ZePrA | Quick Start Guide

Quick Start Guide

Get ZePrA quickly into production

Introduction

Thank you for choosing 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 optimization or color conversion of CMYK printing data, installation in media-neutral workflows with RGB data and Multicolor processing capabilities.

The high quality of optimization or color conversion of CMYK, RGB, Grayscale and Multicolor printing data is achieved through DeviceLink profiles, as well as intelligent PDF processing. For a range of standard-compliant printing processes, ColorLogic has also developed standard DeviceLink profiles that can be purchased in a bundle. ZePrA includes SmartLink technology for on-the-fly calculation of DeviceLink profiles for high quality color conversion to a variety printing processes.

Automated color management often requires extensive and complex configurations, especially with today’s PDF files. ZePrA Smart Color Server’s primary focus is to create, duplicate and modify configurations and queues for typical tasks in day-to-day production work easily.

We hope you enjoy working with ZePrA and wish you successful optimization and color conversion!

ZePrA’s Interface

ZePrA’s sidebar allows quick access to all main workflow functions. Simply move the mouse over the Home button on the left and click on the required module.

Click to download a PDF version of the Quick Start Guide.

Start

Auto Setup

Create workflows with ZePrA’s Auto Setup Wizard

Main Setup and Overview

Overview 

Access ZePrA’s overview screen to view queues, pending jobs and processed jobs

Configurations 

View and customize processing settings

Queues 

Manage print jobs

Tools

Spot Color Report 

Check the accuracy of spot color conversions prior to printing

SaveInk Report 

Generate an overall ink saving report

Extract ICC Profile 

Extract ICC profiles from images and PDF files

Global Settings

Spot Color Libraries 

Manage libraries and edit spot colors

Gradations

Manage and create tone value correction curves

Profile Assignments 

Use existing or dynamically created DeviceLinks for file conversions

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.

Auto Setup

Workflow Creation Using the Automatic Setup Wizard

ZePrA has six auto setup methods to set up workflows for the most common color management tasks. It takes just a few steps to create Configurations and Queues.
To process files, either use a previously created DeviceLink profile, or use the SmartLink function to create a DeviceLink profile on-the-fly (SmartLink license required).
The Automatic Setup Wizard also allows workflows that save ink, optimize the total area coverage (TAC), and apply gradation corrections.

Step 1: Select a Setup Mode

Select Auto Setup in the sidebar. There are six different setup options for creating Configurations and Queues:

Choosing a Setup Mode

ZePrA’s Automatic Setup Wizard

  1. Normalize and Convert Colors to New Output Condition
    The content of the PDF file is first normalized to the document color space or output intent and then converted to the desired target color space using DeviceLink profiles.
  2. Normalize Color to Document Color Space or Output Intent
    The data is normalized to the document color space or output intent. After conversion, the final, normalized file consists only of a color space and spot colors, if present.
    If PDF objects are present in the RGB color space, they are converted with the embedded profile to the document color space using the rendering intent defined in the PDF file.
  3. Save inks
    The data is first normalized to the document color space and then optimized using either an existing SaveInk profile or a SmartLink SaveInk method. Three color saving methods are available.
  4. Optimize Total Area Coverage (TAC)
    The data is normalized to the document color space and the total amount of color is reduced. This can either be done using specific profiles to reduce the total area coverage (TAC), or by defining the SmartLink value under Desired TAC.
  5. Direct Color Conversion to New Output ConditionThe data is directly converted to the target color space with embedded profiles, without normalizing to the document color space beforehand. This setup mode enables the best color space utilization of the target color space and is particularly suitable for media-neutral data, e.g. RGB image data with ICC profiles.
  6. Apply Gradation Curves OnlyIf the printing process differs due to changed printing conditions (e.g. due to substrate or other printing parameters), adjustments can be done directly in ZePrA, without CtP compensation curves in the RIP, by applying gradation corrections “on-the-fly”.

Step 2: Use DeviceLink profile or SmartLink

Use an existing DeviceLink profile or use SmartLink to create and use a high-quality DeviceLink profile on-the-fly.
1. Using an Existing DeviceLink Profile
Choose a DeviceLink profile for the configuration (e.g. from our DLS DeviceLink sets, available from any ColorLogic dealer), and select it from the drop-down menu. The source and target profiles are set by the DeviceLink profile.
2. Use SmartLink
The SmartLink function creates DeviceLinks on-the-fly from source and target profiles to avoid problems normally associated with a regular ICC conversion and increases conversion quality.
Note: Requires a SmartLink license. If the SmartLink function is not available, normal ICC conversions are performed for objects with embedded ICC profiles.

Document Color Space

The document color space serves as a reference to create a uniform printing color space for the colors of the PDF file. Selecting the Prefer Output Intent checkbox will use the output intent of the PDF/X file instead of manually setting the document color space.

Rendering Intent

ZePrA contains five rendering intents in addition to the four standard ICC rendering intents. They are only available when SmartLink is licensed.

ZePrA's Standard Compression Settings

ZePrA’s Rendering Intent Options

Standard Compression: For conversions including color spaces of different sizes. Calculates a perceptive conversion for input and target profiles that is suitable for all types of gamuts.

Black Point Compensation: Use Black Point Compensation to achieve the same results with a perceptive conversion as with “Relative Colorimetric with Black Point Compensation”. When converting from a large to a small color space, the image definition is preserved in the highlights and shadows, unlike a pure Relative Colorimetric conversion. Neutral tones are converted using the relative colorimetric intent. Out-of-gamut colors are clipped.

Absolute Compression: If the color gamut is similar, but the paper shade differs significantly. In contrast to Standard Compression and Black Point Compensation, the gray balance compensates for paper coloration. The color of the original file is preserved in the best possible way on a target medium with a different paper color. Shadow areas are increased for small color gamuts. Standard Compression, the gray axis of the conversion is build relative to the paper white of the target profile.

Dynamic Compression: Compares the source color space and target color space and generates compression that minimizes out-of-gamut areas. Preserves the brightness of the original color space while reducing the saturation, therefore preserving the image definition.

Minimum Compression: Allows almost absolute colorimetric reproduction, compensating only for areas near the black and the white point.

SmartLink Methods

The SmartLink methods apply different requirements of various printing conditions so the desired color is correctly reproduced and optimally separated for a specific printing process.

Traditional Printing – Classic: Offset, gravure, or newspaper printing. Black, grey, primary, secondary and tertiary color tones of the source profile are retained. The total area coverage from the target profile is applied.

Traditional Printing – Automatic: When the color and paper of the target color space differ significantly from the output intent or document color space. The separation is retained.

Large Format Printing – Inkjet: The separation is characterized by a strong GCR and a late black start. The black point and the total area coverage are calculated automatically. Otherwise like Traditional Printing – Automatic.

Digital Printing – Toner: For toner-based digital printers and office printers. A high percentage of black is used to achieve a stable print and neutral gray balance. The total area coverage from the target profile is applied. Otherwise like Traditional Printing – Automatic.

Apply Gradation Curves Only

These gradation adjustments apply external files on-the-fly to existing curves, adjusting process colors and/or spot colors without changing the document color space.

There are two ways to correct gradations:

1: Select Curves
Select linearization DeviceLink profiles created with CoPrA or previously imported files including curves (gradations).

2: Use Curves from File
External files including the gradation corrections for the curves (gradations) to be changed can be loaded. ZePrA then imports the files into its own folder structure.

Considerations for Normalizing PDF files

When working with PDF/X-3, PDF/X-4 or PDF/X-5n files that may still contain RGB or CMYK objects with embedded profiles, normalize the files.

If the PDF file does not contain an output intent, define an ICC profile as the Document Color Space. Select the Prefer Output Intent checkbox to ensure that any existing output intent takes precedence over the specified document color space and is retained.

