Current Proof Standards 2020

Offset and Newsprint

ISO Coated v2 (ECI) / ISO Coated v2 300% (ECI)
Profile: ISOcoated_v2_eci.icc
Standard for glossy and matte coated paper
Paper: Types 1 and 2, gloss and matte coated
Tone value increase curves A (CMY) and B (K) as defined in ISO 12647-2:2004
Characterisation Data: FOGRA39L

ISOUncoated
Profile: ISOUncoated.icc
Standard for uncoated white natural paper
Paper: paper grade 4, uncoated white offset, dot gain curves C (CMY) and D (K) from ISO 12647-2: 2004
Characterisation Data: FOGRA29L

PSOCoatedV3 / Fogra 51
Profile: PSOcoated_v3.icc
The successor of ISOCoatedV2 for glossy and matte coated paper with moderate optical brighteners
Paper: paper type 1, glossy and matte coated paper with moderate optical brighteners (8-14 DeltaB according to ISO 15397)
Tone value increase curve A (CMYK) according to ISO 12647-2:2013
Paper white: CIELAB=95;1,5;-6
Characterisation Data: Fogra51 / Fogra 51 Spectral (M1)

PSOuncoated_v3 / Fogra 52
Profile: PSOuncoated_v3_FOGRA52.icc
The successor of PSOUncoated for uncoated, wood-free natural paper with many optical brighteners
Paper: Paper type 5, wood-free uncoated, with high OBAs (more than 14 DeltaB according to ISO 15397)
Tonal value increase curves C (CMYK) according to ISO 12647-2:2013
Paper white: CIELAB=93.5;2.5;-10
Characterisation Data: PresumablyFogra52L (M1)

PSO Uncoated ISO12647 (ECI)
Profile: PSO_Uncoated_ISO12647_eci.icc
The successor of ISOUncoated
Paper: Type 4, uncoated white offset
Tone value increase curves C (CMY) and D (K) as defined in ISO 12647-2:2004
Characterisation Data: FOGRA47L

PSO LWC Improved (ECI)
Profile: PSO_LWC_Improved_eci.icc
Improved LWC paper, glossy coated, successor of ISO Web Coated
Paper: Paper type 3, improved gloss coated (LWC)
Tone value increase curves B (CMY) and C (K) as defined in ISO 12647-2:2004
Characterisation Data: FOGRA45L

PSO LWC Standard (ECI)
Profile: PSO_LWC_Standard_eci.icc
LWC paper standard, glossy coated
Paper: Paper type 3, standard glossy coated (LWC)
Tone value increase curves B (CMY) and C (K) as defined in ISO 12647-2:2004
Characterisation Data: FOGRA46L

ISO Web Coated
Profile: ISOwebcoated.icc
LWC paper standard, glossy
Paper: Paper grade 3, standard glossy coated (LWC), dot gain curves B (CMY) and C (K) from ISO 12647-2: 2004
Characterisation Data: FOGRA28L

ISO Uncoated Yellowish
Profile: ISOuncoatedyellowish.icc
Uncoated natural paper slightly yellowish (chamois)
Paper: Type 5, uncoated yellowish offset
Tone value increase curves C (CMY) and D (K) as defined in ISO 12647-2:2004
Characterisation Data: FOGRA30L

SC Paper (ECI)
Profile: SC_paper_eci.icc
Paper: SC (Super Calendered) Paper
Tone value increase curves B (CMY) and C (K) as defined in ISO 12647-2:2004
Characterisation Data: FOGRA40L

PSO SC-B Paper v3
Profile:  PSOsc-b_paper_v3_FOGRA54.icc
SC-B Paper, Super calendered Papier, satin-finished
Paper: Commercial offset, SC-B paper (super-calendered, satin), printing condition PC6
Tone value increase curve 2013-B, white measurement base.
Characterisation Data: FOGRA54

PSO MFC Paper (ECI)
Profile: PSO_MFC_paper_eci.icc
Paper: MFC, Machine finished coating
Tone value increase curves B (CMY) and C (K) as defined in ISO 12647-2:2004
Characterisation Data: FOGRA41L

PSO SNP Paper (ECI)
Profile: PSO_SNP_paper_eci.icc
Newsprint
Paper: SNP, Standard newsprint, heatset web offset printing
Tone value increase curves C (CMY) and D (K) as defined in ISO 12647-2:2004
Characterisation Data: FOGRA42L

WAN-IFRAnewspaper 26v5
Profile: WAN-IFRAnewspaper26v5.icc
Colour space: Primary and secondary colours according to ISO 12647-3: 2013
Dot gain: 26%
Maximum paint application: 220%
Maximum GCR: Long black with an early black start

ISONewspaper 26v4
Profile: ISONewspaper26v4.icc
Newspaper
Paper: paper type SNP, standard newsprint, heatset web offset, dot gain curves C (CMY) and D (K) from ISO 12647-2: 2004
Characterisation Data: IFRA26

PSO Coated NPscreen ISO12647 (ECI)
Profile: PSO_Coated_NPscreen_ISO12647_eci.icc
glossy and matte coated paper, FM screen
Paper: Paper types 1 and 2, glossy and matt coated paper, non-periodic screen (NPscreen), 20 µm,
Tone value increase curve F (CMYK) from ISO 12647-2:2004
Characterisation Data: FOGRA43L

