Category Archives: Industry News

Color Confidence Autumn 2012 review – part 3

Welcome to the third and final part of our Autumn review, looking at key events and news over the last year.

Pantone updates

The past few years have seen a number of key enhancements and innovations from Pantone, the most recent of which being the introduction of 336 new solid colour choices. This means you can now take advantage of 1,677 solid colour choices to let your creativity truly soar. To view where this update sits within the last few years of Pantone updates, read our full article here.

Monitor features explained

Reliance on soft-proofing and digital image manipulation has influenced display technology developments with the introduction of new features and terminology. Understanding the terminology helps appreciate the advantages of a professional monitor – in this article, we review what the terminology surrounding monitors mean, and what basic steps can be taken to identify the most suitable monitor for you. Read the full article here.

Viewing Booths – essential for quality assurance

In this article, we review the importance and significance of viewing booths when assessing print or product colour.From photo editing for home use through to commercial colour assessment for print and similarly for product manufacture, controlled lighting is essential.

Demand for tighter quality control, accountability and appreciation of the importance of illumination brings viewing booths to the forefront of essential equipment at all stages of production and presentation for print and product manufacture. Read the full article here.

Nik launch HDR Efex Pro 2

After the success of HDR Efex Pro, Nik this July have launched HDR Efex Pro 2 – the latest version of their High Dynamic Range photography plug-in.

Experience all the power, control, and creative expression your camera has to offer with HDR Efex Pro 2.

This powerful tool enables discerning professional and amateur photographers to quickly create HDR images that range from exceptionally realistic to creatively stunning.

HDR Efex Pro 2 includes a wide selection of one-click visual pre-sets for incredibly fast results, advanced tone compression algorithms, multiple HDR styles, and U Point® technology for precise selective fine-tuning of colours and tonality.

The new plug-in features:

  • NEW Tone-Mapping Engine Colour rendering, natural results, with more control
  • NEW Merging Interface Previews of each exposure
  • NEW Ghost Reduction Improved ghost reduction algorithm ensures that artefacts created by moving objects are removed with a single click
  • NEW Chromatic Aberration Reduction Controls to reduce unsightly colour fringes where dark tones meet light tones
  • NEW Depth Control Helps counteract the flattened look commonly associated with HDR images
  • NEW History Browser Quickly compare previous edits to your final result or the middle exposure of a series

There are two ways to get HDR Efex Pro 2, direct from Nik Software, or as a free upgrade with the existing Nik Complete Collection packages, which you can view here.*

*UPDATE 27/07/2012

Y0u’ll now be able to purchase HDR Efex Pro 2 direct from us too… We’re expecting stock from early August, so get your pre-orders in now! Details can be found here

Give us a Sign (and Digital)

With Focus on Imaging done and dusted (read our review here) it’s time to move onto the next show; Sign & Digital UK.

Sign & Digital UK takes place at the NEC Birmingham from the 27-29 March. It provides a unique opportunity to view the latest innovations and products within the sign making and digital print industries. Suppliers from all over the world attend the show, with various seminars and workshops taking place throughout.

We’ll be attending this year – stand P94 – along with some of the leading manufacturers within colour management to demonstrate the difference effective colour control can have on the quality of signage and digital output.

So, who have we got with us on the stand this year?

Come and see X-Rite

X-Rite are world leaders in colour management technology and produce numerous professional hardware and software solutions for full control over your colour workflow. Their range includes the i1Pro series for complete colour control throughout your workflow and i1Display Pro; a monitor calibrator for accurate on-screen colour.

Come and see Pantone

Pantone are the leading provider of colour systems and technology for accurate colour communication. Setting the global colour standard for the reproduction and confirmation of correct colour, Pantone offer a full range of publications to achieve accurate colour.

See Colour accurate monitors

Your screen is the first port of call for ensuring accurate colour, meaning a monitor must display colours correctly. A range of monitors will be on stand from leading manufacturers to demonstrate the latest in colour accurate displays.

