ColorAnt | Quick Start Guide

Quick Start Guide

Get started with ColorAnt

What Is ColorAnt?

ColorAnt is an easy-to-use tool that corrects and optimizes measurement data. The features include the ability to edit primary colors, substrate color and recalculate measurement data with the use of full sized test charts.

Click to download a PDF version of the Quick Start Guide

Main Window

 

View 

Display of measurement data in various views

Compare 

Comparison of different data sets

Automatic Correction

Auto 

Correct measurement data automatically

Data Import/Export

Custom Chart 

Create custom reference files for test chart creation

Export Chart 

Create printable test charts from custom reference files

Measure 

Measuring printed test charts with the Measure Tool

Report 

Detailed analysis of measurement data as PDF or XML file

Embed CxF/X-4

Embed spectral color information in PDF files

Editing

Redundancies 

Remove redundant color patches

Correction 

Correct erroneous and inconsistent measurement data

Smoothing 

Smooth and correct measurement data

White/Black Correction 

Adjust the black and white of measurement files

Brightener

Remove optical brightener from measurement data

Tone Value 

Adjust dot gain curves

Rescale 

Scale measurement files to create required test chart layouts

Edit Primaries 

Add, remove or exchange primaries and paper white in existing measurement data

Edit Color 

Optimize color patches and (spot) colors

Merging and Conversion

Averaging 

Average measured values from multiple similar test chart prints

Link 

Combine measurements from several test charts into a new measurement file

ICC Transformation 

Comparisons and profile tests with printer and DeviceLink profiles

CIE Conversion 

Change the observer and illumination

Working With ColorAnt

ColorAnt’s main window is divided into 3 sections. All tools are located and grouped by function on the left side, measurement data is shown in the Data Set section on the right hand side upper window of the application window. Measurement data can be loaded or saved via the File menu or by dragging & dropping data to the Data Sets window. Tools applied to the measurement data show are shown in the lower right hand side History window. Clicking on an action item in the History window (above or below the current status) gives the user control over individual corrective tasks.

When viewing measurement data, the View Options in the 2D and tabs have been updated with additional color channel check boxes for the primary colors available in the loaded data set. The color channel check boxes can be combined with the above color filters so that only the Multicolor Primaries or Secondaries can be shown. This greatly facilitates finding and viewing patches. The removed viewing options, Duplex and Triplex known from previous versions of ColorAnt, can be compensated by selecting appropriate color channels individually (e.g. Cyan + Black shows duplex combinations and Cyan + Magenta + Black shows triplex combinations). Both options were removed to gain space in the user interface. In addition, the filters work in combination with the color channels. If, for example, the check box Secondaries is enabled, the check boxes Primaries and White are automatically enabled. They can be disabled if only two color combinations (Secondaries) are to be highlighted. The TVI tab allows users to switch between the typical density based dot gain curves according to Murray Davies or the modern colorimetric dot gain curves according to ISO 20654 (SCTV). Linear dot gain curves according to ISO 20654 would show a straight horizontal line.

Data Sets and History

The Data Sets section of the main window will display pertinent information about the measurement data including: number of color patches, color model (Lab, CMYK, RGB, Multicolor), measurement value type (colorimetric = Lab – spectral = Remission)

History

The tools applied to the measurement data show in the lower right hand side History window. Clicking on an action item in the History window (either above or below the current status) gives the user control over individual corrective tasks.

Save History Log and Averaging Report

Save History Log is available at the bottom right of the main dialog. This saves all modifications applied to all files in a detailed PDF document. When double-clicking an single entry in the History section, a dialog pops up showing the settings applied to the data at a specific step. The single step can be saved with Save Log.

Averaging Features

The averaging log contains detailed reporting with sample colors (similar to the Report feature) comparing the averaged data and providing process control statistics. Standard deviations (sigma) for Density, dE and dH/dL. This allows users to easily see colors with large deviations which would not be obvious by visually verifying values.

Data Sets and History

Select the data set (or sets) to process. The Data Sets section of the main window displays pertinent information about the measurement data including: number of color patches, color model (Lab, CMYK, RGB, Multicolor), measurement value type (colorimetric = Lab – spectral = Remission).

History

The tools applied to the measurement data are shown in the lower right side History window. Clicking on an action item in the History window (either above or below the current state) gives the user control over individual corrective tasks.

View and Comparing Tools

Advanced viewing options for ColorAnt’s tools located at the bottom of the main window that can be enabled for both viewing measurement data (View) and comparing pre and post comparison of measurement data (Compare).Absolute or Relative Density can be set in ColorAnt’s Preferences

2D highlight with Color Filter

The Color Filter highlights selected colors in 2D and 3D views. View by full primaries, limits, selected channels, primaries, secondaries, paper white or black. Other custom settings are also available.

3D viewing options

The Color Filter highlights selected colors in 3D views. Zoom and rotate the model by using the sliders. Click the Compare ICC profile to compare the two in the window. The same filter options are available in the 2D view.

