Canon Simplifies Color Management

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by Greg Cholmondeley, Workflow Practice Director, PODi and Caslon & Company


Canon G7Color management shouldn’t be as complex and time-consuming as it is. At least I don’t think it should in a world of ubiquitous computers and “apps” for just about everything. However, the sad facts are that conforming to the various G7 standards typically involve printing a variety of targets, hand scanning them, using a variety of software packages to analyze and compute correction curves, and manually entering data for every media and press combination. In other words, color management is typically very complex and time-consuming. It’s also true that conforming to these standards is incredibly valuable for achieving consistent production results across media, presses and time.

So what do you do? Well, some press vendors are starting to come up with solutions which can dramatically streamline the process allowing more companies to deliver better results.

Back in late 2014 I explored how Xerox was helping companies keep their presses calibrated with embedded spectrophotometers in their iGens and with their IntegratedPLUS Automated Color Management system which uses cloud-based services. Now, another major digital press vendor, Canon, has stepped up with a streamlined embedded color management process for their presses which can, potentially, achieve full G7 Colorspace conformance with a simple five-to-ten minute procedure that almost anyone can do.

PRISMAsync Solution

Canon has added an Advanced Color Management module into their PRISMAsync digital front end with what they call an Embedded Profiler and G7 Calibration system. It is currently a standard feature for new PRISMAsync/imagePRESS sales and is optional for earlier inagePRESS installations.

I recently reviewed their solution for a PODi Product Briefing and seems to work impressively well. Basically, they simplified the process in three ways:

  • First, they let you group media with similar color characteristics together into “media families.” Basically, the thinking is that this lets you apply one set of color management curves and profiles to all the media within that family eliminating the need to repeat the procedures for every media in it. This alone could be a huge time saver, as long as you group your media wisely.
  • Second, their embedded profiler and G7 calibration system is truly a turnkey solution. An operator essentially selects a media, and clicks a calibrate button. Then the press prints eight pages of color patches, walks them through scanning those pages with the attached spectrophotometer, and, voila, the media is calibrated. The entire process takes less than ten minutes to do and can be done by just about any operator – even those without color management training.
  • Third, they also have some clean tools and methods for importing curves and profiles from external color management packages which streamline the process for those operations which need to use external solutions for whatever reason.

Results

Testing has proven that the embedded system can achieve the same level of G7 conformance as any external package for any given combination of media and imagePRESS. In other words, if a third-party color management solution can achieve G7 Colorspace conformance for a given media/printer pair, then the PRISMAsync embedded system will also be able to do so.

This is incredibly valuable for Canon imagePRESS owners who use PRISMAsync because it means they can easily bring G7 consistency to all their jobs by quickly and easily calibrating all their media and presses on a regular basis. The obvious limitation is that this ONLY works for Canon imagePRESS printers being driven by PRISMAsync. This means that if you have a multi-vendor shop, you’ll need to train your staff to use and manage two different front ends to take advantage of this capability, and you can’t leverage it on your other presses. That’s a tradeoff decision for selecting PRISMAsync I’ll leave to each of you.

If you want to learn more about how this works, feel free to peruse my Canon’s PRISMAsync G7 Calibration with Embedded Profiler PODi Product Briefing. It contains four short videos covering:

  • A system overview
  • A demo of the embedded system
  • A demo of integrating it with external systems
  • And a demo of how we verified G7 conformance

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