Sphere Head Spectrophotometers and Specular Component Explained

Different surfaces can influence both the colour and the appearance of objects. A colourful and glossy object will usually appear more saturated to the eye, while a similar object with a matte, diffuse surface will appear duller.

If you form a glossy, a semi-matte and a matte surface from the same black plastic, the glossy surface will often appear blackest, while the very matte surface will appear much lighter. The same effect can be reproduced with film lamination of prints: a glossy laminated dark blue or black appears more saturated and darker, a matt laminated black becomes lighter and greyer to the human eye due to diffuse light refraction.

Humans perceive the colour of objects through the light reflected from them, and different surfaces reflect light differently. In general, therefore, there are two ways in which light is reflected from an object: The specular and the diffuse reflection.

 

Specular and diffuse light reflection of matt and glossy objects

Specular reflection

Specular reflection occurs when light is reflected from the light source at an equal but opposite angle. Simply put, you can think of it as a ball bouncing off a smooth floor and bouncing back at the same angle. This reflection occurs mainly on objects with shiny, smooth surfaces.

Diffuse reflection

If, on the other hand, the reflected light is scattered in numerous different directions, we speak of diffuse reflection. This reflection occurs on objects with matt and irregular surfaces. A ball would bounce off such a surface – for example, an irregular floor consisting of numerous pyramids of different sizes – sometimes at one angle and sometimes at a completely different angle.

Spectrophotometers with an integrating sphere

Today, when colour and gloss are to be evaluated in global supply chains and on different surfaces, this is often done with sphere head spectrophotometers such as the KonicaMinolta CM-26d, with which we at Proof GmbH have also measured the semi-matt and matt free-colour CIELAB HLC Colour Alas XL. With the d:8° geometry and the integrated 60° gloss sensor, which can handle both the SCI – “Specular Component Included” and SCE – “Specular Component Excluded” measuring modes, this measuring device can measure colour and gloss within less than a second without having to use an additional measuring device for gloss and always having to be set up and aligned again.

 

Proof.de: KonicaMinolta CM26d Kugelkopf Spektralmessgeraet mit SCI und SCE Messung: Messung des freieFarbe CIELAB HLC Colour Atlas XL

 

Proof.de: KonicaMinolta CM26d Kugelkopf Spektralmessgeraet mit SCI und SCE Messung: Displayanzeige

 

Proof.de: KonicaMinolta CM26d Kugelkopf Spektralmessgeraet mit SCI und SCE Messung: Beim CK-26d kann durch eine zurückschiebbare Klappe direkt in die Ulbricht-Kugel gesehen werden, und so der Messausschnitt durch die Kugel noch einmal visuell kontrolliert werden.
With the KonicaMinolta CM-26d it is possible to look directly into the integrating sphere through a flap that can be pushed back, and thus the measuring section can be visually checked and readjusted through the sphere once again.

With integrating sphere measuring instruments, the surfaces to be measured are usually illuminated at all angles and measured at an angle of 8 degrees from the vertical axis. This measurement condition is referred to as d/8 or d:8. Most of the integrating sphere measuring devices such as the CM-26d can measure with or without a gloss component as previously described.
In contrast, the 45/0 models used in the printing industry such as the X-Rite i1 Pro2 always measure without the specular reflection. The reflection of the sample surface is therefore perceived differently by the optical geometries d:8 with gloss component – SCI – , d:8 without gloss component – SCE – and 45/0 respectively.

 

Specular Component Spectrophotometric Measurement SCI / SPIN and SCE / SPEX explained

SCI measurement mode

To measure the true colour of an object without the influence of surface texture, the Specular Component Included (SCI) measurement mode is used. SCI mode includes both specular and diffuse reflected light and is ideal for quality control and colour quality monitoring.

  • Illuminates the sample evenly from all sides.
  • Takes into account the total surface reflection.
  • Has good repeatability and is insensitive to surface variations or artefacts.
  • Does not perceive gloss differences of the sample and therefore does not simulate visual assessment.