TVI View options

Analyze tone value variation curves (TVI). The tone value curve works in conjunction with the curve view or any other correction which will effect the TVI. Choose either Murray-Davies or ISO 20654 (SCTV) methods

Spiderweb

The top view of the color space in a a*-b* diagram. The measured or optimized color patches are arranged in a spider web configuration. Verify changes in the View dialog by moving forward or backward in the History list.

Curves

View the linearity curves from white to all 100% primary colors, (including multicolor data). Visualizes data and assists with analyzing non-smooth gradation curves. Choose from ColorLogic Default, ISO 20654 (SCTV) or Tone Value.

System Requirements

macOS®

  • macOS® or macOS® Server Version 10.9 and higher

Windows®

  • 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

Recommended Hardware

  • 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)

Specifics

  • 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
Installation

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.


Product Package

What’s included:

  • 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

Note:

The folder EditTargets can be found under:
Windows: C:\Program Files (x86)\CoPrA5\EditTargets
macOS: Applications\CoPrA5\EditTargets

The folders Testcharts can be found under:
Windows: C:\Program Files (x86)\CoPrA5\Testcharts
macOS: Applications\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.

Activation

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

macOS

Copy the license files of ColorLogic applications into the following folder:

/Users/Shared/ColorLogic/LicenseInstall.

  • 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.

Windows

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 Details

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.

Working With ColorAnt

Working with ColorAnt

ColorAnt’s main window is divided into 3 sections. All tools are located and grouped by (Fig 3.1) function on the left side, measurement data is shown in the Data Set section on the right-hand side upper window of the application window. Measurement data can be loaded or saved via the File menu or by dragging & dropping data to the Data Sets window. Tools applied to the measurement data show are shown in the lower right-hand side History window. Clicking on an action item in the History window (above or below the current status) gives the user control over individual corrective tasks.

Automatically correct and smooth measurement files

Load the measurement data file. Click on the Auto button and on the OK button. Each tool that is applied is displayed in the History section. ColorLogic recommends completing this process running by a Report for detailed results and further recommendations for your measurement data.

Recommended manual working method

Opening or Importing data

Measurement data can be loaded or imported through a variety of ways in ColorAnt. Simply open the data file (File>Open) or Drag and Drop to the Data Sets window. Predefined data sets and recently opened files are also available via the File menu.

Acquiring data by measuring

Measurement data is acquired with the Measure tool and transferred to ColorAnt. Measurement data files Measure tool are stored in the Users/Documents/ColorAnt/MeasurementData folder.

The Data Sets section of the main window will display pertinent information about the measurement data including number of color patches, color model (Lab, CMYK, RGB, Multicolor), measurement value type (colorimetric = Lab – spectral = Remission).

Tools located on the left will be highlighted when applicable to the measurement data, tools not accessible are grayed out. Access the tools by first highlighting the data (or multiple files e.g. linking or merging several data sets together) and right click. When multiple data sets are present and no set is selected, corrections are applied to all measurement files.

To add reference files for additional or custom profiling test charts and color wedges accessible using the File/Open predefined or the Rescale tool – add the CGATS 1.7 compatible TXT file to Users/Documents/ColorAnt/Wedges folder.

Viewing and Comparing Data

Advanced viewing options for ColorAnt include tools located at the bottom of the main window that can be enabled for both viewing measurement data (View) and comparing the original and post comparison of measurement data (Compare).

The View window includes options for 2D, 3D, Spider Web and TVI curve options to facilitate comprehensive measurement data analysis.

Color Comparison allows the user to view measurement data (Fig 3.2) before and after optimization. The comparison window also allows the user to view the actions taken to achieve the optimized data (e.g. File Name Correction, File Name Smoothing). The Mark from and Mark to slider displays various levels of DeltaE deviations.

Saving or exporting measurement data

Once a tool or tools have been used to correct or optimize data, the name of the data will be appended with the tool(s) that have been applied (e.g Data_smoothed_corrected).

Save the optimized measurement data by going to File and choose Save as. Additional export options allowing conversion of spectral data to Lab or Density only. Other save as options include CGATS compatible TXT file, CGATS XML, Named Color ICC profile, CxF compatible CXF file format, Photoshop ACO, color table, Adobe ASE or as GMG CSC file.

Generate Reports

ColorLogic recommends using the Report tool both on the initial data import and after the measurement data has been optimized.

Data Import and Export

Custom Chart

The Custom Chart tool is designed for creating reference files for test chart generation. To define a custom test chart for profiling, a reference file containing the device data for the color space is required. Important: Creating multicolor charts requires a ColorAnt L license.

Depending on the selection of color space, the Custom Chart dialog provides several options:

Gray, RGB and CMYK: Define the Number of Patches and click OK. Select the desired Color Space from the chooser.

CMYK: Choose the linearisation from another measurement data set or from another print run as a starting point. To use the linearisation feature, load the appropriate measurement file in ColorAnt before opening the Custom Chart tool and select the file in the Color Space chooser.

Multicolor Charts

Modifying settings:

Select the desired Color Space, for example to create a 6 color profiling chart, ColorAnt will display a predefined color order, in this example: CMYK+Pantone Red and Green. The Eyedropper function allows reordering the inks. To exchange the 5 channel which is Red with Green, similar to fig 4.1 click on the Red Eyedropper Icon and from the Colors section select Green by clicking on it.