Step 3: Create Configurations and Queues

In the last step of the wizard, assign a Queue name. The corresponding configuration automatically receives the same name.
Define the Base Folder. The Queue and its subfolders are created. To only create a new configuration, deactivate the Create Queue checkbox.
The last step completes the workflow setup and it is immediately available.

Main Setup and Overview

Overview

Processing Jobs via Queues
In ZePrA, files are processed via queues. Each queue is assigned a configuration. A configuration contains all the necessary settings for converting and processing the file. Queues and their configurations are managed separately and configurations can be modified and re-assigned to different queues anytime.
The Jobs and Queues Overview window (Sidebar: Overview) provides an overview of the queues and associated configurations.
Queues created with the Automatic Setup Wizard usually have the same name as the corresponding configuration.
The order of the jobs to be processed is determined by their priority. Change the Priority by right-clicking on the queue and change its default setting Normal to High or Low.
Queues can be controlled with Start and Stop buttons located in the lower right corner.

Manually Create a Queue
To create a new queue, create a Base Folder, assign a configuration and a name. Use the New button in the Queues tool to manually create a queue. To configure the queue afterwards, first select the queue and then select the configuration from the Process with Configuration drop-down menu in the Options tab.

Set up a Queue Manually

Configurations

All settings related to color handling and PDF processing are defined under Configurations. This includes color conversion via ICC output profiles or DeviceLink profiles, handling of mixed PDFs (documents with data in CMYK, RGB, Grayscale and spot colors) and individual settings of gradation curves and spot colors. Various presets and optimization options are available for all settings.
In the upper part of the window, select a configuration, create, rename and save new configurations.
To duplicate an existing configuration, select New, enter the new name and Save. To use a duplicated configuration, assign it to a queue.

Queues

Queues are displayed in the Overview in chronological order. The lists can be sorted by clicking on the respective column.

Processing files – Starting queues
To start a job, select Open Folder from the context menu to open the corresponding Input Folder (hot folder) of the queue. Copy or move the file (TIFF/JPEG/PSD/PSB image, PDF) into the Input Folder, or simply drag and drop the file onto the appropriate configuration in the queue overview. Alternatively, right-click on a file and copy it into the queue’s hot folder.
When a file is placed in the Input Folder, ZePrA automatically converts it according to the settings specified in the configuration and places the converted file in the Output Folder. The job ID and configuration name are added to the file name. The original file is moved to the Originals Folder. Problem files are stored in the Error Folder.

Convenient queue management

Processed Jobs
Files with a yellow warning in the overview window have been processed but may have issues. They are usually placed in the Output Folder. Alternatively, when configuring the queue, define an Output Folder with Warnings, where such files will be moved after processing. Incorrectly processed or unsupported file types are highlighted in red and moved to the Error Folder.
A right click on a job opens a context menu with the following entries:

Context menu with many useful functions

Screen Preview
Creates and displays the soft proof of the selected job.

Show Job Properties
Opens the job report.

Save Job Properties
Saves the job report as PDF, HTML, TXT or XML.

Repeat Job
Allows the reconversion of an already processed job using the same configuration without having to search for the file in the hot folder.

Restore Configuration
From ZePrA 7 onwards, the associated configuration settings of jobs are also saved. This allows the configuration to be restored and jobs can be processed using the original settings, even if the original configuration was changed or deleted.

Delete
Deletes selected jobs.

Procedure

1. On the sidebar, click on Queues.
2. Click New to manually create a new queue. Give the queue a Name and select the Base Folder. The corresponding subfolders will be created automatically. Select the Configuration from the drop-down list. It contains all settings for the handling of the colors and the processing of the file.
3. Copy or move the files to be converted into the Input Folder of the queue.
4. If the files are to be copied to a server or network drive, it is recommended to create a Temporary Folder on the local system where ZePrA is running.
5. The converted files can be found in the Output Folder. If a file could not be processed, it is moved to the Error Folder. Files that could be processed but may contain a problem are placed in the Output Folder with a warning. The original files are moved to the Originals Folder.

Notes:

Target File Name: Append text: Appends a suffix to the original filename.
Append Job ID: Creates a unique serial number and appends it to the original filename.
Copy File Types: Transfers a control file (JDF, XML, TXT, or similar file types) with your original file.
Post Process: Defines the subsequent processing of a file after color conversion. Select an available script or batch file or enter a command line command manually.
Job Report: Creates a report in PDF, HTML, XML or Text file format. The Folder defines where the job report is stored.

Tools

Spot Color Report

Checks the accuracy of spot color conversion before printing spot or Pantone® colors of specific PDF and image files. The spot color report shows the results of a spot color conversion in terms of deltaE00, deltaE76 and separation into the process and/or multicolor.

spot color report win1

Procedure

  1. Configurations: Select one or more configurations from the list. A configuration contains all settings for the conversion. Only configurations with spot color conversion enabled are displayed in the list.
  2. Select a file or library under Source Data.
    PDF or Image File: Select the spot color PDF file to be processed with the settings of the selected configuration.
    Library: Select the spot color library to convert with the settings of the selected configuration.
  3. Sort order: Sorts the list according to various presets. When sorting by DeltaE, spot colors with the lowest dE are listed at the top of the table, those with the highest at the bottom.
  4. Preview and Save: Preview displays the results prior to creating a report (optional). Save will create and save the report in various data formats.

Note: When creating the report, all spot color settings set in the configurations are used, including manual settings and warnings. Colors with warnings are displayed with red deltaE values.

SaveInk Report

The SaveInk report provides a detailed overview of the color savings of all SaveInk queues and processed jobs.

SaveInkReport_converted

Procedure

  1. Select SaveInk Report in the sidebar.
  2. Enter a file name and select the format. The report can be created as PDF, TXT, HTML or XML. PDF is the default setting. Then specify the storage location.
  3. Click Save to create the report.
    Summary: Shows the ink saving for all queues.
    Ink Saving per Queue and Job: Shows details of individual queues and jobs.
    Note: The percentage calculations in the SaveInk report only refer to the CMYK components. Transparency effects, overprinting elements and spot colors are not taken into account.

Extract ICC Profile

The Extract ICC Profile tool extracts embedded profiles from images or output intents of PDF/X files. This way, embedded profiles that are not available as ICC profiles can be used to create DeviceLinks or SaveInk profiles.

extract icc profile dialog

Procedure

1. Click on the Extract ICC Profile icon in the sidebar.
2. Use Select to choose the file (PDF, JPEG, TIFF PSB or PSD) with the embedded profile. Click Open. Alternatively, you can drag and drop the file into the selection window.
3. The embedded ICC Profile, the PDF/X Version, and the Output Condition are displayed. The embedded profile can be saved with Extract.

Spot Color Iteration

Color deviations in printing, e.g. due to differences in printers, inks or substrates, can be minimised using the spot color iteration tool. This ensures optimum conversion of spot colors to process colors, in digital or proofing production.
Start the iteration process by printing spot color(s) converted by ZePrA on the printer to be used for the job. Test charts are measured and color deviations are optimized until the measured dE2000 values are within the desired tolerances.

Procedure

Activate the checkbox Convert Spot Colors in the Spot Colors tab under Configurations. Set the Calculation Method to Precise Match or Visual Matching for the best results. Then open the Iterate Spot Colors dialog by clicking Iterate.
1. Select the Configuration.
2. Select the source spot color (PDF file or spot color library).
3. Create a test chart from a PDF file or spot color library. ZePrA uses all the spot colors it contains (solids) and converts them according to the selected configuration. Select an Instrument Setting and click Save.
4. Print the test chart without applying color management.
5. Measure the printed test chart. The reference file is automatically preselected.
6. Optional, but highly recommended: Create a spot color iteration report with Calculate Report. It contains information about the achieved and measured deltaE values.
7. Click Apply. The optimized spot colors are calculated and applied in the configuration.
Note: We recommend activating the checkbox Iterate all Spot Colors.