SCE measurement mode

The Specular Component Excluded (SCE) measurement mode, on the other hand, which excludes specularly reflected light, is used to evaluate the colour of an object to match the visual perception of the human eye. In SCE mode, a glossy surface is typically measured darker than a matte surface of the same colour; similar to how the human eye sees it. This mode is typically used in quality control testing to ensure that colour matches colour standards through visual inspection.

  • Illuminates the sample evenly from all sides, but not in the reflection angle of the measurement.
  • Excludes specular surface reflection, although usually not completely
  • Includes diffuse surface reflection.
  • Is somewhat sensitive to surface variability and unevenness.
  • Measures the colour of a surface similar to how the human eye sees it.

Proof.de Parcel Labels: Now Paper Instead of Plastic

We have found a more environmentally friendly parcel sticker for our brown shipping boxes: Instead of a classic PVC sticker, we can now save the environment a little plastic with a paper label produced in offset printing, without compromising on quality and appearance. Admittedly, perhaps not a big step. But every small contribution helps to save our environment a little bit.

Proof.de: More environmentally friendly shipping labels made of paper instead of plastic

 

We have always used electricity from 100% hydroelectric power, print invoices and letters using energy-saving inkjet printing and have switched our IT to increasingly energy-saving computers, servers and NAS devices.

In addition, for the past two years we have been participating in the German Packaging Act through our partner Veolia, with the aim of minimising the impact of packaging waste on the environment in Germany.

Our annual disposal contribution serves to implement Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste. The aim is to further increase recycling rates in Germany.

 

Proof.de / Proof GmbH is a Member of Fogra

 

Proof.de Proof GmbH Tübingen is a member of Fogra Research Institute for Media Technologies e.V.Proof GmbH is a member of Fogra – Forschungsinstitut für Medientechnologien e.V.. Why? In recent years, we have been able to draw on the support of Fogra with numerous projects, or work together with Fogra, for example for Fogra58 beta – Textile-RGB (where Matthias Betz was also able to report on our experiences as a speaker at the Fogra Colour Management Symposium 2020 in Munich as part of the presentation “Proofing of Fogra58beta”) or have contributed test prints and proofs to the research project “11.004L – Improving the printability and readability of bar and 2D codes in inkjet printing”.

In addition, we have been certified by Fogra every year since 2013 for the production of proofs (https://shop.proof.de/en/info/fogracertification.html) and are very grateful for the services of Fogra, which confirm the quality of our proofs every year, also externally.

Our most important contact person, Dr. Andreas Kraushaar, has often promoted membership to us, and now we have actually taken the step, although we still think that the membership fee is poorly structured, especially for small companies like Proof GmbH (companies with 1-100 employees pay the same membership fee) and we would like to see a more favourable entry. But on the other hand it is true: Fogra with its expertise, its competence and its always competent, helpful, quick and fit contact persons like Andi Kraushaar, Yuan Li and many more also deserves the support of companies that benefit from Fogra’s activities like we do.

We would therefore like to thank Fogra for all the support we have received and knowledge we have gained over the years. From now on, we are a member of Fogra and look forward to many more discussions, projects, ideas and initiatives.

New at Proof.de: The EPSON SureColor SC-P9500 Spectro

For whatever reason: December is traditionally the month in which we make the most important new acquisitions. In order not to break with this tradition, the new proof printer generation from EPSON moved in with us this year: The SureColor SC-P9500 Spectroproofer.

Unpacking traditionally has to be done in front of the door, we wouldn’t be able to get the printer into the office on the two-metre-long pallet, but once it’s on rollers, it works fine.

The new SureColor P9500 complements our range of SureColor 7000 and 9000 proof printers and, above all, hopefully brings us a further plus in speed, especially for larger jobs. Thanks to a newly developed and now fully loaded print head with 12 inks with up to 800 nozzles each, it is said to print up to 2.4 times faster than our other proof printers, which is particularly advantageous for large proof volumes.

