Category Archives: Printing

Exceptional Colour: A PANTONE Case Study Written By Print Solutions

IMG_9790If you want to get your colour right – and make the most of it, then it is best to work with the experts.

Color Confidence is a leading Pantone supplier. As such it is in the enviable position to provide knowledge to customers about which guide is right for them. After all, with a comprehensive line of colour tools including guides, chip books, software and measuring devices, it has something for everyone whether printer, converter, designer and creative, marketing agency or brand owner.

Pantone components include the Pantone Plus Series for graphics and multi-media; the Pantone Formula Guide, a colour guide for designers, printers and decision makers, which features solid colour choices on both coated and uncoated papers; Pantone Solid Chips, which show colour in a convenient chip format that you can apply to artwork and digital files; and the Pantone Colour Bridge that shows process colour simulations of all solid Pantone colours – in a convenient side by side comparison format.

WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

Understanding which product is right for your business may seem a little confusing. So, understanding how to choose the right Pantone product will help your creative processes – and here again Color Confidence can help.

The company provides this advice when it comes to the best Pantone products suited to you (although it is worth talking to Color Confidence and the team there will make sure you get the best for your business). Broadly:

IF YOU ARE A PRINTER OR WORK IN PREPRESS:

  • Solid colour products: Formula Guide, Solid Chips, Skin Tones;
  • Process colour products: Color Bridge, Extended Colour Gamut;
  • Solid effects products: Pastels and Neons, Metallics, Premium Metallics.

IF YOU ARE A GRAPHIC DESIGNER:

  • Solid colour products: Formula Guide, Solid Chips, Skin Tones;
  • Process colour products: Color Bridge, Coated Combo;
  • Solid effects products: Pastels and Neons, Metallics, Premium Metallics.

IF YOU ARE A PACKAGING DESIGNER:

  • Solid colour products: Formula Guide, Solid Chips;
  • Process colour products: Color Bridge, Extended Colour Gamut;
  • Solid effects products: Pastels and Neons. Premium Metallics.

IF YOU ARE A BRAND OWNER:

  • Solid colour products: Formula Guide, Skin Tones;
  • Process colour products: Color Bridge, Extended Gamut Guide;
  • Solid effects products: Pastels and Neons, Metallics, Premium Metallics.

IF YOU ARE A WEB DESIGNER:

  • Solid colour products: Formula Guide, Solid Chips, Starter Guide;
  • Process colour products: Color Bridge, Coated Combo, CMYK Guides.

112 NEW WAYS TO BE CREATIVE

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Pantone has recently added 112 new colours to its portfolio. The total count is now 1867 colours.

Branded as ‘New colours, new opportunities’, the refreshed, trend led palette serves as an important signifier of new ‘cultural and social influences on the overall movement of colour’. During product development, Pantone surveyed hundreds of designers across graphics, packaging, print and web design.

The findings indicated a desire for more ‘blushes, blues and neutrals’. This sits with the Pantone colours of the year for 2016 – 15-3919 Serenity and 13-1520 Rose Quartz.

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PANTONE case study written by Print Solutions magazine. This article can also be found in issue 27, page 28 of Print Solutions. Read more here

Colour Management Interview with Simon Prais, Technical Director at Color Confidence

Colour Confidence

Simon Prais, Technical Director at Color Confidence

How many years have you worked in the photo industry? 30 years

What is your current location? Birmingham

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? A creative professional

Do you prefer dogs or cats? Neither, but if I had to choose – cats

Can you briefly sum up what Color Confidence offers? Color Confidence is Europe’s leading colour management specialist into the digital imaging markets. We offer the widest range of products and services from the world’s leading manufacturers including X-Rite, DxO, NEC, BenQEIZO and ExpoImaging, amongst many others, together with our own brand range of calibration and colour management essentials for photographers, designers and anyone with an interest in colour.

How important is colour management to photography enthusiasts? Do they really need to engage in the subject, for instance, if they never print but only post pictures on social media websites?

