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IS COLOR MATCHING EVEN POSSIBLE??

Discussion in 'RIP Software & Color Management' started by depps74, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. depps74

    depps74 Member

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    I recently made and printed a file of color samples for a client. I went to print the color they chose eyedropping from the section they liked the most, and the color came out a shade darker. There was black text printed on the color but it seemed way off.

    A few things to note:
    The sample I printed on was on a previous roll
    The sample was a CMYK formula.
    The sample had no black text in it.
    The final print (the one that did not match the sample) was darker by enough to be noticable.

    This has happened to me on more than one occasion and I am considering just not doing this anymore. Is this even possible? I heard a software called ONYX works well for this?
     
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  2. 2CT Media

    2CT Media Very Active Member

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    Do you have a Spectro or densitometer? Have you ever heard of nix color sensor?

    You should be able to get repeatable color if you already printed it once and use color management.
     
  3. JulieS

    JulieS Member

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    Anyone know of a sort of "Color Matching for Dummies" tutorial? I would really love to understand this subject better.
     
  4. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Member

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    Keep your eye on this thread.

    To answer the Op's question of the possibility to match color, of course the answer is usually yes as far as sign / print products are concerned.
     
  5. particleman

    particleman Member

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    The short answer - "something changed" media, environment, filetype/format, profile, nozzle clogged, etc.

    The long answer - You haven't given near enough information to provide an informative answer. What rip and printer are you using, when you say "dropper" did you do that in Photoshop or your rip? If you don't replicate your process from file creation, preflight, and print when using CMYK then you won't get the same result.

    Onyx provides spot color replacement/matching. So you select Reflex Blue spot color and Onyx handles hitting reflex blue. A much more reliable and repeatable method is to use something like the Pantone Matching system. Buy a pantone book, use a RIP like Onyx with spot color matching and reference Pantone colors in the future in your artwork.
     
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  6. C5 Service&Repair

    C5 Service&Repair Member

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    likely, this is a profile mismatch. The same CMYK and RGB values from Illustrator or Flexi can print very different on the same printer if the embedded profile is different or just absent. (no profile embedded)
    Make sure when youre saving you files to print, you're using the same color settings, and the same export settings. Are you using US Prepress SWOP v2 or sRGB or something different? Is your RIP set up using the same profiles as your design software? A lot of people over look these things and they are the key to color management.
     
  7. depps74

    depps74 Member

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    Thanks your right. Gonna answer your questions here:

    RIP is Flexi basic version
    I eyedropped from a sample I made in illustrator. THe file from the client was created in indesign
    As far as I know I replicated the process. The latter prints were made on a new roll of phototex and I did not calibrate it to the new roll.
     
  8. DanaMarie1973

    DanaMarie1973 New Member

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    It is true that many different factors can effect how a color formula will print.
    However...
    We color match specific colors all the time and print that same match on many different substrates with fairly accurate consistency.
    We do use Onyx Software, but we print everything with the ICC Profiles off. This helps alleviate the adjustments Onyx makes to the files in the rip process.
     
  9. Andy_warp

    Andy_warp Member

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    One of the main mistakes people make here is that cmyk ink is not all the same. The "magic" cmyk formula does not translate from software to printer. You have your printer cmyk and Illustrator (or software) cmyk. Onyx is a print rip with tools to account for some of this, but fundamentally you are going from apples to oranges. A lot of inks have different density ramps, meaning each particular channel may be more accurate in highlight, midtone or shadow areas. This is why calibrating your printer is so important. It analyzes your inks incremental steps and spreads them out along your color gamut.

    A perfect way to see this in action is to just input a pantone color's cmyk equivalent...more likely than not, you can get closer in testing, and your ideal build may be nowhere near what it is using Pantone cmyk.
     
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  10. Jack Walker

    Jack Walker New Member

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    I've had to deal with matching proprietary colors from quite a few clients. Lessons i've learned:
    • CMYK is your friend with color builds
    • Only about 30% of Pantone Colors even come close, depending on what media/profile combo you treat them with
    • Greys/Grays (sp?) are the hardest to print.

    I concur with Andy_warp. Client will usually give you a Pantone color they love. Once entered into whichever software you use, convert to CMYK and mess around with the 4 colors to get the closest possible match. And once you get that match, then you have to take into consideration the lamination factor. Most laminates will darken the printed color. There is no exact science but this seems to be the best method and hasn't failed me yet! **Knock on wood**
     
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  11. dypinc

    dypinc Very Active Member

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    If the spot color libraries that come with your RIP are not good enough or your are matching a custom color do this.

