Ten points that you should always keep in mind when proofing.

It is actually quite simple to have proofs made. But experience shows that many customers often stumble over the same mistakes. We have put together the ten most important steps towards a successful proofing job:

  1. Proof as late as possible in the production process
  2. Select the right proof profile for your purposes
  3. Convert RGB or LAB images to CMYK
  4. Name Pantone and HKS colours correctly
  5. Proof your data in a 1:1 ratio and not scaled down
  6. Always proof with UGRA/Fogra Media Wedge 3.0
  7. Make sure that the job ticket is correct
  8. Make sure your service provider has the latest proof software and hardware
  9. Only accept authentic “contract proofs” according to ISO 12647-7
  10. Make sure that your proof provider has valid certifications

In the following we would like to present these individual points in more detail.

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Colour differences of Pantone Solid Coated and Pantone Solid Uncoated colours in proofing in Delta-E (∆E)

Current proofing systems can print spot colours like Pantone or HKS very accurate. With Fiery XF 5.2 Proof software and the Epson 7900/9900 proof printers we evaluated, with which colour deviation PANTONE Solid Coated and PANTONE Solid Uncoated colours can be reproduced in proofing.

The colour deviations were calculated based on the measured colour space of the proof system of Proof GmbH by the proofing software. Deviations should therefore be quite similar in practice. Almost all PANTONE colours can be simulated quite well in the wide colour gamut of the proofer.

The smaller the Delta-E value, the lower is the colour distance of the PANTONE reference to the proofed PANTONE colour. Higher Delta-E values ​​show, which PANTONE colours can’t be simulated accurately in the proof.

Pantone Farbe
Solid Coated
Farbabweichung im Proof in
Delta-E (∆E)
  Pantone Farbe
Solid Uncoated
Farbabweichung im Proof in
Delta-E (∆E)
PANTONE 100 C 0.89 ∆E PANTONE 100 U 1.69 ∆E
PANTONE 101 C 0.60 ∆E PANTONE 101 U 1.62 ∆E
PANTONE 102 C 1.23 ∆E PANTONE 102 U 1.40 ∆E
PANTONE 103 C 0.72 ∆E PANTONE 103 U 0.49 ∆E
PANTONE 104 C 0.48 ∆E PANTONE 104 U 0.92 ∆E
PANTONE 105 C 0.80 ∆E PANTONE 105 U 1.07 ∆E (more…)

Pantone Plus vs. Pantone: Farben, Fächer und Probleme.

Im Jahr 2010 stand eine der zentralen Neuerungen im Hause Pantone für Grafiker, Dienstleister und Druckereien an: Die Pantone Palette wurde um zahlreiche Farben erweitert und bekam einen neuen Namen: Pantone Plus

Die Erweiterung um 560 Farben erfolgte in zwei Schritten:

 2010: Plus 224 auf insgesamt 1341 Pantone Solid Farben

Im Jahr 2010 wurde die Pantone Palette um 224 Farben erweitert, die in der Pantone Nomenglatur die Farbnamen von 7548 bis 7771 tragen. Alle neuen Farben konnten weiter in der Druckerei mit bisherigen 14 Pantone Basisfarben angemischt werden.

  • PANTONE Yellow
  • PANTONE Yellow 012
  • PANTONE Orange 021
  • PANTONE Warm Red
  • PANTONE Red 032
  • PANTONE Rubine Red
  • PANTONE Rhodamine Red
  • PANTONE Purple
  • PANTONE Violet
  • PANTONE Blue 072
  • PANTONE Reflex Blue
  • PANTONE Process Blue
  • PANTONE Green
  • PANTONE Black

 2012: Plus weitere 336 auf insgesamt 1677 Pantone Solid Farben

Im Jahr 2012 wurde die Pantone Plus Palette um weitere 336 Farben erweitert, die in der Pantone Nomenglatur die Farbnamen von 2001 bis 2336 tragen. Damit diese Farben erzielt werden können, wurden die bisherigen 14 Pantone Basisfarben um 4 neue Farben auf insgesamt 18 Basisfarben erweitert. Die neuen, aus der Pantone GOE Palette entlehnten Farben sind:

