Claro Claro

Elpical Claro enhances your images in a fully automatic way. You either hand over control to intelligent image analysis, which replaces the human decision making, or you stay in control with the Elpical Claro Inspector for Photoshop, which allows you to route critical images to Photoshop for manual tweaking.

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Product information

Elpical Claro enhances your images in a fully automatic way. Typically, Photoshop will serve as your digital darkroom, however retouching pictures in Photoshop can be quite time-consuming. As a magazine or newspaper publisher, you need to get the most out of your pictures and standardize the quality of different images on the same page against a tight deadline, preferably with minimal effort. As photobook printer, you want to deliver a memorable photo product to your customers. As catalogue producer, you need to process high volumes of images against low margins. Recognizable? Claro to the rescue!

On the one hand, Claro is able to imitate the human eye when carrying out fully automatic dynamic corrections. Although it seems contradictory, automatic image optimization also requires an individual approach: what is good for one image is not necessarily good for another. Claro replaces this human decision making with intelligent image analysis. Each original image gets thoroughly analysed on the basis of the actual pixels, the histogram, EXIF and other metadata. Based on the results, the software takes decisions on what to do with each individual image. In that way, Claro is able to identify ‘problem images’ fully automatically – without human intervention.

On the other hand, you can also stay in control with the Elpical Claro Inspector for Photoshop, which allows you to route critical images to Photoshop for side-by-side comparisons and further manual tweaking. Furthermore, you can also integrate the software in your page layout workflow, where you can enhance the images from within e.g. InDesign.


  • Achieve consistent quality
    With Claro, you achieve consistent high-quality results, even when the origin and quality of the original images vary significantly. In that way, you can easily standardize your image enhancement workflow.
  • Save valuable time
    When you need to process high volumes of images, you might want to do this in an automatic way. As Claro finds and fixes camera flaws automatically, it does what you do manually, but faster (and often better).
  • Stay in control
    In Claro, you can either hand over control to intelligent image analysis or stay in control with the Elpical Claro Inspector for Photoshop, which allows you to route critical images to Photoshop for manual tweaking. Furthermore, you can also integrate the software in your page layout workflow, where you can enhance the images from within e.g. InDesign.
  • Publish in a cross-media landscape
    You often need to produce images for multiple media. These tend to have different image processing requirements. With Claro, you can easily and automatically create all of the required versions in one go.
  • High reliability
    Your work will never have to be delayed, because of automatic load-balancing and failover features in a centralized production environment.
  • Seamless integration
    Claro integrates the leading workflow solutions, like CCI, K4, SWITCH, WoodWing, EIDOS Media, InDesign, Protec, and more.

Key features

  • Comprehensive dynamic image analysis
  • Top-quality image enhancement
  • Elpical Claro Inspector for Photoshop
  • Red eye reduction
  • Save Ink
  • ICC based colour conversions and profile assignment & embedding
  • CMYK-to-CMYK conversions without conversion to LAB
  • Embed processing information into XMP
  • Professional backup of original and/or processed files
  • Unlimited number of hot folder-based workflows (or channels)
  • Runs as a background server process
  • Easy XML-based integration into existing workflows

Release notes

12.0.11 27 July 2020

  • The MacOSX installers now go through the Apple notarization process
  • The clipping channel did not add the correct compatibility layer to PSD and Tiff files. Fixed

12.0.10 17 July 2020

  • Skin tone issue in some images fixed
  • Blur of some images, fixed
  • Occasional double uploads to Google Vision fixed
  • Inspector issues fixed
  • jpg2000 in PDF issue fixed

12.0.9 27 May 2020

  • Editing of original image in Photoshop didn’t work when using “open in PS” button from the Inspector queue window, fixed
  • CMYK conversion in Clipping channel didn’t work properly, fixed.

12.0.8 18 May 2020

  • Added applescript delay option in Inspector. Configurable in system settings in Inspector setup. For opening and saving & closing images in PhotoShop
  • Added recognition for specific type of (grainy) noise
  • Save & Send back option in Inspector fixed

12.0.7 20 April 2020

  • Fix for integration bug in 12.0.6 on Linux and Macosx

12.0.6 14 April 2020

  • Channel input folder not available: improved error handling, Channel goes to standby
  • Indesign JobClient for ID 2020
  • IPTC metadata wasn’t always shown in Inspector despite correct configuration

12 25 February 2020

The start of the new decade sees the launch of the next generation of Claro.

Claro V12 is packed with advanced new features and embraces artificial intelligence to deliver an application that redefines image enhancement.

Claro V12 has 3 focal points: ENHANCE, VISION, REMOVE

1. ENHANCE - Making the image look even better, automatically
Claro delivers a number of powerful new functions and enhanced existing controls

2. VISION - Direct integration with Google's Vision AI engine to provide image understanding and specific toning capabilities
Vision AI

3. REMOVE - Integrate with's background removal tool to create accurate cutouts and clipping paths in seconds, all inside the Claro workflow


There's a huge range of new functionality introduced with V12

Elpical Claro V12 Comparison Images Freerider

New Toning Functions:

  • Brand Colors - detection, protection and correction
  • Selective Color Correction – precise color corrections to specific colors in the image
  • Mid Tone contrast control – separate control for contrast in the midtones
  • New Colour Balance engine - for greater color cast identification and reduction
  • Minimum Edge Dot Creation – introduces a border around the image edge to ensure a defined border

Extended Toning functionality:

  • Advanced highlight contrast controls
  • Advanced noise filtering & reduction
  • Enhanced Skin Tone recognition engine

Operational Functionality

  • Regular Expressions Utilization
  • OpenJDK support
  • Https for client connections and API


Integrating directly with the exceptional technology from Google, Claro is today capable of utilizing Vision, the image recognition AI engine.

Google Vision Metadata Car

Vision provides industry leading accuracy for image understanding. Claro utilizes this data to bring truly intelligent, decision based toning and enhancement for all images.

But it's for more than just image enhancement - in fact it doesn't have to do anything like that...

Standardized metadata generation & addition to the image’s IPTC metadata

Vision provides standardized metadata terms, utilize Claro for adding this metadata to an image's IPTC fields – no more need for hours and hours spent manually adding keywords (not to mention all the non standardized terms)… perfect when ingesting content into a DAM.

For the digital teams

Combining the image optimization capabilities of the latest Claro and Vision, online images become more powerful for improving search engine rankings and increasing conversion rates.

  • Image Enhancement – Increased click throughs and conversion rates
  • Image SEO – Filename automatically appended with keywords
  • File size reduction – Thumbs & Full size images resized perfectly for the website
  • File Format selection – optimize website loading times with the correct image format


The 'holy grail' of the photoshop department, automated clipping paths and cutouts, is now part of the Claro workflow. integration in Claro v12, Automatic Cut-out example

Embracing AI integration even further, Elpical is collaborating with the industry leading background removal software to offer image enhancement and automatic cut outs/masks within the Claro workflow.

Send images directly from Claro to the service and you’ll receive back a layered .psd file (or transparent .png) ready for all requirements, print, online and more.

Remove image backgrounds in seconds and optimize the photoshop team for their creative skill sets.


Full information is available on the Elpical e-learning website:

* Google Vision and operations require additional sign up with Google and respectively.