An overview of the most important new features of the EPSON SureColor 9500

  • High productivity thanks to higher production speed
  • Reliability thanks to better automatic jet inspection and dust protection
  • LCD display with 4.3 inch (10.9 cm) touch panel
  • Simultaneous use of glossy black and matte black, eliminating the need to switch inks
  • Lighting at the paper feed for better visibility of the printing process
  • Prints now fall on the reverse side in the delivery, which should reduce scratches
  • Higher print resolution with 1200×2400 DPI
  • “Black Enhancement Overcoating” technology for higher perceptible black density

We are currently still in the process of measuring the large number of media we use on the new printer and gaining experience with the new proof printer. Many of the “advantages” are not really relevant for us, as we have very specific requirements in proof printing. In terms of gamut, i.e. the maximum colour space that can be achieved, we were unfortunately unable to determine any real gain. According to our measurements, the colour space has changed marginally compared to the previous proof printers, but not really increased.

2.4 times the printing speed does not automatically mean that the proof printing will also be faster … 🙂

For example: Admittedly, the printer prints much faster than our other printers. But in return, it takes much longer to transport the proof paper to the fans for drying, and the subsequent measurement of the media wedge also takes longer than on the 7000 and 9000 systems. For an A4 proof with media wedge and test report, the 9500 is only 8 seconds faster, taking just over 8 minutes. In other words, the higher print speed is almost completely lost in other areas.

Therefore, A4 proofs will not be the domain of this printer, but rather we will try to proof the larger formats on the 9500, where the speed advantage comes into play more. 

This reminds me a little of the upgrade to Fiery 7, which was supposed to be up to 5 times faster than the previous version with FastRIP technology. In fact, the FastRIP technology was and is so error-prone that we were never able to use it, as we felt that every 20th job was processed incorrectly or could not be processed at all. On the other hand, with the version upgrade, the entire proofing software became considerably slower … So for us as non-FastRIP users, all that was left on average was a slower system.

 

Conclusion:

And so we are still making our experiences with the new proof printer. The first conclusion we can draw is that many things are better, some are worse and some are simply different. The fact that the printer is still quite new is also evident from the fact that new media updates are constantly being added. We have already run some good jobs through the printer and it has not disappointed us. In this respect, the first conclusion looks fairly optimistic. 

Proof GmbH 2020 Once Again Fogra and Fogra “Spot Cert” Certified

Proof.de Proof GmbH Fogra Certification 2020 according to Fogra Spot Cert for ISOCoatedV2, PSOCoatedV3, PSOUncoatedV3 and eciCMYK-v2

This year we have again submitted proofs for Fogra certification. We thus prove that we not only deliver excellent proof quality through internal quality controls and checks, but that the quality of our proofs is also confirmed by an external body. We have therefore had proof prints certified for the seventh year in a row. Already in 2019, we have also been certified for the representation of spot colours ("Spot-cert"), and in 2020 we were the first company ever to add the Fogra-59 certification:

  • We were certified for the new Fogra 59 eciCMYK-V2 standard for the first time
  • We have again carried out a certification for PANTONE spot colours for all four printing conditions, the "Spot cert". We certified the spot colours PANTONE 2270 C, PANTONE 151 C and PANTONE Cool Gray 6 C for the proof standards ISOCoatedV2, PSOCoatedV3 and eciCMYK-V2 and PANTONE 2270 U, PANTONE 151 U and PANTONE Cool Gray 6 U for the standard PSOUncoatedV3.

The quality of our prints and our spot colour reproduction of PANTONE colours has been confirmed to us by Fogra for all four proof standards.

You can download the complete 14-page test report from Fogra here. 

We have implemented the new certifications on the current software revision Fiery XF 7.1.3 and on the papers EFI Gravure Proof Paper 4245 Semimatt, EFI Proof Paper 8245OBA Semimatt and EFI Proof Paper 8175OBA Matt.