  • PANTONE Bright Red
  • PANTONE Pink
  • PANTONE Medium Purple
  • PANTONE Dark Blue

Diese Änderungen wurden ungeschickterweise von Pantone nur sehr ungenügend kommuniziert. Ein typisches Beispiel zeigt ein Screenshot vom 08. November 2013: Auf der deutschen und der englischen Pantone Seite werden zwei völlig (more…)

Pantone Plus vs. Pantone: Colours, fans and problems.

In 2010, one of the central innovations at Pantone was the new system for graphic designers, service providers and printers: The Pantone palette was extended by numerous colours and was given a new name: Pantone Plus

The extension by 560 colours was done in two steps:

 2010: 224 added to a total of 1341 Pantone Solid colours

In 2010, the Pantone palette was extended by 224 colours, which are named from 7548 to 7771 in the Pantone classification. All new colours could continue to be mixed with the previous 14 Pantone basic colours in the print shop.

  • PANTONE Yellow
  • PANTONE Yellow 012
  • PANTONE Orange 021
  • PANTONE Warm Red
  • PANTONE Red 032
  • PANTONE Rubine Red
  • PANTONE Rhodamine Red
  • PANTONE Purple
  • PANTONE Violet
  • PANTONE Blue 072
  • PANTONE Reflex Blue
  • PANTONE Process Blue
  • PANTONE Green
  • PANTONE Black

 2012: Another 336 more to a total of 1677 Pantone Solid colours

In 2012, the Pantone Plus palette was expanded by additional 336 colours, which in the Pantone classification are named from 2001 to 2336. In order to achieve these colours, the previous 14 Pantone base colours were extended by 4 new colours to a total of 18 base colours. The new colours borrowed from the Pantone GOE palette are:

  • PANTONE Bright Red
  • PANTONE Pink
  • PANTONE Medium Purple
  • PANTONE Dark Blue

Unfortunately, Pantone did not communicate these changes very well. A typical example can be seen in a screenshot from November 8, 2013: On the German and English Pantone pages, there are two completely different numbers for new colours; only the total number of colours on the two Pantone country pages is the same.
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Heatset and coldset? What’s the difference?

Nowadays, two different processes are used in web offset printing: heatset and coldset.

The coldset process is mostly used to print newspapers and paperbacks, with the printing ink drying purely by absorption.

In the heatset process, the paper is passed through a large dryer and a chill roll unit after the last printing unit. The length of the printing press is almost doubled by these two units. To ensure that the ink dries optimally, special heat-drying inks are used here.

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ISO12647… and then what? On the further development of the ProcessStandard Offset Printing

Fogra is currently working with great commitment on modernising ISO 12647 and adapting it to current environmental conditions.

Important innovations of the reformed ISO 12647 will be:

  • Innovations regarding paper types (PT)
  • New tone value increases
  • For proofing: New papers with optical brighteners

Why is ISO 12647 being revised? Environmental conditions have changed significantly at three central points since the last revision in 2004.

Papertypes

The previous paper types 3 and 5 with the paper whites defined in 2004 are hardly available on the market today. Even picture printing papers today show a much stronger blue colouration than just a few years ago. In addition, the revision of D50 in 2009 means that the lighting in the pressrooms now also contains considerably more UV than before 2009, which has caused problems in the matching of proofs without optical brighteners compared to papers with a high proportion of brighteners. Instead of the previous 5 paper types, there will probably now be 8 new paper types which also differentiate between glossy and matte picture printing paper:

  • PT1: Coated picture printing paper (Premium coated)
  • PT2: Brightened, coated picture printing paper (Improved coated)
  • PT3: Glossy coated magazine paper (Standard coated glossy)
  • PT4: Matte coated magazine paper (standard coated mat)
  • PT5: Wood free uncoated
  • PT6: Supercalendered, uncoated
  • PT7: Improved uncoated paper
  • PT8: Standard uncoated

Based on these eight types of paper, a total of 16 printing conditions are created by using frequency modulated non-periodic screening and conventional periodic screening.
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What is Moiré? And can I see Moiré in a proof?