Global Settings

Spot color Libraries

Spot color libraries and spot colors can be managed conveniently in ZePrA’s spot color module. Access the Spot Color Libraries in the sidebar. Libraries can be created, added, viewed and modified. Spot colors can be edited, imported or measured.
For example, spot colors from color books can be measured with a spectrophotometer or lab values can be manually entered. Color tables with spot colors can also be imported. Supported formats include: Named Color ICC profiles, Photoshop ACO color tables, Adobe ASE color tables (from InDesign or Illustrator), text files in CGATS format or CxF or CxF/X-4 files. Both Lab and spectral color values are supported. Spectral measurement data is preferable as it provides the best results.

Note: Spot color libraries are not included with ZePrA.

PantoneLIVE®

PantoneLIVE® from X-Rite is a cloud solution for the digital storage of spectral spot colors. This includes Pantone color books, paper-dependent “Dependent Standards”, or custom color libraries.

ZePrA includes direct access to PantoneLIVE®. A ZePrA spot color module license and an active PantoneLIVE® Production license from X-Rite are required. PantoneLIVE® libraries will be available and use them in ZePrA to process spot colors. For more information, see our online help. General information about PantoneLIVE® is available in the PantoneLIVE® documentation.

Gradation

Using gradation curves allows optimal preparation of print data for output. For example, applying tone value corrections just before printing and ensuring output quality within a printing standard.

Optimal preparation of print data

Procedure

In the Curve Management window, you can create New curves and Duplicate or Delete existing ones. New curves can be adjusted in the Curve Design panel by clicking and dragging the curve or by entering values. To enter percentage values in the Input and Output fields, first create an anchor point on the curve by clicking onto it. The entered values will then affect this anchor point. X deletes anchor points.

Profile Assignments

ZePrA’s SmartLink function can be customized by profile assignments. Standard Device Links, house standards or custom profiles can be assigned to configurations automatically.

To add new SmartLink profile assignments, click New at the bottom of the window under Profile Assignments and select the DeviceLink profile directly from the DeviceLink Profile drop-down menu.

To edit existing profile assignments, open the Edit Profile Assignment window by double-clicking the corresponding assignment.

CLI Module

ZePrA can be integrated into other workflows via a configurator in Enfocus Switch and generally via Command Line Interface. This enables even complex workflows including data input to sorting, preflighting, color conversion and data transfer.

Auto setup | Overview

Auto Setup

Create workflows with ZePrA’s Auto Setup Wizard

Workflow Creation

ZePrA provides six auto setup methods to set up workflows for the most common color management tasks. The Automatic Setup Wizard also allows workflows that save ink, optimize the total area coverage (TAC), and apply gradation corrections. It takes just a few steps to create Configurations and Queues.

To process files, either use a previously created DeviceLink profile, or use the SmartLink function to create a DeviceLink profile on-the-fly (SmartLink license required).

The Automatic Setup Wizard provides six different setup modes for creating configurations

Setting Up Workflows with the Auto Setup Wizard

Select Auto Setup in the sidebar. There are six different setup options for creating Configurations and Queues. The first two modes involve normalizing the data. General Information about Normalizing Data can be found further down this page.

Select a Setup Mode

Normalize and convert Colors to new Output Condition

The content of the PDF file is first normalized to the document color space or output intent and then converted to the desired target color space.

There are two options to choose from:

  1. Use existing DeviceLink Profile
    Choose a DeviceLink profile for the configuration (e.g. from our DeviceLink sets, available from any ColorLogic dealer), and select it from the drop-down menu. The source and target profiles are set by the DeviceLink profile.
  1. Use SmartLink
    The SmartLink function creates DeviceLinks on-the-fly from source and target profiles.
    Note: Requires a SmartLink license. If the SmartLink function is not available, normal ICC conversions are performed for objects with embedded ICC profiles.
    For more information, see DeviceLink or SmartLink further down on this page.

Select the rendering intent for the calculation. More information can be found further down this page under Rendering Intent.

Prefer Output Intent: The output intent of the PDF/X file is used instead of the manually set document color space.

SmartLink MethodDefines the conversion settings. There are predefined methods available for traditional printing, large format printing, and digital printing, but custom methods can also be used.

Data processing:

RGB objects with embedded profiles are first converted to the document color space (normalized). If the SmartLink function is activated and an individual PDF object contains an embedded device profile, the device profile is used to create a DeviceLink profile on-the-fly. Embedded rendering intents are also considered. When normalizing, all images without embedded profiles are converted to the document color space based on the predefined profile.

CMYK objects with embedded profiles are first converted to the document color space (normalized). If the SmartLink function is activated and an individual PDF object contains an embedded device profile, the device profile is used to create a DeviceLink profile on-the-fly. The conversion is then performed using this DeviceLink profile.

If a Relative Colorimetric rendering intent is embedded in a PDF object, Auto Setup automatically activates the Blackpoint Compensation to ensure clean reproduction of details in the shadow areas.
Exception: PDF 2.0 files – see Black Point Compensation with PDF 2.0 files under Configurations/Options/Rendering Intents.

If the DeviceLink profile was created using the option to preserve pure primaries and secondaries, pure colors are kept pure in CMYK objects with embedded profiles.

To ensure precise color conversions, ZePrA completely recalculates the conversion of source and target profiles on-the-fly. The algorithms used are identical to those used in ColorLogic’s CoPrA profiling software.

There are five additional rendering intents available for SmartLink to avoid inharmonic color conversions that can result from differently calculated tables for source and target profiles (see Rendering Intents).

If SmartLink has not been licensed, a direct ICC-based conversion to the target profile or document color space is performed. This can contaminate pure CMYK colors, which can cause problems with overprinting elements.

The automatic setup wizard’s option to normalize first and convert afterwards provides the most consistent results for color conversions, as recommended by the PDF/X specification.

The default name of this queue starts with Convert.

Normalize Color to Document Color Space or Output Intent

The data is standardized, i.e. it is converted to the document color space or output intent (normalized).
For PDF files, all ICC-based PDF objects are converted from the embedded ICC profile via the embedded rendering intent to the document color space (output intent). After this step, all objects of the PDF file are color-matched to a consistent standard (document color space/output intent).

PDF files usually do not contain any information about the document color space. If there is no PDF/X file available for Normalization but only a PDF file, decide on a Document Color Space into which any existing ICC-based PDF objects will be converted.

After conversion, the final, normalized file consists only of a document color space and spot colors, if present.

If a Relative Colorimetric rendering intent is embedded in a PDF object, Auto Setup automatically activates the Blackpoint Compensation to ensure clean reproduction of details in the shadow areas.

Exception: PDF 2.0 files – see Black Point Compensation with PDF 2.0 files under Configurations/Options/Rendering Intents.

The following color conversions are performed during normalization:

  • Conversion of device RGB and ICC-based RGB objects to document color space
  • Spot colors remain unchanged (can be converted to the target color space if required)
  • Conversion of ICC-based CMYK to document color space, retaining pure colors and separation properties (when using SmartLink)
  • Assignment of ICC-based gray to the black channel of the document color space (prevents four-color gray)

The default name of these queues start with Normalize.

Save inks

The data is first normalized to the document color space and then optimized using either an existing SaveInk profile or a SmartLink SaveInk method. Three Ink Saving methods are available.

Selecting an Ink Saving method

 

The Save inks setup mode is available when the source and target profiles are identical. The optimized file remains in the same color space. The focus is on accurate color reproduction while reducing CMY inks and increasing black ink (K).