11.0.12 29 July 2019

  • Fix for processing PDF in a Switch workflow
  • Fix for inverted behaviour of the “exclude skintones” checkbox
  • Fix for saving the “noise in luminosity mode” in ClaroAdmin
  • Claro does not write a re-import jobticket when the image goes to the folder for unprocessed images

11.0.11 19 July 2019

  • improved file locking for Claro statistics.xml
  • Message with Quality warning in Inspector also when all images are sent to Inspector
  • JobClient performance and stability improvements

11.0.10 11 July 2019

  • Bug processing images without extension, introduced in 11.0.9, fixed
  • Metadata from jobticket wasn’t displayed in Inspector, fixed
  • Photoshop CC2019 is automatically detected by Inspector
  • Jobticket with FTP destination, files were not FTP’ed when going through Inspector
  • NullpointerExcpetion when using API fixed

11.0.9 17 June 2019

  • JobClient for Adobe Indesign CC 2019
  • Several issues with JobClient fixed, however further updates to JobClient will follow in coming weeks. Current version of JobClient needs to be used with Claro 11.0.9.
  • Fix for failing automatic license updates
  • “imagepath nog present” error with some jobtickets in combination with routing channels, fixed
  • CMYK original gets conversion and looks different in Inspector, fixed
  • Purge channels didn’t use the schedule, fixed
  • new option in Inspector to flatten jpg automatically without warning
  • XMP is now also added to XMP
  • various improvements in cluster operation
  • Error handling missing ICC profile improved
  • PDF error handling improved
  • color balance bug fixed
  • DeviceLink channel, error handling improved

11.0.8 22 November 2018

  • Zip file with a folder structure inside caused channel to go to standby. Fixed.
  • ClaroAdmin bug with deleting a user and then adding one in same session. Fixed.
  • Bug with some smaller files with face recognition. Fixed.

11.0.7 31 October 2018

  • Inspector extended fixed
  • CR2 file format fix
  • PDF with images in Indexed colorSpace with StringObject containing octal values less than 3 characters are incorrect decoded.Fixed.
  • Couple of French translation issues fixed.
  • Return jobticket with one concurrent process missing, fixed.

11.0.6 27 August 2018

  • XMP logging with one concurrent process did not work, fixed
  • JobClient API, several bug fixes
  • Fit-in-box resize bug fixed.
  • Routing in image orientation bug, fixed
  • Inspector process info missing with one concurrent process, fixed.
  • 16 bit PNG issues fixed.

11.0.5 20 April 2018

  • Skipped images in PDF bug when running in multi-server mode fixed
  • Duplicate inspector id’s when running in multi-server mode fixed
  • Added methods in JobClient API, getChannelType, getChannelStatus
  • Size bug with CCI integration with images <>200 DPI fixed
  • Backward compatibility issue with older Mac OS X versions fixed

11.0.4 16 March 2018

  • Concurrent image processes in single JVM
  • fixed issue with 16 bit PSD
  • Inspector queue selection bug fixed
  • PNG with embedded profile issue fixed
  • bug fixes in JobClient
  • Stability and performance improvements

11.0.3 7 November 2017

  • Incomplete logging after upgrade fixed
  • Correct logging of timeout value (multi-server operation)
  • Reduced installer size
  • Stability improvements in multiserver operation

11.0.2 26 September 2017

  • Added feature: routing on file format (as apposed to just on extension)
  • Stability improvements in JobClient for Indesign CC and CS6 on Mac and PC
  • Fix for Corrupt Flate Stream error when processing specific PDF’s
  • Automatic startup of Claro service on Macosx did not work in new installer, fixed
  • Return jobticket after Inspector was not generated, fixed
  • PNG bug fixed
  • When doing upgrades, the http port number was not taken from the existing configuration
  • Improved exception handling if selected ICC profile does not exist.

11.0.1 10 May 2017

  • Added "execute external program" option to device-link channels.
  • Added Inspector status icon to Jobclient
  • New installers for Inspector
  • Fix for un-embedded font bug with a specific PDF with concurrent processing
  • Improvement in Color Balance algorithm

11 3 April 2017

New & improved features

  • Portrait recognition: In version 11,  Claro  is able to classify portrait images as such. This leads to optimized skin-tone treatment and adjustments in noise filtering and local contrast for highlights, leading to better portraits.
  • Banding removal: Claro now detects and removes banding issues in blue skies that may occur in heavily compressed images.
  • JPEG compression artefacts: Claro offers new and improved detection and removal of various types of JPEG artefacts.
  • Improved exposure correction: Claro has improved detection of under- and overexposed images and offers an even higher success rate in correcting these problems.
  • Added localized treatment of key areas in images: Claro offers more controls to include or exclude certain areas in images like skin tones and blue skies to algorithms like the local contrast for highlights feature and the color filter.
  • New plug-in for Adobe InDesign: Our plug-in offers the ability to enhance images inside InDesign documents. The plug-in identifies the size of the picture box and the visible area of the images and takes this into account. The enhanced images fit exactly into the picture box at the exact resolution. The new plug-in offers enhanced user experience and allows documents to be closed while images are in process.
  • Newsrooms will love this: If a major news event occurs, newsrooms will have the ability to tag images shot within a specified range of the location where the event took place. Especially with user generated content coming into the newsroom, it is a huge benefit to be able to immediately identify images shot within a certain proximity of the event.
  • IT departments will love this: The new installers of both the Claro server (Windows and Mac OS X) as well as the InDesign plug-in and Photoshop Inspector are completely independent of pre-installed runtime environments.

10.0.32 8 December 2016


  • Added option to use URL’s for input and output in XML jobtickets.

Bug fixes

  • Some PNG’s could not immediately be deleted from hotfolder after processing, causing the channel to go to standby for a few seconds.
  • Some PNG’s could not be processed, error message: incorrect pixel stride.
  • When routing jobtickets to a processing channel and the jobticket contained IPTC, the resulting jobticket could be invalid XML.
  • Invalid crop with a jobticket containing crop info, tiff output image and multiple concurrent processes.

10.0.31 3 November 2016

Bug fixes

  • Fixed bug that caused Claro to stop processing in certain workflows with certain PDFs.

10.0.30 25 October 2016

Bug fixes

  • Fixed bug introduced in 10.0.29 with “file name extension” in output settings.
  • Added file name suffix option in output settings.

10.0.29 21 October 2016

Bug fixes

  • Improved performance and stability in parsing XML.
  • Fixed issue with sharpening with a particular image on Windows.
  • Fixed issue with PNG in Inspector whereby in some circumstances the original was not shown correctly in Inspector.
  • Fixed issue with lost transparency with a particular PNG file.

10.0.28 4 October 2016

Bug fixes

  • Fixed occasional creation of large mdmp files in the install dir.
  • Updated Nikon raw camera libraries.
  • Updated Canon raw camera libraries.
  • Default jpeg compression level for new channels changed to 9 from 10.
  • CCI job integration fix for CCI version >= 3.
  • Automatic recognition of Photoshop version 15.5 added.
  • Fix for 0 byte files not causing delays.
  • Updated translations.
  • Fix for importing Claro version 9 curves with inverted values.
  • Channel selection panel in routing channel is larger and the channels are in alphabetical order.
  • PNG with transparency converted to psd resulted in strange colors.