Mode:

Choose one of the presets based on the purpose of the test chart: Profiling, Flexo profiling, Profile updating, Linearization.

Choosing the number of patches

Choose from any of the four predefined settings, Small, Medium or Large. For a specific number of patches choose Custom and enter a number in the box.

Changing or defining the channel names

To change channel names, click the Pencil icon, e.g., click the green channel and type in the new name as shown in fig 4.2.

Define the channel name of each channel, (including or excluding CMYK) enter the name in the text field or click on the eyedropper icon and select a color from the pop up dialog that matches closest.

Linearization

ColorAnt provides intelligent settings that provides users a starting point for typical use cases such as creating linearization test charts, profiling test charts, special profiling test charts for Flexo printing and updating of profiles. Number of Patches chooses the optimal number of patches for specific profiling situations. More information on this topic can be found in the Online Help.

Note: This option is useful with difficult print processes that are challenging to profile without linearization or having very high dot gain. ColorAnt uses a very smooth linearization to avoid inconsistencies in the curves.

Once the color space, channel names and the Number of Patches are defined, click OK and calculate the reference file. The reference file will appear in the Data Sets section. Save the file if necessary for other chart generation tools. To create a test chart within ColorAnt, select the reference file and click Export Chart.

Export Chart

Export Chart allows creation of test charts as TIFF, PSD or PDF files.

At the top a Preset changing all the settings can be selected, manual presets can be created, saved or deleted. The largest section covers options for Chart Dimensions, Patch Sizes and additional Options. The section on the bottom provides information of how many files will be created with the chosen Preset, settings and buttons to Cancel or create (Start) the test charts. The tool is optimized to work with most of the instruments supported in the Measure Tool. The Custom Chart tool fills the full chart width with patches minus margins for the numbering. Instruments that do not have width limitation (no ruler required) can benefit from this feature.

The Ink Limit option allows the user to take into account special printing processes that can’t handle 400% ink on paper/substrate. Typically each of ColorLogic’s CMYK and multicolor test charts have patches with a maximum of 400% ink. If a 400% ink limit is too high for the press, or the user would like to define another ink limit, the user can enter the desired Ink Limit. The resulting chart will have ink limit integrated. Use the exported reference file for measuring and profiling.

Quick Start Procedure

Step one: Select the reference file that was created with the Custom Chart tool or a reference file from another source.

Step two: Choose either one of the presets, or define a custom size and patch width.

Step three: Define the number of patches to be produced.

Measuring test charts

The ColorAnt Measure tool directly measures test charts for profile creation.

Productivity Feature: When measurement data is loaded into the Data Sets window and Measure is selected, the previous chart and measurement device by default are automatically loaded into the Measure tool.

Quick Start Procedure

To Measure:

Step one: From the ColorAnt Data Import/Export module, click Measure. Step two: Connect to your device, and double click the first patch to begin measuring (may vary by instrument). To select a different chart for measurement, select the Chart from the dialog. For custom charts including ColorLogic’s test charts, click Load and the select the desired chart from the pull down menu.

3. Select the measurement device under Selection and select the measuring mode (M1, M0 or M2 if applicable). or task.

4. Select the method of scanning: by Line by Line, Patches Column by column, Scan Rows or Scan Columns.  5. Begin measuring: As you begin measuring with the options chosen, grayed out patches are replaced by measurement data. Continue measuring until completed.

6. Transmit Data: When measuring is completed, press Transmit to copy the data into ColorAnt.

Report

ColorAnt offers detailed reporting for measurement data analysis and provides the user with corrective recommendations for measurement data. Users can customize the logo and report title. Reports can be generated as pdf files or .xml data.

Features of ColorAnt’s Report tool include Tone Value increase chart and the option of utilizing a layered PDF to view combinations of channels.

ColorAnt will report the presence of optical brightener the deltaE variance and the corrective action needed to improve the measurement data.

Other features in ColorAnt are available via ColorLogic’s Online Help.

Embed CxF/X-4

Embeds CxF/X-4 compliant spectral data into PDF files. Embed CxF/X-4 is only available if the data selected in the Data Sets window contains spectral data that is compliant with the following standards:

CxF/X-4b single patch characterization (full tone only)

CxF/X-4a single background characterization (full tone and gradient on white)

CxF/X-4 full characterization (full tone and gradient on white and black)

Quick Start Procedure

The tool will list all the spot colors in the PDF file vs the names that match the CxF/X-4 data (Fig 4.5). A warning message is displayed when conflicts occur.

When the spot colors match up, press Start.

Editing

Redundancies

Corrects color patches by averaging the redundant patches and replacing with the same value.

Correction

The Correction tool detects faulty measurements or inconsistent measured values and replaces the data with expected measurement values. Use the Protect Lights feature to exempt Flexo data bumps.

Smoothing

Corrects inhomogeneous measurement data and non-smooth curves by interpolating existing smoothed data. The Auto correction uses the maximum slider setting. Use the Protect Lights feature to exempt Flexo data bumps for being unintentionally smoothed.

