ColorAnt, supplied by ColorLogic, is considered the all-in-one solution for color management measuring, analyzing and processing to optimize ICC color profile creation.
Note: The channel sequence of a CMYK color space does not have to match the printing sequence. For example, the printing sequence KCMY is quite typical in web offset presses, however, the channel sequence should still remain CMYK as some programs can’t handle untypical channel sequences correctly.
Note: Even if it is not yet possible to create reference files for test charts with more than 7 channels with ColorAnt 4.2, a correctly structured test chart can still be created from an 8-color reference file using Export Chart. Typically, the channel names and colors from the information of the reference file are used in this process. If this information is missing, it may result in unfavorable test charts and channel names may only be assigned generically, for example, channels may be named Channel 1-8.
The Edit Primaries tool has been updated to allow the assignment of new color values to device values (DCS values) which do not already contain color values. Thus, new characterization data can be created which is based only on existing wedges of primaries or on the input of Lab values. There is no longer a need to reprint test charts.
A feature to automatically optimize and remove redundant color patches has been added to the tool Export CxF/X-4 in the File menu (to save CxF/X-4 compatible measurement values). If the checkbox Remove Redundant patches is activated all required color patches will be saved only once in the exported CxF/X-4 file, avoiding duplicates.
The compatibility to CxF measurement values of different manufacturers has been optimized.
The Link tool has been redesigned and one new option added. There are three options available now in the Link tool. The options are grouped with radio buttons that are enabled and disabled according to the chosen files.
Channel re-ordering in Edit Primaries The Edit Primaries tool can be used to exchange, add and delete channels in a measurement data file. With ColorAnt 3.2 and higher it is possible to reorder the channels without changing the measurement data. One example is if you add Orange as a 5th channel and Green as a 6th channel to a CMYK data set.
But later on you decided that the channel order should be CMYK+Green+Orange. Now you can simply exchange the channel order by using the pipets icon and selecting Orange for Green and Green for Orange from the same measurement data file without the measurement data changes. If channels are only reordered this will be indicated with adding ChannelOrder to the file name.
Note: The channel reordering feature in Edit Primaries and the new Link tool Merge by Channel Name can be used to prepare multicolor measurement data from different origins. For example it allows to combine the four separate 4 color Esko Equinox files to a 7 color multicolor data set to be used for profiling in CoPrA.
The CxF3 file format has been supported since a longer time in ColorAnt already. With ColorAnt 3.2 we support to load and display CxF/X-4 data for spot colors, too. Saving as CxF/X-4 is not yet possible in ColorAnt.
Note: CxF stands for Color exchange Format. CxF files shall be used to communicate color vendor neutral. CxF/X-4 is an ISO standard since 2015 and has been designed to define spot colors by measuring and storing spectral information of ink solids and tints, on substrate and process black. This spectral definition allows color management systems to better proof and reproduce spot colors.
The dialog before creating the data reports as PDF or XML file have been changed. The dialog new with added features.
In addition to the two options to Check the measurement data quality and to compare the data with a different profile (Check print standard), there is the choice of two DeltaE methods for the evaluation. You have the choice to either select the conventional method DeltaE76 or the modern DeltaE2000 method. In addition, you can Search from your list of ICC profiles on your computer which profile fits the data best. The percentage of compliance is displayed behind the profile name. If required you may select this profile in the drop down menu of the Check print standard option to compare the data. In the new version of ColorAnt 3.1 multicolor measurement data can also be compared to your existing multicolor profiles.
However, most of the changes are in the new PDF report that is created by clicking on the Save button and define the file name. The report now offers even more useful information, provides an overview of the quality of your measurement data, and recommends what kind of corrections should be applied. In addition, the suitability of the used test chart is checked, as well as dot gain, linearity, and spider web diagrams are shown and the conformity or nonconformity to a print standard (ICC profile) listed. The PDF report is an excellent documentation of the measurement values of your print run, too.
A vivid example of a PDF Report featuring the new ColorAnt report layout can be found here. It compares the new characterization data FOGRA51 (PSO Coated V3) with the ISO Coated V2.
Note: In addition or as an alternative to the well designed PDF report with graphics and tables, you may also create a ColorAnt XML report with the pure data. The corresponding TVI values, comparisons and DeltaE evaluations are listed in a XML structure. A XML report is useful if you want to create a separate report in the specific layout or with other evaluation priorities.