Come and see Neolt UV UK

Neolt UV UK are one of the few vendors in the world to offer complete wide format printing solutions and finishing equipment such as trimmers and welders. On stand, Neolt will be demonstrating the XY Matic Trim for substrates up to 1.65 metres wide.

We’ll be living in Hall A, on stand P94

Sign & Digital UK takes place on the 27-29 March at the NEC Birmingham. For more information about the show, visit www.signuk.com

Time for some Focus (again)

We’re a little bit earlier this year than our previous blog leading up to our last Focus on Imaging post, so we have a bit more time to talk about what we’ll be up to at the show!

First of all, if the phrase ‘Focus on Imaging’ doesn’t mean that much to you, let us explain…

Focus on Imaging is an annual imaging show that takes place at the NEC in Birmingham, usually at the beginning of March.  It’s also Europe’s largest – meaning all your needs and queries from image capture, to output and more are covered. 200 exhibitors from leading global brands and manufacturers mean there’s a world of knowledge and expertise to take advantage of. In short, if you’re involved with imaging in any shape or form – from hobbyist to professional – you really should be at the show!

If you need further convincing, the highlights video from 2011 is well worth a watch.

For those of you who have heard of the show, you’ll have probably already registered and saved yourself 20% off the regular admission price.

So, what will we be doing this year on Stand C11 in Hall 9?

Well, we have a brand-new, rather swish stand this year – although it’s still under wraps so we can’t really talk about it yet, but if you did come to visit us last year, we can definitely say it looks completely different!

This year is all about the new products on show.

X-Rite i1Display Pro, ColorMunki Display, the latest Spyder4 range, Cruxcase, Color Confidence Studio Photo and Studio View to name a few will all be on display and ‘on-demo’ by our colour experts. This gives you the perfect opportunity see the products in action, and learn about how they work and how they can improve your imaging workflow.

We’ll also have the latest Booq Python Camera bag range on show and professional graphics tablets from Hanvon.

And as is always popular; the latest colour accurate monitors from Eizo and NEC will again be on display for you to see first hand.

Focus on Imaging 2012 promises to be a great one – keep an eye on our dedicated Focus microsite for the latest updates, and to claim a £5 show voucher.

See you at the show!

The Crux of the matter

It’s been a while since we posted a latest news blog on here, so we thought we’d share a few goings on and new products with you this week.

In truth, it’s been a pretty hectic few months at CC towers, and with the lead-up to Christmas coming up and plenty of up-coming shows to prep for, the next few are only going to get busier! Yes, that means the run up to Focus on Imaging 2012 has already started – anybody going yet!?

Let’s start with the gear, gadgets and cool stuff…

We’d like to introduce to you… the Crux360 Gamma from Cruxcase:


Designed specifically for iPad 2, the Crux360 is a great way to protect your iPad 2, as well as making it practical for office environments and desktop usage. It is the world’s first clamshell-keyboard case with the ability to use the iPad in multiple positions:

Laptop mode – using the Bluetooth keyboard – means you can easily enter large amounts of text into emails or spreadsheets. Movie mode is perfect for viewing videos or surfing the web, and carry mode allows you to close the case completely, securely protecting the iPad inside.

Perfect for students, or for busy people on the go. Visit our page to see more details, and to watch a swish product video.

We’re also pleased to announce the new Perfect Photo Suite 6 from onOne Software.

Perfect Photo Suite 6 includes the following intuitive  photo-editing programmes:

  • Perfect Resize 7
  • Perfect Effects 3
  • Perfect Portrait 1
  • Perfect Mask 5
  • Perfect Layers 2
  • FocalPoint 2
  • PhotoFrame 4.6

Available from late October, all products in the suite now work as standalone applications too, in addition to working directly from within Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Apple Aperture and Adobe Photoshop. Also, if you purchased Perfect Photo Suite 5.5 after August 07 2011, you can upgrade to 6 for free when it’s available in late October.

