a Job Report (Show Job Properties) save (Save Job Properties), or Delete a job.
The converted file is saved in the Output folder of the queue. The file name is extended by adding the Job ID and the name of the configuration.
To define queues individually, switch to the Queues button via the Navigation Panel.
Click on the New button to manually define a new queue, including the queue name and the sub-folders (Fig 4.5).
To configure the new queue, first enter a Name for the queue, define the Base Folder where the sub-folders are created, and then use the drop down list to select the Configuration to be used for converting the data.
The files to be converted are later put into the Input folder of the new queue. After conversion, the original files can be found in the Done folder. The converted files are saved in the Output folder. Unprocessed and also incorrectly converted files, are put into the Error folder.
Files marked with a yellow warning message in the Overview dialog are processed but may have an issue. By default those files are stored in the Output folder. For easier identification define a separate Warnings folder for files that generated an issue. Create a Temporary Folder if the output folder is located on another system (server) using a local temporary folder will speed up processing of files.
Target File Name: Append Text, adds a suffix to the original file name. The Append Job ID option generates a unique, consecutive number and appends it to the original file name.
The Copy File Types function helps to ensure that control files (JDF, XML, TXT or similar file types) that belong to a file are kept with your original files when processed.
The Post Process function can be applied to a queue to select post processing of each file following color conversion in ZePrA. The dialog allows to select an available script or a batch file or a command line process can be entered manually.
Spot Color Report
The Spot Color Report feature checks spot color conversion accuracy before printing. Check specific PDF files with spot colors or how multiple Pantone® or other spot colors could be processed through ZePrA.
To create a report, click on the icon on the Navigation Panel. The dialog requires a few selections to proceed
Using Check Spot Colors, select File or Library. File loads a PDF file with spot colors included to be processed with the selected configurations. Library allows the selection of one of the spot color libraries within ZePrA. Only the Configurations with enabled spot color conversion are shown in the Configurations list.
Both options report how spot color conversion result will be in terms of deltaE00, deltaE76 and the process color breakdowns. Sort Order sorts the list by a variety of methods. When sorting by Delta E, spot colors with the lowest dE will be at the top and the largest dE on the bottom.
Note: Report generation will use all of the spot color settings that have been selected in the configuration(s), including manual settings and warnings. Colors with warnings will be shown with red deltaE values.
After the settings have been defined, a report file can be generated with the help of the Save button and/or it can generate a Preview first.
Generate a SaveInk report by either choosing the corresponding entry in the Tools menu or by clicking on the icon via the Navigation Panel. The report generates a detailed overview of all the SaveInk queues set up and processed jobs.
Select the tool and specify a file name and a file format. The report may be created as a PDF, TXT, HTML or XML file. PDF is selected by default.
The Summary section lists the overall ink savings across all queues. Ink Saving per Queue and Job shows details on the savings per queue and the savings per job.
Note: Calculation percentages in the SaveInk report only reference the CMYK components, transparency effects and overprinting elements and spot colors are not taken into account.
Extract ICC Profile
The Extract ICC Profile tool extracts the embedded profile from images and the output intent from PDF/X files. The extracted ICC profile can then be stored in a predefined location.
Example: The embedded profile is not available as a ICC profile and creation of a DeviceLink profile or a SaveInk profile is necessary for CoPrA.
Under Tools, open Extract ICC Profile from the menu or simply click on the icon in the Navigation Panel.
Use Select to choose the appropriate file (PDF, JPEG, TIFF PSB or PSD files) or drag and drop the file that contains the embedded profile onto the dialog.
The embedded ICC profile or the output intent in a PDF/X file is displayed and can be saved via the Extract button
Spot Color Iteration
Deviations from the theoretically achievable minimal color differences are caused by printing, material and color variations during production. Deviations can be minimized in ZePrA 6 using Spot Color Iteration. This feature is primarily for particularly high demands of accuracy and reproduction of spot colors, for example for digital printing or proofing, which require the conversion of spot colors to process colors.
The Spot Color Iteration tool provides a step-by-step guide starting from the selection of the spot colors being iterated, preparation and printing of measurement of test charts and finally, optimization of the conversion, including the creation of reports.
Spot color Libraries
The Spot Color module can be purchased as an add-on to ZePrA or is included in the XXL package. The added functionality is high-quality spot color conversion to target color space. This allows optimized conversion of spot colors in PDF files to CMYK or Multicolor. If the ZePrA XXL package has been licensed, converting to Multicolor spaces, including spot colors to Multicolor is possible.
Adding Measurement Data to Spot Colors
Click on Spot Color Libraries button. Select a spot color library and use a spectrophotometer to measure from color swatch books, sample prints, corporate identity colors, or manually. It is also possible to import existing color tables with spot colors in the following formats: Named Color ICC profiles, Photoshop ACO color tables, text files in CGATS format or CXF files. Color values can be in either Lab or spectral form. Spectral measurement data are preferable and produce the best internal calculation and results.
ZePrA supports integration with PantoneLIVE®. Pantone Guides, paper-dependent, or ‘Dependent Standards’, as well as for specific color libraries of brand owners can be accessed in ZePrA.
Login and access the libraries to be utilized in the Spot Color Module. A PantoneLIVE® Production License is required. For more information on PantoneLIVE® integration please consult the online help. For details on PantoneLIVE®, consult the PantoneLIVE® documentation.
The application of gradation curves completes the process of preparing data for printing. Shortly before going to press, almost every printing process calls for a tone value correction (TVI) that is stored in the RIP of the platesetter. This tone value correction primarily serves to ensure compliance with printing standards and to compensate for variables in the printing process, including several printing parameters, which can include substrates and inks. These TVI corrections can now also be directly included in the data to be converted. When subsequently setting the data, all that is necessary is linear implementation in the RIP software of the imaging device.
Quick Start Procedure
Under Curve Management, create new curves using the New button and duplicate or delete existing ones.
A new curve can be edited under Curve Design, either by clicking on (Fig. 6.1) the curve shown and moving it with the cursor or by entering values.
To enter percentage values in the Input and Output fields, first set an anchor point in the curve by clicking in the curve.
The values entered influence the selected anchor point. With the X button, delete a selected anchor point.
Profile Assignments is an option in conjunction with SmartLink that enables the use of existing, already tested or special DeviceLink profiles that are based on the ICC standard for converting your data. The user needs to determine whether ZePrA should use existing DeviceLink profiles or new DeviceLinks calculated on-the-fly. It is also possible and to what extent dynamic DeviceLink profiles are used for data conversion. Please consult the ZePrA Online Help for detailed information of these options.
ZePrA settings can be made utilized via a CLI (Command Line Interface). This feature available in ZePrA Basic and above allows ZePrA integration to outside workflow software such as Enfocus Switch.