White/Black Correction

Apply manual corrections to the most white and darkest color patches, typically the paper or other substrates. The White/Black Correction tool is designed to be used only on a single measurement file.

Brightener

Step one: Analysis

Brightener correction analyzes the remission curve of the paper white to ascertain whether the paper contains optical brighteners or blue-colored paper.

Step two: Correction

Correction will be applied if optical brightener has been detected. The correction can be adjusted via a slider control and at 100% setting, a similar result will be achieved as if the paper were measured with a UV cut filter.

Tone Value

The Tone Value tool corrects measurement data to a specific set of curves. Data is corrected with a “what if” the data was printed to (e.g. G7, ISO 20654 SCTV) specific conditions.

The Protect Lights slider can be adjusted to accommodate the highlights of flexo data.

Tone Value Dialog

Three options are available:

Correct according to a given profile:

Specify a profile and measured values are adjusted to achieve the same tone value increase curves as those with the standard profile that was chosen.

Correction according to:

Tone value curves are calculated to match the requirements of G7 Gray Balance, ISO 20654 (SCTV), G7 and ISO 20654 (SCTV) or ISO 20654 (SCTV) multicolor.

Correction according to TVI targets

Manual editing of each channel allows the user to predefine the tone value increases that should be incorporated in the measurement data.

Rescale

ColorAnt can calculate large test charts that can be used for profiling from small chart measurement files. Some printing processes, (e.g. flexo printing on uneven materials) pose challenges to an artifact-free printing ECI2002 test chart. An effective approach to measuring large charts would be to place several small test charts, e.g. ColorLogic Profile Updating strips on one page, measuring the test strips and, averaging them in ColorAnt and then scaling up to a large ECI2002 test chart with the Rescale tool.

Rescale a chart

Edit Primaries

The Edit Primaries tool (Fig 5.3) allows users to add, remove, and exchange primaries or the paper/substrate in an existing measurement data. In typical print production, adding or swapping ink(s) requires the expense of printing a complete, full size test chart. The Edit Primaries tool simply requires the spectral data of the new ink(s) to be added or exchanged. Edit Primaries not only exchanges inks but also recalculates all overprints based on intelligent spectral color models. One of the major features of the Edit Primary tool is the ability to dynamically choose the best patches from the data provided. The more complete the data that is provided to the Edit Primaries tool (spectral data is preferred) the more accurate the results. Items that will improve are: the exchange of gradations of the primary color, overprint information, e.g the primary combined with black. If the data that was chosen contains overprints, such as secondary colors, the Adapt Secondaries feature will take the additional data into account.

Scenarios for potential efficiency gain with the Edit Primaries tool in production :

Modify channel names: Reorder channel names without modifying data

Variance in press condition: The characterization press run is slightly deficient in solid ink density or hue on one or more colors.

Exchange of paper/substrate: The inks are the same but a slightly different paper shall be used.

Exchanging inks in a print packaging production environment:

Create a new profile that swaps in e.g. Blue for a Cyan or a Rhodamine Red for Magenta.

Adjusting the print sequence: Allows improved overprint calculations.

Flexibility for the packaging manufacturer: Create different color variants from a full size 7 color press characterization data set by deleting channels to building new characterization data sets without printing a new test chart. For example, from an original 7C data set (e.g. CMYK+Orange+Green+Violet) build variants for CMYK only, CMY+Violet, CMYK+Orange+Green or other combinations. The production facility would need to ensure the press is stable and depending on the color needs of the job(s), and print select the profile with the least amount of channels.

Increasing CMYK gamut: Adding a 5th, 6th or 7th color to the CMYK printing process.

Using Edit Primaries

ColorLogic’s suggested workflow: Load another data set with the measured new primaries, gradations of the primaries and overprint information.

Select the measurement data of a test chart measurement file for editing and click Edit Primary.

Exchanging a primary: Click on the eyedropper icon of the color to be exchanged. Select the new primary from another data set loaded in ColorAnt. Click on the channel to be imported to the primary. The screenshot shown (Fig 5.4) with a new Cyan ink that is slightly different. Selecting ink from other channels is also possible.

Click OK and the data set will be modified.

Important: Using Lab values will not produce the highest quality results. ColorLogic recommends using spectral data. When a data set is present, enter a new Lab value for the selected color or select another channel from the same measurement data set to change the printing order.

To check the exchange of primaries, use the Compare tool to verify the data.

Exchange paper/substrate

Load the test chart measurement data and load the secondary file containing information of the measured paper white into ColorAnt.

Select the measurement data of a test chart for editing and click Edit Primaries.

Click on the eyedropper icon of the Substrate/White and select the new paper white from another data set loaded in ColorAnt (Fig 5.5) Click on the name of the data set to import the data. The second option is to manually enter the new Lab values in the text field.

Click OK and the data set will be modified.

For large differences in substrates, use the White/Black correction tool.

Adding channels

Load the test chart measurement data and load the secondary information with the measured primaries, gradation and overprint information into ColorAnt.

Select the measurement data of a test chart for editing and click Edit Primaries.

