ZePrA | Automation EN

Automation and Connectivity

Job Control Files – Command Line Interface – Auto Import Folder – Enfocus Switch Integration – Push-2-ZePrA

Automation and Connectivity

ZePrA’s automation capabilities allow for complex workflows with dynamic changes on a job-by-job basis.

One of ZePrA’s greatest quality is its versatility:

  • ZePrA can be used as stand-alone color sever or connected to other workflows.
  • ZePrA can be operated via the user interface or completely faceless via the Command Line interface (CLI).
  • The Push-2-ZePrA Adobe Photoshop extension allows color converting image files – selected in Photoshop – with ZePrA, without having to leave Photoshop.
  • Multiple ZePrA instances in larger organizations can all share a common folder – the Auto Import folder – to connect to each other and share configurations, spot color libraries and profiles to synchronize each other.
  • ZePrA Connector launched in cooperation with sister company HYBRID Software and links ZePrA with CLOUDFLOW enterprise packaging software.
  • The Enfocus Switch ZePrA configurator allows ZePrA to be integrated into more complex workflows. Integration with the Impressed Workflow Server (IWS) is also possible.
  • With Job Control Files almost every function in ZePrA can be controlled remotely without the need to intervene in ZePrA’s user interface. Job Control Files are XML or JSON files with ZePrA commands and are placed in the Input folder of a ZePrA Queue or used as argument in a command line

 

Push-2-ZePrA

Push-2-ZePrA is an Adobe Photoshop extension that allows color converting an image file selected in Photoshop with ColorLogic’s color server ZePrA from Photoshop.

Depending on the color server settings high quality color conversions with DeviceLink profiles will be performed leading to better color rendering of images than typical color conversion with Photoshop. Even spot colors can be converted if the selected ZePrA configuration is set up accordingly. The converted file will be opened up in Photoshop so that you do not need to leave Photoshop in order to get the best possible color converted images.

Detailed Information is available on the Push-2-ZePrA page.

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.

Files (such as ICC profiles, configurations, spot color libraries, gradations or SmartLink settings) that are moved or copied into the Auto Import folder are transferred to ZePrA’s internal dataset and can then be used by ZePrA.

When the file in the Auto Import folder is replaced by a newer version, it will be updated in ZePrA’s internal datasets as well.

Note: If a file in the Auto Import folder is deleted, it is not deleted in ZePrA’s internal dataset. For example if a SmartLink setting has been deleted in the Auto Import folder, it is still available in ZePrA’s internal dataset and if this setting is deleted in ZePrA’s dataset, it is still available in the Auto Import folder.

HYBRID CLOUDFLOW Integration

CLOUDFLOW Colorspace

Launched in partnership with sister company HYBRID Software, CLOUDFLOW Colorspace delivers state-of-the-art spectral color predictions for CLOUDFLOW enterprise packaging software. CLOUDFLOW Colorspace is based on ZePrA and uses ZePrA’s innovative technologies for spot color calculations and color conversions.

CLOUDFLOW’s modular production workflow suite is tailor made for the label and packaging industry and offers file processing, asset management, soft proofing and workflow automation tools.

CLOUDFLOW Colorspace is driven seamlessly from CLOUDFLOW and supplies automatic color optimizations for enhanced spot color performance, cost optimizations linked to Extended Color Gamut printing and ink-saving technology, and improved press uptime and performance through reduced waste and energy usage.

Elevate color capabilities with CLOUDFLOW Colorspace:

  • State-of-the-art spectral color predictions
  • Drive ZePrA in an easy to use and configurable UI within CLOUDFLOW
  • Unlock cost optimisations with Extended Color Gamut printing and ink saving technology
  • Color targeted for your unique printing condition
  • Tight integration into your unique business processes
  • Automated decision analysis of spot color performance
  • Routing flexibility to conventional and digital printing

Learn more about CLOUDFLOW at cloudflow.hybridsoftware.com.

About HYBRID Software

With offices in Belgium, Germany, US, UK, Spain, France, Italy, and China plus a global partner network, HYBRID Software is an enterprise software development company focused on innovative productivity tools for the graphic arts industry.

HYBRID Software’s CLOUDFLOW workflow, PACKZ and STEPZ editors, and print quality solutions offer a unique set of advantages that include native PDF workflows, enterprise cloud solutions, scalable technology with low cost of ownership, and direct integration with leading MIS solutions and output devices. These products are used by thousands of customers worldwide in all areas of prepress and print, including labels and packaging, folding cartons, corrugated, wide format and digital printing. HYBRID Software is a subsidiary of Hybrid Software Group.

www.hybridsoftware.com

Contact: marketing@hybridsoftware.com

Enfocus Switch Integration

Working with Enfocus Switch

Even for highly advanced and efficiently configured applications like ZePrA, there are still application scenarios where special file treatment or an additional approval step for optimized PDF files make sense. This particularly applies to print providers and printing companies who receive PDF data from numerous customers that have been produced in a variety of different ways. The combination of ZePrA with Enfocus Switch and a preflighting solution has proven to be very successful for this kind of application.

Job Control Files

Job Control Files are XML or JSON files containing ZePrA commands and are placed in the Input folder of a ZePrA queue or used as an argument in a command line. With the Job Control Files almost every function in ZePrA can be controlled remotely without the need to intervene in ZePrA’s user interface. The Job Control File feature can also be used independently from the CLI in regular ZePrA operations.