PSO Coated 300% NPscreen ISO12647 (ECI)
Profile: PSO_Coated_300_NPscreen_ISO12647_eci.icc
glossy and matte coated paper, FM screen
Paper: type 1 and 2, gloss and matte coated
non-periodic screening (NPscreen), 20 μm
Tone value increase curve F (CMYK) as defined in ISO12647-2:2004
Characterisation Data: FOGRA43L

PSO Uncoated NPscreen ISO12647 (ECI)
Profile: PSO_Uncoated_NPscreen_ISO12647_eci.icc
Uncoated white natural paper, non-periodic screening (NPscreen), 30 μm
Paper: type 4, uncoated white offset
Tone value increase curve F (CMYK) as defined in ISO 12647-2:2004
Characterisation Data: FOGRA44L

Improved Newsprint, INP / PSO INP Paper (ECI)
Profile: PSO_INP_Paper_eci.icc
Commercial and specialty offset, INP paper (improved news print), positive plates
Paper: improved newsprint
Tone value increase curves C (CMY) and D (K), white measurement base
Characterisation Data: FOGRA48L

PSO Coated v2 300% Glossy laminate (ECI)
Profile: PSO_Coated_v2_300_Glossy_laminate_eci.icc
Commercial offset printing, positive copy, AM screen with 60-80 lines/cm, with subsequent gloss foil lamination (typical OPP gloss foil 12-15 μm), white measurement base.
The profile is consistent with the old profiles ISOcoated_v2_eci.icc and ISOcoated_v2_300_eci.icc and shows the matching gloss finished result.
Tone value increase curves A (CMY) and B (K) according to ISO 12647-2:2004
Characterisation Data: FOGRA50L

PSO Coated v2 300% Matte laminate (ECI)
Profile: PSO_Coated_v2_300_Matte_laminate_eci.icc
Commercial offset printing, positive copy, AM screen with 60-80 lines/cm, with subsequent matt film lamination (typical OPP matt film 15 μm with medium opacity ~70%, i.e. brightening ΔL* = 6 on black solid tone after finishing), white measurement base.
The profile is consistent with the old profiles ISOcoated_v2_eci.icc and ISOcoated_v2_300_eci.icc and shows the matching matt-finished result.
Tone value increase curves A (CMY) and B (K) according to ISO 12647-2:2004
Characterisation Data: FOGRA49L

eciCMYK (Fogra 53) – CMYK exchange colour space
Profile: eciCMYK.icc
FOGRA53 is a CMYK exchange colour space and is used for colour communication in print production.

eciCMYK_v2 (Fogra 59) – CMYK exchange colour space New 2020!
Profile: eciCMYK_v2.icc
eciCMYK_v2 (Fogra 59) is the successor of eciCMYK (Fogra 53).

Heaven42
The absolute white tone opens up the greatest scope of colours for design and printing afforded by any coated paper worldwide. The perfect foundation for extreme contrasts and combination with ultra white natural papers. The absolutely white paper shade of heaven 42 impacts on the printing process as well as on the pre-press stage. With the same colouring and dot gain, the printed image can look significantly colder if separation remains unchanged (e.g. with
ICC-profile “IsoCoated_v2”).

We proof Heaven42 on proof paper with optical brighteners and measure the Proof in M1 Standard. Please note: Our Heaven42 proofs represent a good simulation of the original Heaven42 ICC Profile, but are not – as an ISOcoatedv2 Proof – colouraccurate and legally binding.

Scheufelen offers two ICC-Profiles for download, we proof the colour profile of Heidelberger Druck (“_HD”).
Profile: Heaven42_AM_U280_K98_G80_HD.icc (Heidelberger Druck)
Ink Coverage: ~280 % (U)
Black: GCR , 80 % (G)
Black Generation: 98 % (K)
Proofpaper: EFI Proof Paper 8245 OBA Semimatt
Characterisation Data: Made from Reference Data
Measuring method: M1 with optical brighteners (OBAs)

PaC.Space
Profile: PaC.Space_CMYK_gravure_V1a.icc
PaC.Space is the first common color standard for packaging gravure printing, which enables to process an interface from the supplied prepress data or printer-specific requirements.
Paper: Coated substrates and films for packaging gravure
Characterisation Data: FOGRA_PaCSpace_MKCheck11

Rotogravure Profiles

ECI Rotogravure profiles for the Process Standard Rotogravure (PSR)

PSR LWC Plus V2 M1 v2 (2019)
Profile: PSR_LWC_PLUS_V2_M1_v2.icc
The Successor of PSR LWC Plus V2 (PSR_LWC_PLUS_V2_PT.icc)
Paper: Roll gravure, LWCplus glossy coated
Measuring base: unprinted LWCplus paper
Characterisation Data: PSR_LWC_PLUS_V2_M1

PSR LWC Plus V2 (2009)
Profile: PSR_LWC_PLUS_V2_PT.icc
The successor of HWC
Paper: Improved LWC (light weight coated) paper
Characterisation Data: ECI_PSR_LWC_PLUS_V2

PSR LWC Standard V2 M1 (2019)
Profile: PSR_LWC_STD_V2_M1.icc
The successor of PSR LWC Standard V2
Paper: Rotogravure, LWC
Measuring base: unprinted LWC paper (self backing)
Charakterisierungsdaten: SR_LWC_STD_V2_M1

PSR LWC Standard V2 (2009)
Profile: PSR_LWC_STD_V2_PT.icc
Paper: LWC (light weight coated) paper
Characterisation Data: ECI_PSR_LWC_STD_V2