If you spend any time visually adjusting the colour or contrast of a digital image, regardless of its final use, that decision needs to be made on a colour calibrated monitor. Although it’s unlikely that even 1% of viewers on a social media site would have a calibrated monitor, there are at least two factors to consider:

  • If your monitor was too warm, and you adjusted your images based on the assumption that what you see on the screen is correct, anyone with an un-calibrated ‘cool’ monitor viewing the images will see a massive difference to your intended colour balance. Whereas if your monitor is calibrated, you are limiting the range of colour difference across the range of un-calibrated monitors.
  • Your original image may have been perfect, but if you view it on an un-calibrated monitor, you could end up wasting your time whilst also destroying your image.

How difficult is colour management? Do you need good IT skills, for example? It was complicated fifteen years ago, but nowadays it is straightforward and automated.

Where would you recommend someone start if they want to colour manage their workflow? Is it, for example, necessary to start with the camera and work all the way through to the output device?

The most practical point to start from is monitor calibration. A calibrated monitor enables you to determine deficiencies in your camera, printer or viewing conditions.

There seem to be a great many colour management devices on the market. With a limited budget, what is the first item to buy, why, and do you have any specific product recommendations?

To back up my previous answer, it would have to be a monitor calibrator. A properly calibrated monitor is essential for colour critical work such as photography. A profiled screen gives you a trusted source for viewing your images so that you can be confidence in the results. If budget allows, I would recommend the X-Rite i1Display Pro (RRP £216 incl. VAT), which offers the highest standard of on-screen colour accuracy for displays and projectors. Alternatively, I would recommend the X-Rite ColorMunki Display (RRP £150 incl. VAT), which has slightly less features but is still sufficient for achieving consistent colour accuracy. If you can justify a new monitor, high-end monitors are frequently offered with the benefit of a discount off a calibrator, if purchased at the same time.

The monitor is clearly important, but many people stick with what came with their PC bundle? Is that okay or should they consider an upgrade?

They should definitely consider an upgrade. There is a considerable difference between a £100 monitor bundled with a PC and a £500-£900 professional monitor, and it’s not just the price point. Any editing or decisions on how accurate a photo is, depends on what you see on the monitor screen. That is why it is important to pick the right quality of monitor to suit your needs.

Is there such a thing as an ideal monitor? What should we look for when looking to buy one and what sort of budget will we need?

The NEC SpectraView, EIZO CG and BenQ PG colour critical range of monitors include all the key qualities of an ideal monitor. These are available in a number of sizes and resolutions to suit an individual’s requirements.

A quality monitor will have an In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel type. IPS panels offer a much larger colour gamut than TN panels, which are frequently used in laptops. A further benefit of IPS panels over both TN and VA panels, used on standard grade monitors, is the colour consistency and viewing angle. Viewing such panels from even a slight angle causes a shift in the display, whereas IPS panel technology provides consistency from increased viewing angles. Professional monitors will also be validated for uniformity across the display.

Such monitors generally include hardware calibration software. This communicates directly with the monitor for optimised colour accuracy.

Budget constraints are often a factor, and although quality to achieve good colour accuracy over size is a good generalisation, there are some instances when some of the quality features need to be trimmed back, when a larger panel size is crucial. If you can’t justify both quality and the required size, is to worth consider retaining your old monitor for general use and using a second monitor for colour critical work.

With many people buying 4K televisions, is it feasible to use one of these as their editing monitor?

Although the latest 4K televisions offer a much higher resolution than standard HD TV’s, and look a tempting option as a computer screen, they are not suitable as an image-editing monitor. The 4K TV’s are designed to give high contrast, punchy images for primarily displaying TV, films and video, so will display images with increased contrast and saturation even when profiled. We recommend using an accurate colour manageable monitor, and with 4K monitors recently introduced, they should be considered for editing in 4K whereas 4K televisions should be avoided.

The final link in the chain is output. The photographic printer market is dominated by Canon and Epson, what advice do you have for people looking for a high quality photo printer?

Stick to the main photo market manufacturers, Epson and Canon and check that the model is categorised as a photo printer (avoid ‘all in one’ devices as they generally don’t have the colour quality required for photo printing).

When researching a printer, download the manual and look at the key features, especially the print driver colour management options, as this will indicate if the printer will be easily colour managed, and if you want to use third party paper, such as Tecco PHOTO and colour profiles, or create your own.

Printers range from having just 4 colour cartridges (CMYK), to 12 colours. A minimum of 7 or 8 colours that include Light Cyan, Light Magenta and Light Black/Grey provides higher quality prints without visually apparent dots in the light tones. Whereas the addition of Orange and Green increases the colour range with increased colour saturation.