The working principle of Job Control Files is explained in the video below.

To get started, we have compiled a few Job Control Files examples that can be used to familiarize yourself with the functionality and the application (Download here).

The technical documentation on Configuration Options and Job Control File File format can be downloaded as PDF.

For 3rd parties intending to parse and use the information provided in the ZePrA Job Report, the ZePrA_JobProperties.pdf file is available, which contains a description of the ZePrA Job Properties in JSON format.

Using Job Control Files with the ZePrA CLI and the ZePrA GUI

ZePrA Job Control Files

This section describes the usage of Job Control Files with the ZePrA CLI and the ZePrA GUI. The content and format of Job Control Files are specified in detail in JobControlFileFormat.pdf and ConfigurationOptions.pdf.

Basics

  • Job Control File is an XML or JSON file
  • Job Control File can be processed using the CLI (via command line) or the ZePrA user interface (via Queues)
  • The Job Control File contains information about the input file, the desired output file and the to be used configuration and options

Configuration

The configuration can be specified in three ways:

  1. Name of an existing configuration plus options. A temporary copy of the existing configuration is modified with the options and the file is processed with the resulting configuration.
  2. Auto setup plus options. A temporary configuration is created with auto setup and modified with the options and the file is processed with the resulting configuration.
  3. Pure options. A temporary configuration is created “from scratch” based on the options and the file is processed with the resulting configuration. In this case, the options completely define the configuration.

In any case, creation or modification of configurations are only temporary and have no effect on the saved settings of ZePrA.

Input file

The input file can be specified in different ways:

  • full path
  • relative path (also a pure file name)
  • The input file is a file with the same base name and same path as the Job Control File. That means, if the Job Control File is “test.xml”, ZePrA looks for a file name “test.pdf”, test.tif”, etc. at the same location.

Output file

The output file can be specified in different ways:

  • full path
  • file name without path
  • default

Reporting

  • In the Job Properties (e.g. available in the Overview dialog of ZePrA via right click on a processed job) in section Processing there is an entry Job Control File containing the Job Control File file name.

Queues (GUI only)

  • Job Control File are not supported with drag & drop
  • For hot folder queues, the Waiting time for Job Control Files can be activated with a checkbox in the Define Queues settings in the Options
  • In the Pending Jobs list on the Overview dialog, the target file name defined in the Job Control File is shown in the first place. The name of the Job Control File is displayed in brackets as additional information.
  • When a Job Control File arrives in a hot folder queue, ZePrA waits a certain time until the target file completely arrives. After the time elapsed an error is displayed.
  • When a PDF, TIFF, … file arrives in a hot folder queue, ZePrA waits a certain time until a Job Control File arrives, which is recognized as belonging to the target file. When the time elapsed, one of the following happens, depending on the queue settings:
    • the file is processed as usual
    • the file is processed as usual, and a yellow job warning is generated
    • a job error occurs, and the file is placed in the Error folder

  • After processing, the Job Control File is removed from the Input folder and moved into the Done folder
  • The location of the output file depends on the input file and other settings in the Job Control File.

Command Line Interface – CLI

There are two ways of using a Job Control File with the CLI:

  1. Placing the Job Control File as argument of the -j option:
    zcmd -j <job control file> <inputfile> -o <outputfile>
    The file is converted using the configuration specified in the Job Control File.
    The Job Control File should not specify “Input File” and “Output File”.
  2. Placing the Job Control File on the command line (without using -j):
    zcmd <job control file>
    The Job Control File should contain “Input File” and “Output File”.

ZePrA | Spot Color Iteration (ZePrA 9 and higher)

Spot Color Iteration

Iterate spot colors to improve or maintain quality

Iterate Spot Colors

Spot Color Iteration is a process that involves printing of the spot colors converted from ZePrA on the printer to be used for the print job, followed by measuring test charts and optimizing the color differences (expressed in deltaE2000) until the measured deltaE values are within the desired tolerances. Printing the test chart and applying the Iterate Spot Colors feature once only already results in an improved spot color rendering which is usually close to the optimum of this printer.

Why can spot color iteration be required?

First of all, be assured that ZePrA already calculates the best possible spot color conversion based on the target profile set under Configuration/Target Color Space. However, printers, inks and papers drift over time so that there are always some deviations from the state the printer was profiled. During spot color iteration we measure how converted spot colors are actually printed in the current state, and subsequently optimize the deltaE2000 values. The iteration report shows which colors are improved and where restrictions based on the color gamut or the spot color Calculation Method occur so they can’t be optimized further or if additional iteration steps are recommendable.

Procedure

Open the Spot Color Iteration Wizard, either from:

  1. The Spot Colors tab under Configurations (Configurations > Spot Colors > Iterate at the bottom of the window).

  2. The Tools menu (Tools > Spot Color Iteration).

  3. Alternatively, if a job with spot colors has been converted via a queue and the associated configuration is set to Convert Spot Colors, the Spot Color Iteration Wizard can be started by right-clicking on this job in the Processed Jobs section of the Overview window and selecting Spot Color Iteration.

Note: A spot color module license is required to use the tool.