Use existing DeviceLink Profile: Select an existing SaveInk DeviceLink profile from the drop-down menu. ZePrA only shows profiles whose source and target profiles are identical.

Use SmartLink: Select the profile which matches the Document Color Space and choose from three standard Ink Saving methods (SaveNeutral, SaveStrong, SaveMaximum). It is also possible to define custom SaveInk settings in CoPrA and share them with ZePrA. These custom SaveInk settings are displayed below the dashed line (My Extreme InkSaving Profile in the screenshot above).

SaveNeutral: Moderately increases the amount of black in the neutral color ranges.

SaveStrong: Increases the proportion of black strongly.

SaveMaximum: Maximum ink savings with colorimetrically still very high accuracy while retaining the visual color impression.

Calculate Ink Savings: The Automatic Setup Wizard can calculate the ink savings for processed files. However, this calculation can significantly slow down processing. If faster data processing is desired, deactivate this option.

Note: The ink saving calculation can be enabled or disabled under Configurations/Options.

The default queue name starts with SaveInk.

Optimize Total Area Coverage (TAC)

The data is normalized to the document color space and the total amount of ink is reduced. This can either be done by using special profiles to reduce the total area coverage (TAC), or – if SmartLink is used – by specifying the Desired TAC value.

Adjusting the maximum ink coverage

 

The source and target profiles must be identical. The optimized file remains in the Document Color Space. The focus is on accurate color reproduction while reducing ink coverage.

Choose from two options:

  1. Use existing DeviceLink Profile: Select an existing TAC reduction DeviceLink profile from the drop-down menu. ZePrA only displays profiles with identical source and target profiles.
  2. Use SmartLink: Assigns a TAC to the selected Document Color Space on-the-fly (requires a SmartLink license).

Prefer Output Intent: The output intent of the PDF/X file is used instead of the manually set Document Color Space.

The default name of these queues starts with TAC.

Direct Color Conversion to new Output Condition

The data is directly converted to the target color space using embedded profiles, without normalizing to the document color space beforehand. This setup mode enables the best color space utilization of the target color space and is particularly suitable for media-neutral data, e.g. RGB image data with ICC profiles.

Select either Use existing DeviceLink Profile or Use SmartLink.

Use existing DeviceLink Profile: Select a DeviceLink profile that converts from the document color space to the required output condition. All other settings for RGB, CMYK, Gray and Lab color spaces are set automatically.

Use SmartLink: Select the respective ICC profiles under Document Color Space and Target Color Space to create the DeviceLink on-the-fly. Define the intended Rendering Intent and the SmartLink Method that best fits your workflow process.

RGB objects with embedded profiles: Converts directly to the target color space and utilizes the maximum color space, however, the embedded profiles and the selected Rendering Intent are taken into account. This guarantees a consistent conversion and optimization of the data.

RGB data without embedded profiles: The sRGB color space is used, which can be changed in the configuration, if necessary.

In general, Blackpoint Compensation is enabled when the embedded intent is Relative Colorimetric.

CMYK objects with embedded profiles: The SmartLink function optimizes direct color conversion via the DeviceLink profiles. Embedded profiles/intents are considered.

The default queue name starts with Output.

Apply Gradation Curves only

Gradation adjustments apply external files on-the-fly to existing curves, adjusting process colors and/or spot colors without changing the document color space.

Gradation curves are a simple solution for applying gradation corrections to print-ready PDF/X-1a files consisting of CMYK and spot colors only.

There are two ways to correct gradations:

1: Select Curves

Select Linearization DeviceLinks created by CoPrA or previously imported files including curves (gradations). Previously imported files will be shown beneath the linearization DeviceLink profiles.

Gradation curves created with CoPrA’s Linearization tool are saved in the Profiles folder (/User/User name/Library/ColorSync/Profiles oder C:/WINDOWS/system32/spool/drivers/color/) and are automatically listed in ZePrA’s Select Curves drop-down menu. Only curves with a matching color space are shown. These curves are read only and cannot be edited with ZePrA’s Gradations tool. When changing the gradation curves (e.g. by overwriting the .icc file in CoPrA with differing linearization data), these changes will automatically be applied to all configurations using these curves. The location of the selected .icc file is not relevant (e.g. Profile or Auto Import folder).

2: Use Curves from File

Loads an external file that includes the gradation corrections for the process color(s) to be changed.

Gradation curves created with ZePrA’s Gradations tool are saved in the Profiles folder and are automatically listed in the Gradations tab drop-down menu under New/Edit. The curves can also be accessed by Load Curves/Use Curves from File . When changing the gradation curves with ZePrA’s Gradation tool, these changes will automatically be applied to all configurations using these curves.

Normalize and Document Color Space

Normalize: PDF/X-3 or PDF/X-4 files that contain RGB or CMYK objects with embedded profiles are normalized and the curves are applied to the normalized file.

Document Color Space: Define an ICC profile as the document color space for files with no output intent defined in the PDF file. Activate the Prefer Output Intent checkbox to ensure that any existing output intent always takes precedence over the specified document color space and is thus retained.

The default name for these queues starts with Gradations.

DeviceLink or SmartLink

DeviceLink or SmartLink

Either use an existing DeviceLink profile in your configuration or use SmartLink to create and use a high-quality DeviceLink profile within the workflow.

Use existing DeviceLink profile or SmartLink

Use existing DeviceLink Profile

If files are processed without embedded profiles, and there is a matching DeviceLink profile, you can use it within your workflow. This DeviceLink profile then defines the source profile and the target profile.

Select the DeviceLink Profile to be used for conversion from the document color space to the target color space. All relevant PDF/X information is automatically transferred. (For more information, see ConfigurationsPDF/X)

In the Save inks and Optimize Total Area Coverage (TAC) modes, the drop-down menu DeviceLink Profile only lists profiles with identical source and target profiles.

Use SmartLink

The DeviceLink for the conversion is created “on-the-fly” based on source and target profiles. The Rendering Intent for the calculation can be selected manually. Instead of the manually set Document Color Space, read out and use the output intent of the PDF/X file by activating the Prefer Output Intent checkbox.

The SmartLink option creates high quality DeviceLink profiles to avoid the problems of typical ICC conversions and ensures optimal color conversions.

Sharing settings with ZePrA (CoPrA 5 and lower)

Due to the close connection between CoPrA (ColorLogic’s profiling solution) and our color server ZePrA, the profile settings from CoPrA can be used to calculate DeviceLink profiles in ZePrA.

By selecting the checkbox Share with ZePrA in CoPrA, the settings of your DeviceLink and SaveInk profiles are transferred directly to ZePrA and can be used there as SmartLink Method.

The SmartLink Method in ZePrA allows calculation of the necessary DeviceLink and/or SaveInk profiles for the conversion of PDF files on-the-fly, without the need to create these DeviceLinks in advance.

The DeviceLink tool in CoPrA: SmartLink can use the profile settings from CoPrA to create DeviceLinks in ZePrA

 

To do so, make all the required settings in CoPrA by entering all relevant information in the DeviceLink tool under Rendering, Exceptions, and Color Generation. Click Save As and then activate the Share with ZePrA checkbox. Enter a name for the setting and confirm with OK.

The so created methods shared with ZePrA are then available as SmartLink Method in the drop-down menus of both the Auto Setup and the Configurations.

Document Color Space

The document color space serves as a reference to define a uniform color space for the colors of the PDF file.

  • CMYK color spaces are usually used for print production, as CMYK colors are generally used for printing.
  • RGB document color spaces are suitable for modern publications for mobile media.
  • Multicolor color spaces are often used in packaging printing or in modern digital printing.