PSR SC Plus V2 M1 (2019)
Profile: PSR_SC_PLUS_V2_M1.icc
The successor of PSR SC Plus V2
Paper: Rotogravure, SC Plus
Measuring base: Unprinted SC Plus paper
Characterisation Data: PSR_SC_Plus_V2_M1

PSR SC Plus V2 (2009)
Profile: PSR_SC_PLUS_V2_PT.icc
Paper: whiter super calandered paper
Characterisation Data: ECI_PSR_SC_Plus_V2

PSR SC Standard V2 M1 (2019)
Profile: PSR_SC_STD_V2_M1.icc
The successor of PSR SC Standard V2
Paper: Roll gravure, SC paper
Measurement document: Unprinted SC paper
Characterisation Data: PSR_SC_STD_V2_M1

PSR SC Standard V2 (2009)
Profile: PSR_SC_STD_V2_PT.icc
Paper: super calandered paper
Characterisation Data: ECI_PSR_SC_STD_V2

PSR MF V2 M1 (2019)
Profile: PSR_MF_V2_M1.icc
Paper: Rotogravure, paper type MF or INP, 55 g/m2
Measuring base: unprinted MF or INP paper
Characterisation Data: PSR_MF_V2_M1

PSR News Plus
Profile: PSRgravureMF.icc
PSRgravureMF is now reffered to as News Plus
Paper: Paper News Plus
Characterisation Data: PSRgravureMF_ECI2002

US / International Proof Profiles

GRACoL2006_Coated1v2
Profile: GRACoL2006_Coated1v2.icc
GRACol interpretation of ISO 12647-2.
Paper: Type 1 and 2, glossy and matt coated paper
Dot gain curves: NPDC (Neutral Print Density Curves)
Characterisation Data: GRACoL2006_Coated1, a derivation from Fogra 39

SWOP2006_Coated3v2
Profile: SWOP2006_Coated3v2
SWOP interpretation of ISO12647-2 for web offset printing on thin coated paper.
Paper: Thin, coated paper
Tonwertzunahmekurven: NPDC (Neutral Print Density Curves)
Characterisation Data: SWOP2006_Coated3, a derivative of Adobe USWebCoated v2

SWOP2006_Coated5v2
Profile: SWOP2006_Coated5v2
Other SWOP interpretation of ISO12647-2 for web offset printing on thin coated paper
Paper: Thin, coated paper with a slightly different white tone to SWOP2006_Coated3V2
Dot gain curves: NPDC (Neutral Print Density Curves)
Characterisation Data: SWOP2006_Coated5, a derivative of Adobe USWebCoated v2

Japan Color 2011 Coated
Profile: JapanColor2011Coated.icc
The new standard of Japan Printing Machinery Association (JPMA).
Characterisation Data: JapanColor

Japan Color 2001 Coated
Profile: JapanColor2001Coated.icc
Printing process definition: ISO 12647-2:1996, sheet-fed offset printing, positive plates
Paper: Type 1, (coated, 105 gsm), screen frequency 69/cm.

SWOP 2013 C3
Profile: SWOP2013_CRPC5.icc or SWOP2013C3-CPRC5.icc
The profile is measured in M1 mode in consideration of optical brighteners and is printed on proofing papers with optical brighteners.
TAC: 260%
GCR: Medium+
Max K: 100%
TVI: CMY 16%, K19%
Paper: Grade #3 paper
Characterisation Data: CGATS21-2-CRPC5

GRACoL 2013 Uncoated
Profile: GRACoL2013UNC_CRPC3.icc
The profile is being measured in M1 Mode taking into account the Optical Brightening Agents in the paper.
TAC: 260%
GCR: Medium+
Max K: 100%
TVI: CMY 16%, K19%
Paper: N.N.
Characterisation Data: CGATS21-2-CRPC3

GRACoL 2013
Profile: GRACoL2013_CRPC6.icc
The profile is being measured in M1 Mode taking into account the Optical Brightening Agents in the paper.
TAC: 320%
GCR: Medium+
Max K: 100%
TVI: CMY 16%, K19,1%
Paper: N.N.
Characterisation Data: CGATS21-2-CRPC6

Why is the embedding of RGB profiles so important?

A few days ago we received a call from a customer in the field of design, who sent open Adobe InDesign data in ISOCoatedV2 300% with contained RGB images to the production company for a complex CD production on the advice of the producing company (“The printing company still has a prepress stage, which can then prepare your data optimally…”). The result of the finished printed CD booklets and inlays did not correspond at all to the calibrated monitor image of our customer, the client was also unhappy and requested the print data about the production company from the print shop responsible for the print to troubleshoot. Data in the “US Web Coated” color space with 350% ink coverage came back from the printer. For troubleshooting, the customer then had a proof of his data created by us, but had chosen the settings “Convert to target profile (retain values)” as usual when writing the proof PDF; we thus received completely CMYK data, of which we produced a proof according to ISOCoatedV2 300%, which completely met our customer’s expectations. So it seems that the designer created the data correctly and printed the print shop incorrectly.

On closer inspection, our error analysis revealed two serious weaknesses:

  • On the one hand, the obviously wrong profile conversion of the print shop with InDesign CS2 to “US Web Coated”, a completely outdated profile never used in Europe, which was delivered with early Creative Suite versions and was probably never adapted due to a lack of competence on the part of the print shop.
  • On the other hand, the open InDesign file of our customer, which he had sent to the production company, contained RGB images without a profile (DeviceRGB), which cannot be safely interpreted.