Many people complain of the final print not looking anything like the image they saw on-screen. What advice do you have to get colour correct prints?

I would recommend they purchase an X-Rite ColorMunki Photo (RRP £487.27 incl. VAT) – an all in one entry-level calibration process that delivers fast, accurate matching from capture to display and print. However, even with that, such complaints still arise because the thing people overlook is the viewing light. If the illumination of your monitor isn’t matched to the illumination of your print, one will look lighter or darker than the other. If one can’t justify a viewing booth for standardised viewing conditions, a GrafiLite (£61.27 incl. VAT) will give you a daylight balanced consistent temperature and brightness level to be matched against your monitor.

Most people will have their computer and printer in a domestic environment. Have you any tips to help them get the best possible set-up?

Yes, ideally they should use a monitor hood and a viewing light or GrafiLite. Most professional monitors come with an option of a hood, if not, the PChOOD Pro (RRP £71.44 incl. VAT) is an adaptable hood, which will fit anything from a 15” to a 26” monitor size.

If you had to give just one piece of colour management advice, what would that be?

Ensure that you regularly calibrate your monitor. Your monitor will be gradually changing with time so without monthly calibration, it’s a constant moving target.

PANTONE’s new Extended Gamut Guide bridges the gap between spot and process colour printing

EGGPANTONE has launched a new colour communication guide that bridges the gap between CMYK and spot colour printing.

The new PANTONE PLUS SERIES Extended Gamut Coated Guide has been created to help brand owners; designers, prepress professionals and printers to determine when it may be possible to more accurately reproduce a solid PANTONE colour using CMYK + PANTONE XG Orange, Green and Violet (OGV) Inks.

The PANTONE Extended Gamut Guide is a visual, seven-colour printing simulation of the 1,729 existing PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM® colours. Printed with an extremely high-quality, seven-colour printing process, the Extended Gamut Coated Guide uses existing Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK) inks, plus commonly used Orange, Green and Violet (OGV) inks that ‘extend’ the colour gamut significantly.

The new PANTONE Extended Gamut Guide will allow designers and printers to achieve approximately 90% of all PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM spot colours through the seven-colour process system.

The PANTONE guide was developed in partnership with Esko, the global supplier of innovative printing solutions and packaging software, and Disc Graphics, an award-winning creative packaging printer.

Each page of the PANTONE guide has been replicated and numbered to mirror that of the current PANTONE PLUS Series Formula Guide, so a designer or printer can quickly and easily compare the original spot colours to the new extended gamut reproductions.

The PANTONE Extended Gamut Coated Guide includes:

  • 1,729 seven-colour process simulations of PANTONE Formula Guide Solid Coated Colours on coated stock
  • Closest seven-colour process match with sRGB values
  • Screen tint percentages displayed
  • Colours bleed off page edges for ease and accuracy when comparison checking
  • Portable fan guide format which provides convenience and fast access to colour data
  • PANTONE COLOR MANAGER Software for updating PANTONE colours in popular design applications
  • Colour locator index
  • Each colour identified with a distinct PANTONE EXTENDED GAMUT Coated (XGC) number and/or name.

The PANTONE Extended Gamut Coated Guide is available to purchase from Color Confidence – Europe’s leading colour management specialist and distributor into the digital imaging markets. For more information about the PANTONE range, visit www.colorconfidence.com.

Introducing the new Pantone Trade and Save scheme

Pantone_Landing_Trade_Save

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new Pantone ‘Trade and Save’ programme, which offers existing customers the chance to trade–in their old Pantone guides, in exchange for up to £100 cash back when purchasing a new Pantone product.

The Trade and Save incentive scheme makes it easier for designers, product managers, printers and all other colour decision makers to stay up-to-date with the latest graphics products from Pantone – the world leader in colour standardisation and communication tools.

“The Trade and Save incentive scheme has been devised to give people that value colour as much as we do, the encouragement to update their Pantone guides,” says Simon Prais, Technical Director at Color Confidence.

Simon continues: “If you don’t use the latest Pantone products, you could be losing time, money, or even clients, through mistaken specifications or inaccurate colour reproduction. Over the past five years, 644 Pantone spot colours have been added to the Pantone Plus range of graphics guides, which now includes a total of 1,761 colours.”