Quick Start Procedure

Step one: Click on Add Channel. A new channel with default gray Lab values and the channel name Auto is added.

Step two: Click on the eyedropper icon of the new channel and select the new primary from another data set loaded in ColorAnt. Click on the channel to import the data.

The screenshot shows an example where a 5th Orange color (Fig 5.6)has been added to an original CMYK data set.

To rename the channel click on the pencil icon and enter the new channel name.

Step three: Click OK to generate the new data set.

To view the new data set, use the View tool and select the tabs 2D, 3D, SpiderWeb, TVI to verify all colors including overprints have been added. Additional edits can be made to the curves using the Tone value tool.

Removing channels

Load and select the measurement data of a test chart and click Edit Primary.

Disable the check boxes in front of the channels that need to be deleted and click OK.

The new data set will be reduced to the channels that were selected.

Color Editor

Used to edit color patches and to process color conversions of spot colors.

Quick Start Procedure

Color Editor allows the user to:

Edit patch names, (Fig 5.7) Lab values or device color values (DCS).

Convert and optimize a complete spot color library to a target profile for RGB, CMYK or Multicolor.

To convert spot colors to a desired target profile, first load the spot colors into the ColorAnt Data Sets section, e.g. a Pantone spot color library (or any supported file format such as CxF), then click on Color Editor. The window contains a table on the left showing all spot colors of the file and the editing options on the right. Select an ICC Profile from the drop down list and a calculation Mode.

Three modes are available:

Precise Match – Proofing

Visual Match – Utilize More Channels

Use the Least Amount of Channels

The preset dE Limit highlights colors that exceed the defined threshold. If a color is selected from the table, the device color values for each channel of the selected profile are shown under Optimize Destination Values. As a default, the device values calculated via the ICC profile are shown without any optimization.
By clicking on dE76 or dE00 the deltaE can be minimized (Fig 5.8) for each color.
Clicking on Automatic applies the selected calculation Mode which typically results in a reduced amount of channels for better print-ability. Users can optimize each individual color and can even enter device values manually.

By clicking on Start, the entire list of colors is generated in the Data Sets section including the calculated and possibly optimized device color values. The values can be saved for further usage in other applications in any format supported by ColorAnt (CGATS TXT and XML, CXF3, Photoshop ASE and ACO, named color ICC profile or GMG CSC).

Merging and Conversion

Averaging

Average several measurement files (e.g. press runs) of the same test chart.

Link

Average multiple test charts into one large measurement file. The Link tool should be used in conjunction with the Redundancies tool.

ICC Transformation

Use both ICC device and DeviceLink profiles on reference data (device data like CMYK or RGB) to test the impact of an ICC color conversion with up to three profiles.

CIE Conversion

The CIE Conversion tool converts spectral remission data with a different Illuminant and Observer angles (e.g. D50, D65). CIE Conversion also supports ambient light measurements from supported instruments via the Measure Tool. The readings can be saved separately for later use.

ColorAnt Packages

R

ColorAnt M


STANDARD FEATURES


Viewing, Comparing, Reports


Measure Tool

Measure all type of charts, ambient light and color spaces.


Full range of editing tools

Correction, Smoothing, Averaging, White and Black Correction, Brightener, Rescale, Tone Value, Link


Edit Primaries

Edit Primaries for CMYK


Custom Chart Generation

Supported color spaces: Gray, RGB, CMYK


Color Editor

Edit CMYK color patches


CIE Conversion

Edit the illumination and the standard observer


R

ColorAnt L


ALL FEATURES OF ColorAnt M


Full range of editing tools

Correction, Smoothing, Averaging, White and Black Correction, Brightener, Rescale, Tone Value, Link


Multicolor Custom Chart Generation

Color spaces supported: Gray, RGB, CMYK, Multicolor


Edit Primaries Multicolor Support

Edit Primaries for Multicolor


Merge Multicolor Charts

Combine charts by channel name


Color Editor

Edit colors in CMYK or Multicolor


Embed CxF/X-4

Embed spectral spot colors in PDF files

ZePrA | Applying Correction DeviceLinks

Apply Correction DeviceLink profiles

Apply correction DeviceLink Profile

The more reliable the color behavior of your printing machine is and the more accurately the corresponding ICC profile maps the printing process, the better the color conversion via ZePrA will be. In practice, however, it is often very different. Variations between the batches of paper, other dot gains or fresh inks that differ from the last series used can result in tonal shifts and deviations in the distribution of tonal values.

CoPrA SP* and it’s Update Profile module is integrated in the SmartLink module in order to compensate for these variations and deviations. Instead of having to generate a completely new printing machine profile and DeviceLink profiles for such deviations, the Update Profile makes the required adjustments. To ensure your printing machine prints the same colors as before, just a few details are required, such as the spectral measurements of dot gain strips or the Ugra/Fogra Media Wedge or, better still, the Reprofiler measuring strips that we provide with CoPrA.

So, you can continue to use your tried and tested DeviceLink profiles without having to replace them because of a change in the target color space of your printing machine.