In this case, a complaint of the designer to the printing company will of course be difficult, as on the one hand, non-profiled RGB data were sent to the production company, and on the other hand, no print PDF generated by the data creator in the correct output color space ISOCoatedV2 300% was supplied.

If this had been done, one could at least have argued that the expected color of the production print would have been comprehensively known. Thus, one can only refer to the fact that the printer would have had to ask the designer for RGB data without an embedded color profile, and should not have assigned the data somehow to a profile “blindly”. The fact that the print shop with its crude US Web Coated workflow certainly did not create a correct print file, but a wrong one for the output, can indeed be stated, but the print shop can always talk its way out to “systems with in-house standard”.

How do we deal with RGB data at Proof.de?

If we receive a PDF file that contains RGB images, the next step is to check if the file is a valid PDF/X-3 or PDF/X-4. If this is the case, we check whether all input RGB profiles are correctly marked with color space (sRGB / AdobeRGB / ECI-RGB-V2 etc.) and rendering intent, then we check whether the correct output color space was used as output intent and whether also contained CMYK data have the correct input profiles. If yes, then we proof the file with the settings: “Consider all input and output color spaces”.

In this case, the file is reproduced 100% exactly as our customer created and defined the color profiles. If he has made a mistake and e.g. marked an image with a wrong RGB profile, this will also be “incorrectly proofed” exactly as correctly.

If RGB data should not contain a profile, e.g. if they are created in Device RGB, we generate a “data incorrect” e-mail in which we explain our procedure as follows:

“Dear customer, the data check has shown that RGB elements are contained in your data. RGB elements can only be safely interpreted in the proof if they are marked with a color profile and a rendering intent. This is the case, for example, with correct PDF/X-3 and PDF/X-4 data. The correct output intent must also be specified.

At least one of these criteria does not seem to be the case for your file. The safest way would be to convert the contained RGB data to CMYK. This has the advantage that you have control over the conversion and can view the CMYK result again in Acrobat before uploading the file again for proofing. We can then reliably use your CMYK values for the proof. To do this, call up the current order in your customer account, delete the incorrect data and upload the corrected data.

If, for example, the RGB element should only be a small image that is not relevant for the overall impression of the proof, or if you do not have another file available for the proof, then of course we can also use your RGB data for the proof. If available, we use your RGB source profiles and rendering intents, otherwise we use the sRGB standard and the rendering intent “relatively colorimetric with depth compensation”, which in most cases will lead to correct proof results. If you would like us to proof the supplied RGB data in this way, please let us know. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Best regards, your proofing team”.

In our case, the CD production case would also not have occurred in the proof, as we reject RGB data not provided with an ICC profile with the error message mentioned above, and do not convert them, as we cannot predict precisely how our customer would have liked the data to be converted.

We are aware that our approach is not 100% the ultimate best approach in all cases, but to the best of our knowledge and belief it is best in line with market practice and the expectations of our customers.

However, we are also happy to accept your individual requirements and circumstances. Give us a call or send us an email and describe your processing requirements.

Colour Management Consulting and Expertise

Colourmanagement Consulting
Colourmanagement Consulting

By the way: We are happy to put our knowledge and data competence at your service: If you also have a problem, a question about print data, data preparation, or – as in the above example – a misprint has already occurred and you need external expertise and assistance for the complaint: Give us a call. We will be happy to advise you and help you where we can help. We will charge you for our advice and analysis at an hourly rate of EUR 90,- plus VAT, and you will be billed for 15 minutes each. An initial consultation and assessment is of course free of charge.

Proofs for recycled paper. Is that possible?

We produce proofs for classic white uncoated papers on a daily basis, but the question often arises as to which proof standard could be used for printing on recycled paper.

In general, the paper white in a proof is precisely defined in the proof standard and is also measured in every test report.

For PSOUncoated it is 95.00 / 0.00 / -2.00 in CIELAB and for PSOUncoatedV3 it is 93.50 / 2.50 / -10.00, i.e. slightly darker (93.50 instead of 95.00 for brightness L) and significantly bluer (-10.00 instead of -2.00 on the B axis, i.e. the blue-yellow axis in the blue direction).

Recycling papers differ not only greatly from type to type in the area of paper white, but even from batch to batch. So if a printing company orders the same recycling paper in January and in February, the paper mill may well deliver a slightly different white value of the paper, as the paper white of course depends strongly on the recycled paper qualities used for production.

A colour-binding proof for recycling paper is therefore not possible, as no standard has ever been worked out due to the different paper qualities and white tones.

It is recommended for the proof to choose a classic proof standard such as PSOUncoated / Fogra 47, which shows a rather neutral, unbrightened paper white in the proof. Place one side of the recycled paper next to the proof and mentally transfer the colour of the proof to the white tone of your recycled paper. This way you can imagine the later printing result quite well.

Can spot colours be proofed?

Since many printed matter contains spot colours such as Pantone or HKS, the question often arises whether these colours can be proofed at all. The answer is “no”. Only an approximate simulation of these colors is possible.
The reason: Each special ink is a specially mixed, “real” ink and therefore cannot be mixed from the 4 printing inks (cyan, magenta, yellow and black).