Pantone prides themselves on using only the finest paper substrates for their multimedia graphic tools. But the fact is, all paper stocks yellow over time, from exposure to air or sunlight, or simply from use, which changes the appearance of the ink’s colour. For this reason, Pantone recommends replacing your colour guides frequently.

The Trade and Save scheme is made up of three easy steps.

  1. Purchase a brand new Pantone guide from colorconfidence.com – Eligible guides are included in the table below
  2. Send Color Confidence the old Pantone guide in the post – A £5 flat rate postage contribution will be added to your cash back amount
  3. The discount plus postage contribution will be refunded into your account – The guide is then verified and the discount is given (within 5 working days of receipt of the guide)

The Trade and Save scheme applies to purchases of any of the following Pantone Plus guides:

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The Trade and Save scheme ends on 31st July 2015. For more information, visit www.colorconfidence.com.

Red Arrows Staff Away Day at RAF Scampton

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Last Friday (22 May 2015), some of the Color Confidence team went on a staff away day to RAF Scampton in Lincoln. It was a lovely day out, which included:

  • A presentation on the activities of the Red Arrows, given by one of the Squadron’s Officers
  • Sitting in on the pilot’s briefing session
  • Watching a flying display practice
  • Having a photograph taken with the pilots in front of an aircraft (see picture above)
  • Sitting in on the pilot’s debrief session
  • A buffet lunch with the team members
  • A guided tour of the Hawk aircraft by one of the engineers.

This was an exciting opportunity to watch the Red Arrows in action before the start of their UK tour. A selection of images from the day can be found below:

2The Red Arrows flying display practice.

3What an incredible display.

1A majority of the team had their professional photography equipment at the ready!

4We have supported the Red Arrows for a number of years and provide them with colour management services, prints and equipment.

7Our guided tour of the Hawk aircraft.

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Win A Colour Workflow Bundle!

Color-Confidence-bundle

This month, we are giving you the chance to win a huge bundle of prizes, including an NEC E223 monitor, Macphun Creative Kit software and an i1Display Pro, plus lots more!

This prize bundle, worth almost £700, is designed to help you manage and improve your colour workflow from capture, to edit, to print.

Up for grabs in this fantastic prize bundle are the following products:

  • ColorChecker Passport - Ensures the images you capture are accurate in colour.
  • i1Display Pro - Calibrator that ensures your monitor, tablet or projector is colour calibrated
  • Creative Kit - This award winning image editing bundle from Macphun includes Snapheal and Intensify Pro softwares
  • NEC E233 Multisync Monitor - A 22 inch high definition LED monitor
  • Tecco Paper - 2 boxes of A3 Sepia Satin Portrait paper for outstanding prints.

To be in with a chance of winning this brilliant colour workflow bundle, all you have to do is show us your best images of ‘Colour’.

These could be abstract close-ups, images featuring a strong, vibrant colour, animals with pretty colourings, or a beautiful natural occurrence, such as a sunrise or sunset. We want to see how you can incorporate colour in different ways into your images. Get creative and show us your best ‘Colour’ themed images!

The competition closes at midnight on 30 November 2014. For more information and to enter now, take a look at the Competition page.

Good Luck!

Epson-SureLab-SL-D3000

Epson microsite launched for all things photo printing

Thinking of getting an Epson D3000?

A long awaited blog post!

Here at Color Confidence we work with some of the leading brands in digital imaging and colour management, one of which being Epson.Epson-SureLab-SL-D3000

Epson have been producing market leading photographic printers for the digital imaging markets for generations. The SureLab range is the latest in their product line and sets the benchmark for Dry Lab accuracy and quality ideally suited to high-end photography print production.

In particular, the D3000 is designed for high-quality photo print production offering a print quality and colour consistency comparable to that of Epson’s professional graphics printers. This means output will appear consistent, giving companies the flexibility to work with a wider range of sizes and print run lengths by using the SL-D3000 in conjunction with another Epson printer.

Our Imaging and Print Division (IPD) works closely with Epson to provide Wet and Dry solutions for all kinds of printing requirements, making best use of our colour management and technical know-how with Epson’s world-renowned, quality printers.