We’re looking to do a special blog series about the new onOne range in the near future, so check back to get the Color Confidence angle on the new range.

In the meantime, keep checking the website for the latest information and more details on the range.

And finally, Nik Software have also been busy launching Color Efex Pro 4 which will be available at the end of October.


It provides the most comprehensive set of enhancements for colour correction; retouching and creative effects Nik have produced to date. It includes 8 completely new filters, and 10 improved ones to give you greater creativity when editing your images.

It’ll be available at the end of October, but if you purchase Color Efex Pro 3 now, you will get a free upgrade to 4 when available.

Keep checking the website for more details.

That’s it for now, other than to say the website will have some scarily good savings coming up for Halloween, and a sprinkling of festive cheer for Christmas, so stay tuned to colorconfidence.com

Hopefully, the above puns won’t be included.

Reasons to replace your existing calibrator with the new i1 Display Pro or ColorMunki Display

  • X-Rite raises the bar with the new i1 Display Pro and ColorMunki Display monitor calibration systems
  • Significant hardware and software changes in the new products, redefines monitor calibration.


Hardware:

Prompted by advances in monitor hardware specifications, including larger colour gamut, new panel technologies, and other improvements, X-Rite have responded by redefining the monitor calibrator to meet these new standards.

In comparison to the old i1 Display hardware, with its separate diffuser and counter-balance weight, the new compact precision instrument has a built in diffuser for ambient light measurements that also acts as a protective cover.

This is combined with an integral counterweight for secure placement on the monitor display, which also safeguards against the loss of any parts.

The new instrument also has the ability to profile projectors.

The instrument supplied with the new i1 Display Pro utilises the same hardware as is supplied with the new ColorMunki Display. However, where the new ColorMunki Display operates at a comparable speed to existing calibrators, the new i1 Display Pro is approximately 5 times faster.


Software:

In comparison to the old feature set of the i1 Display 2/Spyder3Elite, and LT/SpyderPro, the software features available from the new ColorMunki Display are far more comprehensive.

The new i1 Display Pro also introduces a range of new advanced features, these predominantly being based on quality assurance, monitor and standards validation.

Of the new features available within both models, many are advantageous to all, and others are best recommended under certain circumstances.

The ‘Flare Compensation’ option helps achieve an improved match form print to screen with an allowance for light reflecting off the monitor, which effects the accuracy of how you view on-screen aspects.

The display is calibrated through a contact process, eliminating all external illumination, whereas the ‘Flare’ feature takes an additional measurement from a distance in order to apply appropriate compensation to the monitor’s profile. Ideally, the use of a monitor hood will reduce the need to apply Flare Correct™.

A further new feature in both models is ‘Ambient’ light compensation – although this sounds great, having the monitor automatically adjust its brightness based on ambient room light changes, it is not an ideal situation to be in, in the first place. Even if you are in such an environment, we do not recommend using this feature initially, but if you have issues relating to changing room lighting, it is an option worth evaluation.

A relatively new challenge has been that of over-bright monitors, in particular from Apple, where at even the minimum brightness setting a new monitor can still be still too bright. This can now be resolved with both versions of the software which have the ability to reduce a monitor’s brightness through the profile.

New advanced features available only through the new i1 Display Pro software predominantly relate to quality assurance. This ranges from checking the overall colour accuracy of a monitor, to its ability to accurately match other standards such as an ISO print standard or specific Pantone colours. Trending provides a record of the monitor’s stability as a basis for how frequently the monitor should be re-profiled, or replaced.

In Summary:

For anyone who does not currently own a monitor calibrator…

X-Rite provides an excellent choice in these two products. If budget allows, the extended feature set and speed of the i1Display Pro is worth the additional cost.

For anyone considering upgrading their monitor calibrator…

You will enjoy a number of compelling, new features in both cases.