The Spot Color Iteration Wizard dialog consists of two tabs, the Current Iteration and the Archive tabs. The Current Iteration tab contains the actual iteration wizard and typically, if a configuration is selected that has not yet been iterated, the wizard is started directly there. The Archive tab contains all the iteration steps that have been carried out, including all the evaluation details.

The wizard guides the user through the iteration process in seven steps:

Step 1: First, select the Configuration you would like to use for printing. The option Convert Spot Colors must be enabled in this configuration.

Notes: When the Spot Color Iteration Wizard is started via Processed Jobs of the Overview, the Configuration is already preselected.
The best approach for the iteration of spot colors is to set the Calculation Method to Precise Match or Visual Match in the respective Configuration.
The setting Use the least Amount of Channels may be insufficient for iterating spot colors. Importantly, spot color iteration will not work when the spot color conversion is set to Convert using Alternate Color Space from PDF.

Step 2: Select the source of the spot colors you would like to optimize. You can either choose a PDF or Image File with spot colors or an entire spot color Library.

Note: When the Spot Color Iteration Wizard is started via Processed Jobs of the Overview, the Job (PDF or image file) is already preselected.

Step 3: Select one or more spot colors for iteration. All spot colors of the job, PDF or image file will be automatically extracted and displayed. Disable the colors that are not to be iterated. By default all spot colors are preselected.

Step 4: Choose to Create a Test Chart or to measure the full tones of spot colors from an existing print (Don’t create Test Chart).
Create a Test Chart: Creates a test chart with the spot colors selected in the previous step. Select an Instrument Setting and click on Save to enable the Continue button.

Don’t create Test Chart: Some prints contain control patches of spot colors that can be used for measuring. Larger areas in the design that contain the 100% tone of a spot color can also be used.

Note: The test chart contains the converted spot colors as given in the Configuration using the conversion settings and Calculation Method defined in the tab Spot Colors.

Step 5: Measure the printed spot colors. When using the test chart, it must be printed on the printer without any color management and can be measured after drying.
Measure: Starts the Measure Tool. You do not need to worry about the reference file and layout, as this is already preselected within the Measure Tool. Instructions on how to select your device and make measurements can be found under Measure.

Load: If you have created a test chart you can use the associated exported reference file and measure your printed chart with a different measurement tool. Make sure that the measurements are saved in standard file formats that can be read by ZePrA, such as CGATS TXT, XML or CXF3. The external measurement files can be loaded using the Load button.

Once the measurement data has been transmitted from Measure Tool or loaded from external sources, and it conforms to the printed chart which is indicated by a green check mark, you can proceed by clicking Continue.

Note: When loading measurement data that does not match the chart layout or the corresponding patches in the reference file, you are alerted by a warning message and cannot proceed to the next step.

Step 6: The evaluation results of the measurements of each spot color are displayed in comparison to the reference Lab values of the original spot colors. In addition to the DeltaE2000 (dE00) and DeltaE76 values, a Status information text is also displayed, either in green, yellow or orange. The Legend below the table explains the indication colors and status information.

Green: The spot color match is less than 1 dE00 and a perfect match is achieved. Further optimization is then no longer required. 

Yellow: The spot color match is less than 2 dE00 but higher than 1 dE00 and the Status column indicates that the match can further be improved.

Orange:  The spot color has a higher deviation than 2 dE00 and the Status column indicates that the match can further be improved.

If a color is not optimizable or out-of-gamut, it can not be improved which is indicated in the Status information column, too.

ZePrA preselects one of the two options (Apply Optimization or Don’t apply Optimization) depending on the evaluation results. However, the preselection can be overridden and another iteration cycle can be applied if the results are to be improved even further. To do this, select the Apply Optimization radio button and click Continue. Alternatively, if you just need the measurements for evaluation select the Don’t apply Optimization radio button.

Step 7: The concluding step of the iteration cycle contains three options and a checkbox to choose from. Based on the previous results, the wizard already preselects a logical option for you to follow:

  1. Optimize Spot Colors again: Runs another iteration cycle, for example, to check whether a previously iterated spot color successfully passes the evaluation. If you select this radio button and click Continue, a new iteration cycle starts with step 1 and the selection of the spot colors to be optimized.
  2. View the evaluation results in the Archive tab: If you have already completed several iterations or would like to see the evaluation results once more, select this option. When you click Continue, the Archive tab opens.
  3. Close this dialog: If the evaluation results are fine or if you want to end the iteration process you can simply select Close this dialog and by clicking Continue the iteration is ended. 

The checkbox Repeat Job works independently from the three radio buttons. If it is enabled when clicking Continue the last job is converted again with the configuration. This is especially helpful if the spot colors of that last job have been optimized by the wizard which in turn optimizes the spot color settings in the configuration to improve the spot color rendering. 

You will find the optimized device values (Output values) in the table of the tab Spot Colors under Configuration. They will be marked as Iterated in the column Information of the table. 

Archive

All data created during the iteration – such as test charts, reference data and measurement data, as well as the report – are stored in an internal database in addition to the save location defined by the user.

Therefore, if data is deleted from the save location it can still be restored from the internal database any time via the Archive tab. Users can stop an iteration process and even close the Spot Color Iteration Wizard dialog at any time and can revert back to the last completed step with the help of the information stored in the Archive.

The Archive tab shows all iteration steps and evaluation details. The History table contains a list of all iterations. More information for the selected iteration step is displayed under Details.