ZePrA supports the full spectrum of color spaces (Multicolor color spaces require a Multicolor license). Individual RGB or CMYK objects with embedded profiles in PDF files are converted to the document color space. For professional print production, data exchange should always be based on the PDF/X standard.

Prefer Output Intent

By activating this checkbox, the output intent of the PDF/X file is used instead of the manually set Document Color Space.

In addition to the ICC device profiles of individual PDF objects, an output intent can be defined for the entire PDF document (an ICC device profile that describes the document color space).

The document color space in PDF/X documents is clearly defined as the output intent.

If Prefer Output Intent is activated, PDF/X files with various output intents can be correctly converted in a queue because the respective output intent is considered instead of the document color space.

Note: This function is only applicable for PDF/X files.

Rendering Intent

General information on the design of ICC device profiles:

Rendering intents, such as Perceptual or Relative Colorimetric, contain large tables which, for example for CMYK profiles, convert either CMYK color values to Lab or Lab color values to CMYK.

Due to the two color conversion directions, there are two tables for each rendering intent. The tables are calculated from the measurement data when a color profile is generated.

If ICC device profiles are calculated from the same measurement data, but with different profiling programs, then the tables generated can differ considerably in some color ranges.

This is especially true for the two tables of the Perceptual intent, for the gray balance and also for the areas with very high color saturation in the two tables of the Relative Colorimetric intent (also called “Out of Gamut” colors).

For optimal and harmonious color conversion, it is recommended, especially with CMYK-to-CMYK color conversions, to ensure that the source and target profiles were calculated with the same profiling software.

However, profiles from different providers (such as Adobe, ECI or ColorLogic) are often used in practice, which can lead to problems in color conversions if the perceptual rendering intent is used.

These problems can be avoided by using SmartLink.

The SmartLink module uses the source profiles embedded in PDF or image data and automatically calculates the DeviceLink profile required for conversion between source and target for each object and applies it at object level. The main conversion from the document color space to the target color space is also carried out via SmartLink. SmartLink is ideal for processing external data from a wide variety of sources to ensure optimum color accuracy (via DeviceLinks).

There are five additional Rendering Intents for SmartLinks

Additional SmartLink Rendering Intents

The SmartLink module provides five additional rendering intents to avoid inharmonic color conversions, which can result from differently calculated tables for source and target profiles.

To ensure precise color conversions, ZePrA completely recalculates the conversion of source and target profiles on-the-fly. The algorithms are the same as ColorLogic’s CoPrA profiling software.

Note: These additional rendering intents are only available with SmartLink enabled. If the checkbox Use SmartLink is not activated or SmartLink has not been licensed, only the four standard rendering intents are available.

Standard Compression: For conversions involving different gamut sizes. Calculates a perceptual conversion for input and target profiles that is suitable for all types of gamuts. The appearance of the gray axis always depends on the paper white of the target profile. With CMYK data on a very yellowish paper, the gray axis of the converted file also looks yellowish. The same gray axis will look bluish on bluish paper.
 The Standard Compression considers different gamut sizes. For very small color gamuts (newspaper printing), the dark tones are slightly raised to achieve more definition in these areas.

Black Point Compensation: Use Black Point Compensation to achieve the same results with a perceptual conversion as with “Relative Colorimetric with Black Point Compensation”. When converting from a large to a small color space, the image definition is preserved in the highlights and shadows, unlike with a pure Relative Colorimetric conversion. Neutral tones are converted using the colorimetric intend. Out-of-gamut colors are cut off.

Absolute Compression: For conversions where the color gamuts are similar but the paper tones are clearly different. In contrast to the Standard Compression and Black Point Compensation, the gray balance compensates for the paper color. This ensures that the color impression of the original file is preserved in the best possible way on a target medium with a different paper color. This method also raises shadow (darker) areas when using small color gamuts.

The gray axis of a source color space will look similar to the original after conversion (for example, on a yellowish or bluish paper).

Dynamic Compression: Compares the source color space with the target color space and generates a compression that minimizes out-of-gamut areas. This setting preserves the brightness of the original color space while reducing the saturation, and therefore preserves the image definition. As for the Standard Compression, the gray axis of the conversion is built relative to the paper white of the target profile.

Minimum Compression: This method is mostly similar to the absolute colorimetric intent and only compensates close to the black and the white point. Maximum shadow contrast will be achieved and image definition will be preserved and the paper white will not be simulated. Use this rendering intent if you would like to achieve a very close reproduction, for example, when using print standards like ISO Coated V2 or GRACoL2006 Coated1v2 on a digital printer.

Important: To ensure that an on-the-fly DeviceLink profile created with SmartLink uses the rendering intent set under Configurations > Images/Vectors, activate the checkbox Ignore PDF Rendering Intents in the Options tab.

SmartLink Method

The SmartLink Method considers the different requirements of different printing conditions so the printed color is correctly reproduced and optimally separated for the printing process.

Traditional Printing – Classic: Conversions for offset, gravure, or newspaper printing. The DeviceLinks created ensure that black and gray, as well as the primary, secondary and triplex hues of the source profile, are preserved. The total area coverage is taken from the target profile.

Choosing a SmartLink Method

Traditional Printing – Automatic: Select this setting when the colors and paper of the target color space are significantly different from the output intent or document color space. Separation is preserved, but Exceptions for special colors such as black and gray, primary, secondary, and triplex colors are automatically calculated based on both profiles.

Large Format Printing – Inkjet: The separation is characterized by a strong GCR and a late black start. The black point and total area coverage are automatically calculated to ensure the best color reproduction. The Exceptions for special colors, such as black and gray, primary, secondary and triplex hues, are automatically calculated based on both profiles. To avoid problems that can occur when colors vary between different inkjet printers or between the inkjet printer and the source color space (as with ISOcoated V2 or GRACol), the Large Format Printing – Inkjet method automatically calculates the required exceptions in those cases.

Digital Printing – Toner: For toner-based digital printers and office printers. This method uses the same DeviceLink presets for Exceptions as Large Format Printing – Inkjet. The separation method ensures that a high percentage of black is used. This will achieve a stable print and neutral gray balance. The total area coverage is taken from the target profile. The Exceptions for special colors, such as black and gray, primary, secondary, and triplex hues, are automatically calculated based on both profiles.

Creating Queues and Configurations

Creating Queues and Configurations
  1. Enter a Queue Name that matches the name of the configuration.
  2. Specify the Base Folder in which the queue is to be created. To create a Queue (Hotfolder) in the Base Folder, activate the Create Queue checkbox and the corresponding subfolder will be created.
  3. To only create a new configuration, uncheck the Create Queue checkbox. The new configuration can be assigned to an existing queue in the Queues dialog later if required.

    In the final step of the Auto Setup the queue is created along with all required folders

Configurations

All settings related to color handling and PDF processing are defined under Configurations. This includes color conversion via ICC output profiles or DeviceLink profiles, handling of mixed PDFs (documents with data in CMYK, RGB, Grayscale and spot colors) and individual settings of gradation curves and spot colors. Various presets and optimization options are available for all settings.
In the upper part of the window, select a configuration, create, rename and save new configurations.
To duplicate an existing configuration, select New, enter the new name and Save. To use a duplicated configuration, assign it to a queue.

Using Queues

The Automatic Setup Wizard simplifies the setup process, once complete, the new configuration and queue can be used immediately. To use a queue, simply copy or move the PDF file to be converted to the Input Folder of the queue.

The queue is automatically started by placing a file in the hotfolder

PDF files in the Input Folder are automatically converted according to the color management settings and saved to the Output Folder. Original files are moved to the Done Folder. Files that have caused an error are saved in the Error Folder.

General Information

General Information about Normalizing Data

When a normalizing mode is selected, the Document Color Space is converted to the Target Color Space. The data is first standardized, e.g., converted to the document color space or output intent (normalized).