Note: *SP = Serialized Profiles. The profiles created with CoPrA SP are encoded with the serial no. of the ZePrA color server and can only be used there.

Preparations for using the Updating Profile function

Make sure you use a control strip in your printing process that can be read by the Update Profile of CoPrA.

Two types of Reprofiler control strips for different measuring instruments (X-Rite i1Pro and single-patch measuring instruments) are included in the scope of delivery for both CMYK and RGB-based printing systems.

The CoPrA’s own color control strips should preferably be used for creating optimized profiles. The CoPrA Reprofiler control strips include the 100% values in the shadows and for overpinting patches that are important for profile creation.

The small control strip is available as a one-row and a two-row strip. The one-row strip can easily be integrated in the trim area of your printing machine.

The two-row strip is more suitable for digital printing or inkjet systems.

The same applies for the large control strip, which contains significantly more color patches and is thus more suitable for optimizing relatively large color deviations.

We recommend that the ColorLogic control strips always be used when optimizing digital printing systems since only they can ensure accurate determination limitation of the black point of the printing system.

Note: In principle, you can not only print and measure the ColorLogic control strips, but also other measuring strips, such as Ugra/Fogra, IDEAlliance Media Wedge, ECI GrayControl Strip, ECI bvdm TVI or UGRA UDKS Wedge, are supported too. Alternatively, you can use an existing measurement file that reproduces your current printing conditions. The measurement file must not contain more than 150 patches.

Once you have printed a control strip of your choice, you then measure it using a spectrophotometer.

Make sure the color management settings are deactivated upon output of the control strip, i.e. without simulation of a printing condition for example. This is especially the case for digital printing systems.

The Update Profile in CoPrA optimizes the ICC profile of your output profile (= printer profile that was selected in ZePrA as the Target Color Space).

Procedure:

  1. In Configuration, Document/Target click the checkbox Apply correction DeviceLink profile. If there are no correction DeviceLink profiles, the option for Correction is completely grayed out.
  2. Click Settings to open the Correction Profile dialog.
  3. ZePrA checks whether there are corresponding correction DeviceLink profiles and updated printer profiles for the selected Target Color Space. These profiles will be shown and can be selected once the Apply correction DeviceLink profile has been enabled.

We recommend that you not only select the correction DeviceLink profile, but that you also embed the associated updated target profile into the converted files (Embed updated Target Profile instead of the Target Profile). When this option is enabled, this profile becomes the new output intent of a converted PDF file. The updated target profile is shown in brackets.

ZePrA | Working with Transparencies

Working with Transparencies

Flattened transparencies and sharpening

Many users tend to think only of photographic images when it comes to sharpening in PDF data. Through flattened transparencies, vectors and text can result in pixel images. These pixel images are treated exactly the same as photos if sharpening is active in ZePrA. This may lead to unwanted artifacts. Differentials in sharpening between neighboring objects (which could be preserved vectors or text), can cause visual dissimilarity. Test the effects prior to production.

When flattening verify the transparencies in ZePrA verify the results. In this case, sharpening is performed prior to color conversion and flattening. Without transparency flattening, ZePrA would apply the sharpening after color conversion.

Depending on what the interplay of elements in the layout program, the parameters for flattening the transparencies and the sharpening parameters in ZePrA look like, extreme sharpening can lead to undesirable visual effects.

transparency-sharpness

The negative effects are revealed only with the most extreme sharpening strength and a threshold of 0. Since JPEG artifacts usually exhibit only very small color differences, a high threshold is the most important criterion for avoiding undesirable effects.

The following example demonstrates the interaction with various levels of sharpness. In this (image)case, the graphic artist has placed an object with shadows over a gradient. In flattening the transparencies, the flattened objects were compressed in the JPEG format. With extreme sharpening, artifacts which are not normally visible are intensified in the part of the gradient that has been changed into a JPEG image through the overlying shadows. From top to bottom, the following sharpness settings were applied:

No sharpening

0.35 points, Amount 80, Threshold 8

0.35 points, Amount 300, Threshold 4

0.35 points, Amount 500, Threshold 0

Converting PDF files with transparencies

ZePrA can be used for the color management of PDF files with transparencies. Choose to preserve transparencies or flatten them via Transparency flattening. The ZePrA approach for color conversion, when preserving transparencies, is that every object – with or without a transparency – are color converted individually, the structure of the PDF document being preserved. There are many variations for the blending of transparencies and the stacking order of semi-transparent objects that there are no rules defined regarding when transparencies should be flattened to avoid unwanted color shifts when converting the colors.

Flattening requires resolution to be specified for platesetters. Whenever possible, avoid flattening until later in the workflow. ColorLogic recommends first converting the colors without flattening the transparencies in ZePrA and examine the results in a transparency compatible PDF viewer (e. g. the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Pro). If artifacts are evident in the file following color conversion, try deactivating the Convert all transparent elements in PDF files checkbox under Configuration/PDF and convert the file again.

flattenting-issues

In many cases, deactivating this option helps to preserve the impression of the original file (see also the example in the middle) (image) because ZePrA excludes certain transparency modes from color conversion. The option should, however, be activated as standard.
If deactivating the Convert all transparent elements in PDF files option does not eliminate artifacts, the next step is to enable Transparency flattening in ZePrA (in the PDF tab).