The columns of the History table show the iteration step number #, the maximum DeltaE00 value dE00 (max), the average DeltaE00 value dE00 (avg), the Status of the selected iteration step. It also shows some Information about the iteration process itself, such as Optimization applied, when the measurements done from the printed test chart have actually been used to iterate a spot color, or Evaluation measurement, when the measurements have been used for evaluation only and have not been used to iterate a spot color.

In addition, the iteration process (being performed in the Current Iteration tab) can be discontinued, which is indicated with various messages such as Next step: save chart, Next step: measure or load data, Next step: Evaluate.

Right clicking on an iteration step in the History displays a context menu with the following options:

Save Chart: Exports the test chart into a file selected by the user. The test chart is not newly created but only copied from the internal database. This implies that the file selection only supports the file type initially chosen by the user.

Save Reference Data: Exports the reference data that belongs to the test chart into a file selected by the user.

Save Measurement Data: Exports the measurement data into a file selected by the user.

Save Report: Saves a report containing all Details displayed on the right and the full information about each spot color. This is useful to identify colors with the highest or lowest deltaE values, or colors which are out of gamut. The report is explained in more detail below.

Revert to state before: This is only available for iterations with the status applied. Reverts back to the state before this iteration, giving the previous iteration, if any, the applied state. The status changes to evaluation measurement. All subsequent items are deleted.

Revert to state after: This is only available for iterations with the status applied. Proceeds to the state after this iteration step, making it the active iteration. The status of a next iteration, if available, would be evaluation measurement. All subsequent items after the next iteration are deleted.

Apply Optimization: This is only available for iterations with the status evaluation measurement. It can be used for evaluation measurements that have not been applied in the iteration process itself. Use this option if you want to apply an iteration later on.

Evaluation Results

The Evaluation Results shown under Details are always the evaluations of the previous step. This means, if an iteration has been applied in step 1, the evaluation results shown under Details for the selected step 1 are the values before the iteration has actually been applied. Therefore, in order to see the results of the first iteration a second step is necessary. The evaluation results shown for that second step are actually the iteration results of the first iteration step, and so on. This offers the possibility to use the results of an iteration itself for a second iteration. But again, another measurement step is needed to find out if this iteration actually improved the result.

The Report

By right-clicking on an iteration step in the left table, a report can be created for this step which can be saved in various formats such as PDF, HTML, XML and TXT. The PDF and HTML formats are the most common versions for end users, while the other formats are more intended for automation and usage in other systems such as a MIS (Management Information System). The following is a description of the PDF report.

The Report contains all information about the spot color Name, the device values generated by ZePrA (displayed in the color space of the target profile) and the measured Lab values as well as the dE2000 and dE76 deviations from the reference Lab values of the spot color and the Status. Under Status it is displayed whether the respective spot color has been well matched (less than 1 deltaE2000) and whether it can still be optimized. If the match of a spot color is smaller than 2 dE00 but larger than 1 dE00 and the match can be further improved, then it is displayed in yellow in the Status column. Finally, spot colors with a deviation higher than 2 dE00 will be highlighted in orange. If a color cannot be optimized or is out-of-gamut, it cannot be improved, which is also displayed in the Status information. The Legend below the table explains additional information messages that can be displayed.

Video Tutorial: Spot Color Iteration Wizard

ZePrA | Apply Photoshop color corrections to PDF files

Apply Photoshop color corrections to PDF files

In some applications it is not possible to use measurement based DeviceLink profiles. This is true, for example, if a customer brings print data and a print that should be as accurate as possible in the production run without a correct proof. If you view the print data on a monitor with a soft proof of the print standard for the production run, clear deviations from the print that you have brought with you can become visible.

In this case you could either print outside the standard and try to recreate the default – either by making gradation corrections in ZePrA or by using the capabilities of the printing press – or print inside the standard by applying Photoshop corrections to the PDF file. The latter has the advantage that you can proof the color-corrected data according to the standard and have it approved by the customer. This procedure requires an experienced Photoshop user and CoPrA’s Editing tool.

For a test with production data the demo version of the programs can also be used. To do this, meaningful objects must be combined from the existing PDF data into one file in Photoshop and combined with CoPrA’s test chart (EditTarget). This test file is then corrected under softproof conditions on the monitor. The edited image is imported into CoPrA and the corrections are taken into account in the created DeviceLink profile.

Then the DeviceLink profile can be used in ZePrA to correct the color of the original PDF data. If necessary, the corrections can be approved by the customer on a proof before printing. The printer can work as usual according to standard and reach the proof reliably.

The individual steps are described in detail in the chapter How to create DeviceLink profiles with edited charts in the CoPrA Help.

ZePrA | Proofing

Proofing

Color-consistent simulation of the printing result

Proofing

ZePrA’s sophisticated technology – e.g. the quality of DeviceLink and SmartLink profiles and the spot color rendering of its advanced spot color module – can be used for proofing as well. This is especially useful as many RIPs do not support CxF/X-4 data and SCTV calibration nor have a spectral color prediction model for spot color rendering.

The Proofing tab under Configuration contains all Media wedge settings and the Proofing Information label.