ColorAnt 3.1 enhances the capability to create and reorder test charts for 3rd party tools with the Swap Rows with Columns feature. By right clicking on the data set, six options are available. This feature will enhance compatibility with third party software.
Note: Open the 2D-View to verify the results of the reordering applied. If there is an issue with reordering simply click the History entry to revert the data.
Another similar task to the reordering is that some third party tools save the measurements without the reference data. Without reference data, neither ColorAnt can work with the measurement data nor can CoPrA create an ICC profile. In order to combine or link the separate reference and measurement data files they must have the same patch count. Simply load both files in the Data Sets section select them and click the Link tool to combine them to one file.
The tool for the editing of primary colors works with spectral data and uses complex mathematical calculations. This may take a little while especially when using large test charts with many channels. For this reason, a progress bar has now been incorporated in the dialog which shows you the current status of the calculation.
When replacing the Substrate or Paper white, this change does not affect the primary colors. This is done on purpose, because the tool is intended only for smaller paper white changes from which the full tone of the primary colors would not be effected. For this reason, additional information will be displayed in the dialog. If you want to make major changes to the paper white, we recommend that this should be done before editing the primary colors with the White Correction tool.
Until now, only primary colors could be exchanged with other colors when the reference and measured values for the color to be replaced were present in the loaded data file. With spot color libraries such as the Pantone libraries, which can be opened as a CxF file in ColorAnt, there are no reference values. Therefore the exchange was impossible in former versions. With ColorAnt 3.1 you can use these spot color libraries for the exchange of primary colors. Each spot color in the library is interpreted as full tone and can be selected to replace a primary color.
Note: If only the full tone for the exchange of a primary color is available but no gradation values, ColorAnt will use the gradation behavior of the original primary color.
The White Correction tool is predicting the impact of paper white changes to the measured values of a test chart. With ColorAnt 3.1 there are three different methods to calculate this effect. ColorLogic Default is still recommended as the default setting. The two other methods available are ISO 13655 and Relative colorimetric.
Relative colorimetric effects are strongest because paper white changes will modify the entire color space. In case of major changes in the paper white this will also massively effect the primary colors. The ISO 13655 method is still similar in the highlights and colorful primary colors to relative colorimetry. However, this method assumes that the shadows and very dark colors are not changed. The ColorLogic Default method, we proceed like in ISO 13655 and assume that the shadows are not effected and that there is a much lower impact on the primary colors. Due to our experience this corresponds more to the real observation.
The CxF3 file format is predominantly used for exchanging spot colors. ColorLogic has improved the CxF3 import filters to be compatible with the recent ISO standard 17972-1:2015. In addition, a second ISO standard, 17972-4:2015, for the exchange of spot colors with tints. ColorAnt also supports the import of compatible with CxF/X-4 files.
Note: Older CxF versions are no longer supported by ColorAnt.
For the first time ColorAnt 3 will be available in two packages: ColorAnt M and ColorAnt L.
The tools to edit and modify measurement data are organized in groups in a vertical tool bar on the left hand side. Active tools that can be applied on measurement data are recognizable due to their colorfulness whereas tools that can’t be used are grayed out. At the bottom of the tool bar you directly navigate to the Registration dialog for loading and requesting licenses and to edit the basic setting of the applications in the Preferences.
The Edit Primaries tool allows the user to add, remove, and exchange primaries or the paper/substrate into an existing measured test chart. In typical print production, adding or swapping ink(s) requires the expense of printing a full blown test chart. The Edit Primaries tool will simply require the spectral data of the new ink(s) to be added or exchanged. Edit Primaries will not only exchange the inks but also recalculate all overprints based on intelligent spectral color models and generates new measurement data. With this extraordinary tool you are immediately able to create all required data for calculating ICC profiles for modified color combinations.
Potential efficiency gain with the Edit Primaries tool in typical production scenarios are:
Note: To add channels a ColorAnt L license is required.
Note: To remove channels a ColorAnt L license is required.
Note: Another feature of Edit Primaries is to use this tool to extract the primary ramps of one channel. Simply disable all checkboxes except the one channel you wish to retain.
The Export Chart tool allows to create test charts based on device color values, which can be stored as TIFF or PSD files to be printed on a printer.