Note: Transparency flattening is based on the Callas SDK, which in turn uses the Adobe PDF Engine for transparency flattening. The results from ZePrA are the same with current versions of Acrobat Professional and Callas pdfToolbox.

SaveInk and TAC reduction for PDF files with transparencies

Auto Setup queues do not activate transparency flattening as standard with Save Inks or Optimize TAC. In many cases, transparency flattening is not necessary, especially for PDF files with normal transparencies such as drop shadows. However, there are certain situations where transparency effects change the color appearance, despite high quality SaveInk profiles, or where the total area coverage is exceeded despite correct reduction profiles. ColorLogic recommends that following TAC reduction and SaveInk application; examine the total area coverage using a modern preflighting program that takes into account transparencies. If, for performance reasons, you cannot, or do not want to, examine every file, then we recommend that you activate Transparency flattening in the configuration.

Converting spot colors with transparencies

When PDF files, that include process and spot colors, are flattened, the Adobe transparency flattening provides that spot colors are maintained. However, in order to preserve the appearance of the original file, they are set to overprint. Overprint preview should always be enabled when viewing flattened PDF file in the PDF viewer (e.g. Adobe Acrobat Pro). Basic PDF viewers, such as Mac Preview and many apps on tablets, lack overprinting support and display these files incorrectly.

Should ZePrA be used for high-quality conversion of spot colors to the output profile instead of the PDF preflighting program or the RIP, optimally convert spot colors into process colors under Configuration/Convert spot colors. Please note, that due to transparency flattening, converted spot colors may be on overprint and mixed with process colors. This can lead to unwanted results and the “disappearance” of converted spot color objects. If this occurs, use the transparency flattener preset Dissolve overprinting. The most extreme method to would be to rasterize the file completely.

Transparency flattening, image quality and file size

With transparency flattening, ZePrA creates the resulting rasterized objects with lossless ZIP compression. This produces the best results in terms of quality, but also results in a larger file size compared to JPEG compression. Even in the case of PDF files with JPEG-compressed images, transparency flattening results in ZIP-compressed images. If you want to reduce the file size and can accept a drop in quality, then you can switch the configuration of the Compression method to JPEG in the Image quality section of the Options tab.

options-main-1

Note: ZePrA only takes the compression method into account when performing a color conversion. If performing transparency reduction without color conversion, in ZePrA then no compression modification is made and rasterized objects will be ZIP compressed.  

Sharpening for in-house RGB workflows

Sharpening

(e.g. for in-house RGB workflows)

Sharpening Images

Optimal sharpening refers to the scaled end format of an image contained in the printing data. In the following section, it is assumed that the processing of high resolution RGB images, their placement in the layout program, the creation of PDF data and the application of ZePrA is a continuous workflow within the same company.

In-house RGB workflows provide the option to work with high-resolution originals RGB images in the layout program and then create a PDF/X-3 or PDF/X-4 file that also contains the high-resolution RGB images. Color management, downsampling to the final resolution and sharpening for the PDF file are performed in ZePrA. After downsampling of RGB images to the final resolution and color conversion to CMYK, use stronger sharpening in ZePrA than normally used on pre-sharpened CMYK images.

Procedure: Select Define Configurations/Sharpening/Preset strong sharpening of RGB and Gray images. For documents that contain mixed image data set of RGB images and presharpened CMYK images, you should restrict the sharpening in ZePrA to RGB images.

strong-rgb-sharp

Note: To sharpen all RGB images in ZePrA, do not perform any transparency reduction in the layout program, for optimum results sharpen the images in ZePrA.

Enabling transparency reduction in the layout software results in converting RGB data to CMYK if the RGB image in the layout program is adjacent to transparent objects. During generation of PDF/X-3 files, transparency reduction is mandatory, while in PDF/X-4 files, transparencies are explicitly allowed.

Softproofing and PDF images

Softproofing PDF image files

Softproofing in ZePrA offers a true color presentation of jobs on the monitor, with overprinting elements and transparency effects also displayed correctly.

Creating a softproof:

  1. Go to the Navigation Panel and open Overview/Jobs and Queues Overview.
  2. Right-click on a job in Pending Jobs or Processed Jobs to open the context menu.
  3. Select the option Screen Preview. The file is displayed in a window.

Activate the Softproof Color Management Settings via the colored icon in the title bar of the window.

Simulation Profile: The colors will be rendered through the selected Simulation Profile to the monitor profile. As a default, the output intent that ZePrA has embedded in the processed file will be used and shown in brackets. The setting is similar to the Output Preview in Adobe Acrobat

Note: The Default Profiles on top of the dialog and the Prefer embedded Profiles checkbox are only relevant in the case that the simulation profile differs from the color spaces in the file itself.