10.0.27 8 June 2016

Bug fixes

  • 16 bit layers from 16 bit PSD’s are now processed.
  • Ignoring ColorTransform parameter in PDF if the parameter is not part of the “DecodeParams” dictionary.
  • Fix for sizing problems with CCI version >=3. Extra option in CCI panel to select CCI version.
  • Fix for sFTP connections where the connection could be reset when the receiving side initiates a re-keying event.
  • Tiff files from claro with zip compression were not accepted by indesign. Fixed.
  • Fix for PDF where the decoding parameters for the FlateFilter are placed in an Indirect object.
  • Fix for Tiff files with layers which fail to open in Photoshop when converted to PSD.

10.0.26 14 April 2016

Bug fixes

  • Fix for problem PDF’s which contain object definition without closing tags.
  • Check on very large xmp blocks in TIFF. Skipping these as this might cause out-of-memory errors.
  • Fix for jvm crash at startup of process.
  • Extra option to skip “Ignore images placed side-by-side or overlapping other images” only if less pixels than specified amount.
  • F5 key to refresh the queue window in Inspector functions again.
  • Channel with “scanonlyjobfiles” and a case-sensitive OS would not pickup files with capital extensions.
  • “The import arguments may not be null message” on a PSD image with hidden layer is fixed.
  • Fix for Tiff LZW output compression which caused sort of inverted images.
  • Temporary ICC files were not removed after moving image files to folder after for example a quality warning.
  • Fix for very large ICC  profiles.
  • PDF’s with corrupt compressed stream without ending compression marker are processed correctly.
  • Prevent illegal ASCII characters from LCMS.

10.0.25 8 February 2016

Bug fixes

  • Fix: processing only those images in a PDF that do not have a specified XMP tag/value did not work if images did not have XMP metadata at all.
  • Log information of Claro was not written into the XMP of images (since version 10.0.23).
  • XML return ticket is sent after the Image has been sent with (s)FTP instead of concurrently.
  • ClaroAdmin did not always show the stop/start button if it should (started on same system as Claro is running on).

10.0.24 22 December 2015

Bug fixes

  • Fix for ClaroAdmin appearing to freeze, but is waiting for user-input in another window.
  • Embedded HTTP server is upgraded to newer version.
  • Fix for ClaroAdmin not showing screen if you would like to start Claro if ClaroAdmin is started from the same system as Claro is installed on.
  • Fix for JVM crash with core dump (EXCEPTION_ACCESS_VIOLATION).
  • Claro logging shows more detailed system information at startup making it more easier for support to advise on concurrency and memory settings.
  • The previous version showed in ClaroAdmin the network logging from a MultiServer environment. It appears that this leads to problems because of too much access to this log (and delays because of the network access to the storage) causing unacceptable delays in the Claro Administration. The logging in ClaroAdmin shows now only the local log.
  • In the advanced tab of Input in a routing channel an extra option has been added: “Use IPTC from jobfile and image”. In previous versions routing on IPTC used either the IPTC from the jobfile (and IPTC imported via XPath) or if it did not exist the IPTC from the image. With this option first the IPTC is taken from the jobfile (and XPath) and for IPTC fields which are not available the IPTC fields are used from the image itself.
  • ClaroAdmin did not close the file for locking the preferences. This could cause an error in the operating system “Too many open files”.
  • Improved Inspector failover in cluster environment to backup cluster.
  • Added basic Inspector functionality to the channel- and group-overview in ClaroAdmin.
  • Special option CropWithBox was not saved correctly.
  • Timeout for http connections increased.

10.0.23 24 November 2015

New features

  • Images in PDF get extra XMP information about Claro processing if selected in XMP options (output tab)
  • Added the option to skip or process images in PDF based on XMP data per image
  • Added in routing channel in IPTC a possibility to check if a field has content or not (without specifying what that content should be)
  • Possibility to specify a backup cluster in ClaroServers.conf. Add the line: “backupserverlist=” (similar to “serverlist”) listing the servers that are part of the backup-cluster. The client applications will connect to one of the servers in “backupserverlist” if none of the servers in “serverlist” is available. Known limitations: Inspector will only connect to a server from “backupserverlist” if Inspector is already running. It will also not reconnect to the primary cluster automatically if that becomes available again. The setup (channel selection) is manual. ClaroPreferences.xml might be different in backup cluster. Limitations will be fixed in next update.
  • In inspector.ini, an option can be added:  EnableUseNoneButtonJobFile=1 to enable the use none button in Inspector also when job files are used.

Bug fixes

  • Improved performance of ClaroAdmin
  • Scanning a (sub-) folder on a network folder where Claro has no rights to see the contents could crash Claro
  • The preview in the QueueWindow of Inspector did not get updated correctly under all circumstances
  • Fix for compressed XMP in PDF
  • Improved handling of network folders
  • Improved thread safety InspectorServer
  • Fix for negative seek errors in PDF files
  • Improved creation of temporary folders for PDF and handling of PDF files after restart of Claro
  • Fixed org.xml.sax.SAXParseException in log after files are processed from Inspector
  • Improved logging if copy of files to temporary folder fails.
  • Prevent locking of files if copying of files to temporary folder fails
  • BlueTone adjustment was default selected
  • Added a cancel button at the Claro Administration to cancel the search for network installation, so they can be entered manually
  • ClaroAdmin shows to which server it is connected now in the top right corner, before the version-number
  • In Edit groups, the selection of channel names is now sorted
  • In the ClaroAdmin if one channel in a group is on standby the whole group will have the standby status color
  • List of Groups in Channel Edit screen is sorted
  • Fixed problem to change to English language in ClaroAdministration on non-english operating systems
  • In multiserver the admin also counted the .lck files as separate input files
  • Fix for Node removed exception causing a crash of Claro
  • Re-arranged several fields in ClaroAdmin to have more space available in order to make fields better readable
  • Respect case of extension
  • Fix for jpeg containing wrong information about the amount of ICC markers in the file
  • Fix for JVM crash
  • In a multiserver setup the preferences file wasn’t backupped if the preferences was changed by ClaroAdmin
  • Amount of files in input folder and inspector are only shown if group/channel is not on standby (to prevent slowdown of Claro trying to access  network shares that may not be availabl
  • The java version inside the on Mac is now updated to 1.8.0_65
  • Improved locking of the preferences file in MultiServer
  • Improved checking for changed preferences file in MultiServer
  • If Multiserver configuration is used and the network log is enabled, then for the normal logging the network log is shown in the user-interface
  • Fix for corrupt backup preferences file
  • JobClient crop/rotate issues fixed that could sometimes occur with negative scaling percentages
  • Default max memory for JobClient is increased
  • Order of “execute external program” is changed so that is done after creation of the return job ticket, such that the return jobticket can be used in the script/program
  • Fix for startup problems Inspector. On first launch, libraries must be downloaded from the Claro server. This process stalled sometimes, and Inspector would not come up properly

10.0.22 17 September 2015

Bug fixes

  • Fix for resizing images in PDF with a mask. Because of rounding errors the mask and the image could have a different resolution (1 pixel). Fixed.
  • Fix for Claro running in MultiServer and using concurrent processing, the lock files were left behind for a time-period specified by the lock-timeout value.
  • Possible now to change the email address with which a customer is registered with.