A dedicated website is now available for all things Epson, available at;

www.epson.colorconfidence.com

The common question…

Yesterday we spent a very enjoyable day down at LCE Southampton

It’s always good getting out and about and talking to people face to face. It’s something we enjoy, and without wanting to boast, it’s something we’re very good at. We had a great time talking to you all, and we hope you enjoyed our seminar session in the evening.

As ever though, there was one query that stood out above all others:

“My images look great on screen, but don’t look anything like it when printing out” – or in other words; how can I get my printouts to match my screen?

The answer is calibration – a calibration of both a monitor and printer to be precise.

The device capable of performing both is called the ColorMunki Photo from X-Rite.

ColorMunki Photo

Whereas other calibrators will just take care of your screen or projector, the ColorMunki Photo will do your screen as well as any printer(s) you have connected to your laptop, Mac or PC.

Essentially it does the same thing to both devices; namely getting them to display or printout a series of colours for it to measure, compare to what the colour should be and create a profile to compensate for the difference.

Once these profiles are saved and applied to your machine you can start printing with peace of mind what you see on screen is what you’ll see coming out of the printer.

Calibrate your screen once a month and profile your printer for any paper/ink combinations and you’re good to go.

Easy.

You can learn more about ColorMunki Photo here.

Come and discuss all things Dry Lab at Focus On Imaging

Hello everybody

We’re sounding slightly like a broken record at the moment, but we’re almost ready to unveil our Focus On Imaging plans for 2013. What we can reveal though is our plans for our Imaging and Printing Division…

pete_hollandPete Holland – who heads up our Imaging and Printing Division – will be present on stands C11 (that’s our stand!) and stand E10 (Epson) throughout the show. He looks after all things Epson and Noritsu Printers at Color Confidence, particularity focusing on professional Dry Lab solutions which allow you to produce supreme quality prints on a variety of paper sizes and media, perfect for professional or business printing.

Two Dry Lab solutions worth seeing him for:

Epson SureLab SL-D3000

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The SureLab range sets the benchmark for Dry Lab accuracy and quality, ideally suited to high-end photography print reproduction. The Epson D3000 offers a print quality and colour consistency comparable to that of Epson’s professional graphics printers. This means output will appear consistent to customers, giving companies the flexibility to work with a wider range of sizes and print run lengths by using the SL-D3000 in conjunction with another Epson printer.

Noritsu QSS Green

noritsu_qss_green

QSS Green is the latest in a long line of innovative Dry minilab systems from Noritsu. Powerful, versatile and compact, the QSS Green is built to handle a wide variety of printing requirements. The QSS Green also raises the bar in terms of environmental friendliness and print variety and has the potential to become the new de-facto standard model for photo businesses.

If you’d like to arrange to meet Pete at the show, visit his dedicated Focus page on our microsite.

A Tecco paper for every photograph…

There’s more than one way to take a photograph.

And, there’s more than one paper type to print your images on.

You take the time to edit and fine-tune your images to enhance colour, tone and definition, but then continue to print on your standard A4 office printer paper, meaning the image can often looks flat and uninspiring (not what it does on your screen!).

Aside from calibrating your printer to improve results (use one of these to do that…) you should try using different paper weights, styles and textures to enhance your printouts, bringing them to life on the page.

Tecco Paper offer high quality inkjet papers with superb colour fidelity and vibrancy – with a range of finishes and textures to choose from – making them an excellent choice for your inkjet printing. Let’s have a look at some of the range:

Tecco Photo Matt 230

  • 230 gsm
  • High resolution, superb colour fidelity
  • Fast drying times
  • Good, all-purpose paper for fine art prints, black & white or sepia photography

Tecco Luster 285

  • Heavy, 285 gsm
  • Bright white paper
  • Reproduces a high colour gamut for intricate details
  • Ideally suited for portrait, wedding or large format poster prints

Tecco Baryt 270

  • 270 gsm fibre-based
  • Ultra-smooth surface
  • Superb image sharpness and maximum tonal range and separation
  • Suited to fine art printing, colour and exhibition work

Tecco Iridium Silver Gloss 250

  • 250 gsm
  • High quality, silver-metallised paper
  • Iridium like surface with a glossy finish
  • Ideal for high-gloss images with metallic characteristics emphasised

These are just a sample of what papers are available; there is a vast array of Tecco paper styles made to suit various image styles and effects. Browse through their range here to find which paper will suit your requirements the best.