Today, modern proofing machines have up to 12 different printing colours and, in addition to the classic primary colours, also have, for example, orange and green and violet as real colour pigments in the machine. Proof printers such as the Epson SureColor P9000V are therefore capable of displaying significantly larger color spaces than, for example, ISOCoatedV2. The spot color simulation in these devices is therefore sometimes very good when controlled via a Contone driver, which can access the entire color space of the proof printer. Epson himself points out, for example, that “98% of all Pantone colors” can be covered. This may be doubted, but a number of over 90% of all Pantone colors is realistic from our point of view.

In the past, Pantone and HKS colors were simply converted by the proofing systems to CMYK and then simulated in the standard color space, i.e. mostly ISOCoatedV2. The representation of the colors here is mostly completely insufficient. For the reproduction of Pantone and HKS colours in a proof it is therefore immensely important to have a modern proof printer with many colours and a high colour gamut and a modern proofing software which is also able to precisely control the printed gamut.

Differences in the quality of the simulation of spot colors can quickly be seen in the different printing systems: If the proofing service provider prints with an older 6-color or 8-color system (Cyan, Light Cyan, Magenta, Light Magenta, Yellow and Black or Light Black), spot colors are simulated worse than, for example, with a modern 11-color system with Cyan, Light Cyan, Orange, Yellow, Magenta, Light Magenta, Photo Black, Matte Black, Light Black, Light light Black and Green.

The higher simulation quality of the spot colors is generated by the fact that orange, for example, already exists as a separate color and does not have to be mixed from magenta and yellow before the spot color simulation.

Of course, it must be said that there are limits, especially in the area of metallic or fluorescent colours; these colours are currently not reproducible in proofing.

The spot-colour simulation of gradations is also critical

In most proofing systems, only the 100% values of a Pantone or HKS color are underlaid. If, for example, a font logo with 100% color application of a Pantone color is to be simulated, this is precise and is well represented in most proofing systems.

However, it becomes more difficult if the logo contains not only 100% areas but also a 30% Pantone colour area, since this is not defined in the proofing system, but is simulated by the proofing system. In some cases, considerable deviations from e.g. HKS colour fans can be observed.

It becomes even more difficult if, for example, a grayscale TIFF lies on a 100% HKS area and overprints. For the graphic professional it is immediately comprehensible that the HKS surface simply has to become correspondingly darker at this point due to an overprinting 30% black. However, the proofing software must recognize this effect correctly, calculate it correctly and then simulate it correctly with the 11 colors available from the proof printer. It is easy to understand that countless errors can occur. And the supreme discipline: 7-colour Pantone files with lots of overlaying and overprinting Pantone colours or HKS colours with overprinting CMYK elements can at best be calculated even by the most modern proofing systems, but can by no means be colour-accurately simulated.

The bad news is that a proof with spot colors is therefore never as color-binding according to the current state of the art and varies more depending on the proofing system.

But the good news is that spot colors, especially solid colors, can now be simulated well by modern proofing systems. A modern proofing system therefore also offers the possibility of getting a realistic impression of spot color prints at a fraction of the cost of a test print on a offset press.

How to match the production paper, proof standard and the proof precision of spot colours

Today a customer called who wanted to order a proof of several HKS N spot colours on an uncoated paper. “Which proof profile should I choose? And how exactly can you match my special colours in the proof? I probably have to proof several HKS N red tones in comparison. By the way, the printing is to be done on Fly Cream, a slightly yellowish paper.”

What is the paper white of the production paper?

First of all, I searched with the customer for the production paper in our paper white database. A quick look via full text search revealed that we have measured Fly Cream from Papier Union:

Fly Cream enthält gemäß unseren Messungen keine optischen Aufheller, also "keine OBA". Das LAB Papierweiss liegt bei allen drei Messungen bei rund  LAB 95 / 0,7 / 9,2
According to our measurements, Fly Cream does not contain any optical brighteners, i.e. “faint”. The LAB paper white in all three measurements is around LAB 95 / 0.7 / 9.2

With a B-value in LAB of 9.2, Fly Cream is really not just a little yellowish, as the customer said, but clearly yellowish, chamois, creamy … whatever you want to call it. So it was natural to check the proof profile “ISOUncoatedYellowish”, Fogra 30, to see to what extent the paper white could match.

What is the paper white of the possible proof standard?

Together with the customer we looked up our “paper white of proof profiles” table:

Das Papierweiss des Proofstandards Fogra30, ISOUncoatedYellowish
The paper white of the proof standard Fogra30, ISOUncoatedYellowish in LAB: 95.93 / -0.77 / 3.85

Contrary to the customer’s expectations, the paper white of ISOUncoatedYellowish is not even as yellowish as the paper white of the edition paper Fly cream, which is more yellowish by more than 5 steps on the B axis. So it was clear: PSOUncoated as a brighter-free uncoated paper proof standard is clearly too white, ISOUncoatedYellowish is much more suitable.

On what kind of proof paper will this proof standard be printed?

(more…)

Which proof profile for corrugated plastic posters and election posters?

As is well known, elections are always around the corner, and the trend towards ever larger and more numerous election posters is unbroken. In the past, only Mother Nature made the landscapes colourful in spring, but today every local, state, federal and European election does so easily. Every candidate, every large or small party now has the technical and financial means to transform entire streets into a colourful sea of messages and faces. Once the photographer has captured the election candidates well in the studio, the pictures go off for retouching and then for layout.