De Persgroep Publishing – alert and reactive

Marc Roelants, ICT Project Leader
Marc Roelants, ICT Project Leader

De Persgroep Publishing (dPP) is a 100% subsidiary of De Persgroep, which has expanded from a local, Flemish media company to a leading bi-national organization. dPP is active in newspapers, magazines and new media and home to a number of market leaders such as Het Laatste Nieuws, Dag allemaal, Goed Gevoel and The turnover of de Persgroep is around 750 million euros; for the whole group this is one billion euros, which makes it one of the largest media companies worldwide.

Like other publishing houses, dPP faces significant challenges going forward. The ongoing financial recession puts pressure on revenues – especially from advertising. Additionally the advertisement market is experiencing a shift to digital media and television, taking away revenue from traditional print advertising. Lower consumer confidence is yet another trend in the reader market; people buy fewer individual issues and are switching titles more often.

dPP still flourished in this changing landscape; through focus on traditional print and embracing new digital media, the group managed to maintain and for a number of titles even improve reader numbers. dPP also invested in a joint IT platform which improves performance and reliability while decreasing costs. This is where Elpical Claro Premedia comes into the picture.

Claro Premedia – high availability and superb quality

In 2009 de Persgroep Publishing started a division in the Netherlands, acquiring some of the major local newspapers such as Algemeen Dagblad, de Volkskrant and Het Parool. All existing ICT systems were migrated and integrated in the existing ICT platform in Asse, Belgium. Marc Roelants, ICT Project Leader - Editorial and Advertising Systems explains: “With the growing number of publications, automating the production of these publications became crucially important; it is the only solution to reduce human intervention and therefore errors. Especially because we also face the challenge to automate our production workflows in such a way as to make it possible to publish both to paper and digitally online and on mobile devices.

As part of this automation and ICT integration process dPP migrated their image workflows to Claro Premedia in December 2012. They invested in two Claro Premedia 9 environments; one for production and one for testing and development, each consisting of two virtualized servers. This implementation happened in close collaboration with dPP’s ‘Flash Center’ department that takes care of all production related operational processes within dPP; such as PDF and image optimization. Steven Baelen, Flash Center Manager explains: “We chose Claro Premedia as our image enhancement software based on the intelligent image processing and therefore the excellent image quality.”

In order to make the integration possible, the software needed to have robust automation capabilities, coupled with excellent image optimization that allowed individual images to be further optimized by dPP’s Flash Center. It also needed to function in a dynamic way, using job tickets and web services to drive it from the larger workflow system. Elpical Claro Premedia fulfilled all of those needs, and that is why dPP finally went with the solution after analyzing the different products on the market today.

Marc Roelants adds: “If we have to pick the 2 main reasons why we chose to work with Claro Premedia then it would be high availability and product quality. On top of that, the implementation of Claro Premedia in our workflow went very smoothly. We’ve received excellent support from Elpical and their distributor Four Pees. We have worked closely together in the development stage and beta testing of the new Claro Premedia 9 version. Even now that we use the product in our daily production, we can always count on an excellent and swift support.”

In order to ensure 100% uptime for Claro Premedia as it is integrated into their production workflow, dPP and Elpical worked on comprehensive cluster support for the new Elpical Claro Premedia 9. This ensures that a server with software or hardware problems doesn’t affect the entire image processing system; the load is dynamically shifted to the remaining processing servers.

Automated image Processing with intelligence

De Persgroep Publishing handles a huge number of images day-in, day-out; so many that it would be cost prohibitive (not to mention too time-consuming) to optimize all of them manually. This is the typical scenario where Elpical Claro excels. Not just because it can handle a vast amount of images in a short period of time, but also (and mainly) because it knows its own limits.

“Starting with version 9, Elpical Claro can be configured in a true cluster configuration. This ensures high availability and provides load-balancing across multiple servers, ” explains John De Jong, CEO of Elpical Software: “This is of course very important to our bigger customers. However, it is the built-in quality control that is the most important functionality”.

Elpical Claro automatically calculates how good its image optimization algorithm performed on every single image it processes. Depending on the workflow, you can then decide what percentage of images you want to process completely automatically and what percentage to keep aside for manual inspection and
further manual cleanup. Claro comes with a Claro Inspector plug-in for Adobe Photoshop where a retoucher can see the original and processed image. This allows a quick decision on whether the original or the processed image is better and allows further manual processing in Photoshop.

“You can mix this automatic and manual mode in one Elpical Claro installation,” continues John De Jong: “This allows a publisher to make different workflows for different magazines or newspapers for example. For some publications completely automatic processing might be the best option, while for high-quality, glossy magazines every image could be pre-processed by Claro but quality controlled and further optimized by a photo retoucher in Photoshop. That’s really the best of two worlds”.

BBC Magazines and Elpical’s Claro

Daniel Hargreaves, Reprographics Manager

Time + Quality

SmartRepro sought to maximize in-house talent to improve processes and final product quality. A new infrastructure included the establishment of publication-specific repro hubs that would, for example, address timeline bottlenecks within and across publications (such as reduction of proofing cycles). Each hub is connected across the network, making it easy to move work around when necessary. Specific strategies included training design staff to better assess images and print-ready work, as well as understand color space and conversion fundamentals to recognize color problems and correction requirements.

Cultural Change

The broad thinking underlying the approach was to provide best in class resources to fit the needs of internal magazine clusters, including staff equipped with the expertise to address each publication’s particular creative requirements. “It meant a fundamental culture change,” says Hargreaves, who designed the internal repro team to be flexible and able to juggle any of the work that might come up, thereby
balancing the load with the publications’ creative teams and creating a fast, effective, and quality process. “We created a hybrid of the design teams and the repro team,” he said. “That meant winning hearts and
minds in the beginning, negotiations, and carefully structuring how we rolled this out, with a constant eye on how we would safeguard quality. We started in May 2006 - and a year later we successfully incorporated the process with all of our titles.

“Visually the results speak for themselves. There is a definite quality improvement in images accross the board.”

Tools for the Job

Picking the right tools and adapting them over time has been key to the effort, as well. “We invested in workflow tools to insure that we had a robust, industry standard workflow,” said Hargreaves.

Best of Breed

BBC then layered a few key “best of breed” tools on top of the workflow. One standout choice? Elpical’s Claro. Claro’s image tools have their roots in the high quality Hasselblad imaging technology. Building on
that base philosophy of quality photographic output, the Claro analysis tools individually analyze images to ensure sharpness, contrast, brightness, color balance and other parameters. The results are consistently superb image quality.

Tick Tock

“We are increasingly pushed for time, and with the schedule backloaded on a monthly magazine – we can have chaos!” Hargreaves says emphatically. “There is frequently a need for us to standardize what we get in”, he explains, ”But because of those time and budget constraints, we often have to work with what we’ve got -- and that’s where Claro can optimize and standardize in automated ways.” “As time constraints grow more severe, quality expectations remain high, so we’ve got this balancing act to achieve quality levels while simultaneously having less time to do it. I was looking at automated solutions and found Claro.”

