Which RGB working colour space is suitable for colour-consistent work?

In the early days of color spaces Apple and e.g. Photoshop up to version 5.5 set the monitor color space as working color space by default. But it soon became clear that a design office would be working with 10 Macs in 10 different color spaces. A neutral concept was needed.

There are many RGB Colour Spaces around. In the area of print media there are currently primarily three different variants: sRGB, AdobeRGB(1998) and eciRGB_V2.

The sRGB color space is widely used in digital cameras and is the industry leader in the consumer segment. Problem for printing: sRGB is a relatively small color space, and does not cover the color possibilities of modern offset printing systems and digital printers. Since offset printing profiles such as ISOCoated_v2 have a much larger color space, it makes little sense to perform retouching in sRGB.

From our point of view eciRGB_V2, a further development of eciRGB, is optimal. This color space has been specially created for use in the printing sector and offers some strengths:

  • It covers the colors of all modern printing color spaces (offset, gravure, web offset, newspaper), but is not much larger and therefore does not give away any resolution.
  • Equal shades of red, green and blue result in neutral shades of grey
  • Between 0/0/0 and 50/50/50 there is roughly the same distance as between 50/50/50 and 100/100/100.
  • The white is 5000 Kelvin and the gamma is 1.8 Kelvin.

The eciRGB_v2 color space can be downloaded free of charge from the pages of the European Color Initiative (ECI).

The AdobeRGB 1998 color space, which has been widely used by Adobe since Photoshop 5.5 and today in all parts of the Adobe product range, is also well suited for the printing sector, but works with a gamma of 2.2 and is designed for degrees of whiteness from D50 to D65. All common print color spaces can also be well mapped in AdobeRGB 1998. You can find Adobe documentation on this color space here.

 

How colour-accurate are proofs?

A proof is prepared according to the currently valid ISO standard 12647-7 and is legally binding with a UGRA-Fogra media wedge and measurement report.

How does this check work?

If you need a proof with UGRA/Fogra Media Wedge CMYK V3.0, there are two ways to add the test report to your data.

  1. With proofing devices in which a measuring device is integrated, the media wedge with 3×24 standardised colour fields is printed directly under the proof data. This media wedge is driven directly in the proofing device to a kind of “hair dryer” in the measuring device and dried there. After a few minutes of drying, the media wedge continues and is measured directly in the proofer. This takes a few minutes. The measured values determined in this way are returned to the proof server and evaluated there. If the colour values are correct and within the tolerances of the strict ISO standard, a test report of the measurement is then printed directly under the media wedge, which guarantees you colour accuracy in accordance with the process standard offset printing.
  2. For proofing devices without integrated measuring device, only the standardized media wedge is printed under the proof data. A check takes place subsequently and outside the proof printer. The media wedge is then measured with an external measuring device and the target and tolerance values are output to a label printer. This label is then stuck directly under the media wedge.

What is the advantage of automated creation and checking of the media wedge directly in the proofing device?

  • Measurement is automated directly after proof printing, measurement errors due to manual operating errors are excluded. Since the test report is not subsequently attached, as is often still the case, manipulation is impossible.

Further information on the test report, the media wedge and on the work and responsibility of UGRA/Fogra can be found at www.ugra.ch and www.fogra.org.

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