Until a few years ago, election posters were usually produced in classic offset printing and then glued onto hardboard with paste, drilled or screwed onto roof batten stands and then attached to street lamps with wire. And if the election took place in the summer, the posters were printed in a double edition, so that in an emergency the faded prints could be pasted over and refreshed with new ones after one month for the final spurt.

Today, however, the corrugated plastic poster is becoming more and more popular, as it is supplied pre-drilled and ready to use, retains its colour for several months and can be attached to street lamps with cable ties. But how should print data be created and how should data be prepared and proofed?

All manufacturers of corrugated plastic posters and election posters known to us want proofs in ISOCoatedV2 or ISOCoatedV2 300%

Corrugated plastic posters are produced on different systems. Sometimes four colours are used, sometimes six, sometimes more colours. Therefore, there are no binding proof standards for most digital print products produced in this way.

Instead, it works the other way around: Since most of these digital printing systems have at least the colour gamut of offset printing on picture printing paper, these printing systems are based on the established colour gamut of ISOCoatedV2.

For example, Printpartner-XXL writes: “For colour-critical motifs, we therefore recommend a prepress proof on the original material or the delivery of a colour-binding proof (with media wedge and date). Data that is delivered without colour information is provided and produced with the standard profile “ISO Coated v2”. In such a case, a colour complaint cannot be accepted.
Eine Reklamation der Farbe kann in so einem Fall nicht anerkannt werden.

From our point of view, most printing specialists demand ISOCoatedV2, some like flyeralarm and wir-machen-druck ISOCoatedV2 300%. Some want black exclusively as pure black, some exclusively as CMYK 50/50/50/100 colour black … and some do not give any information about the required colour profiles … but if you don’t specify anything, you probably won’t stick to anything … so if you want to be on the safe side, you should choose a supplier with a functioning colour management system and specifications for colour profiles.

Proof cheap. What does that mean?

Proof cheap is a typical search term that people use in search engines to find a cheap, colour and legally binding proof. But what makes a cheap proof?

A proof is one that is produced according to the specifications of the latest revision of the proofing standard ISO 12467-7 and is within the tolerances of this standard. The current revision is ISO 12647-7:2016, which has been tightened even further with this standard and has been supplemented by a certified edition of spot colours such as PANTONE and HKS.

Such certified proofs can be ordered at shop.proof.de for all proof profiles.

But what makes the certified proof cheap? That’s the low price. Proofs are printed on certified proof papers on very high-quality pigment inkjet printers, usually using expensive proofing software, and measured with spectrophotometers. So how can production be done cheaply here?

1: Using cheap pigment ink?

One litre of ink for proofing devices is around 400 EUR, so it makes sense to use inexpensive alternative ink from China. The problem: there are no manufacturers – neither in China nor anywhere else – who produce inks that would actually produce similar inks in terms of pigment colour and spectral composition. I once called a manufacturer who advertises that his – already quite expensive – inks could also be used for proofing. When I asked him, he said: “No, no, that’s just for advertising, but of course I would never do that or recommend it, and I don’t know anybody who does that. As for the China inks, he said: “They start at 20 EUR per liter, but you get a different ink with every delivery, depending on where the wholesaler buys. Then they have to re-measure the proofer every time… forget it.” In addition, replacing a clogged print head costs around 2,500 EUR, so the risk is too high. A real proof therefore only works with original, very expensive ink.

2: Using cheap software?

GMG ColorProof, EFI Fiery XF and ORIS Color Tuner are just some of the most important proofing solutions on the market. What they all have in common is that proofing software is rather a niche software, so the programming effort is very high compared to the sales figures. Depending on the size of the output device and the range of functions in terms of verification, spot colour display or proofing on special materials such as transparent foils, etc., the software costs between 5,000 and 10,000 EUR, and in combination with other software products from GMG or Colorlogic it can quickly cost considerably more. Although there are a few low-cost solutions here too, these are usually irrelevant in professional proofing, as they are either not suitable for more than one workstation, or important functions such as spot colour libraries etc. are missing.

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CIELAB HLC Colour Atlas available in the Proof.de Shop

It has taken almost a year, but we are all the more pleased now: The “CIELAB HLC Colour Atlas” is completed and can be ordered in our shop. The HLC Colour Atlas is a open source, high-precision colour system based on open standards.

The CIELAB HLC Colour Atlas offers professional users of colour three decisive advantages:

  • The CIELAB HLC colour atlas is based on open, non-proprietary standards that are free of copyrights and trademarks.
  • The colour atlas with all components is available to all users free of charge online and can be downloaded, used and passed on directly.
    It is released under an OpenSource Creative Commons license.
  • The printed reference of the CIELAB HLC colour atlas impresses with outstanding precision and, unlike some commercial products, the colour accuracy is extremely high with a DeltaE00 median of 0.3 and an average DeltaE00 of 0.5. In most cases, the deviation from the ideal colour reference and colour differences between two colour atlases can be measured, but not perceived by the human eye. Each atlas is produced on our best Fogra-certified high-end proofing printer on Fogra-certified paper. Each copy is delivered with an individual, colourimetric test report in accordance with ISO 12647-7:2016 to document the colour accuracy of each individual colour atlas.

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What is a Contract Proof? Softproof? Validation Print?

Very simple: A proof is the simulation of a later print, either as soft proof on the monitor or as contract proof, validation print or as form proof on paper.

Softproof: A softproof is the color-accurate representation of the print on a monitor. This can be done either at the agency or directly at the printing machine, for example, so that the printer can coordinate the production run with the soft proof.