Top Gear

The hit automotive show Top Gear and its popular magazine must shine like an Aston Martin Vantage Roadster gliding through the S curves to Monaco. In fact, one of the fi rst tests Claro passed was the editors’ eyeballs at Top Gear. “Top Gear has to be very current and topical, with a very short amount of time to turn around -- and Claro brings big benefits there. Top Gear was really into it when I showed
them what it could do,” says Hargreaves.

Alan Dixon of Workfl owz, Elpical’s UK partner, joined Elpical’s John de Jong in going to BBC to set up an in-depth demo and product evaluation with initial set-up and training for BBC to build upon. Further tweaking and enhancements to match BBC’s internal departments’ requirements were developed with Hargreaves’ guidance, before the system was rolled out to various titles. “We threw lots of different images at the software, tweaked it, and got proofs that achieved what I felt was a significant difference, and once I showed the editors here at Top Gear what can be achieved, it was met with such enthusiasm that it drove sign-off on the investment,” Hargreaves says.

Great Greens

The system also shines in the challenging areas of greens, blues, and skin tones - and that’s something that BBC’s Gardeners’ World magazine needs to get “Just Right”. Not surprisingly, the plant photography across this well-known gardening publication contains a lot of greens, not to mention highly varying levels of subtlety from green to green. Hitting the quality bar while meeting a rigorous production schedule was challenging. “With Gardeners World we’re using the new green tones setting, and getting great results,” Hargreaves reports. This achievement was made possible by his decision to give each publication its own, unique profile.


Integration also makes for success. For example, Hargreaves says BBC integrated Claro with its workfl ow to take advantage of Claro’s sharpening function. “When our pages are submitted to the workflow, it makes calls to Claro. The ICC conversion happens in Claro and images are sharpened there as well, so it’s a two-pronged, integrated approach,” he says. As an added benefi t, Claro insures that all images are analyzed in some way. Claro analyzes the CMYK profile against the gamut of the image going in. If the image is out of gamut by more than 20%, Claro applies a perceptual conversion. This, says Hargreaves, brings a whole new level of consistent quality to the process.

The Payoff

“Visually, the results speak for themselves,” says Hargreaves. “There’s a definite quality improvement in images across the board. We wouldn’t have had time to make all these sharpening and other enhancements. This approach lets us have those benefits while working to our tight deadlines. If we didn’t have Claro, we might not be able to achieve the results we have been able to, in certain titles.”


ELPICAL Software, based in Giesbeek, The Netherlands, develops and markets software solutions for the production and enhancement of digital images and the automation of the image workflow. Based
on extensive image analysis, the technology enables publishing houses to automate the enhancement of produced images. ELPICAL was established in 1997 by a management buy-out of the Electronic Imaging department of Victor Hasselblad AB. ELPICAL since has grown to become a leading specialist in the field of digital image enhancement and management.

With Claro Premedia, Envision always has a second image enhancement opinion

Chris Mikkelsen,  Premediachef at Envision
Chris Mikkelsen, Premediachef at Envision

Established in 1988, Envision is one of the largest Danish advertising agencies. Spread over two facilities in Aarhus and Copenhagen, the company employs approximately 120 people. Being a full service advertising agency, they cover all aspects of the communication process, from concepts and strategies, to media planning and execution. To support the creative department, the company also has its own in-house production unit.

Decrease workload

The production of a weekly promotional flyer for Danish Supermarket, one of Envisions biggest customers, triggered the idea to look for an automated image enhancement solution. With an average of 110 pages, and approximately 10 images per page, or roughly 55.000 images per year, the need for automatic image enhancement became a necessity. Chris Mikkelsen, premediachef at Envision explains: “With 16
photographers working for the company, we receive a lot of images that need to be processed and enhanced. Before using Claro Premedia, all image adjustments were done manually, and getting a good quality was very time consuming. You can imagine the very high pressure on the shoulders of our 4 image designers. So it was quite obvious we had to do something to lighten the workload and improve efficiency at the same time.”

By using Claro, the average image quality improved dramatically, especially sharpness is a lot better than what you get in Photoshop®. Our image designers love Claro.

TIFF with LZW compression support

When looking for a suitable solution, Envision came in touch with Thomas Holm from Pixl. As a well known Danish color management consultant, he advised Envision taking a closer look at Claro. A demo version of the software was installed. Chris Mikkelsen: “At first, Claro did not fit the bill perfectly. Internally, we only work with TIFF images, but processing TIFF images with LZW compression was initially not possible. So, we made a temporary workaround converting images using a Switch solution. But with too many intermediate steps, the solution was not fast enough for the high number of images we wanted to process.” When a new version, supporting TIFF images with LZW compression, was presented at drupa 2008, Chris was given the green light by the management to go ahead with Claro Premedia.

Getting a second opinion

When correcting images manually, forgetting to apply a necessary enhancement like sharpness can happen to even the most experienced image designer, not Claro. Corrections are always performed to the same standard, over and over again. Standards you can configure and change depending on the output requirements. Chris Mikkelsen comments: “Claro is a wonderful application: it’s like getting a second
opinion on every image. For now, our image designers still check every image after it was corrected by Claro using Elpical Claro Inspector for Photoshop®. The side-by-side viewing of original and processed versions of an image, also gives less experienced image designers the ability to learn from it. What’s more, even if you don’t entirely approve the suggested enhancement, it’s always a good basis to work from.”
After having worked with Claro Premedia for almost a year now, Envision is not only very pleased with the solution, but also the cooperation with Elpical has been excellent.

Thanks to Claro, we deliver a better quality, and handle more images in the same amount of time, without having to invest in extra manpower.

Chris Mikkelsen concludes: “By using Claro, the average image quality improved dramatically, especially sharpness is a lot better than what you get in Photoshop®. Our image designers love Claro, because now, they can spend more time enhancing delicate fashion images, while the rest of the images are adjusted automatically. Thanks to Claro, we deliver a better quality, and handle more images in the same amount of time, without having to invest in extra manpower.”


Elpical Software, an international company with offices in The Netherlands and Germany, develops and markets software solutions for automating image production, manipulation and optimization as well as image workflow processes in general, based on extensive image analysis technology. Elpical, established in 1997 by a management buy-out of the Electronic Imaging department of Victor Hasselblad AB, is a leading specialist in digital image enhancement and management.

Elpical‘s key products include Claro Premedia, Claro Single, Claro Layout, 4LeafClover and EmailManager. Elpical is an ideal partner for software suppliers and integrators who want to integrate Elpical  technology into their own applications, Elpical has concluded an OEM agreement with, among others, OCÉ© for the enhancement of embedded images inside PDF documents.

Saarbrücker Zeitung

Gerard Mercker, IT Production Manager

The Saarbrücker Zeitung is a daily newspaper published with a circulation of about 180,000 copies and 11 regional editions. The prepress processes at the SZ are completely digitised and work under colour management conditions. Since October 2004, the new ISO 12647-3 process standard has been applied. The Elpical Claro PreMedia server has been used in conjunction with Adobe Photoshop for control of the image workflow and image optimisation, or pre-optimisation, since the beginning of the year 2000. An interface to the CCI editorial system was realised for this purpose.