Measuring instruments may have specific needs regarding patch sizes, the gap between different patches and probably regarding the size of the overall chart. In addition you may respect the requirements of your print process and eventually reduce the Ink Limit (TAC).
In the lower area you may define Patch width and Patch height of each color patch. In addition you may chose in the Drop Down menu if a Patch delimiter is required. Use Auto as a default or None if no gaps between patches are needed. For further information consult the documentation for the instrument.
The Patch distribution gives the user the option to either print the patches as defined (Normal) or Randomize the patches (better for press profiling). The setting Sorted will arrange the color patches from light to dark. This might be helpful to modify a random chart into a well sorted layout or if you may export a color wedge of one single color.
In the upper part you should define image size and TAC of each individual test chart. Enter the desired Chart width and height to limit the space that might be used for the color patches (minus the space requires for labeling the patches). Do not mix this with the paper size – it is similar to the image size. The exported test charts can be positioned on the required paper size afterwards and then be printed.
Note: Please consider the documentation of your measurement device. Some measurement devices allow measurement rows of patches by swiping over the rows. Those types of devices use rulers that can measure up to a certain width which need to be taken into consideration when the Chart width is defined, if a patch delimiter is required and will inform you about the minimum patch size.
The Ink Limit is a specific feature in Export Chart and allows to limit the TAC for the exported test chart. Typically each of ColorLogic’s CMYK and multicolor test charts have patches with a maximum of 400% ink. If a 400% ink limit is too high for the press or the user would like to define an other ink limit he can enter the desired Ink Limit. ColorAnt uses a sophisticated ink limiting algorithm that does not simply clip values.
Note: Use the exported reference file for measuring and profiling so that reference values and test chart fit to each other. Please note that the reference file will not be ink limited too, otherwise profiling would be leading to incorrect ICC profiles but it might be that third party profiling applications can’t handle this. In addition, when building the ICC profile either use the same or a lower ink limit (called Max.Ink in ColorLogic CoPrA) than defined in the test chart. In most cases an ink limit is not necessary for test chart creation.
To define a custom test chart for profiling a reference file containing the device data for the color space is required. The Custom Chart tool is designed for creating the reference files for test chart generation. Custom Chart allows you to generate reference files for the following color spaces:
Afterwards create a pixel file, either in TIFF or PSD format, from the reference file by using the Export Chart tool to be printed on your device and Measure the test chart with a spectrophotometer.
The following description will show you how to generate a reference file by using the Custom Chart tool. Depending on the color space different options are available. To generate multicolor reference files an additional multicolor license is required.
Note: A ColorAnt3 L license is required to do this.
To generate a generic multicolor test chart decide on the number of channels and their names (with or without CMYK), so that it is as close as possible to the used colors on your printing machine. It is not necessary to define the channel colors in the reference data exactly. Just make sure that you are close to the kind of color so that the correct color combinations will be generated. For example, if you want to print a violet, you may chose blue as the channel color, but not green or red or cyan.
Note: In ColorLogic CoPrA multicolor profile creation three chromatic colors + optional black + a maximum of three gamut expanding colors are supported. Some examples for possible combinations are: CMYK+Orange, CMY+Green+Blue, CM+Orange+K, CMYK+Red+Green+Violet etc. Other colors positioned within the CMYK color gamut may lead to problems in profile creation. Use the Spider Web in the View dialog to check for problematical color combinations in your measurement data.
The CIE Conversion tool allows changes to the Observer from a standard 2 Degrees to a 10 Degrees observer and changes the Illumination from the standard D50 light source.
Note: The CIE Conversion tool can only be used with spectral data.
The Illumination drop-down menu contains several options. Printer profiles are typically created for the D50 viewing condition. However, if it is required to set up photos in a gallery illuminated by the light of incandescent lamps (corresponding roughly to light source A), or displays at an exhibition where the lighting conditions might be challenging (e.g. fluorescent light), you can take the lighting conditions into account. You can either select one of the three predefined viewing conditions, or enter the measured viewing condition manually in the form of a Kelvin or an XYZ value. ColorLogic has added the Emission option as a powerful new tool to customize illuminations. The Emission option allows the user to select spectral emissions readings of a specific light source by either loading a CxF3 or text file. To simplify it even more, you may drag-n-drop a measurement file with the measured light onto the value field, where upon ColorAnt extracts the white point from the file and displays the value.