Media Wedges

Two types of media wedges can be used:

  1. Media Wedge in Simulation Color Space: Can be used to determine the accuracy of the proof. This media wedge is converted based on the color management setting defined in the various configuration tabs.
  2. Media Wedge in Proofer Color Space: Allows using a second media wedge that is not color managed. It must be in the color space of the proofer and can be used to determine the stability of the proof printer.

Choose a Media Wedge.The media wedge is added outside the document’s media box to verify the proof. This can either be a dynamic or an external media wedge.

Dynamic Media Wedge: Uses the color space information of the simulation color space and dynamically adds all spot colors of the documents to be processed. The required reference files for measuring the wedges are created on-the-fly by ZePrA. They will be saved in the Folder for Report and other Data folder of the proofing queue that has automatically been set up by the Auto Setup Wizard.

Note: Currently, a maximum of 32 channels is supported for dynamic media wedges.

The reference files for dynamic media wedges contain both the device values (DCS values) and the target Lab values. The target Lab values are also calculated for the spot colors of the job and incorporated into the reference file in addition to the color values of the document color space. This is done according to the settings under Configurations > Options (solid tone only or gradation values as well) and Configurations > Spot Colors.

The measured values obtained can then be immediately compared to the target Lab values (e.g. in ColorAnt/Compare or Evaluate). Use these reference files in appropriate tools, such as ColorAnt’s Measure Tool, for measuring.

Note: Reference files are not created when the report folder Folder for Report and other Data is missing. If an existing queue is to be used for proofing, it must be verified that the folder for reports exists. If necessary, it must be created manually so that a reference file can be created. If this folder is missing, the reference file cannot be created.​

Reference files are created for each job in the queue and named as follows:

Jobname_DynamicMediaWedgeReferenceSource
Jobname_DynamicMediaWedgeReferenceTarget

If dynamic media wedges are selected for source and target color spaces, two reference files for each job will be created.

Note: If the same job is run again, the reference file will be overwritten. This means that if the spot color patches are changed under Options, a modified reference file is saved, and any previous conversion with the reference file with a different number of patches is lost.
The use of spot colors for the dynamic media wedge can be defined under Options 

Media Wedge from File: Can be media wedges such as the FOGRA, UGRA, Idealliance* or other media wedges. For external media wedges, the corresponding reference file is required to measure the printed wedge. Measurements can be done with any proof evaluation software or with ColorAnt’s Measure Tool.

*The IDEAlliance ISO 12647-7 Control Wedge 2013 is included in ZePrA and available under /Users/Shared/ColorLogic/MediaWedges (Idealliance ISO 12647-7: 2013, 3-Row Digital Control Wedge ® is a registered trademark of the Idealliance).

Note: A separate ColorAnt license is required to use the measurement and comparison features.

Proofing Information: Enabling this checkbox will add text information which are in accordance with ISO 12647-7 such as information about the job, date and time, conversion settings and the software used. The information that will be added to the converted file can be verified and edited in the text field. For editing switch to Custom.

Frame: Adds a frame around the Proofing Information.

Logo: Inserts the logo specified in the Preferences into the Proofing Information.

Position: The two media wedges and the proofing information label can be positioned independently on the converted document. For each of these 3 elements, the user can specify where it should be placed. Positioning options are: Automatic, Bottom Margin, Right Margin, Top Margin, Left Margin. The elements are placed outside the media box of the document according to this setting. This results in an enlarged media box in the converted document. Automatic is suggested as default settings for all 3 elements to make sure that they are placed together on the converted job.

Options: General settings and settings for Dynamic Media Wedges can be defined under Options.

Media Wedge Options

General

Font Size: Defines the font size used for the proofing information label in points.

White Space: Allows the placement of margins on media wedges by entering a user-defined distance in mm. By default, a white space of 15 mm is added. This ensures that enough white space is added on the left and right of the placed media wedges which some instruments need for correct measuring. The White Space margin applies both to external and dynamic media wedges.
Note: If the external media wedge already has a margin, we recommend entering 0 mm as White Space. As a rule of thumb, the white space in millimeters for dynamic media wedges should be at least the size of the Patch Width. The white space of the Media Wedge in Simulation Color Space is color managed whereas the white space of the Media Wedge in Proofer Color Space is not.

Place on every page: For multi-page PDF files media wedges can be placed on each page. By disabling the checkbox media wedges will be placed on the first page of the PDF only.

Dynamic Media Wedges

Defines the Default Chart Width, the Patch Width and the Patch Height of the dynamic wedge.

Gap Size: To separate individual patches. Select the width in mm. When using the Auto option, gaps of 0.5 mm are added between patches.

Patch Distribution: Defines the distribution of patches on the media wedge.

  • Randomize: Color patches are distributed randomly.
  • Normal: Color patches are distributed as specified in the reference file.
  • Sorted: Color patches are sorted from light to dark.

Patches per Spot Color: Defines whether spot colors are to be used in the dynamic media wedge and, if so, whether tints are to be used.

  • None: No spot color is added to the dynamic wedge.
  • Solid Tone: Only the solid tone of each spot color in the job is used in the dynamic wedge.
  • 3 Patches: Uses the following patches for each spot color: 100%, 70%, 40%.
  • 5 Patches: Uses the following patches for each spot color: 100%, 70%, 40%, 20%, 10%.