Publication of Fogra 56/57 for Glossy and Matte Film Lamination of PSOCoatedV3 Prints

A few days ago Fogra published the characterisation data for the new printing standards Fogra56 and Fogra57 while ECI provided the respective ICC profiles for download on the eci.org website. FOGRA56 and FOGRA57 are the separation and printing standards for matte and glossy film lamination of "PSO Coated v3" / Fogra51 prints.

Offset Folienkaschierung mit matter oder glänzender OPP Folie eines Druckes nach Fogra51 PSO Coated V3
Offset film lamination using matt OPP film on a print according to Fogra51 PSO Coated V3 | shutterstock | zefart
At Proof.de, with regard to the two predecessor standards Fogra49 and Fogra50 for glossy and matte film lamination of ISOCoatedV2 / Fogra39 prints, the majority of inquiries were for the standard for matte film lamination only, as this is where the greater and more difficult effects occur with regard to colour changes due to the lamination process. Particularly in the area of colour-critical prints, such as catalogues for the automotive industry, extensive tests are sometimes carried out with different film laminations in order to be able to recognise and compensate for differences between a normal matte film lamination and a scratch-resistant matte OPP lamination, for example. We also expect a higher demand for consulting and proofing for Fogra56 and Fogra57 for matte film lamination. The European Colour Initiative ECI states on its website that the differences between different glossy films are rather small, while matte films are available in very different opacities. According to the ECI, the "average" matte film used as a reference in FOGRA56 leads to a lightening of ∆L* = 6 in the black solid tone and fits well with typical production. The lightening is lower with more transparent foils and higher with matte foils. In order to be able to assess one's own films, the ECI recommends measuring the black solid tone before and after finishing on the same field on the same sheet. You can download the new finishing profiles here from the ECI or from Proof.de. You can find the matching characterisation data here on the Fogra pages.

Fogra56 / PSO Coated V3 Matte Laminate

The ECI offset profile PSO_Coated_v3_Matte_laminate.icc is based on the characterisation file "FOGRA56.txt" and applies to the following printing conditions according to the international standard ISO12647-2:2013:
  • Commercial offset, premium coated paper, dot gain curve 2013-A, followed by matte film lamination (typical OPP matte film 15 μm with medium opacity ~70%, i.e. lightening ΔL* = 6 on black solid after finishing), white measuring base.
  • The profile is consistent with the PSOcoated_v3.icc profile and shows the matching glossy finished result.
  • The profile was calculated using Heidelberg ColorToolbox 2019 with the following settings: Black length 9 (insertion point 10%), Black width 10, max. area coverage 300%, max. black 96%.

Fogra57 / PSO Coated V3 Glossy Laminate

The ECI offset profile PSO_Coated_v3_Glossy_laminate.icc is based on the characterisation file "FOGRA57.txt" and applies to the following printing conditions according to the international standard ISO12647-2:2013:
  • Commercial offset, premium coated paper, dot gain curve 2013-A, followed by glossy film lamination (typical OPP glossy film 12-15 μm), white measuring pad.
  • The profile is consistent with the PSOcoated_v3.icc profile and shows the matching gloss finished result.
  • The profile calculation was done with Heidelberg ColorToolbox 2019 with the following settings: Black length 9 (insertion point 10%) , Black width 10, max. area coverage 300%, max. black 96%.
  Proofs according to Fogra56 and Fogra57 for matt film laminated or glossy film laminated prints according to Fogra51 can now be ordered directly in the Proof Shop at shop.proof.de.