Note: If there are multiple readings of the same light source ColorLogic recommends averaging the measurements by using the Redundancies tool first, save the data and then load the emission reading in the CIE Conversion tool.
Applying the CIE Conversion tool by clicking the OK button will result in a measurement file containing only Lab values. There fore your spectral data will be converted to Lab data using the observer and illumination of your choice. Use this data to build your printer profile in ColorLogic CoPrA.
Note: Always apply the CIE Conversion tool as the final step due to the conversion to Lab data.
The newest installers of the ColorLogic products contain a new version of the measurement software UPPCT version 2.3.
To satisfy the ever changing requirements of the printing industry you need flexible and yet still specialized solutions to address those needs in the best possible way. We spoke with Mr. Alberto Gómez, CEO of the printing company Impresiones y Prototipos, s.l. in Barcelona, Spain, who is mainly responsible for the strategic development of the whole company. He focuses on quality improvements, solutions to fulfill specific customer requirements while looking for new opportunities to expand the activities of his company.
Our company Impresiones y Prototipos, s.l., is a printing company located in Barcelona (Spain) with over 30 years experience in the printing industry. Three years ago we created a new division “Zeta Prototypes” which specializes in prototype packaging. Our main clients here are located in the high-end sector of perfumery. Due to the high quality of our prototypes and the great success we have achieved here in Spain, we just started our international expansion prototypes packaging division. Our goal for 2015 is to establish this international business.
We use CoPrA and ColorAnt to optimize our measurement data and create ICC and DeviceLink profiles. Afterwards we process files by using the color server ZePrA. After we validated how this powerful color management engine helped us to improve our print data, we also have included the ZePrA module for Spot Color conversion, which is very important for us. We also just started using the Reprofiler, which we think is a very interesting solution for handling slight changes in the print process without the need to regularly create completely new profiles.
A while ago we had some color issues in our production. I was looking for better ways to achieve color fidelity and shorter make-ready times. Someone recommended Daniel López from ID-Soft to us. He helped us to evaluate the right solutions and then integrated the ColorLogic products for us. Daniel is an excellent color consultant. He is very knowledgable and probably one of the best technicians for colorimetry in Spain. He also introduced us to the ColorLogic products.
We tried many other color management solutions, but we were never able to achieve our goal with them. Our goals are to create high-quality prototypes and ensure the same colors in the final print. It is also important to know that theses prototypes serve as samples for all further printing processes. With the ColorLogic solutions, we saw from the beginning that we could achieve this goal, because they are very powerful and versatile. Before we changed our production, we had to perform many tests to get a color fidelity prototype. Since we began using ColorLogic technology these tests have been drastically reduced while also giving us a substantial increase in production without comprising the print quality. Additionally, due to ColorLogic’s products we can manage color in all material we work with: Polyester, Folding, Leather, PVC, PET, etc, knowing that we will always obtain the best result of reproduction.
Each prototype we do is a unique work. Our customers rely on our quality and with our optimized production we have have been able to achieve for our prototyping a 95% realism in comparison to the final industrial production. Today we are the 1st company in Spain which is certified by the best companies. So, now that we have such an extensive experience in conducting professional prototypes, we begin our international expansion by offering prototyping to other countries.
It is not a cheap solution, but I think it is complex to define what is cheap or expensive… Of course, it depends heavily on the objectives that are achieved. In our case, although it looked like a major investment in the beginning, we believe this was worth the money spent. Meanwhile we improved production tremendously and added value based on the professional knowledge of Daniel López. And if we ever see new requirements we can always discuss those with him. So for sure, I would do the investment again.
The latest version 4 of the high-performance color server ZePrA, developed by the German ColorLogic GmbH, has successfully passed its test period at alprinta GmbH. For some time now, alprinta GmbH has used Colorlogic‘s products ZePrA, CoPrA, Reprofiler and ColorAnt for their daily color management tasks. Ever changing print conditions in digital and screen printing, along with the special needs regarding exact reproduction of spot colors, calls for high-end color management solutions as one of the key success factors for alprinta.
