26th November, 2007
HAMILLROAD SOFTWARE ANNOUNCES MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH IN COLOR ACCURATE SOFT-PROOFING
Hamillroad Software, the world leader in pre-press soft-proofing workflow products for Harlequin and TIFF based RIPs, is pleased to announce a major breakthrough in Color Accurate soft-proofing, as part of the release of FirstPROOF v5.0. FirstPROOF version 5, due to be released on December 3rd, contains a completely new and innovative Color Management method for generating color accurate soft-proofs, which is inexpensive, easy to use and fast.
The way most people solve the problem of matching 1-bit digital plate data being viewed on screen to what is printed, is to use ICC Color Management. This involves profiling the monitor, profiling the press and then using the two profiles to adjust the 1-bit digital data being viewed. Although this sounds simple enough, the second part of this, profiling the press, is expensive and takes some time. This is because it involves printing a special test chart containing hundreds to thousands of patches (typically somewhere between 500-2500 patches are printed) and then measuring all those patches using a spectrophotometer.
Printing a special test chart costs time and money when a press could be running real jobs, but what is more of an issue is measuring all those thousands of patches. Trying to do it by hand would take hours and drive anyone nuts, as well as having the potential for making mistakes. The only sane solution here is to use an automated spectrophotometer that can read a complete chart by itself. But these take anything from three to five minutes to read a single chart and are relatively expensive, costing anything from £2,000 to £3,500 (UK) / $2,500 to $5,500 (US).
The Color Management solution in FirstPROOF is a completely new innovative method for generating color accurate soft proofs, which is inexpensive, easy to use and fast. This involves profiling the monitor, spectrally profiling the press and then using the monitor profile & spectral press profile to adjust the 1-bit digital data being viewed. The process of spectrally profiling the press is simple and takes very little time. This is because it involves taking a previously printed job and measuring only a small number of colors from the color bar around the outside of the job.
Because no special test chart is required, it saves time and money as the press can continue printing real jobs. More importantly though, since only a small number of colors need to be measured, this can be done by hand in less than one minute with an inexpensive spectrophotometer such as the XRite Eye-One Pro that costs £500 (UK) / $530 (US) (approx. one-quarter of the cost of an automated spectrophotometer).
In terms of how it works, it basically models the physics of what happens when light is shone on a print, whereby the light passes through the layers of inks, reflects off the paper and then passes back through the same layers of inks. In passing through the inks, certain frequencies of light are absorbed by the layers of inks and it is the resulting frequencies of light which make up the color that you see. By measuring the spectral reflection frequencies of the paper and inks involved, the model can determine the color of any combination of inks to display an accurate soft-proof.
Furthermore, FirstPROOF v5 contains a Gamut Check Tool, which enables you to instantly see which areas of a job are out of gamut for the monitor being used; for normal monitors with a limited gamut, knowing this is vital when signing off on a proof. For high-end monitors such as the Eizo ColorEdge CG241W (with a gamut covering 96% Adobe RGB) or the Eizo ColorEdge CG221 (with a gamut covering 100% Adobe RGB and even some CMYK printing presses), the Gamut Check Tool simply shows you that what you see is what you'll get when you print.
"Over the years we've had more and more requests to add Color Management to FirstPROOF so as to produce color accurate soft-proofs." comments Andy Cave, Hamillroad Software's CEO. "When we first looked into it, we found that the traditional method for doing this was way too complicated, slow and expensive. What people needed was a simple, easy to use, fast and less-expensive system. We're really pleased with the innovative solution our engineers have developed, which we believe will fundamentally change the world of soft-proofing".
For more information on the innovative Color Management in FirstPROOF version 5, please see the FirstPROOF Guide To Color Management.
FirstPROOF v5.0 has been in Beta test since October and will be available through Hamillroad Software's dealer network from December 3rd. For further details, please see our web site at: http://www.hamillroad.com/main/sales/dealers.htm.
FirstPROOF v5.0 has also been made available to Hamillroad Software's OEM sales partners. Specific information on their release plans can be obtained direct from the individual OEMs (see our web site at: http://www.hamillroad.com/main/sales/OEMs.htm).