Contract Proof: The “highest” level of proofing: A contract proof is a very high-quality simulation of the subsequent printing result, and is nowadays actually always produced with special inkjet printers on special paper with special software. The UGRA/Fogra media wedge print makes the proof “colour and legally binding”. In the best case, the media wedge is checked directly during proof production with a measuring device and a test report is glued or printed on which confirms compliance with the tolerances.

Validation Print: A Validation Print has higher tolerances regarding the color deviations from the given standard than a contract proof. It is therefore not “colour and legally binding”, i.e. it does not serve as a contract or “contract” between the designer and the printer, unless both parties have agreed that Validation Print can serve as a colour reference. Validation prints are often used in the coordination process in agencies or as quick templates with good colour matching, as they can also be produced on current laser and LED or other digital printers. Compared to inkjet printing, these printing systems are many times faster and cheaper.

Form Proof: A form proof is often found in print shops; large sheets of paper on which the finished imposed sheets, e.g. of a magazine, are printed. Form proofs are printed with inexpensive inkjet plotters on inexpensive paper and usually look terribly coarse and pixelated, even the colors are terrible. However, the data for the form proof runs through the same workflow with which the printing plates are later produced. This means that what can be seen on the form proof can later also be seen on the printing plate. Thus, the final printing forms can be optimally checked once again to ensure that all fonts, images and embedded graphics are displayed correctly. However, a form proof is by no means binding in terms of colour.

What is the UGRA-Fogra Media Wedge 3.0 used for?

Every print shop in Germany adheres to a predefined standard, the process standard offset printing. This standard defines target and tolerance values for printed products. In order to prove that your proof delivered to the print shop meets these standards or is within the tolerances, the media wedge is measured and the values analysed in case of doubt – i.e. in case of a streak. If these measured values are correct, the print shop is obliged to adhere to and achieve these values.

Practice generally shows the following: If you want to have a 4-page image brochure proofed and printed, it is usually sufficient to have a single media wedge printed under the 4 pages. If the media wedge is also provided with a test report, the colour accuracy for the print shop is directly confirmed as a guideline.
However, if you want to be on the safe side, have a separate media wedge (including test report) printed under each of the 4 pages of your brochure.

Embed fonts, convert them into paths or rasterize them?

To ensure secure data exchange between customers and proofing service providers, fonts must be embedded, converted into paths or rasterized. This ensures that it is and remains exactly the same font and exactly the same style.

How do I do that?

  • With InDesign and QuarkXPress, you select the PDF/X-3 standard when exporting data.
  • For Illustrator and Freehand, select the font and select “Convert font to paths” from the menu.
  • In Photoshop, select the text layer, right-click on it and select “Rasterize Text”.

 

What data should I give for proofing?

A proof is suitable for two types of color control: firstly, during the creation or retouching phase, e.g. to reconcile a color retouched image with the original, and secondly to check the final data directly before printing.

For control proofs during the data creation of a project, the data format usually does not matter. Whether PDF, JPEG, TIFF; EPS, PS or even PSD… Many proofing companies accept a variety of data formats. For a correct evaluation of the result, however, it is important to proof in the color space in which the print product is also created later. Data for a letterhead should therefore be proofed in ISOUncoated or PSOUncoated, while products printed on image printing paper should be proofed in ISOCoatedV2. For yellowish paper, newsprint or gravure printing, there are many other profiles for which a proof can be produced. You can find a good overview of the current proof profiles here. It is also important that the proof format and the final print format do not differ too much. Only in this way is a correct check possible.

When the brochure has been laid out or the catalogue production has been completed, a proof should be prepared again for the final check by the customer. This proof is then created with exactly the same data that is also sent to the print shop. This is usually a PDF X/3:2002 file, as this is the preferred data format for printers. If the pages are delivered to the printer with bleed marks and bleed, then the proofs should actually be created in exactly the same way. The finished proofs can then first be used as approval for the customer, and secondly for checking the OK sheet in the print shop. This ensures that no unpleasant surprises wait for the customer (what does the colour look like????) or the printer (why does the customer make a complaint?????) after printing and bookbinding.

Embed profiles for proofing? Yes or No?

The question often arises whether color profiles should be embedded in the PDF files for proofing.

To answer the question, you have to get some answers: The proof should simulate the subsequent offset printing. For offset printing, with few exceptions, the imagesetters have been configured so that a 70% black in the file is displayed as 70% black on the printing plate, no matter what profile was specified in the file. It didn’t matter whether it was coated paper or uncoated paper: 70% in the file corresponded to 70% on the plate, the choice of the paper printed on resulted in the colour representation.

The proof has also adapted to this: Most proofing service providers ignore embedded profiles, as long as the data is in CMYK and do the same as their print colleagues. Even with grayscale, the profiles are usually ignored and the grayscale is simply assigned to the CMYK black channel. Thus all CMYK and grayscale data are simply interpreted as if they had been created in the output color space. If “ISOCoated V2” is proofed, all images are treated as such, and if “PSOUncoated” is proofed, then the CMYK images are created in this color space.

This is excellent for the majority of files to be proofed. Only RGB colors contained in the data are problematic.
Since the RGB color space is considerably larger than most CMYK color spaces, it must be clear from which color space to convert to CMYK according to which criteria. Most proofing service providers specify a color space from which they convert by default if no RGB color space is defined. This can lead to difficulties: For example, many proof studios choose AdobeRGB as color space because it is large and optimized for offset printing; however, most images from digital cameras come from sRGB and these color spaces differ considerably. Therefore, it is important that the RGB color space and the rendering intend is embedded for a proof, otherwise the proofing software normally selects a color space for conversion to the CMYK color space to be proofed; and this color space is possibly not the one in which the data has be created.