PANTONE Combines Metallics and Premium Metallics Fans

Photo: PANTONE.com
PANTONE has combined and supplemented its two metallics fans "PANTONE Metallics Coated" and "PANTONE Premium Metallics Coated" into one fan. On the one hand, a new metallic base colour, "PANTONE Rose Gold 10412 C" has been added to the existing "Premium" base silver "PANTONE Silver 10077 C", adding 54 new metallic shades. On the other hand, the two previous fans are now separated according to Metallics base colours, the fan is divided into two areas: Into one Metallics area for "packaging" and into one for the classic "printed graphics". The 354 high-gloss, durable metallic packaging colours are based on the two premium metallic base colours PANTONE Silver 10077 C and PANTONE Rose Gold 10412 C and form the front part of the fan. Fan pages with the 54 new colours are now marked with a black square on the top pagination to make the new colours easier to recognise, a good idea in my opinion. The 301 metallic spot colours for advertising graphics are based on the seven classic, "old" PANTONE gold and silver shades with PANTONE 871 C to PANTONE 877 C and form the back part of the fan.

Printed graphics PANTONE Metallics (previously referred to as "Metallics")

Metallic inks for non-packaging projects Marketing and sales materials, publishing and literature. The colours are based on the seven classic PANTONE Gold and Silver Shades 871 to 877 C.

Packaging PANTONE Metallics (previously referred to as "Premium Metallics")

Metallic packaging inks for packaging printing. These former "Premium Metallics" colours are created with the basic colours Pantone Silver 10077 and Pantone Rose Gold 10412. These special inks are made with pigments that are easier to process with water-based and UV varnishes. The varnish seals the inks, this protects the inks and thus provides the protection that is often required in the packaging sector. According to PANTONE, the new inks offer
  • Better print results
  • Greater brilliance
  • Higher gloss
  • More durability
  • Less leafing and tarnishing in the long term
According to PANTONE, the inks used to produce these inks (if my memory serves me well, from Sun Chemical) are somewhat more expensive, but are also suitable for a wide range of aqueous and UV coatings.

PANTONE and EFI? No chance.

After having implemented the new PANTONE colours in our proofing system over the past few days via a difficult update from Fiery XF, we noticed that the new Metallics colours were still missing. Currently, the PANTONE Metallics colours for packaging printing are not yet supported by Fiery XF, and there are no plans to support them, according to Fiery Support. For us an incomprehensible decision. Admittedly, metallic colours cannot be reproduced in the proof anyway, as only the colour but not the metallic gloss can be reproduced. For us as a service provider, however, this decision by EFI means that we - when customers order proofs with Premium Metallics colours - have to create them manually with LAB values in the job, because our proofing software will not recognise all current PANTONE colours, but will mark them as unknown special colours and refuse the proof. Since the current PANTONE V4 colour palettes can only be integrated into the Adobe product palettes with considerable effort on the part of the users, it is not quite clear to me whether the lack of colours in Fiery is due to a profit-driven, ostentatious PANTONE licensing policy or a miserly, ostentatious EFI product policy. However, be sure: We at proof.de will provide the service and also offer these colours for the proof. We owe this to our customers.

Barcode Check: New in ISO 15416:2016

The "ISO/IEC 15416:2016 - Information technology - Automatic identification and data capture methods - Test specifications for bar code print quality - Linear symbols" specifies the current criteria for testing bar codes. ISO 15416:2016 replaces ISO 15416:2000 and defines modified bar code quality calculations for some areas. During the barcode check by Proof GmbH, barcodes are checked according to the current criteria of ISO 15416:2016.

An overview of the most important changes in ISO 15416:2016:

  • Proof.de: New criteria for barcode checking according to ISO/IEC 15416:2016Four of the seven barcode parameters - symbol contrast, modulation, defects and decodability - were previously graded by whole numbers, so the evaluation could be 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4. With the adoption of the ISO/IEC 15416:2016 standard, evaluations are now graded to one decimal place. So under the old standard there were only five possible parameter gradations (0/1/2/3/4), now there are forty-one (0.0/0.1/0.2 etc. to 4.0).
  • This also changes the rating with letters. Since this is even less precise than the evaluation by numbers, it is omitted in the new standard, whereby the usual letter notes can still be provided for information purposes. However, the nominative standard must be given as a decimal number.
  • Defects are now calculated methodically differently. A defect is a light spot on a dark bar or a dark spot on a light surface. If a defect was at the edge of a bar or a gap, the old standard gave a worse rating than the same defect that was further from the edge. The calculations in the new ISO/IEC 15416:2016 standard describe the effects on the readability of the barcode much more accurately.
The new calculation methods lead in some cases to a higher averaged score for the barcode compared to the method described in ISO 15416:2000. We have also updated our REA TransWin 32 evaluation software to the latest version and also provided our barcode checking device with a firmware update. Order Barcode Checks for EAN13 and EAN8 Codes in our Proof Shop    