With PDF/X files, all ICC-based PDF objects are converted from the embedded ICC profile via the embedded rendering intent to the document color space (output intent). After this step, all objects of the PDF file have been converted to a consistent “standard” (Document Color Space/Output Intent).

PDF files generally do not contain any information about the document color space (Output Intent). If there is no PDF/X file available for normalization but only a PDF file, decide on a document color space into which any existing ICC-based PDF objects are converted.

After conversion, the final, normalized file consists only of a color space and spot colors, if present. 

The following color conversions are performed during normalization:

  • Conversion of device RGB and ICC-based RGB to document color space
  • Spot colors remain unchanged (can be converted to the target color space if required)
  • Conversion of ICC-based CMYK to document color space, retaining pure colors and separation properties (when using SmartLink)
  • Assignment of ICC-based gray to the black channel of the document color space (prevents four-color gray)
File conversion by ZePrA

Converting PDF files with Auto Setup

The easiest way to set up a color management workflow between various color spaces is to use the Auto Setup in combination with the SmartLink method. ColorLogic’s DeviceLink Sets (DLS) are also an option for standard color spaces. All sets are optimized so that the colors of both image and vector data of a PDF file can be reliably converted. The profiles are optimized and checked for smoothness and visually correct conversion, and have been proven in production.

All color information required for PDF/X is automatically set by Auto Setup, including the use of the target profile as output intent, normalization, and color conversion.

Gradients in vector graphics that consist of just one or two CMYK colors still contain only the original colors after application of the profile. The color values are merely adjusted for the output.

Example: If PDF objects are in the RGB color space and the Relative Colorimetric rendering intent is embedded, the Auto Setup queue automatically activates Black Point Compensation to ensure accurate detail reproduction in shadow areas.

Grayscale: Grayscale objects can be handled like CMYK, preserving gray and avoiding conversion to four colors. To do this, choose Use CMYK Conversion

from the drop-down menu Gray in the Images/Vectors tab under Configurations. If SmartLink is licensed, color conversions of objects with embedded profiles are always performed via SmartLink to ensure the best possible quality.

Spot Color: If the PDF files contain spot colors, they remain unchanged. To convert spot colors to process colors, the spot color settings must be adjusted under Configurations > Spot Colors.

Embedding profiles: By default, no ICC device profiles are embedded in the individual elements of the output file.

SmartLink: If the SmartLink function has been licensed, color conversions of objects with embedded profiles are always performed via SmartLink and use DeviceLink profiles in order to guarantee the best possible quality.

PDF Transparencies: If a PDF file contains transparencies, the individual PDF objects are processed in exactly the same way as the PDF files without transparencies. The colors of the transparencies are converted by default and the transparency information is preserved unchanged. If required the Transparency Flattening can be set in the configuration in the PDF tab under Transparency/Overprinting.

Converting Image Data with Auto Setup

TIFF, JPEG, PSD, or PSB image data are processed in auto setup queues the same way as image data of a PDF file. The conversion is based on the settings under Images/Vectors and Document/Target.

For pure image data conversion of TIFF, JPEG, PSD and PSB images from a source color space to a target color space, it is recommended to use the Auto Setup option Direct Color Conversion to new Output Condition and select one of two options in the Automatic Setup Wizard:

Option 1: Use a previously created DeviceLink profile for the conversion of the image color space to the target color space. The DeviceLink chosen in the Automatic Setup Wizard should be set to source profile of the image, for situations where images without embedded profiles are processed. The target profile is set by the Auto Setup

For images with embedded profile and images with other color spaces not defined under Document Color Space the settings under Images/Vectors are applied. Make sure to select the proper default profiles, the desired rendering intent and make sure that the checkboxes under Apply Embedded Profiles are enabled.

Option 2: Use ICC Profiles for document color space and target color space to calculate a DeviceLink “on-the-fly” via SmartLink, which requires a license for SmartLink. Choose the desired Rendering Intent and SmartLink Method for the calculation.

When using the SmartLink option, either a DeviceLink profile is created “on-the-fly” or a stored DeviceLink profile is used depending on the setting under Profile Assignments. Store the specific profile in the table in the Profile Assignments window to ensure that a specific DeviceLink profile is applied in the configuration.

Additional information regarding image files

ZePrA supports images with 8 bit and 16 bit color depth. The color depth of the input data is preserved with the conversion unless TIFF, PSD or PSB files are saved as JPEG files under Options/Image Quality. This will result in a color depth of 8 bit since only 8 bit is possible in JPEG files. Read more about this under Configuration > Options > Image Quality. ZePrA supports layers in PSD and TIFF files. Read more about this under Configuration > Options > Photoshop PSD and TIFF Conversion.

General Information

For high-quality color conversions, the source color space of the object to be converted should be known or readable. If no suitable document color space (ICC Output Intent) is assigned to the objects of the PDF file, the conversion is performed based on the document color space selected as source profile. Be sure to select a suitable document color space, as an unsuitable document color space will affect the quality of the conversion.

In most cases, Auto Setup converts PDF files to an output color space without assigning an embedded profile to each element. The output depends on the target profile (CMYK, RGB, Gray or Multicolor).

Data containing additional spot color information is not changed in a standard queue. All color information required for PDF/X is automatically set in Auto Setup, including the definition of the target profile as an output condition.

Auto Setup is great for creating queues for common color conversions. However, if the workflow requires special adjustments, changes can be made as needed under Configurations.

In the Queues chapter, you can learn more about how to handle the hot folders created by the Auto Setup Wizard or the Queues tool.

ZePrA | Preferences

Preferences

Set Preferences for various basic settings

Preferences

Protected Mode

The Protected Mode prevents unintentional changes to configurations, queues, registration (and license) and other settings.

In Protected Mode new configurations cannot be created or existing configurations and queues cannot be edited using the Auto Setup Wizard. Importing configurations and changing the registration is also prevented. Only file processing and starting or stopping queues are possible.

If an action that is protected is to be performed deactivate the Protected Mode under Preferences.

The Protected Mode can be used with or without a password.

Set Password: Enter a secure password and confirm by entering it a second time. If a password has been set, it must be entered each time the protected mode is to be deactivated. To remove or change the password, click Reset Password.

Set password for Protected Mode

Multithreading

ZePrA works in 64-bit mode which allows the use of additional memory for simultaneous processing of multiple files. Thanks to multithreading, ZePrA supports modern multi-core CPUs and can process multiple files simultaneously. As a result PDF files are processed much faster. ZePrA uses the same number of threads as there are CPUs in the system by default. The number is shown in the number field next to Maximum Number of Threads and can be changed. However, the processing speed does not increase if you use more threads than CPUs available. It is recommended to use fewer threads so the system can use the computing power for other tasks.

Example: On a 4-core MacBook Pro with ZePrA 4 processing of 135 files with a size of 2.8 GB took 30 minutes, whereas ZePrA 6 and higher only take 7 minutes. Using 8 threads would slow down processing.

Setting the number of threads

Automatic Import - ZePrA's cloud function

When ZePrA is used on multiple computers within a company, the cloud feature Automatic Import allows sharing configurations and spot color libraries by deploying a shared folder in the cloud (DropBox, Google Drive, internal cloud) or on the internal network. The folder supports ZePrA’s spot color libraries (*.ccf files), spot colors in CxF files, ZePrA configurations (*.ccf files), and CoPrA DeviceLink settings for SmartLink (*.dlcfg and *.sicfg files).

Specifying the location for the Auto Import folder

Example: A flexo printer is continuously adding new spot colors for use in ZePrA’s spot color conversion. By saving the spot color library to the shared folder, each ZePrA installation, no matter where it is located, will automatically receive the updated file. It is important that all ZePrA applications have access to the cloud folder.