“I really like to test new products for our production. The printing industry is changing constantly and only by adopting your production process to these changing requirements, allows you to maintain and optimize it. I also appreciate the quick response of the development teams responsible for the products we use here at alprinta. In addition, it enables me to share feedback and ideas regarding future development which may benefit all users.“
Lukat explains how the ZePrA color server is used at alprintas‘ production in combination with ColorLogics‘ CoPrA (ICC profiling): “Instead of repeating the general advantages of the ColorLogic products, I like to focus on new features in ZePrA 4 / CoPrA 3 which are so beneficial for our daily print business:”
Until now the standard process was to generate printer and DeviceLink profile with CoPrA and re-profile with Reprofiler, each combination of printer, material and printing speed. The resulting DeviceLink profiles, were used for color conversion in ZePrA. Dealing with ten different print materials, three printers with three different speed settings ends easily in handling of 180 profiles (90 ICC and 90 DeviceLink profiles). The printing results are outstanding, but whenever something changes: material, settings, etc. all profiles need to be redone to maintain the quality. With the new SmartLink module in ZePrA 4 it is now possible to share DeviceLink settings between CoPrA 3 and ZePrA 4 and cuts with one “click“ the amount of profiles in half. ZePrA calculates automatically the required DeviceLink profile based on the related output profile. There are also pre-defined settings available for SmartLink.
This new feature is one of my favorites. Especially in large format printing with its different kind of materials and reproduction capabilities. All clients require perfect reproduction of their CI colors and spot colors. Therefore, it is essential to know if those colors may be reproduced with the chosen settings. With ZePrA it is possible to define a variable for DeltaE2000 (deltaE2000 fits nicely to human color prediction) to track if the color shift is good enough to continue with the print or not. This goes very well together with the new rendering intent Minimal Compression in CoPrA 3 which allows the best possible nearly absolute colorimetric reproduction. Who can ask for more!
With the new Flattening options it is possible to reduce transparencies quickly either on single jobs or whole plates and ensure the best possible reproduction without running into problems with transparencies or spot colors. Daily print production has proven that reduction of transparency is required. Even working in a PDF-X/4-Workflow can lead to those unpredictable problem which can be solved now.
All job settings may be stored manually in ZePrA by using the report function – in ZePrA 4 it is now possible to do this automatically and store it in a folder. I believe that this is essential to guarantee future reproduction and archive customer data. Thank you, ColorLogic, for realizing this customer request!
Finally, the most important point for all decision makers: Even if all topics mentioned are already more than helpful in daily reproduction work, you will enjoy the SaveInk module in ZePrA 4 and CoPrA 3 on top of it. I was able to realize approximately 20% ink reduction in 1000 print job without any loss of quality. Especially in large format printing where ink costs define the print costs – this could make the difference. This function pays off from your first print job on. Additionally, with the different SaveInk levels you are able to define quality and rentability.
The German alprinta GmbH located in Leverkusen has been successfully working in print and display production for more than 30 years. Their core competence lies in digital and screen printing as well as advertisement, displays and UV offset. Alprinta is one of the market leaders in the area of display advertisement. This success is based on over 50 motivated and highly experienced employees.
“My sincerest thanks to ColorLogic for the new ColorAnt tool for measurement data preparation!” writes Ulf Wittenberg from Appel Grafik, who as a long-standing customer was involved in the beta testing of CoPrA 2 and ColorAnt in 2011. The report from Ulf Wittenberg at Appel Grafik on his experiences shows why…
Appel Grafik is a media service company based in Germany with sites in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich and Stuttgart. The Appel Grafik sites have been using the DeviceLink profiles created by ColorLogic CoPrA for many years for high quality and standardized color conversion of PDF files and pixel images. Ulf Wittenberg, Color Manager at Appel Color department creates, tests and optimizes the DeviceLink and ICC profiles centrally for the Appel Group, enabling him to ensure consistent color quality throughout the company.
Ulf Wittenberg continues:
“At last with ColorAnt there is software for MacOS and Windows for applying corrections such as measurements smoothing or compensation of optical brighteners to the measurement data – and as a CoPrA 2 purchaser it is free of charge, too. ColorLogic has also integrated even more extremely useful functions with the help of its outstanding and highly customer-oriented team.