Softproof – opportunity or risk?

Softproof means: The correct color display of a printed product on a monitor. Both a standardized print, e.g. according to process standard offset printing, can be simulated – e.g. a later offset print according to ISOCoatedV2 can be simulated correctly in colour on the screen – and the output on digital terminals such as LFP systems in advertising technology.

From a technical point of view, soft proofs are now well controllable. The monitor technology is advanced enough to provide excellent displays with a high color gamut and consistent illumination even for a few hundred euros. For example, monitors in two branches of a company can be coordinated in such a way that the result displayed on the monitors corresponds exactly to each other at both locations, i.e. one image editor in Hamburg and one in Munich can talk about retouching the same file.

The problem: The fact that the two monitors emit the identical color and light result can be precisely controlled. The fact that the colleague in Hamburg is looking at the foggy Alster lake at a northern window, while the colleague in Munich moved the monitor to a southern window in the direction of the Isar river in sunshine, already shows the problem: The environment variables under which the softproof is viewed are not identical.

It is even more difficult when the soft proof is to be used in the pressroom to coordinate the production run. Many companies such as JUST offer modern solutions that can provide a soft proof directly at the press. However, the problem remains that the soft proof should be considered to be less than 10% away of the brightness of the press. While 2000 lux brightness was previously the standard for printers, JUST now writes: “The comparison of soft proofs on monitors with prints and hard proofs is regulated in accordance with ISO 12646. The light conditions basically correspond to ISO 3664, but the brightness must be adjusted to the limited luminance of the monitor, which ideally is > 120 cd/m². ”

Two scenarios therefore arise at the printing press: Either the printer is “in the light” and can then match the print with a contract proof printed on paper, or it is “in the dark” and can match the print with the soft proof. The difficulty of matching paper and monitor – and these are two completely different and difficult to compare media – is compounded by the difficulty of the printer having to dim the light at the press by up to a factor of 10 to be able to match both a contract proof and a soft proof at the same workstation. From today’s point of view, this does not really seem practicable.

Conclusion: The soft proof is on the advance and will certainly sooner or later displace the classic contract proof from the market for reasons of speed and cost. However, due to the great technical lighting and haptic differences between the monitor and the illuminated sheet of paper, a widespread introduction is still a long way off. After all, anyone who has ever performed a color match on a printing press can imagine that a match to the contract proof on the one hand and to a soft proof monitor on the other hand is difficult to imagine at the same time.  The contract proof will therefore also have to remain the first choice in the near future in order to be able to carry out colour-accurate proofing of the printing result in the pressroom.

Why monitor and paper don’t get along when it comes to colour.

Colour is colour, you’d think. That’s right. But have you ever tried to explain the colour of your new car or your new red wallet to a friend on the phone? You will notice that human colour recognition and the reproduction of the same in another medium is very difficult.

The same applies to computers – better: monitors, and printers – i.e.: laser printers, inkjet printers or newspaper printing or offset brochure printing.

Why is the red on a monitor different from exactly the same red printed on paper? It’s simple: put the paper in front of the monitor. The two shades of red are exactly the same. Like this. And now you’re completely darkening the room. What do you see? The red on the monitor is still red. And exactly the same red on paper? This is black now. Why is that? Very simple:

A monitor adds light, i.e. spectral components, to the existing ambient light. If you see red on a monitor, it is because the monitor actively emits red light.

And now the paper: When do you see red on paper? Exactly when white light falls on the paper, for example through a window or a lamp. And when do you see the colour red on paper?

When white light falls on the paper and the paper extracts the non-red spectral components from the white light and reflects the red light. That’s when you see the colour red.

One colour, two completely different ways of production. And this is exactly where the colour calibration and the proof start. The strategy? Fairs. And this under fixed conditions and not with the human eye, but with “incorruptible” technology.

Put simply, a monitor calibration device can measure your monitor and see exactly “how much” colour your monitor can display, and “how wrong” your monitor can display colour. And if your computer knows that, it can correct the monitor.

Another measuring device can emit neutral white light onto a paper and measure the reflected colour. Depending on the printing process and paper, the ink looks completely different, but the meter again sees “how much” ink the print can represent and “how wrong” the print represents ink. And if your computer knows this, it can correct it. And:

If the computer knows the colour representation of the monitor and printer, it can correct and adjust the representation so that both correspond to the same colour. Of course, this only works if the colour and brightness of the light that illuminates the paper is also known and standardized.

And how does the proof work? Very simple:
If a computer also knows that the final printed product is to be printed in offset on an image printing paper, and it knows the colour representation of this printing process, then it can simulate this on a monitor and on an inkjet printer.

On the monitor, this colour-accurate representation is a so-called “soft proof”, the colour-accurate preview of the subsequent print on the inkjet printer is called “Proof” or “Contract Proof”.

This inkjet printing must be very precise and meet the highest demands in gamut and colour simulation. And since the image processing technology, colour matching calculation and measuring technology behind it is not very cheap, proofs are still mostly “expensive” inkjet prints. Due to new printing systems and inexpensive and better measuring technology, however, prices have also fallen significantly here in recent years.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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