Spot Color Report

The subtitle and logo of the spot color report can be customized.

Subtitle: Adds an individual subtitle to the report.

Logo: Adds an individual logo to the report. Accepted image formats are TIFF, JPEG, or GIF in RGB color space.

Customize Spot Color Report

Job Management

In the Job Management section, you can specify when and whether or not older jobs are to be deleted from the list of processed jobs. Note that the information about these jobs is also completely removed.

Note: Deleted jobs and the associated configurations cannot be restored.

Jobs that are no longer needed can be deleted automatically

Configurations | Document and Target

Document/Target

Settings for the Conversion from Document to Target Color Space

Document/Target

Document Color Space

The document color space acts as a reference to define a uniform color space for the colors of the PDF file.

  • CMYK color spaces are usually used for print production, as CMYK colors are generally used for printing.
  • RGB document color spaces are suitable for web, mobile or multimedia applications.
  • Multicolor color spaces are often used in HiFi packaging printing or in modern digital printing.

ZePrA supports the full spectrum of color spaces (Multicolor color spaces require a corresponding Multicolor license). If there are individual RGB or CMYK objects with embedded profiles in PDF files, these are converted to the document color space by default (except in Auto Setup mode Direct Color Conversion to the new Output Condition). If necessary, this can be changed in the Images/Vectors tab. For professional print productions, the data exchange is based on the PDF/X standard.

The document color space can be defined either by the output intent of the PDF/X file or by the ICC device profile that was (most likely) used when the document was created. If the file does not contain an output intent, select an ICC device profile under Document Color Space. The color space of the selected profile is displayed next to the drop-down menu.

Prefer Output Intent

In PDF/X documents, the document color space is defined by the output intent. By activating this checkbox, the output intent of the PDF/X file is used vs. manually setting the document color space.

For non-PDF/X documents, select (in addition to the ICC device profiles of the individual PDF file objects) an ICC device profile as the document color space that defines the color space of the entire PDF document.

If Prefer Output Intent is enabled, PDF/X files with several output intents can be correctly converted in a queue because the respective output intent is considered instead of the document color space. In this case, it is recommended to work with SmartLink instead of a fixed DeviceLink profile when converting from document to target color space.

Notes:

  • This function is only suitable for PDF/X files.
  • If you have reason to believe that the output intent of a PDF/X file has been set incorrectly, specify a suitable ICC profile as the Document Color Space and uncheck the Prefer Output Intent checkbox.

PDF 2.0 Support

PDF 2.0 files can have page level output intents. In regards to color conversion, the means different pages can contain different output intents. The checkbox Prefer Output Intent in the Document/Target tab must be enabled to consider this type of output conditions for the conversion. If the checkbox is enabled all objects on each page will be converted to the Target Color Space with the settings defined under the Image/Vector and Document/Target tabs using the corresponding output intent of each page.

Disabling the checkbox ignores the page level output intents and the conversion is done for all pages using the same source ICC profile defined as Document Color Space.

Another major feature of PDF 2.0 files is the support of black point compensation in combination with the relative colorimetric rendering intent.

Target Color Space

Under Target Color Space, select the target ICC profile. If the document color space/output intent of a PDF/X file does not match the color space of the final printing process, the entire PDF file needs to be converted from the Document Color Space to the Target Color Space. For the best quality of the conversion DeviceLink profiles or SmartLink can be used.

In addition to the selected target profile, the color space of the target profile is also shown, which is especially useful for Multicolor profiles with 5, 6 or 7 channels.

Moving the mouse over the color space icon displays the channel names of the Multicolor target profile.

Setting the Target Color Space

The Target Color Space is defined by the target profile selected in the drop-down menu. If the configuration was created with Auto Setup, the selection is automatically made by selecting the target profile or a DeviceLink. If required, the target profile can be changed here.

Embed into Output File: Embeds the target profile into the file after conversion.

Maintain Output Intent: The output intent of the file is used as the target profile instead of the selected target profile. The colors are converted to the output intent instead of the selected target profile.

This function should only be used if no changes to the output intent are necessary, or when simply normalizing a PDF/X file.

Usually, it is not intended to leave the output intent unchanged during color conversion. However, if this is required, set the Output Intent PDF/X in the PDF tab to Don’t change.

Notes: If the file has no output intent, this option has no effect.

Embedded profiles in image files (TIFF, PSD, JPEG) are not regarded as output intent. Therefore, this function has no effect on image files.

Apply Correction DeviceLink Profile

Variations in printing due to new paper batches, different tone value increases, or changes in inks can be compensated for with updated profiles and Correction DeviceLinks.

Apply Correction DeviceLink Profile: This checkbox becomes available when a Correction DeviceLink profile for the target color space exists.

  1. Create a Correction DeviceLink profile with CoPrA.
  2. In ZePrA, activate the Apply Correction DeviceLink Profile checkbox under Configurations in the Document/Target tab.
  3. Click Settings and select the Correction DeviceLink profile.
  4. Embed the updated Target Profile instead of the Target Profile: Embeds the corresponding optimized target profile into the converted file. This profile then becomes the new output intent of the converted PDF file. The corrected target profile is displayed.

Note: ZePrA checks whether suitable Correction DeviceLink profiles and optimized printer profiles exist for the selected Target Color Space. Only corrected or optimized profiles are shown and can be selected after activating the Apply Correction DeviceLink Profile checkbox. If there are no Correction DeviceLink profiles, the checkbox is grayed out.

Conversion

Conversion Method
There are four conversion methods:


  1. DeviceLink Profile
    Conversion of the complete PDF document via a DeviceLink profile
    A DeviceLink profile represents a tailor-made color conversion from a defined source to a target profile. Within the ICC standard, a PSID tag can be used in the DeviceLink profile to store information regarding the source and target color spaces of the DeviceLink profile. If a DeviceLink profile has been selected, ZePrA can read its PSID tag and automatically define the profiles under Document Color Space and Target Color Space.
    Note: All ColorLogic DeviceLink Sets from profile version CoLoV3 and higher contain PSID tags.
  1. SmartLink
  1. Select SmartLink as Conversion Method (only available if licensed)
  2. Select the SmartLink Method to be used for on-the-fly calculation of DeviceLink profiles from the Document Color Space to the Target Color Space.
  3. Select the appropriate Rendering intent
  1. Device Profile
    Conversion of the PDF document with an ICC device profile
    Converts the PDF document from the Document Color Space to the Target Color Space using the ICC device profile set under Target Color Space. Select the corresponding Rendering intent.
  1. No Conversion
    The document is not converted to the Target Color Space. Other color conversions defined under Images/Vectors or Gradations or Spot Colors still take place.
    Example: A basic print-ready PDF (which does not need to be converted) still contains spot colors that must be converted to process colors. 
Rendering

General information on the design of ICC device profiles:

Rendering intents, such as Perceptual or Relative Colorimetric with CMYK profiles, contain large tables which convert either CMYK color values to Lab or Lab color values to CMYK.

Due to the two color conversion directions, there are two tables for each rendering intent. The tables are calculated from the measurement data when a color profile is generated.

If ICC device profiles are calculated from the same measurement data – but with different profiling programs – then the tables generated can differ considerably in some color ranges.

This is especially true for the two tables of the Perceptual intent, for the gray balance and also for areas with very high color saturation in the two tables of the Relative Colorimetric intent (also called “Out of Gamut” colors).

For optimal and harmonious color conversion, it is recommended (especially with CMYK-to-CMYK color conversions) to ensure the source and target profiles were calculated with the same profiling software.

Profiles from different providers (such as Adobe, ECI, or ColorLogic) are often used in practice, which can lead to problems in color conversions based on the perceptive rendering intent.