The Moiré effect, or in other words a halftone screen overlay, is a common phenomenon when viewing prints. It occurs when two even patterns overlap unevenly.
Moiré Effekt

When does Moiré appear?

Moire is always created when screens overlap. Typical examples:

  • You have scanned in a newspaper ad and print it in another newspaper.
  • You print the portrait of a managing director wearing a jacket with a fine houndstooth pattern, a checkered shirt and a finely patterned tie. Regardless of the printing process, complete moiré chaos is guaranteed to break out here.
  • A brick building is reproduced in offset printing.
  • The photograph of a ventilation grille is viewed on a monitor (more…)

Easy conversion of Pantone – HKS – CMYK – RGB with Adobe Photoshop

Farbbücher Auswahl in Adobe Photoshop CC: HKS, Pantone, CMYK und vieles mehr

More often the question arises as to what kind of Pantone colour corresponds to the HKS 43 K. Or what CMYK value? And what kind of web color in RGB?

If you own Adobe Photoshop, you can do these conversions directly there. In Photoshop CC all well-known color books are stored with values.

Let’s assume we are looking for the Pantone equivalent and the matching CMYK color of HKS 43 K.

1: Open the color palette in Adobe Photoshop and select HKS K as the book and then the color HKS 43 K. All well-known colour books are directly stored in Photoshop.

Farbauswahl von HKS 43 K im Buch HKS K in Adobe Photoshop CCThe color corresponds to a Lab value of 26/29/-79 and a CMYK value is already stored here. Simply select the book HKS K Process: (more…)

Proof for Improved Newsprint (INP), Fogra 48

The default was:

“We need a proof for improved newsprint, white’76.”
“Do you know the proof profile?”
“No, unfortunately not. Can’t you decide that?”

We have looked into this question: UPM EcoPrime 76 H is printed on web offset paper in a large print shop. The information of the customer service there was:

“The default profile is Fogra 42, PSO SNP Paper (ECI) but that doesn’t fit at the back and front, is much too gray. “Proof according to Fogra 40, SC Paper (ECI), that’s much better.”

The two profiles do not match at all. SC Paper is for super-calendered paper, PSO SNP Paper for standard newsprint.. And the dot gain curves also differ completely. (more…)

What is a finishing proof? Fogra49 and Fogra50 in detail.

With the proof standards Fogra49 and Fogra50 for the first time a proof standard was created that is not binding for printing. Why?

Fogra49 and Fogra50 describe two colour spaces as they are created by foil lamination not after printing but after printing and finishing.

  • Fogra 49 refers to the ICC profile: PSO Coated v2 300% Matte laminate (ECI) – PSO_Coated_v2_300_Matte_laminate_eci.icc
  • Fogra 50 refers to the ICC profile: PSO Coated v2 300% Glossy laminate (ECI) – PSO_Coated_v2_300_Glossy_laminate_eci.icc

Why were these profiles created?

Print finishing plays an increasingly important role in the further processing of printed matter. The application of a printing varnish, for example, is nowadays usually done directly during the printing process, e.g. with dispersion varnish in a 5th inking unit. The print image is usually only slightly changed in the process: An dispersion varnish, for example, results in a dot gain of 2-3 percent, a UV varnish up to around 5-7 percent. In contrast, foil lamination with OPP foil has a much stronger (more…)

Create EAN / GTIN codes: Tips for graphic artists

EAN codes are standard on every product today. While in the good old days, shopowners themselves typed the prices into a cash register by hand, today scanner cash registers are the rule, which scan standardized EAN codes with a laser and thus clearly recognize the article and add it to the receipt.