At the Saarbrücker Zeitung, every image is checked after automatic image optimisation. Gerhard Merker, IT production manager at the Saarbrücker Zeitung, considers this to be essential for reasons of quality: "The standard of quality of some of the material we receive is so poor that we cannot rely on automatic optimisation alone. However, despite this quality check, we have still succeeded in reducing the processing time for colour images from 15 minutes in the past to about one minute today”.

The workflow

All agency images (received via Fotoware software) first enter an image in basket in the CCI editorial system where all images, whether from the newspaper’s staff photographers or freelancers, are put. The integration with the editorial system makes available the images to the editors in their own environment. The editor can pull a selected image directly on to the page in a non-processed state (RGB-JPEG). Then he defines the image section and size. It is only after that that the image data are sent as a raw file and the accompanying metadata (image size, section, position, etc.) as XML file are exported for optimisation to Claro. Claro works with various reproduction channels, depending on whether the image is destined for the daily newspaper, the web or a different product, e.g. an insert produced outside the company. Accordingly, different settings (output profiles) are stored that are used as a basis for the automatic processing. It can also be determined whether all images should be sent to the reproduction department for checking (as is the case at the Saarbrücker Zeitung), or only images that fail to satisfy certain specified criteria.

With InSpector, a Photoshop PlugIn, the image processor can retrieve the automatically optimised images one after another at his workplace for checking, or after-processing respectively. He is shown the processed image (in CMYK) alongside the original (in RGB). He now has a choice of two options: either he accepts the processed image ("use processed”) or he further processes it. If the optimised version is unsuitable for use, the original image can be processed immediately before he returns it to CCI ("use original”). According to Gerhard Merker, this is a very useful arrangement that has a direct effect on the image quality and therefore the quality of the product as a whole. At the end of this process, the complete page goes to the PostScript RIP and finally to the imager.

The images are archived in their original state (i.e. non-processed). The CCI editorial system keeps all versions of the image ready for retrieval. An automatic routine transfers the images (and the text, but not the pages) at night to the Elias archive. At the same time, the images are exported in a corresponding version for the internet page.

The minor difference

An interesting difference to the procedure in widespread use is that, in the workflow at the Saarbrücker Zeitung, the images, are not processed in advance, but only after size and section have been defined. "I do not think it logical to optimise the images before”, says G. Merker and explains why as follows: "There is a difference whether you produce an image as a single-column or four-column element, especially as regards image sharpness. Sharpening must be done in the final size, otherwise you will inevitably experience a loss of quality. The situation is exactly the same if you subsequently take a small section from a large, already optimised image. The complete image may perhaps be all right by itself, but this does not mean that the section will be so. The image must be optimised on the basis of the actual section.” A second point concerns the data volume "When the image section is defined, the rest that is not required will be removed. The image data will be converted accordingly by Claro. This reduces the data column and optimises the resolution.” The program carries out the colour space transformation or colour separation respectively from RGB to CMYK via the profile.

As the user confirms, Claro is relatively simple to administer, everything is comfortably browser-controlled and largely automated: "I don’t think that it could be much better.”

It proved more problematical to realise the interface to the CCI editorial system, a project on which both Elpical and CCI cooperated. Some trade-offs were necessary, but the final result was a highly-integrated image workflow.

“ ... we have still succeeded in reducing the processing time for colour images from 15 minutes in the past to about one minute today. ”

Sanoma significantly streamlines image and process efficiency

Bart Van Looy, ICT Publishing Project Leader

Sanoma Magazines Belgium is part of the international magazine division of the Finnish Sanoma Group. In Belgium, the company is primarily known as a magazine publisher, but it is also a modern multimedia company with multiple sites for its magazines. Divided into two branches; one in in Antwerp and one in Diegem, the company counts more than 500 employees. It is a leader in its segment and has developed a strong reputation with many famous magazines such as Flair, Libelle, Femmes d’Aujourd’hui, HUMO, Feeling, Goedele and Marie Claire.

Automatic image correction and routing

Fancy magazines ask for beautiful images. Clear, sharp and with fresh colors. Nevertheless, in reality most of the supplied images are not ready for use and image correction is required. Bart Van Looy, ICT Publishing Project Leader at Sanoma Magazines Belgium explains: “Before we started to work with Claro Premedia, all image adjustments were made manually in Photoshop® and that took a very long time. Generally these are fairly simple but necessary adjustments to the color balance, color saturation, sharpness, brightness and contrast. Moreover, there was much time lost searching, opening and saving the images in the right place.” A solution that not only automates repetitive corrections, but also saves the images through intelligent routing to the right place would help.

“The various solutions that we tested, had similar characteristics, but with the Elpical team it matched right away.”

We matched immediately

At Sanoma Magazines they work in a complete RGB setting. The conversion to print-ready files is done only at the very last minute. Therefore it was particularly important that the image optimization solution would support this process. Bart Van Looy: “The various solutions that we tested, had similar characteristics, but with the Elpical team it matched right away. The willingness to listen and the speed with which  they responded to our questions and suggestions, were exceptional. Besides, by the time we chose Elpical, most of the modifications we had requested were already implemented in Claro Premedia. Truly  unique!”

Predictable quality

The impact of Claro Premedia was immediately measurable and noticeable after installation and configuration. Thus the flow of images and color correction of images for the various TV magazines is now fully  automated. Without any manual intervention, the imported images are corrected in Claro Premedia and saved in the correct location. Bart Van Looy: “It is fascinating to see how quickly the corrections are  made and how it ends up in the correct folder. The predictability also improved since Claro interprets and corrects an image always in the same way.“ For exceptional cases, or when doing extreme adjustments, with Claro Inspector for Photoshop® the image editor has the possibility to compare the original and corrected versions side by side.

“Claro Premedia is definitely a unique product. Personally I am surprised again and again how good the image corrections are.“

The image routing is done using file naming conventions and IPTC data. This approach guarantees an unlimited number of correction channels with corresponding hot folders, to collect and save images. The support and addition of XMP data also ensures perfect compatibility between the various workflow systems at Sanoma Magazines. All information about the image is kept, so you can always see what and when something has changed in the image.

Bart Van Looy concludes: “Claro Premedia is definitely a unique product. Personally I am surprised again and again how good the image corrections are. Thanks to the automation there is more time now for working on delicate images, such as fashion photography, where corrections often go deeper than just color and contrast. Thanks to Claro Premedia adjustments are no longer ignored, we work more efficiently and the quality of our magazines has improved a lot. What else can you wish for? “


ELPICAL Software, based in Giesbeek, The Netherlands, develops and markets software solutions for the production and enhancement of digital images and the automation of the image workflow. Based on extensive image analysis, the technology enables publishing houses to automate the enhancement of produced images. ELPICAL was established in 1997 by a management buy-out of the Electronic Imaging department of Victor Hasselblad AB. ELPICAL since has grown to become a leading specialist in the field of digital image enhancement and management.