Rendering Intent: A color conversion method (rendering intent) must be selected for calculation. Typically, only rendering intent directly from the Simulation Profile chooser needs to be selected. The rendering intents include not only the normal ICC intents and relative + Black Compensation, but also include three special ColorLogic intents:

Relative+ and Absolute+: have an impact if the black point information contained in a relative matrix monitor profile indicates that the black point is lighter than L* = 0. The softproof becomes a little darker as a result of this, which usually leads to a visually better match with a reference proof.

Relative Lightness: Based on the absolute colorimetric intent with paper color simulation. The lightness of the paper color simulation is scaled to the maximum displayable lightness of the monitor, the color of the paper color simulation and the gray balance of the softproof as a whole being preserved. This setting makes sense if the absolute colorimetric softproof is visually too dark, as is often the case in newspaper printing for example.

If there is no Simulation Profile available in the file (no profile shown in the brackets), select the desired profile from the drop down list. For rendering intent, we recommend relative or absolute colorimetric or ColorLogic rendering intents.

For monitor presentation, the monitor profile stored in system is automatically selected.

Click Apply to visually display the settings and Save to save the window with the settings and then close it. Next time the window is opened the settings will be retained.

Note: In order to select the correct softproof intent, it is generally advisable to use not only the monitor, but also a dimmable standardized light box with a reference proof for visual comparison.

Use of Multicolor profiles

Use of Multicolor profiles

Use of Multicolor profiles

ZePrA works with Multicolor printer profiles or with DeviceLink profiles that permit RGB-to-Multicolor, CMYK-to-Multicolor or Multicolor-to-Multicolor conversion.

Using Multicolor profiles in a PDF workflow

ZePrA features the option of using Multicolor profiles both as the document color space and target profile and using Multicolor DeviceLink profiles for color conversion.

Particularly in prepress work for packaging, this is an important option when image data are present in the form of an RGB or CMYK file. First, you can place RGB and CMYK image files directly in the finished document. From this, you create a PDF file and convert the complete document in ZePrA to the required Multicolor color composition for printing. Another interesting field of application is the printing of photo books by so-called HiFi color printing processes using 6 or 7 inks.

Note: An Multicolor module is license required (available in the XXL package) to utilize Multicolor functions.

When preparing the data in ZePrA, the result is known as a DeviceN PDF file, where every channel is named the same as channel name of the Multicolor target profile. DeviceN is the standard color definition in PDF for describing spot colors for print production. It offers a high degree of compatibility with the proven spot color processing functions of common application programs. The PDF files generated can usually be assessed in the Output Preview of the current version of Adobe Acrobat Professional and processed with current PDF workflow systems. Positioning of the PDF files in, and export from, current Adobe InDesign documents also present no challenges. ZePrA supports the PDF/X-5n standard, which enables the embedding of Multicolor profiles in PDF files.

When configuration is created with the Auto Setup wizard (selection of a Multicolor DeviceLink profile), the default setting is such that the Multicolor target profile is not embedded in image data, but that it is embedded as the output intent in PDF files. When a converted PDF/X file (e.g. a PDF/X-4, X-3 or X-1a file), the color converted file is changed into a PDF/X5n file.

Before using your Multicolor printer profile, which was selected under Define Configuration as the Target Color Space in the Target tab, or in the Document Color Space tab when it is  a Multicolor DeviceLink profile, verify whether the channel names and Lab color definitions have been entered in accordance with your specifications.

If the Embed into output file checkbox is activated, ZePrA uses the channel names and color definitions from the Multicolor printer profile set as the target color space when creating the color converted PDF file.

When Embed in output file is not checked, the channel names and color definitions are adopted from the Multicolor DeviceLink profile. Verify that the identical channel names and Lab color definitions in the target profile and the DeviceLink profile. With the help of the CoPrA’s Profile Manager, rename the Colorants (description of color channels) in accordance with your specifications and also enter the Lab color definitions in every Multicolor printer profile and DeviceLink profile.

Depending on the Multicolor profile used, the channel designations contained and the subsequent workflow outside ZePrA, we recommend that you test the complete workflow beforehand to make sure that everything runs smoothly.

Converting image data with Multicolor profiles

For converting image data with Multicolor profiles, ZePrA supports PSB, PSD, TIFF and JPEG files. Since the current file format specifications (as at May 2014) do not provide for embedding Multicolor profiles in TIFF, JPEG, PSB and PSD files, for image data conversion ColorLogic recommends deactivating Profile Embedding in the Document/Target tab. We recommend that image data to be converted to Multicolor should be saved as PSB/PSD files from Photoshop and then processed using ZePrA. Adobe InDesign can be used to process any PSB/PSD image files converted with ZePrA by means of a Multicolor target profile.

When converting the image data of Multicolor files, ZePrA distinguishes the following cases, which can be set in Configurations under Options/Image quality:

If the channel designations of the Multicolor target profile are CMYK+X, a TIFF file is created providing Preferred lossless format is set to TIFF.

If the channel designations of the Multicolor target profile are not CMYK, then a PSD file is created.

Note: TIFF only supports CMYK+X.

If the compression method is set to Automatic, the ZePrA will try to preserve the format or create a TIFF file. However in the case of a JPEG file or a non-CMYK Multicolor file, a PSD file is created.

Note: JPEG does not support Multicolor color spaces.