EAN, by the way, stands for “European Article Number” and was replaced in 2009 by the global GTIN, “Global Trade Item Number”. The EAN or GTIN is a barcode that can be read automatically and read by barcode readers.

For graphic designers in Europe, two standards from the almost infinite number of EAN codes in use worldwide are primarily important in the product area. EAN 13 and EAN 8, i.e. a barcode of either 13 or 8 digits. What do these numbers actually mean?

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How exactly can printing ink be measured?

For some years now, the possibilities of colorimetric measurement of printing inks have become simpler and cheaper. And so it is often believed that measuring printing inks is simple, inexpensive and, above all, highly accurate. And this also across a wide variety of brands and generations of measuring devices. Is that true?

If you look at a few studies, that does not necessarily seem to be the case. IFRA, for example, requires that when measuring BCRA ceramic tiles the colour differences between different measuring instruments should be below Delta-E 0.3. In reality, however, things looked different. In a Nussbaum study, 8 out of 9 measurements were for a Delta-E greater than 2.0; in a Wyble & Rich study, the deviations were between Delta-E 0.76 and 1.68. But why are the deviations so large?

On the one hand, the measuring instruments differ in the way they illuminate the surfaces to be measured. This is important in two respects: On the one hand, measurements can vary greatly depending on the material, for example, because light is emitted and measured from only one light source onto the measuring surface. If a measuring instrument has only one lamp, which, for example, radiates at an angle of 45 degrees onto the measuring surface and whose reflection is measured, then the measurement can deviate by up to Delta-E 3.0 if you only rotate the measuring instrument about its own axis. If a left-handed person and a right-handed person measure the same tiles with the same measuring device, then just by holding the measuring device differently and by the different lighting angles of the tiles a measurement can be completely different.

The solution for this: In a measuring device, several light sources are distributed or, in the best case, the illumination is emitted directly circular at an angle of 45 degrees in order to minimize such effects.

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Order Proofs: shop.proof.de is online

shop_proof

From now on you can conveniently order proofs at shop.proof.de:

At shop.proof.de is available under shop.proof.de a comfortable online shop with numerous benefits available:

  • Convenient Data Upload: Each item one or more files can now be uploaded. So you can assign your data directly to the individual proofs.
  • Payment by Paypal, direct debit, invoice etc .: You are on shop.proof.de with Paypal and direct debit payment methods more available. Of course you can continue to conveniently order proofs on invoice.
  • See Previous orders, invoices, data uploads: You can always check your previous orders, call the invoices to and check the files uploaded.

Layout in RGB, print in CMYK. Problems?

Especially in larger companies today the layout in RGB is the rule rather than the exception. The advantages are obvious:

  • The layout takes place in a large, almost media-neutral color space
  • All Photoshop filters are available without restrictions
  • The process of color space conversion to CMYK is shifted to the production process as late as possible

In practice, however, there are two potential problems in particular.

Problem 1: CMYK conversion in the last step.
The catalogue is designed in InDesign, all data is perfectly matched, the last step before printing and proofing is the export to a printable PDF in CMYK. Usually this is done via a preset in InDesign, which defines the exact specifications for the color space conversion. In practice, however, this color space transfer can hardly be monitored. The problem: Even if you check the color values in Acrobat in the exported PDF file, for example, Acrobat does not really display the colors it contains. Acrobat brav would show you CMYK values even if the RGB images are still wrongly contained. However, other CMYK values can occur during printing when the data is processed again. Lately it looked like this:
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PDF/X4 – The future of PDF/X?

The PDF/X4 standard, a new PDF specification for PDF export, has already been available for several years. But what are the advantages of PDF/X4?

Users from the print sector have known the ISO PDF-X standards for many years. If the name PDF stands for “Portable Document Format”, i.e. the portable and thus transferable document, PDF “X” is a version specialized for “eXchange”, i.e. the exchange of PDF files. In concrete terms, this means that many of the functions that a PDF file can potentially display (form fields, calculations, 3D elements, films, etc.) but which cannot be controlled in print are prohibited in PDF/X in order to ensure secure data exchange. (more…)

The proof is much darker than the image on my monitor. Why?