The manufacturer’s key products include Claro Premedia Server, 4LeafCover, EmailManager, SlideShowEnhancer and the Claro module for Gradual SWITCH. ELPICAL’s core competence in the field of digital images makes the company an ideal partner for other software suppliers who want to combine ELPICAL products with their own applications, or for system integrators who want to integrate expanded image functions in their own products. ELPICAL has concluded an OEM agreement with, among others, OCÉ ©

When love at first sight endures - St. Galler Tagblatt AG gains quality and ROI with ELPICAL's Claro Premedia Server

Ronny Bleichenbacher, head of Production IT Support

St. Galler Tagblatt AG, the largest media company in eastern Switzerland, publishes daily newspapers as well as professional journals, weekly magazines, customer magazines and electronic media. Ronny Bleichenbacher, who is head of Production IT Support at St. Galler Tagblatt, learned about ELPICAL's Claro Premedia Server software solution when he chanced to pick up a company brochure at Ifra 2006 in Amsterdam.  The headline, "automatic image enhancement based on comprehensive image analysis", caught his eye. Bleichenbacher wanted to switch the group's Macintosh-based workflow to Windows and had been searching for an image correction and automatic retouching solution that reduced the number of image management processes currently in place. When he learned more about the Claro Premedia Server's capabilities, it was a 'eureka!' moment of discovery – "I said, this is it!" recalls Bleichenbacher.

Ronny Bleichenbacher reports that the investment is delivering strong return on investment in the form of productivity, ease of operation and improved image quality.  "The Claro Premedia Server provides us with more possibilities for automatic image enhancement than we had ever dreamed of," states Bleichenbacher.

The Claro Premedia Server solution replaces a previous program for image correction and automatic retouching that was Mac-based.  When the company converted to a Windows workflow in 2003, the Window's version of the former program still didn't have the right capabilities to handle St. Galler Tagblatt's demanding production requirements. "Prior to installing Claro Premedia, our images went through eight different production workflows before finally being printed. Now we are able to condense these image management processes into a single workflow," explains Ronny Bleichenbacher "All processes   from copying, transporting, proofing, retouching and final image checking –run in the background and are fully automated."

Better quality frees up capacity

Claro Premedia analyzes each image based on parameters like sharpness, brightness, contrast, color balance, natural greens, skin tones, IPTC information, etc. Depending on the sharpness and noise levels of the original image, the unsharp masking process varies in terms of intensity, radius and threshold. The solution's special contrast algorithms modify the contrast wherever necessary in an image, making it possible to enhance definition even in dark areas.

As an option, images can be sorted by quality criteria and checked manually. Ronny Bleichenbacher is particularly impressed that the original image and the image edited by Claro Premedia can be compared side-by-side and further retouched. His verdict: "Since Claro was installed in March 2007, our image enhancement results have improved significantly and become more uniform." In turn, the time required for image enhancement and data handling has been reduced by some 15 percent. St. Galler Tagblatt AG has converted one of its publications to the Claro Premedia workflow almost every month since the initial installation. Thanks to the freed-up capacity and improved image quality, prepress production activities for the company's own publications are now handled in-house again after having been outsourced. The new capabilities are also opening the door to increased business with existing clients and the possibility to attract new customers.

Image management without unnecessary extras

Another key advantage is the ability to connect Claro Premedia with the K4 editorial system from SoftCare, a popular industry standard. According to Bleichenbacher, one of the main advantages is the central settings option for the image workflow. He can now centrally control changes or individual pre-settings for automatic image enhancement for all networked editorial departments within St. Galler Tagblatt's group of publishing houses. "I never would have believed how few buttons are required for the high-quality enhancement of an image," concludes Ronny Bleichenbacher.

 About St. Galler Tagblatt AG

Established in 1789, today St. Galler Tagblatt AG is the leading media company in eastern Switzerland. In addition to daily newspapers, the company also publishes a number of professional journals, weekly magazines, customer magazines and electronic media. Tagblattmedia, 70 percent of which belongs to the regional "Neue Zürcher Zeitung" newspaper, has access to an ultramodern printing center. St. Galler Tagblatt AG has some 660 employees and generated sales of 134 million Swiss francs in 2006 (approx. EUR 82 million). It is a member of IFRA CQC 1994 – 2008.


ELPICAL Software, based in Giesbeek, The Netherlands, develops and markets software solutions for the production and enhancement of digital images and the automation of the image workflow. Based on extensive image analysis, the technology enables publishing houses to automate the enhancement of produced images. ELPICAL was established in 1997 by a management buy-out of the Electronic Imaging department of Victor Hasselblad AB. ELPICAL since has grown to become a leading specialist in the field of digital image enhancement and management.

The manufacturer's key products include Claro Premedia Server, 4LeafCover, EmailManager, SlideShowEnhancer and the Claro module for Gradual SWITCH. ELPICAL's core competence in the field of digital images makes the company an ideal partner for other software suppliers who want to combine ELPICAL products with their own applications, or for system integrators who want to integrate expanded image functions in their own products. ELPICAL has concluded an OEM agreement with, among others, OCÉ© for the enhancement of embedded images from PDF documents.

Press contact

ELPICAL Software
Tom Peire
T: +32 478 96 89 92

Elpical Claro helps USA TODAY maintain its high standard for quality color and photos.

Ron Cobbs, Operations Manager in the Production department
Ron Cobbs, Operations Manager in the Production department

"USA TODAY has required and maintained a high quality visual standard from the very beginning,” says Ron Cobbs, Operations Manager in the Production department. “Our charter has always been to use both words and graphics including widespread use of color, photos and other artwork to grab our readers’ attention and tell them the story of what happened in the last 24 hours, and what to expect in the next 24 hours.”

Ready acceptance and adoption of the latest technologies has been a hallmark of the publication’s success. Without such technologies, the newspaper could not exist. The technology it employs is both extensive and sophisticated, incorporating communications satellites for file transmissions. And the entire USA TODAY production system, from pre-press to Computer-to-Plate, satellite network, and through to the actual printing plant, was designed with quality as the key goal.

Cobbs says, “From the beginning USA TODAY has always expected the highest imaging quality. We have always placed a very strong emphasis on the quality of our color, from taking pictures and scanning images in the early days, through color correction and output of film, and finally to press.”

He continues, “For us, making the transition to an all digital workflow was about maintaining that level of quality. We wanted to make sure we could translate the knowledge we gained in an analog/manual/
partly digital world into our transition to fully digital production tools. We continue to monitor and implement the latest products and technologies that will help us achieve this goal.”

The latest technology plays a major role in the publication’s prepress operations department, which processes material provided by both its customers and the editorial department.

95% of ads are uploaded to USA TODAY via its web-based ad portal. The remaining 5% usually come in on CD-ROM or DVD. The ads are processed and saved as PDF files, which are converted to different
file formats based on the production need. EPS files are sent to the paper’s CCI pagination system for placement on editorial pages.

Ron Cobbs says: “For us, making the transition to an all digital workflow was about maintaining that level of quality.

G4 TIFF files are sent to Newsway, the CTP system, for transmission to print sites. All advertising and editorial images are already in digital format when they come into the department.

Up until a few years ago, image quality assurance and optimization during the “pre-media” phase of production at USA TODAY was purely a manual proposition, except for whatever QC could be achieved using the department’s standard applications, including Adobe CS4, Acrobat, Photoshop, Pitstop, and a few other tools. It wasn’t the most efficient use of operators’ time. This changed about three years ago, shortly after Print 07.

Cobbs and his staff had already been looking at tools for optimizing the imaging production process when they found Elpical at the Print 07 show, and saw the Claro image analysis and optimization software
in action.