The measurement data correction and smoothing are extremely helpful in our everyday work, particularly in calculating output profiles for color laser printers that despite careful calibration often still have notable irregularities. In addition, papers with a significant amount of optical brighteners are often used in production that in turn generate problems of a different kind when their effects cannot be corrected. Using ColorAnt, the necessary corrections can be included in the measurement data and their effect checked in advance of the profile calculation. The corrected data are then reflected in the CoPrA profile as well.
The other tools in ColorAnt are also fantastic – some outstanding examples include:
The whole package is rounded off by a comparative function with statistical evaluation and a PDF report. This provides a really comprehensive overview of the quality of the printers measured.
This combination of advanced color management tools was previously only possible using several different programs from various manufacturers – to have all this in just one program that is really easy to use makes us really happy!
In summary: ColorAnt easily exceeds our expectations and feature requests and has become an indispensable tool in our workflow.”
The German SKN printing and publishing group has a long tradition which dates back to the last century. SKN currently employs approximately 450 employees. The publishing area covers over 30 different telephone books, the monthly magazine “Ostfriesland Magazine” and also publishes books. With its daily newspapers “Ostfriesischer Kurier”, the “Norderneyer Badezeitung” and two additional weekly newspapers, the SKN is also well known in the German newspaper publishing.
Beside these activities, the SKN is one of the largest industrial printers for high volume printing in Germany. According to their motto, “SKN – Competence in printing and publishing“, the SKN delivers high quality on a good price-quality-level. Besides highly educated and motivated employees, it‘s essential for the development of such multifaceted company to use the right technology and to have a close contact to all clients. Therefore, it is very important for the SKN to take special care about job printing and close customer relation. In other words, to present itself as a competent and reliable partner with whom it is easy to work with.
Tielko de Groot is the Manager of Prepress at SKN and, in addition, responsible for training and internal complaints department. Several years ago, a print consultant introduced him to the products from the color experts ColorLogic. The possibility to handle all print related data in the correct color space convinced Tielko de Groot to ColorLogic was the obvious solution. Due to the importance of using InkSave in SKNs production, they decided to work with ColorLogic ZePrA and the ColorLogic DeviceLink profiles.
Tielko reports: “Working with a reliable and fast color server, which can be configured in an easy and understandable way, is really great. ZePrA is responsible for most of our color conversions and ink saving calculation of print data for sheet-fed and web-fed offset printing. For example, to adjust color data to the different Fogra characteristics of several paper types is an easy and fast task. Furthermore, by using an automation software like Enfocus Switch, the automation process in production can be additionally increased”.
Regarding the DeviceLink profiles, Tielko says: “At first, I like to highlight the fact that the DeviceLinkSet profiles have proven its usability during several print tests with Fogra certified color consultants. That main advantage is that it enables proprietary systems to deliver the same results as ZePrA. Therefore, we are using those profiles especially in newspaper production with Kodak Prinergy to apply SaveInk directly before printing. Before deciding on this production method, we tested a competitive product, which produced several errors. The generated print data were useless for production. However, the ColorLogic products are very reliable and need more or less no support at all. The few questions which have been raised so far, have always been answered fast and sufficient by ColorLogic and Karsten Schwarze from our dealer Impressed.”
Another advantage regarding the correct output in production rests, based on Tielko de Groot statement, in the fact “that the color server can be set to only adopt the images inside the PDF (or image files itself) and does not rip the complete PDF files or creates a complete new one or does any additional modification. This leads to a higher performance, too. And it keeps me independent from any PDF library settings …” He went on to say, “I believe investing into a color server only happens once – and therefore you should better proof that it lasts. With ZePrA return on investment is ensured. By the way – we are also using ZePrA in our subsidiary OPD.”
This webinar covers several color related topics:
ColorLogic and CrossXColor present our software solutions ColorAnt and CoPrA Software for High End Color Management including:
When sending problems to support or asking questions about a specific functionality, it is always helpful if you supply as much information as possible:
When such files are over 2MB it is more reliable and quicker to send them to us through FTP. This article describes how to do so.
This FTP server is configured in such a way that you will be able to upload files to it, but you will not be able to delete files from it. We will remove files from the folder as soon as we see they are there.
Likely :-) ColorLogic offers a very comprehensive color workflow solution and more than likely it overlaps in functionality with some of the other tools in the market that you know. The important thing to remember is that we believe that the ColorLogic solutions have a number of key differentiators and advantages: