Category Archives: The technical stuff

Introducing Color Passport – the revolutionary new system for professionals working with colour

Color Passport Posters selection 1_Page_1Color Passport is the first intelligent and universal colour system in the world that reveals the true DNA of each colour. COLOR PASSPORT SYSTEM comprises of 7,810 colours that have been innovatively developed into useful tools including a reference book, fan decks, training workshops and software for professionals working with colour.

All 7,810 reproducible colours have a unique passport that reveals its scientific values, as well as its style, cultural and emotional properties. By understanding a colours true identity, you can identify ideal colour combinations.

COLOR PASSPORT SYSTEM is ideal for those specifying or selecting colour in the design, architecture and fashion industries, along with manufacturers and buyers. Professionals worldwide use Color Passport to define distinct and recognisable corporate, brand, product and collection profiles, creating consistent experiences for consumers.

COLOR PASSPORT SYSTEM helps its users to understand the types of colours that are suitable for their target consumers, the style or application and the cultural or geographical relevance of its use. Choosing and combining the right colours for your design, customer or territory has never been easier.

t1

Color Passport offers an intuitive training course for professionals and companies working with colour. The Corporate Training and Workshop Level 1 is a 4-5 hour course for 2-8 people. The training package includes the following:

  • The Big One – a colour reference ring-binder, with an extensive navigation system which forms the basis of the COLOR PASSPORT SYSTEM
  • The Active One – a detailed portable fan guide (subsection of The Big One), providing quick and easy access to 1,800 coated CP colours
  • Six month’s free access to The Digital One – an electronic guide featuring 7,200 colours. Store Style/Type/Culture filters for targeted colour pallets and complimentary colour identification. Export libraries and match to the closest PANTONE or other digital libraries.

COLOR PASSPORT SYSTEM is the result of 20 years of research and development by the Color Passport Institute, lead by professor and engineer Luc Van Renterghem. 

Corporate courses are now available in the UK; contact Color Confidence for further details and to schedule a convenient date.

For individuals interested in the course, a group workshop will be available later in the year. You can express your interest now, by emailing: info@colorconfidence.com.

Color Passport training and products are available to purchase from Color Confidence.

Expo_button

DxO ONE now features a dramatically enhanced stand-alone experience

DxO ONE - Lifestyle AppUI

DxO has announced the immediate availability of yet another ground-breaking update to the award winning DxO ONE professional quality connected camera for iPhone® and iPad®. The version 1.3 update, available for free via the iTunes App Store, introduces several new features that further extend the use of the DxO ONE, including the ability to use the OLED display as a novel framing assistant to help quickly compose while operating the camera with one hand.

Version 1.3, the second major upgrade to date, enables the DxO ONE to be used as a miniaturised pro-quality camera that is smaller, easier, and faster to shoot than any other camera on the market. To quickly capture life’s fleeting moments, simply pull the DxO ONE out of your pocket or purse, and in one movement, slide the lens cover open, compose the scene using the OLED display as a framing assistant, then depress the two-stage physical shutter button to lock focus and grab the shot. In stand-alone mode, the DxO ONE provides a fun, retro-style of photographing without “chimping,” and makes browsing newly captured images a surprising and delightful experience.

Best of all, when using the DxO ONE in stand-alone mode, all of your preferred camera settings for aperture, shutter speed, ISO, metering, white balance, etc. are preserved, exactly as you set them in the iOS app. For example, if you prefer to capture portraits at f/1.8, the camera will always be ready at f/1.8 when you pull it out of your pocket. And because the DxO ONE has a physical shutter button, it works even if you’re wearing gloves. So when you’re on the slopes, set the camera to 1/4000s (or higher), then when you pull the camera out of your ski jacket the DxO ONE is immediately ready to freeze fast action.

Version 1.3 also introduces a host of other features including motion blur alert, and an elegant new way to dial in white balance, metering and focus modes, which can also be viewed as overlays in the viewfinder along with your iPhone battery level. Browsing photos is faster than ever, with the gallery now sorted in the same order as in iOS Photos. You can be sure your images were successfully shared thanks to a new visual confirmation message, and you can set a preferred JPEG compression level for photos, and bitrate for videos. Of note, an innovative Message Centre now provides a direct connection to DxO, with in-app access to current information designed to help you get the most out of your DxO ONE.

DxO ONE owners are invited to download and install version 1.3, which is available as a free update via the iTunes App Store. New firmware, also immediately available, can be downloaded to the iPhone and installed on the DxO ONE with a simple tap.

Expo_button

 

Color Confidence Autumn 2012 review – part 2

Welcome to the second part of our 2012 Autumn review, which this week looks at our range of colour management services and solutions.

The below extracts are taken from our autumn review mailing and dedicated webpages, a full ink can be found at the bottom of this post.

Developments in colour management solutions for home and business use have introduced higher standards and ease of use, whilst addressing the challenges of new monitor technology and quality of print.

Instruments, software and workflow settings all contribute to a correctly colour-managed environment. Our technical support team provides a range of services and training to suit your requirements – for further reading on matching your screen to print, see our “Light and Shade” document.

We’ve had a look at three aspects of colour management:

1) For home use – photographers and designers

We’ve examine the solutions available from X-Rite for accurate colour management for personal or home use. Here, we look at the ColorMunki Display, ColorMunki Photo and ColorMunki Design, as well as the new, simple monitor calibrator; ColorMunki Smile, which you can see in action in the below video from this year’s Photokina:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1IgI0eo7DE?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

2) In the professional studio – from creative to print

We examine the solutions available for the discerning photo and imaging pros requiring more detailed colour accuracy with the X-Rite  i1 Display Pro and i1 Pro 2 solutions.

3) In the pressroom

We take a closer look at the high-end colour management solutions suited to the demands of the pressroom environment, with X-Rite 500 series Spectro/Densitometers. These devices aren’t for the faint-hearted though, so please contact us to discuss any specific requirements further!

You can read the article in full on a special webpage here – tune in next week for part 3!

J5Create – tomorrow’s technology today…

… Literally!

A few weeks ago we blogged about one of the latest additions to our product range – J5Create.

J5cCeate produce a range of USB display adapters and cross-platform connectivity devices enabling users to share keyboard, mice and files across Mac/Win/Tablets and docking stations for laptops. It’s one of those useful things you imagine you should be able to do fairly simply anyway – transferring files from one OS or device to another – but in practice it isn’t that simple.

Well, J5Create have produced an effective and workable solution.

This week we’ll take a closer look at the J5Create Wormhole Station; a cross-platform keyboard, mouse and file-sharing station.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kRRJOdSaWs?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

The Wormhole Station is a plug and play interactive terminal working between different operating systems.

It enables Mac and Windows to transfer files and share a keyboard and mouse inputs, including keyboard compatibility with the iPad. Also included are multiple card readers, providing convenient storage solutions.

In addition, two USB3.0 ports expand connectivity with the data transfer rates at 5Gb/s. Most importantly, the file transfer capability is done without any third party software or lengthy installation. Files can be drag/dropped and/or copied/pasted between computers (Mac to Mac, Windows to Mac, or Windows to Windows) at 480Mb/s.

In summary, the Wormhole Station features:

  • USB3.0 SuperSpeed Hub/Card reader
  • Mac and Windows cross-platform file and input sharing
  • KM Switching and keyboard for iPad

We find the Wormhole Station particularly useful when doing design work. We have the Adobe Creative Suite’s for design work set up on Mac systems, with our files stored on Windows machines. Using the Wormhole we can seamlessly work on Mac and Windows machines simultaneously, sharing files between each computer, across dual screens.

Extremely useful.

You can learn more about the J5Create range here.

Studio View and Studio Photo – complete colour management

Colour management – Wikipedia will tell you this is the “controlled conversion between the colour representations of various devices”. And, broadly speaking, this is pretty much spot-on. Although we prefer to think of colour management from a practical perspective; how managing colour correctly throughout your workflow and various devices can improve your image quality, and perhaps more importantly – your own satisfaction!

With this in mind, a few months ago we created two bundle items to help you start this accurate colour management process. The Color Confidence Studio Photo & Studio View respectively combines various devices and solutions to set you on your way to achieving quality colour results.

But what are they, and why do you need them?

Color Confidence Studio Photo

This is ideally suited to photographers offering solutions to white balance your camera, calibrate your monitor screen to display colours accurately and something to verify/check the colour reproduction of your workflow. To achieve all this, the Studio Photo gives you:

  • an X-Rite ColorMunki Display for accurate monitor calibration
  • a Total Balance – the durable and neutral grey reference to balance your camera
  • a Kodak Check Up Kit that provides a visual verification to check colour accuracy in your workflow

All in all, the Studio Photo is a great way to start achieving accurate colour from capture and on-screen, and to assess how accurately colour is produced throughout your workflow.

Learn more about it here.

Color Confidence Studio View

This one is great for photographers as well as graphic designers and imaging professionals, offering a colour management and viewing solution. It allows you to calibrate your monitor to display accurate colour, the means to shield your monitor from unwanted light and glare than can distort colour representation, and a daylight replication light to proof images under the correct lighting conditions. It gives you this using:

  • an X-Rite ColorMunki Display for accurate monitor calibration
  • a PChOOD to shield unwanted light from your display creating an accurate working environment
  • a GrafiLite formulated to replicate natural daylight conditions allowing for image proofing in the right light

The Studio View is a great way to create the right environment to start accurately viewing and reviewing colour.

Learn more about it here.

Viewing booths and lights explained. Part 5 – Main brands.

Following on from our recent blog entries, you should now be pretty clued up about all things viewing booths. This means you may be fast approaching the stage of actually purchasing one! But, there’s just one more thing to look at before you do – the brands:

Grafilite – entry-level desk lamps ideal for home use in design and photography. The range includes:

GTI (Graphic Technology) – a comprehensive range of viewing booths to suit most requirements.

GTI produce a range of viewing solutions and desktop booths, providing a larger illumination area than the desktop lamps. The PDV models offer A4 – A2 landscape illuminations. You can see the PDV range here.

GTI also produce colour appearance booths for product assessment, otherwise known as the mini-matcher (MM) models. You can see this range here.

Just Normlicht – precision viewing booths manufactured in Germany.

These solutions provide A3 to A2 Landscape/portrait illumination areas, with the option of sidewalls and dimmer switches. The range includes:

  • Color Master series – collapsible booths, ideal for print to screen
  • Color Match series – not collapsible, but often have backlight illuminations
  • Color Communicator series – provides controlled proofing environments for matching the intensity from monitor to booth

Just Normlicht also offer a range of Large Format booths, Colour Appearance booths, Luminaires and Light Boxes and Tables.

The entire Just Normlight range can be seen here.

Happy viewing!

Viewing booths and lights explained. Part 4 – light it up

Last week, we looked at how the size of print or item you’re using will affect what solution to get.

This week – our third and final checking step – we take a further look at light source and illumination requirements.

Before purchasing your solution, it’s worth checking what light source (or illumination temperature) you require beforehand. As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, D50 daylight is the standard for viewing images or prints. This is also the light source generally supplied as standard by manufacturers, unless D65 (or a specific illumination) is specifically requested.

For viewing prints: D50 Daylight illumination is generally used (although pressroom requirements may be suited to D65). D50 is the standard used by manufacturers, unless D65 is a specific requirement.

For product assessment: a combination of light options is frequently used. The minimum illuminations used are D65 Daylight, TL84 (Store lighting – or CWF in the USA), and Incandescent A – otherwise known as ‘home lighting’. In addition to these, a UV light component can be added if required which are used to assess the UV light influence on optical brighteners (OBAs) and fluorescent pigments within a product. A D50 Daylight source may also be added if a second source is required, meaning you can have both D65 and D50 options available.

Multiple light source booths are a little different. With the exception of Incandescent A lighting and UV light, other light sources tend to use the same light fittings. This means that you can  essentially replace the fluorescent bulbs or tubing to the illumination you require, a bit like changing the bulb in a lamp to make it brighter.

Viewing booths: these are supplied to include the required tubes. It’s worth mentioning that with regular, up to 8 hours a day usage, tubes ought to be changed on an annual basis. We always advise ordering a spare set of replacement bulbs when ordering a viewing booth.

So there we go, three steps you can take to determine what viewing solution you need: define what industry you’re in, assess the dimensions of your subject matter and work out what light source you use.

In our final Viewing Booth entry, we look at the industry brands and what viewing booth options you have. What brand does what, and which one should you go for?

Viewing booths and lights explained. Part 2 – what industry are you in?

Last week, we looked at the basic elements of lighting conditions; Lux, Kelvin and Environment which you can read again here.

Today, we look at the first of 3 steps you can take to work out which viewing solution is best for you.

Step 1 – What type of industry are you in?

The industry you work in, and the sorts of products or images you work with can help determine which viewing solution is best suited to your requirements. Solutions can range from compact desktop viewing lights, to the more complex luminaires and viewing stations.

Graphic Design/Amateur Photographer:
Solution – Desk Lamp – perfect for viewing colour swatches and images. A compact lamp with a single daylight illumination source, ideal for entry-level print checking against a monitor.

Desk Lamp - GrafiLite

Reprographics, Image Retouching and Professional Photography:
Solution – Desktop Booths – ideal for reviewing prints or transparency for comparison against a monitor. Desktop Booths are for flat prints and generally use a single D50 daylight illumination source.

Desktop Booth - GTI PDV-1e

Printers and Publishers for Press Quality Control:
Solution – Large Format Booths – ideally suited for checking proof or final prints. Most have a back wall and angled desktop space for increased viewing area. Daylight source tends to be D50, but D65 can be specified if needed.

Large Format Booth - Proof Top Multi 5000

Textiles, Home-furnishing, Product Design and Manufacture:
Solution – Colour Appearance Booth – colour assess textiles, plastic, metallic and other materials. Normally have multiple light sources, with up to 5 different types of illumination. Built like an open box, booths consist of a flat base with side walls.

Colour Appearance Booths - Pantone Colour Viewing Light 3

Management, Artists and areas requiring illumination:
Solution – Luminaires – suited for print and product assessment around a meeting table, or presentation/display area. These are overhead hanging units and come with D50 illumination as standard.