The Claro software individually analyzes each individual image for a range of specific parameters including sharpness, brightness, contrast, color balance, natural greens, skin tones, Exif information and more. It handles image manipulation tasks automatically and optimizes the files for their intended uses.

Cobbs says, “We knew the people behind the company, and their software looked like it had a lot of promise. We decided to start testing and evaluating it to see how it would work in our production environment.”

Mike Grinder, a technician in the prepress operations department, says “We were looking for something that was priced right and could handle the volume and wide range of images we process each day, as well as give us more control.”

Grinder explains, “We have so many input profiles and we get pictures from different sources all over the world.” Cobbs concurs, saying, “We aren’t always in the position of having the best quality image to work with; so having the right tools to maximize quality is important to us.”

With Claro in the workflow, images are automatically converted and corrected based on USA TODAY pre-defined criteria. This allows the operators more time to work with images that require manual  intervention. Claro can be helpful in those cases, as well – for instance, the software makes it possible to compare the enhanced image with the original in order to determine best next-steps.

In addition to working with many image input sources, the USA TODAY prepress operations department works with images already pre-formatted for different devices. Some images may come in formatted for web, coated for high ink density, for example, and need to be corrected and have a new profile for newsprint applied.

Grinder says, “Claro lets us do that and maintain both quality and the integrity of the image. Having the Claro software to automate the transformation process for using the images in different places, the web and print, for example, really decreases our workload. We’re using Claro to branch off for uses in other USA TODAY products. We can choose the correct profile depending on the use of the image and have it come out right, automatically, over and over again. We tune the profiles we use with Claro to our specific needs. With 35 domestic print sites, this is a great time saving.”

Mike Grinder says: “We were looking for something that was priced right and could handle the volume and wide range of images we process each day, as well as give us more control.”

In total, USA TODAY is now processing more than 2000 images a month using the Claro software, and Cobbs and Grinder say their use of the application has brought a high degree of operation efficiency to the prepress operations department’s workflow. “With the Claro software”, says Grinder, “We no longer need to look at each individual image. We have set up our own rules, based on our requirements, for when  an image needs to be checked manually. As a result, Claro automatically corrects and pushes 60-75% of the images through, and flags the remainders that need manual intervention based on our criteria. The Claro software lets us control how we want the images optimized and gives us plenty of flexibility, but for the most part it’s an automated process. We press the button and send it on. We may see the image in the proofing pages, but otherwise we let it fly….”

Another advantage the Elpical Claro software offers is the ability to work directly in Photoshop, a familiar tool to everyone involved in image editing and processing. Says Grinder, “Claro doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel; they let Photoshop do it. Photoshop is integrated into the process.”

Concludes Cobbs, “Elpical Claro is helping us on the operational side by increasing our productivity as well as helping us meet and maintain our quality standards. And working with Elpical has been great. They listen to us and often incorporate our input about making their product better, and work hard to resolve any issue we come up with. In short, they’re tremendous to work with.”


Elpical Software, an international company with offices in The Netherlands and Germany, develops and markets software solutions for automating image production, manipulation and optimization as well as image workflow processes in general, based on extensive image analysis technology. Elpical, established in 1997 by a management buy-out of the Electronic Imaging department of Victor Hasselblad AB, is a leading specialist in digital image enhancement and management.

Elpical‘s key products include Claro Premedia, Claro Single, Claro Layout, 4LeafClover and EmailManager. Elpical is an ideal partner for software suppliers and integrators who want to integrate Elpical technology into their own applications, Elpical has concluded an OEM agreement with, among others, OCÉ© for the enhancement of embedded images inside PDF documents.

More information on


Webinar - Claro increases your production speed without sacrificing quality

We have a closer look at how Elpical Claro edits pictures and how to use the plug-ins, as well as at the way the parameters for a whole range of settings can be set.
This can help you reduce time spent on each image without sacrificing quality.


Did you like the video? Then you might want to have a look at related videos in the following playlist!

Webinar - What's new in Claro 11?

Elpical Claro is an automatic image optimisation and retouching application. In this webinar, we will cover the overall capabilities of Claro, how it can be implemented in different workflow scenario’s and take a closer look at the specific new features of Claro v11.

On October 16, 2017 Tom Peire, CEO of Four Pees, held an English webinar to introduce you to the new features of Claro 11.

Webinar - Automatic Image Optimization with Claro

Do you already know how to improve image quality while decreasing retouching time? Some big names in the industry such as BBC Magazines, Sanoma, Bonnier, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Mondadori France, Modern Luxury and USA Today do. They use Elpical Claro!

During this webinar, Tom Peire will introduce you to the benefits of the automatic image optimization software Elpical Claro. He will also explain how you can easily integrate it into your existing workflow - no matter if you are a printer, publisher or an online communication company.

Elpical Claro excels when it comes to high volume image optimization. For you and your team this means reducing production time and costs while delivering consistently high-quality image enhancements.

02:22 - Start of the webinar
02:55 - Introduction of Elpical Software
04:30 - Introducing the Claro technology
07:35 - Introducing the Claro product
08:52 - Introducing the Photoshop Inspector
10:30 - Introducing the InDesign JobClient add-on
13:09 - Integrate Elpical Claro in your workflow using the Routing channels
15:44 - Supported file formats for Elpical Claro
18:47 - Start of demonstration
19:05 - Demonstration of the Claro Photoshop Inspector
28:20 - Demonstration of the Claro InDesign JobClient
30:35 - Elpical Claro configuration
53:58 - Logging and Monitoring Claro
54:47 - Going back to see the results of the InDesign JobClient
56:16 - Markets for Elpical Claro
57:00 - Benefits of using Claro
58:58 - Unique Selling Propositions for Elpical Claro
1:01:11 - Pricing for version 9 of Elpical Claro
1:03:12 - Market situation for Claro

Webinar - What's new in Claro 9?

Below you can find the webinar of Elpical Claro 9, where its newest features are demonstrated.

Elpical Claro E-learning portal

Elpical has his own E-learning portal that provides the user info regarding the product Claro. Here the portal link:

Do you have a complete price list in Euro / USD?

Yes, the latest price list is available via distributor Four Pees. To access the Reseller Guide, go to Once you have registered as reseller, and your account has been approved, you will be granted access to the reseller guide containing full pricing information for all products in Euro and USD. With any questions regarding exact pricing for specific customers, bundles etc... please contact

How to upload large files to support?


When sending problems to support or asking questions about a specific functionality, it is always helpful if you supply as much information as possible:

  • Profiles or Process Plans when working with pdfToolbox or pdfaPilot
  • Example documents 'before' and 'after' to explain the problem or question
  • Screenshots explaining the specific problem

When such files are over 2MB it is more reliable and quicker to send them to us through our Dropbox. This article describes how to do so.


  1. First of all, please give your documents a unique name. If you already have a case ID (a 5-digit number), please include this case ID in the name of the file(s) you are going to send to us.
  2. Click this link to browse to our Dropbox upload page
  3. Click 'Choose files from your computer' and navigate to the files
  4. If you are not logged into Dropbox, fill out your First and Last name and email address
  5. Click 'Upload'

You will receive an email confirming your files were uploaded succesfully.

System requirements

Four Pees