Exclude Colors from dynamic wedges: Spot colors are used in documents for various reasons besides printing purposes, e.g. to illustrate the DIE cut lines, or varnish, braille or other nonprinting elements. Obviously, those colors are not to be used in the dynamic media wedge. To avoid using them in media wedges, create a library (or more if needed) containing all spot colors to be excluded and select it (or them) from the list under Exclude Colors from dynamic wedges. This list contains all spot color libraries managed by ZePrA. Enable the checkboxes of only those libraries which contain the colors to be excluded.

The selected libraries containing the colors to be excluded are also applied to spot colors of external media wedges. Typically, if the Document Color Space is Multicolor, ZePrA assigns the channels of the Document Color Space to the channels of the media wedge. This is intended in most cases, e.g. if a 7C media wedge with generic channel names is used for a 7C Document Color Space in such a way that the channels are associated. However, this is not intended in case a spot color White is to be used as 5th channel and the 5th channel in the Multicolor profile of the Document Color Space is called Orange (for example). To retain the white spot colors an exclusion library which contains White as non-printing color can be selected.

Video Tutorial

How to Use the Proof Evaluation Tool in ColorAnt in combination with ZePrA

Learn step-by-step how to use the Proof Evaluation tool in ColorAnt for the evaluation of a proofing media wedge created with ZePrA. In this example, we will be demonstrating the special feature of ZePrA to create a dynamic media wedge using process and spot colors and how to use the supplied reference data from ZePrA for evaluation of a Contract Proof.

ZePrA | Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting

Detect and resolve errors

Overview

To prevent errors and problems when processing files, ZePrA checks configurations and hot folders as well as settings and licenses.

If errors or problems are detected, an error message appears in the lower left of the ZePrA window.

If you click on this message, the error is displayed. If several errors are detected, a list of all errors is displayed.

Another click on the corresponding message opens the Troubleshooting dialog, which lists possible solutions to the problem found, which can then be applied to resolve the error.

Causes of errors

Errors can occur, for example, if certain profiles (or spot color libraries) are used in a configuration without embedding them in the configuration, and this configuration is then transferred to a computer on which these profiles (or spot color libraries) are not available. It is then not possible to process files with this configuration.

But certain combinations in the settings can also cause problems.

ZePrA therefore checks:

  • Configurations
  • Settings
  • Hotfolder (all required folders must be available)
  • Profiles (all required profiles must be available on the computer)
  • Gradation curves (all required gradation curves must be available on the computer)
  • Licenses (all required licenses must be available on the computer, depending on the job this can be SmartLink, Multicolor, spot color or SaveInk licenses)
  • Spot color libraries (all required spot color libraries must be available on the computer)

Troubleshooting

In the Troubleshooting dialog, the identified problem is described and options for solving the problem are suggested.

Some problems can occur in multiple configurations and can be solved immediately for all affected configurations, for example, when using the Perceptual Rendering intent in combination with SmartLink.

Click on the message to open the Troubleshooting dialog. Here, by selecting the Solve the issue automatically checkbox, you can switch all affected configurations to Standard Compression without having to change each configuration individually.

ZePrA | Push 2 ZePrA

Push-2-ZePrA

Process PSD files directly from Photoshop

What is Push-2-ZePrA ?

Push-2-ZePrA is an Adobe Photoshop extension that allows color converting an image file selected in Photoshop with ColorLogic’s color server ZePrA from Photoshop. Depending on the color server settings high quality color conversions with DeviceLink profiles will be performed leading to better color rendering of images than typical color conversion with Photoshop. Even spot colors can be converted if the selected ZePrA configuration is set up accordingly. The converted file will be opened up in Photoshop so that you do not need to leave Photoshop in order to get the best possible color converted images.

Push-2-ZePrA System Requirements

System Requirements for Push-2-ZePrA version 3

  • macOS 10.15 and higher
  • Windows 10 and higher
  • Adobe Photoshop CC 2021 and higher.
  • ZePrA 11
  • Supported file formats: TIFF, JPEG, PSD and PSB
  • Unsupported file formats: PNG, PDF and EPS
  • On macOS systems with M1/M2 Apple Silicon processors make sure that you start Photoshop via Rosetta. The Push-2-ZePrA extension does not run natively on M1/M2 chips.

System Requirements for Push-2-ZePrA version 1 and 2

  • macOS 10.13 and higher
  • Windows 8 and higher
  • Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 and higher.
  • Supported file formats: TIFF, JPEG, PSD and PSB
  • Unsupported file formats: PNG, PDF and EPS
  • On macOS systems with M1/M2 Apple Silicon processors make sure that you start Photoshop via Rosetta. The Push-2-ZePrA extension does not run natively on M1/M2 chips.
  • ZePrA 9 and higher/Push-2-ZePrA v2 and higher: The 2nd edition of Push-2-ZePrA has network capability. This eliminates the need for ZePrA to be installed on the same computer as Photoshop.

Note: Push-2-ZePrA is integrated with a 1-client license in ZePrA XL and XXL. Additional 5-client or 10-client multi-user licenses can also be purchased. For ZePrA Entry, Basic and L, the Push-2-ZePrA Photoshop extension single and multi-user licenses can be purchased as add-ons.

Installation
  1. Use the installer for macOS or Windows for your respective operating system.
  2. Close Photoshop before installation and follow the easy-to-use installer.
  3. Once installed, start Photoshop, go to Window/Extensions and select Push-2-ZePrA to open the extension.