Customers are often unsettled when they hold a proof in their hands. “The proof of the picture is much darker than the picture on my monitor. Why is that so? And what do I do now?”

There are many possible reasons for a deviation between the proof and, for example, the monitor display:

  • The monitor is not calibrated
    Only calibrated monitors can accurately display color. When I buy a cheap monitor and connect it to my computer, I definitely can’t see any real color. As a rule of thumb, only a hardware-calibrated monitor has a chance for correct color.
  • The monitor is calibrated, but the colors look different
    A monitor below 1,000 Euro cannot usually be calibrated to good color representation for the standard color space ISOCoated V2, because it has a too small color gamut. Only real proof monitors are also designed and suitable for the display of proofable colors.
  • The proof is not viewed under D50 standard light
    Especially in winter the lighting conditions are often poor. And incandescent lamps, energy-saving lamps and conventional neon tubes only provide very poor colour reproduction. Without a D50 light source, a proof cannot be evaluated.
  • The color settings in the software are wrong
    Often the image editing software like Photoshop is simply installed and used without adjustments. The selected color profiles often do not correspond to the profiles used for proofing. Apple-Shift-K for Macintosh and Control-Shift-K for Windows show you your profile settings in Photoshop.

In general, no patent remedy can be given for the correct display of proofs for the monitor. However, if a proof is provided with UGRA/Fogra media wedge CMYK V3.0 and test report, the chances are high that it reproduces the required colors very precisely. If your monitor image does not correspond to the proof, the error usually lies with you. The list of causes above can help you in troubleshooting.

My customer wants to print on a tin can. Pantone? CMYK? Can this be simulated in the proof?

Requests such as the proof of a printed tin can often reach us. Why can’t such a printed can be “proofed”?

A proof is a standardized product. Take the classic ISOCoatedV2 proof, for example; the standard proof for coated printing paper. Here is the definition in brief:

“Paper type 1 and 2, glossy and matt coated paper, dot gain curves A (CMY) and B (K) from ISO 12647-2:2004” (Source: farbproofs.de)

Metal is printed with a varnish. Neither the colour of the metal of the tin can nor the colour of the lacquer is clearly defined, nor the thickness of the lacquer application and the printing process in which the lacquer is applied (digital print / screen printing, pad printing etc.) is defined.

A contract proof refers to very tight tolerances and precisely defined framework conditions. This includes not only the densitometric and colorimetric reference of the printing ink, but also, for example, the paper white, which is simulated very precisely in the proof. For exactly this reason there is no proof for recycled paper: The papers and paper whites are simply so different that no uniform, standardized “color” of a recycled paper can be defined. From classic recycled paper with a neutral grey or yellowish-grey colouring to de-inked, almost white recycled papers, everything is available on the market. Just not by default.

Therefore, a proof always refers to offset or gravure printing under standardized conditions. Changed surfaces such as metal or changed paper colours such as recycled or high-quality image papers with inclusions or printing on coloured papers have not yet been standardised and therefore cannot be proofed.

White lines appearing in print PDFs in Adobe Acrobat

The question often arises why when creating a PDF-X/3:2002 file in Adobe Acrobat, white lines often appear in the preview when there are no lines at all in the file.

The answer is simple: In contrast to current PDF printing standards such as PDF/X-4:2010, which is exported as PDF 1.6 standard, the PDF-X/3:2002 standard often required by printers uses PDF format 1.3, in which transparency is prohibited. As a result, when you create drop shadows in Adobe InDesign, for example, they are converted into rectangular images. If such drop shadows are still used on background images, the white lines appear, which run horizontally and vertically through the PDF at the shadow points. But why do these lines disappear in print and are not visible in other applications like MacOS Preview?