In addition, given the fact that you already appreciate the benefits of monitor calibration, this will also put you in a good position to appreciate the advanced features in the new i1 Display Pro.

Even if the additional features in the Pro version do not seem crucial at present, it is worth noting that this version offers the ability to understand your monitor’s limitations by recording its ongoing level of quality, which is a significant benefit for consistency over time.

If you are happy with your current feature set, you will see a noticeable improvement with the new instrument, which provides a more than justifiable enhancement in its own right.

For users of the old i1 Display 2, you will find moving up to the new i1 Display Pro a natural progression for today’s monitors and expectation levels. Even if you are happy with your current software, the new hardware is more than justifiable in its own right.

For old LT users, moving to the ColorMunki Display provides a natural progression with significantly more/improved features available. Based on your current knowledge of calibration, this could be the ideal time to go Pro.

For users of other manufacturer’s monitor calibration solutions, this new instrument provides an excellent step forward to accommodate the challenges of today’s monitors and is complimented by comprehensive intuitive wizard driven software. Consider the i1Display Pro for a comprehensive calibration solution.

Controlling your environment:

Compliment monitor control by enhancing your working environment too with a desktop lighting solution or desktop viewing light.

Friday round-up

We’re into November – or rather Movember (more on that later) – the night’s are drawing in, frost appeared on the car the other day and the trees are quickly changing colour. It’s a wonderful time of year full of vibrant colours and sounds – anyone off to a bonfire tonight? – and the perfect opportunity for perfecting your photography skills.

It may well present a great chance to enter our competition by capturing that picturesque, Autumnal landscape scene. We really do need to liven up our wall so please send in your pictures! You will be rewarded accordingly!

If you’re a photographer there’s a pretty decent chance you use Photoshop, Lightroom or Apeture. If you do, or are new to the software, WDL’s 13 cheat sheets are well worth a look – especially if you’re a beginner. As I’m quickly learning, there’s much more to photography than meets the eye – so anything that simplifies things can only be good!

An article published on the BJP website this week discussed street photography rights, and recent announcements from the Home Office about reviewing anti-terror policies and the potential effect on photographers. All sounds a bit complicated, but it’s well worth a read and definitely worth being aware of.

Another useful link; are you a young, aspiring creative photographer, graphic designer or web developer trying to find your way? Perhaps you’ve got all the gear, but aren’t sure what the next step is? Take a look at Ideas Tap, an arts charity established to help young, creative people at the start of their careers. It sounds a brilliant idea and a valuable resource to use.

I mentioned at the start of this post Movember. If you’re not sure what it is, have a look at this.

Yes, it means the gentlemen of Colour Confidence are growing – or trying to grow – vast amounts of facial hair to raise awareness for males cancers. All good.

It’s just a shame growing facial hair leads to ridiculous amounts or itchiness. And rest assured, I will be posting pictures of our efforts for you all to have a giggle at on here, and on our twitter. As of today, I can report that stubble length is still short stubble, I wouldn’t class it as ‘hair’ just yet… but there’s a long way to go!

I’m off for another scratching session.

Adam Borriello
Social media and marketing

Eizo News Flash!

EIZO Monitors have won a prestigious award this month.

News reached Color Confidence towers this morning that Eizo monitors have been awarded the PC Pro “Reliability & Service Award 2010”, which represents the UK’s largest customer satisfaction survey when buying IT products and services. No mean feat!

The survey represents the magazine reader’s experiences converted into star ratings, with 6/6 being exceptional and 1/6 being poor.

12,000 people took part in the survey, with Eizo receiving a 6/6 star rating for the categories of “image quality”, “reliability” and “would buy again”.

This is further testament to Eizo’s unmatched reputation for design innovation, hardware quality, and above all, colour accuracy.

Why not check out our extensive range of Eizo monitors, particularly the CG221 – which itself gained the Color Confidence 5 star award! Prices suit a variety of users and budgets, your next monitor could be a few clicks away!