These problems can be avoided by using SmartLink.

The SmartLink module uses the source profiles embedded in PDF or image data and automatically calculates the DeviceLink profile required for conversion between source and target for each object and applies it at the object level. The main conversion from the document color space to the target color space is also carried out via SmartLink. SmartLink is ideal for processing external data from a wide variety of sources to ensure optimum color accuracy (via DeviceLinks).

There are five additional Rendering Intents for SmartLinks

Additional SmartLink Rendering Intents

The SmartLink module provides five additional rendering intents to avoid problematic color conversions, which can result from tables calculated differently  for source and target profiles.

To ensure precise color conversions, ZePrA completely recalculates the conversion of source and target profiles on-the-fly. The algorithms are the same as in ColorLogic’s CoPrA profiling software.

Note: These additional rendering intents are only available with SmartLink enabled. If the checkbox Use SmartLink is not activated or SmartLink has not been licensed, only the four standard rendering intents will be available.

Standard Compression: For conversions involving different gamut sizes. Calculates a perceptual conversion for input and target profiles that is suitable for all types of gamuts. The appearance of the gray axis always depends on the paper white of the target profile. With CMYK data on a very yellowish paper, the gray axis of the converted file also looks yellowish. The same grey axis will look bluish on a bluish paper.
 The Standard Compression considers different gamut sizes. For very small color gamuts (newspaper printing), the dark tones are slightly raised to achieve more definition in these areas.

Black Point Compensation: Use Black Point Compensation to achieve the same results with a perceptive conversion as with “Relative Colorimetric with Black Point Compensation”. When converting from large to small color spaces, the image definition is preserved in the highlights and shadows, unlike with a pure Relative Colorimetric conversion. Neutral tones are converted using the colorimetric intent. Out-of-gamut colors are cut off.

Absolute Compression: For conversions where the color gamuts are similar but the paper tones are very different. In contrast to the Standard Compression and Black Point Compensation, the gray balance compensates for the paper color. This ensures that the color impression of the original file is preserved in the best possible way on a target medium with a different paper color. This method also raises shadow (darker) areas when using small color gamuts.

The gray axis of a source color space will look largely identical to the original after conversion (for example, on a yellowish or bluish paper).

Dynamic Compression: Compares the source color space with the target color space and generates a compression that minimizes out-of-gamut areas. This setting preserves the brightness of the original color space while reducing the saturation, and therefore also preserves the image definition. As for the Standard Compression, the gray axis of the conversion is built relative to the paper white of the target profile.

Minimum Compression: This method is mostly similar to the absolute colorimetric intent and only compensates close to the black and the white point. Maximum shadow contrast will be achieved, image definition will be preserved, and the paper white will not be simulated. Use this rendering intent if you would like to obtain a very close reproduction, for example, when using print standards like ISO Coated V2 or GRACoL2006 Coated1v2 on a digital printer.

Note: Remember that the target color space should be larger than the simulated color space (or similarly large) to avoid loss of detail and vividness (similar to the absolute colorimetric rendering intent). For conversions from large to small color spaces, instead use our rendering intent Absolute Compression if the gray balance of the source color space is to be preserved.

Important: To ensure that an on-the-fly DeviceLink profile created with SmartLink uses the rendering intent set under Configurations > Images/Vectors, select the checkbox Ignore PDF Rendering Intents in the Options tab.

SmartLink Method

The SmartLink function uses the ICC device profiles set in ZePrA, or embedded in images and PDF files, to create DeviceLink profiles on-the-fly. Supported color space combinations include:

  • RGB-to-CMYK
  • CMYK-to-CMYK
  • CMYK-to-RGB
  • Gray-to-Gray
  • Gray-to-RGB
  • Gray-to-CMYK
  • CMYK-to-Gray
  • CMYK-to-Multicolor
  • RGB-to-Multicolor
  • Multicolor-to-Multicolor

Define SmartLink Conversions

The SmartLink Method considers the specific requirements of different printing conditions so the printed color is correctly reproduced and optimally separated for the printing process.

Traditional Printing – Classic: Conversions for offset, gravure, or newspaper printing. The DeviceLinks created ensure that black and gray, as well as the primary, secondary and triplex hues of the source profile, are preserved. The total area coverage is taken from the target profile.

Traditional Printing – Automatic: Select this setting when the colors and paper of the target color space are significantly different from the output intent or document color space. Separation is preserved, but Exceptions for special colors such as black and gray, primary, secondary, and triplex colors are automatically calculated based on both profiles.

Large Format Printing – Inkjet: The separation is characterized by a strong GCR and a late black start. The black point and total area coverage are automatically calculated to ensure the best color reproduction. The Exceptions for special colors, such as black and gray, primary, secondary, and triplex hues, are automatically calculated based on both profiles. To avoid problems that can occur when colors vary between different inkjet printers or between the inkjet printer and the source color space (as with ISOcoated V2 or GRACol), the Large Format Printing – Inkjet method automatically calculates the required exceptions in these cases.

Digital Printing – Toner: For toner-based digital printers and office printers. This method uses the same DeviceLink presets for Exceptions as Large Format Printing – Inkjet. The separation method ensures that a high percentage of black is used. This will achieve a stable print and neutral gray balance. The total area coverage is taken from the target profile. The Exceptions for special colors, such as black and gray, primary, secondary, and triplex hues, are automatically calculated based on both profiles.

Note: All methods that automatically calculate Exceptions can result in grey, primaries, and secondaries being built with multiple colors, which can lead to overprinting problems in complex PDF files. If SmartLink has not been licensed, the Auto Setup Wizard creates configurations differently to avoid overprinting problems. Without a SmartLink license, CMYK objects with embedded profiles are treated like objects without profiles and are converted with the selected DeviceLink profile.

If one of the four mentioned standard SmartLink methods has been selected, no further SmartLink settings are necessary.

TAC Reduction: Reduces the total amount of ink applied while maintaining color perception. This method is only available if the CMYK profiles for the Document Color Space and the Target Color Space are identical.

The required maximum ink application can then be specified in percent under Settings. By default, the TAC settings are read from the profile of the Target Color Space.

SaveInk: Reduces overall ink application while maintaining color perception. This method is only available if the CMYK profiles for the Document Color Space and the Target Color Space are identical. Predefined methods can be selected under Settings. With Import, you can also import your customized settings created (and exported) with CoPrA. SaveInk requires ZePrA XL or higher, or a SaveInk and SmartLink license.

SaveNeutral: Moderately increases the amount of black in neutral color areas. Ideal for print shops looking for a quick introduction to saving ink and wanting to gain practical experience. These profiles primarily stabilize the printing process and are less suitable for saving large quantities of ink.

SaveStrong: The black portion is significantly increased. This is aimed at print shops that have control of their printing process in accordance with standardization and are looking for high ink savings, but still want to leave room for adjustments on the press.

SaveMaximum: Maximizes the amount of black and provides the greatest ink savings. Mainly suitable for print shops that have successfully implemented standards and control them completely.

Custom: Enables the Settings button, allowing to customize all color space settings.

Under Settings > SmartLink Settings, specify how to convert to the Target Color Space. This includes the conversion from the Document Color Space as well as from Images/Vectors to the Target Color Space.

Pre-defined methods or custom methods created by CoPrA can be selected for all color space conversions. Import can also be used to import custom settings created (and exported) by CoPrA.

Using CoPrA’s DeviceLink Settings in ZePrA

Due to the close connection between CoPrA (ColorLogic’s profiling solution) and our color server ZePrA, the profile settings from CoPrA can be used to calculate DeviceLink profiles in ZePrA.

Detailed information on how to share CoPrA’s DeviceLink settings with ZePrA can be found under Share with ZePrA.