Acrobat has a preview that applies anti-aliasing to vector elements to make edges as smooth as possible. However, this setting also affects paths and masks that are not actually visible at all. The pixel images of the reduced transparencies are therefore slightly blurred. And this is exactly where the white lines of the blur appear, which are actually zero in size and therefore disappear when printed on postscript-capable printers. Not PS printers partially print the screen display, whereby the lines remain disturbingly.

Most graphic artists know the effect, have postscript printers and simply live with it. However, if you are very annoyed by the white lines or if they also appear in the printout, you can simply switch off anti-aliasing in the Acrobat preferences. Under Acrobat > Preferences > Page Display you can simply deselect the checkbox “Smooth vector graphics”. This makes the edges of vector data slightly more pixelated, but the white lines of anti-aliasing disappear immediately.

Here you can simply deselect the option "Smooth vector graphics"
Screenshot from the Preferences of the Preview in Adobe Acrobat

 

A proof without profile. Is that possible?

Proofing service providers are often asked the question: “I have to have a proof done, but I don’t know for which profile. Can I also have a proof made without a profile?”

Proofs are standardized products that are created and tested according to a certain set of values. This is exactly the point that distinguishes them from any “colourful printouts”.
Specifically: A proof for coated printing paper is produced according to the standard values of ISOCoated V2 (paper type 1 and 2, glossy and matt coated image printing, dot gain curves A (CMY) and B (K) from ISO 12647-2:2004) and checked according to a set of values (FOGRA39L). A proof for uncoated paper (e.g. PSOUncoated or ISOUncoated) is produced and checked according to completely different value sets. Logically, because a print on uncoated paper looks definitely different in terms of colour and white value than a print on picture printing paper.

A proof must therefore always be prepared according to a standard and be verifiable according to a reference value set. A list of the current Proof Profiles (as of 2012) can be found here.

The problem: Many printing processes such as digital printing on a color laser or printing on a large format printing system (LFP) are not standardized and therefore there are no valid profiles and specifications.

So what to do? The most frequently used standard has established itself as the “de facto basis”: ISOCoated V2.

This is understandable, because colour-critical prints, catalogues etc. are mainly produced in offset printing on picture printing paper and are therefore subject to this standard. It is therefore generally assumed that a digital printer or an LFP printer, for example, should follow this standard and at least achieve this colour result.

So if you need to make a proof but don’t have the exact details of the profile you need, proof ISOCoated V2, which has become the industry’s most widely used standard and will always be accepted as the basic proof.

Unfortunately, a proof without a profile cannot be produced, because that would just be “colored paper from a proofing system”, but not a valid, ISO-compliant proof.

Paper white simulation of PSOUncoated

Since 2009 PSOUncoated has been the standard profile for uncoated paper. Nevertheless, proof service providers often have the problem that at first glance proofs on PSOUncoated often differ significantly from the print result. Immediately visible: the white point of the paper.

The PSOUncoated paper white looks very grayish. If, for example, PSOUncoated is proofed on an EFI 9120 XF paper, which actually has a neutral white coloration as paper, then the paper must be recolored by the printer in terms of paper white. This paper-white simulation makes the proof look “grayish” and often not “bright white” like the real production paper. “I can’t put this down to my client” proof service providers often hear from the agencies and designers who commission proofs. And frankly, printing on bright white uncoated paper will also differ significantly from the PSOUncoated Proof result depending on the paper selected.

Some proofing services still proof uncoated paper according to ISOUncoated, because the paper tone is much whiter and not so grayish. In the medium term, however, this will not overcome the misery: PSOUncoated is the current standard according to which the process standard for offset printing certified print shops are also based. But in the pressroom the differences between norm and reality often become apparent. If the new D50 standard light according to ISO 3664:2009 with higher UV components is used for inspection at the printing table, then proof and printing result can often only be matched very poorly. And due to the long standardization periods, this problem will continue to accompany printers and proofing service providers for quite some time to come.

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