Note: The installer on macOS systems will take an additional step to prepare Photoshop. Hence Photoshop must be closed before installation. The warning message is displayed twice. Just click the Allow button twice to install.

Using Push-2-ZePrA locally

Using Push-2-ZePrA locally

Configuring the Push-2-ZePrA clients in Photoshop:

  1. Once the Push-2-ZePrA extension is installed, start Photoshop, go to Windows/Extensions and select Push-2-ZePrA to open the extension.
  2. Click the Gear icon. There are two ways to connect to the ZePrA server: locally or remotely. If your Photoshop/Push-2-ZePA installation is on the same computer as the installed ZePrA color server you should always prefer the ZePrA Local option as this is much faster than communicating via the network. Click ZePrA Local.

  3. Under ZePrA Path navigate to the ZePrA.app on macOS or zcmd.exe on Windows and select it.
  4. Define your Local Output Path (where converted files are to be saved) and click the Home button. You can then immediately use the extension.

Using Push-2-ZePrA locally

When ZePrA is installed on the same computer as Photoshop:

  1. In Photoshop, open the image to be color converted.
  2. Click on the Push-2-ZePrA extension.
  3. On the Home tab select a ZePrA Configuration from the drop-down menu. The drop-down list will show all the configurations set up in ZePrA.
    Note: A search option is available here, where any number and letter can be entered and only the configurations containing these numbers and letters are listed in the drop-down menu below. This makes it easier to search for specific configurations, especially if the list of configurations in ZePrA is very long.
  4. Choose a configuration that fits your requirements in terms of Target Color Space and retaining of Photoshop Layers. This information is shown below the drop-down menu and picked from the selected configuration.
  5. Click Convert.
  6. After a few seconds, the progress will be displayed, and the converted file will be opened up in Photoshop.
  7. Output folder for local use: Converted files are always saved in the same location as the original file and the configuration name will be appended to the original file name.
    Notes: If the original file has been edited or copied in Photoshop without saving, a temporary file needs to be created by Push-2-ZePrA. The edited and the converted temporary files are saved in the output folder defined under Local Output Path.
    If the original file is located in a read-only folder, the user will be asked if the converted file is to be saved in the output folder defined under Local Output Path.

Note: ZePrA’s Command Line Interface (CLI) is used for the conversion but not the ZePrA application itself. Therefore, you won’t find any of the images that have been converted via the Push-2-ZePrA extension in ZePrA’s Overview or hot folders.

    Using Push-2-ZePrA over the network

    Connecting Push-2-ZePrA with ZePrA over the network

    Note: Requires ZePrA 9 or higher and Push-2-ZePrA v2 or higher.

    Push-2-ZePrA is network capable from version 2. This eliminates the need for ZePrA to be installed on the same computer as Photoshop.

    ZePrA 9 and higher have an integrated Push-2-ZePrA remote server, while the Push-2-ZePrA extension acts as a client application that can access ZePrA from a remote Photoshop installation over the network.

    Therefore, several users who have the extension installed in their Photoshop application can remotely access the same ZePrA server. The Photoshop clients can thus be used on different computers, but also under different operating systems than the ZePrA server.

    Establishing a connection

    Configuring the ZePrA server:

    1. Open the Server Settings from the Tools menu in ZePrA.
    2. Specify the IP address of the computer ZePrA is running on and set a Port. See your system administrator for IP and port information. You will need to enter both the IP address and the port number in the Push-2-ZePrA extension on all client computers.

    3. Click Start to activate the server. The Status changes to Server is running and the License Status indicates the number of licenses in use as well as the number of available licenses.
    4. Stop closes the server and the extensions will no longer work. Closing ZePrA does not stop the server service but shutting down the computer will. So when restarting the computer make sure to restart the ZePrA server in the Server Settings dialog so that the extensions can access it.

    Note: Under macOS the IP address of the computer can be found in the System Preferences/Network settings. Under Windows the IP address can be found under Settings > Network & Internet > Status > View hardware and connection properties.

    After a ZePrA update, stop the server and restart both ZePrA and the server. This way the newest version of the server will be used.

    Configuring the Push-2-ZePrA clients in Photoshop
    1. Install Push-2-ZePrA and open it in Photoshop.
      Note: On Macs with Apple Silicon M1 chip make sure to start Photoshop with Rosetta – see System Requirements.
    2. Click the Gear icon.
    3. There are two ways to connect to the ZePrA server: locally or remotely. If your Photoshop/Push-2-ZePA installation is on the same computer as the installed ZePrA color server you should always prefer the ZePrA Local option as this is much faster than communicating via the network. If your Photoshop/Push-2-ZePA installation is on a different computer, use the ZePrA Remote option.

    4. To use the ZePrA Remote option, enter the previously defined ZePrA server settings (Server IP Address and Server Port Number) under ZePrA Remote and click the Connect button under Test Connection. The connection status is displayed.
    5. When the connection is successfully established, define your Local Output Path (where converted files are to be saved) and click the Home button. You can then immediately use the extension.

    Note: If all available licenses are linked with the ZePrA server, additional Photoshop extension users will not be able to connect to the ZePrA server. The licenses are linked to the ZePrA server on a first come first served basis.