Luminaire - GTI

Photographers, Image Retouching, Planners and Quality Control:
Solution – Light Boxes  – viewing transparencies and backlit tablets for working with film, transparencies and assessing translucent materials. There are shallow boxes with a backlit work surface.

Light Box - Just Smart Light 5000

You can see our full range of viewing solutions here.

In the next entry we’ll look more closely at each solution, and investigate how the dimensions of the subject matter you’re viewing can influence which solution to go for.

Viewing booths and lights explained. Part 1; Lux, Kelvin and Environment…

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’ll have probably seen our previous entries about lighting conditions and the importance light plays in reviewing your images.

In our latest series of blogs, we look a little more closely at the tools that actually provide this light, and what components are critical to achieveing the correct environment.

This week, we look at the measurements of light, and the ambient conditions that could affect your viewing.

For a legitimate visual colour assessment of your prints or products, a controlled lighting environment is essential for you to accurately see true colour. All components of the light source and environment are critical, including intensity, temperature and ambient light conditions.

Intensity (Lux)

The intensity of light can effect the contrast and vibrancy of the seen colour. This illumination is measured by ‘Lux.’

The closer the object is to the light source, the greater the illumination intensity will be. This means it is important to have a fixed distance between the light source and the viewing surface to create ideal illumination intensity. Many viewing booths will have dimmer switches enabling you to adjust the brightness or intensity of the light.

Generally, an illumination of 1,500 – 2,500 Lux is used for print comparison, whereas around 400 Lux is suggested for ‘soft-proofing’, such as comparing a print or product with an on-screen image.

Temperature (˚Kelvin)

Temperature refers to the warmth or coolness of the subject colour. Your average household bulb is normally considered to have a ‘warm’, yellow illumination, with a relatively low temperature of 2,700˚k. For comparison, daylight temperature tends to be 5,000˚k (otherwise known as D50), which is regarded as the optimum temperature for viewing prints. Occasionally, 6,500˚k (D65) may be specified. Generally, the higher the temperature, the ‘bluer’ the illumination appears.

As a general rule, prints are best viewed under D50 conditions.

Products, textiles and plastics tend to be viewed in D65 conditions.

Environment – Ambient conditions

Ideally, illumination provided by a viewing light should not be ‘contaminated’ by other ambient light sources. Viewing booths often counter this problem by including back and side panels to help provide an ideal viewing area and shield un-wanted light. A viewing lamp and work area should also have neutral mid-grey surfaces to not bias the colour appearance or assessment.

Once you understand and know how these components effect what you see, you’re on the right track to accurately checking print or product colour.

Next week, we examine the 3 key steps to defining what solution – from viewing booths to desktop lamps – is best for you.

Exploring Nik Software – part 3

Last week, we explored Color Efex Pro 3 and HDR Efex Pro. The final part of our Nik Software review takes a closer look at Silver Efex Pro 2 and Sharpener Pro 3.

Silver Efex Pro 2 – the black and white processing engine.

Like all Nik plug-ins, Silver Efex Pro 2 gives a range of preset styles enabling the user to find the general style you’re looking for. You can then use the wealth of settings available to assist the black and white creation process, creating that personalised image.

Together with the usual global brightness, contrast and structure sliders, tools familiar to traditional film photographers are also available. For example, coloured filters can be applied to alter the contrast characteristics of the image, emulating the technique of placing glass or plastic filters in front of the camera lense when using black and white film. These filters can be effective for getting better contrast in images, or adding more definition between sky and cloudscapes.

One of the more powerful features is the film stock selector which emulates the characteristics of black and white film. This can give powerful contrast and natural grain effects. If you have used film in the past and want to reproduce the style of images created in a darkroom, Siler Efex provides you with a range of tools to help you explore this effect.

Silver Efex Pro 2 uses Nik’s UPoint control points allowing you to vary the monochrome effects in specific areas of the image, or alternatively bring selective colour back into the image.

Sharpener Pro 3 – for a perfectly balanced, sharp image.

Sharpener Pro 3 is a powerful and professional sharpening tool using the latest adaptive sharpening techniques. It provides accurate, controllable sharpening across the whole image, or selectively with the use of control points.

Sharpener Pro 3 provides accurate sharpening without giving that ‘over-sharpened’ look that can sometimes happen when you push other systems a little too far. You get a more ‘natural’ looking, sharpened image.

Sharpening can either be applied directly to the image you are working on (pre-sharpening), or applied to an image prior to printing, keying in the size and viewing distance to provide the ideal level of sharpening for the print.

All-in-all, Nik Software Plug-ins give you the opportunity to customise your images to new levels, taking the time and extensive knowledge required away from the conventional Photoshop way of editing images.

You can read back through parts one and two to visit the other products in the range.

Happy editing!