eciCMYK_v2 / Fogra 59 Available for Proof

The new CMYK exchange colour space eciCMYK v2 (FOGRA59) is the successor of eciCMYK (FOGRA53) from 2017. The new "V2" profile is based on the revised characterisation file FOGRA59. For the same colour space, the new profile offers a significantly modified and improved grey axis, which now contains the familiar cyan, magenta and yellow components from classic printing processes. Thus eciCMYK v2 offers a further advantage besides a large colour space and proofability. Practical tests with various digital printing systems have shown that, in addition to the conversion from "ISO Coated v2" to "PSO Coated v3" data, the assignment of the new CMYK exchange colour space profile also enables improved output on digital printing systems with a larger colour space: the printed image appears richer in contrast, with brighter colours. The icc-profile "eciCMYK_v2.icc" can be downloaded from the ECI in the download section. Proofs in the eciCMYK_v2 colour space can now be ordered in the shop at Proof.de.

Device Link PDF Colour Conversions for Ads

We have recently started offering DeviceLink colour conversions via DeviceLinks made by ColorLogic from numerous RGB and CMYK standards into other CMYK standards from offset and gravure printing. DeviceLink PDF Colour Conversion

Optimised colour conversion between different printing standards

The colour conversion profiles preserve the separation structure, limit the total colour application for the selected printing standard and maintain the purity of the primary and secondary colours. They ensure smooth transitions in gradients and enable correct conversion of PDF and PDF/X data. Separation-preserving conversion ensures that pure grey tones are not built up into four colours and that duplex tones (black+primary colour) and triplex tones (black+secondary colour) remain pure, while still being colour-metrically transformed in the best possible way. In addition, the colour impression of the source colour space is optimally preserved in the target colour space by taking into account both paper colouration and dot gain.

Limitation of Total Allocation of Colour (TAC)

For current printing standards of ISO, Fogra, ECI, Ifra, Gravure (PSR), Gracol, Swop, SNAP, these profiles ensure a targeted limitation of the maximum ink application without completely new separation. This reliably prevents problems with set-off and improves the drying behaviour. These profiles are suitable if the data is generally already in the desired colour space, but individual images or objects have too much ink application. You can order the Devicelink PDF colour conversions for advertisements here

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Proof.de Support Chat Software updated

Today we updated our chat software Livezilla Pro to offer you even more comfort and speed in the chat. Simply contact us directly via chat ... a lot of minor details or brief queries can be dealt with quickly and conveniently. In addition to security updates and performance improvements, the chats should now be even more reliable in every possible browser and PC combination. Uploading and downloading files such as screenshots in the chat history should also be improved. A word about data protection: We don't use any supposedly free chat solutions based in Las Vegas, we care about the protection of your data and your anonymity in the chat:

  • We use the chat software of LiveZilla GmbH from the beautiful town of Singen in Baden-Württemberg,
  • anonymise or mask automatically the last 6 digits of your IP address,
  • host the chat software on our own server and
  • have of course SSL-encoded the chat with you.
  • All data is transmitted purely via our server,
  • there is no access by third parties and
  • Livezilla works without cookies.
So please don't be surprised if you already have an order in your shopping cart and then start a chat with us, that we neither see who you are nor what you want to order from us. We only chat with "Guest 0288" or "Guest 6452"... only if you tell us your order number or your name, you will be "recognisable" as a person or company in the chat.
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