    Note: In order to use the Photoshop extension, the ZePrA remote server must be running. Once the server has been started in ZePrA, it will run even if the ZePrA application is closed later on. Only when the computer is shut down, the server is also shut down and must be restarted in ZePrA after the computer is restarted.

    Use the Question mark icon to access the Push-2-ZePrA online help page, and the Exclamation mark icon to get the version numbers of the extension and the ZePrA Remote server.

    Using Push-2-ZePrA remotely

    When ZePrA is accessed over the network:

    1. Open up an image in Photoshop to be color converted.
    2. Click on the Push-2-ZePrA extension.
    3. Select a ZePrA Configuration from the drop-down menu. The drop down list will show all the configurations set up in ZePrA.
      Note: A search option is available here, where any number and letter can be entered and only the configurations containing these numbers and letters are listed in the drop-down menu below. This makes it easier to search for specific configurations, especially if the list of configurations in ZePrA is very long.
    4. Choose a configuration that fits your requirements in terms of Target Color Space and Photoshop Layers retaining. This information is shown below the drop-down menu and picked from the selected configuration.
    5. Click Convert.
    6. After a few seconds, the progress will be displayed, and the converted file will be opened up in Photoshop.
    7. Output folder for network use: Converted files and temporary files are always placed in the output folder defined under Local Output Path and the configuration name will be appended to the original file name.
      Note: If the original file is located in a read-only folder, the user will be asked if the converted file is to be saved in the output folder defined under Local Output Path.

    Note: ZePrA’s Command Line Interface (CLI) is used for the conversion but not the ZePrA application itself. Therefore, you won’t find any of the images that have been converted via the Push-2-ZePrA extension in ZePrA’s Overview or hot folders.

    Recommendations and Troubleshooting

    Best Practices

    For image conversions, we recommend setting up Direct Color Conversion configurations in ZePrA with the help of the Auto Setup Wizard. With a direct conversion from the image color space to the Target Color Space, double conversions are avoided. It is not recommended to use a Normalize and Convert queue as this can lead to converting the image two times (a double conversion – from the image color space to the Document Color Space and then to the Target Color Space), which typically is not wanted for image conversions.

    For any changes in terms of PSD or TIFF file layers handling, color conversion or spot color conversion, please adjust the appropriate ZePrA configuration in the ZePrA color server. The Push-2-ZePrA Photoshop extension uses the configurations, but editing configurations is not supported.

    Error Handling

    When working with the Push-2-ZePrA extension potential issues might happen:

    1. When updating Photoshop to a newer version, the Push-2-ZePrA extension may no longer be loaded. In this case, it is recommended to re-install the Push-2-ZePrA extension.
    2. The Push-2-ZePrA Photoshop extension version 3 is only executable with ZePrA 11.
    3. The maximum file size that can be processed via the remote connection using the zcmdServer of ZePrA 10 is 512 MB. Larger files can be processed directly via ZePrA Queues.
    4. The zcmdServer included in ZePrA 11 allows the processing of image files up to a size of 2 GB.
    5. Please do not use the zcmdServers of ZePrA 10 and 11 at the same time. Make sure the server in ZePrA 10 is stopped (click the Stop button in the Server Settings dialog). After that open the Server Settings dialog in ZePrA 11 and click on Start to activate the zcmdServer of ZePrA 11.
    6. Select the proper file for conversion: When several images are open in Photoshop keep in mind that only the selected, active document will be converted with Push-2-ZePrA.
    7. Incomplete conversions: When clicking the Convert button it may take a few seconds until the image is converted. During processing (the progress will be displayed), do not close the Push-2-ZePrA extension nor minimize Photoshop. This will immediately stop the conversion.
    8. Restricted folders and locations: A warning message appears when trying to save a file in a restricted location. If the selected location (folder) is read-only (for example, the application folder of an operating system), a warning message is displayed prompting you to cancel the conversion or save the converted file to the Local Output Path.
    9. Troubleshooting job warnings: An error message with the selected configuration appears. In such a situation, check the corresponding configuration in the ZePrA application and check for the cause of the error. It may be that the image file and the setting in the configuration do not match. In such a case, it is suggested to convert the image file in the ZePrA application with the same configuration used in the Push-2-ZePrA extension. The same job warning message may show in ZePrA. Troubleshoot the issue and change the settings in the ZePrA application, until the file conversion works as desired. Once the configuration has been saved in ZePrA go back to the Push-2-ZePrA extension, close it and reopen the extension to update the list of configurations and settings and convert the file in Photoshop again.
      Note: Push-2-ZePrA supports the same image file formats as ZePrA, e.g. TIFF, JPEG, PSD and PSB. Unsupported file formats, such as PNG, PDF or EPS, will generate file format errors.
    10. Changes and updates to configurations: When changes or updates to ZePrA configurations have not been applied in the Push-2-ZePrA extension, make sure that the edits have been saved in ZePrA before heading to the Photoshop extension. Then close the extension and start it again so that it refreshes the list of configurations and their settings.
    11. Support for prior ZePrA versions: ZePrA versions prior to v9 are not supported. The extension may show the settings of configurations from older ZePrA versions, but will not convert files. We do not recommend selecting prior ZePrA versions with the extension and will not be supporting prior versions in future releases.
    12. Avoid special characters in configuration names: characters such as | < > * ? / \\ : in configurations names with ZePrA. While ZePrA will handle such characters the Push-2-ZePrA extension does not.