    The only spot color to CMYK conversion should be the output values the RIP sends to the printer. That is why most RIPs have the ability to print a color chart with verying mixes that you choose and then based on the best match replace that color with it or build a spot color library with that value. You can do this in lab as well and let the output profile choose the output values or you can do it in CMYK and set values like I mentioned above. I find that using the CMYK output values will give you the highest gamut and best match but you have to do it for each media.
     
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  12. Andy_warp

    Andy_warp Member

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    ding ding ding! Perfect explanation! "The only cmyk that matters is your output from your rip!" If you are not using a rip, than yes color matching seems near impossible. You can hit a color. Once. Your rip will give you consistency that is hard to achieve without. The problem is all of the converting and translations between programs and profiles. Adobe touts color consistency across apps...but it is bullshit.

    Equally important for color consistency is your prepress workflow. You must do the same steps, the same way to attain consistent and predictable color. I honestly can't stand cmyk...why throw away 3/4 of your crayons before you even start coloring? I let my rip do the final cmyk conversion, from rgb photos, or spot colors. I use spots whenever I can. Ever had a fracture type pattern with 15 different builds of the same hue at varying shades? if it's done as spot colors with tints...you only have one correction.
     
  13. Andy_warp

    Andy_warp Member

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    Once you build your custom print condition (linearization, ink limits, spectro readings, material, finish) then you can hit the same color consistently. You end up with something like the photo I've attached. The beauty of controlling your color like this is there is zero translation from your rip to your printer. In apps you have icc profiles and working spaces to contend with.
    One thing to note: these build mean nada outside your specific print condition. Put differently, you can't just plug in the corrected rip build into Illustrator. This is one of the main reasons we avoid outputting print files from indesign. While you can use spot colors in it, it converts to process if they are used with any effects or photos. This renders your color management worthless. Indesign is invaluable for press. Not many of us on here run presses. Pantones are a great way to communicate color but they have their limitations as stated by Jack Walker. If you don't have physical Pantone formula guides...don't even bother with them! The other tool that is essential in inkjet printing is the color bridge. The other photo here shows two colors I was tasked with hitting this week. (3385C, 7479C) This is case in point why you advise your client against picking pantone color on screen without consulting their books. For this project there are 3 vendors with 3 different processes of printing, and none of us will be the same due the out of gamut color ONLY achievable with mixing Pantone ink.

    The first person to engineer and build a 18 channel inkjet printer with pantone inks will be rich!
     

    Attached Files:

  14. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    That looks familiar! I myself started with post-its, after that collection got too crowded I went and bought a thin little ledger from office depot. Best way to do colors for consistency. I can usually hit the color by taking the process color numbers, feeding them into onyx swatch maker, and then printing the swatch. Before onyx 18 I had 12.2, and I would run a large eps in corel with a solid color, a directional transparency effect on top of that, and another going 90 degrees to the first. It never worked out as well as I thought...
     
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  15. Andy_warp

    Andy_warp Member

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    That sheet is a thousand man hours! (or as long as we have this printer!)
    We have Caldera...it has a color books function. I really prefer Onyx, but couldn't get a decent profile with my ink and printer. The main difference is I can't tweak stuff in h,s,v predictably.
    Onyx swatchmaker is the bomb! It's a great workflow, but we sometimes have issues implementing named spot colors into a design. We have some tricks, but it renders quite a bit differently sometimes. We have issues with blending modes dropping out sometimes too. The only one I trust is multiply.
     
  16. dypinc

    dypinc Very Active Member

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    That made me remember when I tested Onyx. There was always some stuff like that that didn't seem to work right. Caldera seemed to be ok but because they didn't fully support the Canon iPF 8400 I passed on it. I found Cologate on the other hand is wonderful for finding and using CMYK output values. It even has a spot color library (HP Professional Pantone Emulation) of CMYK values for the HP Latex printers. Much better than the LAB spot color library with lower de usually. Speaking of the Latex printers and ICC profiles production software it has always seemed to me to struggle with maximizing gamut, more so than with other ink technologies. With the spot color library (HP Professional Pantone Emulation) of CMYK values it is extremely easy to create a color chart of CMYK values and many times find an even better match for a Pantone Spot Color.

    A job came in here a while back with pretty large quantity of decals that were originally done using cut vinyl. 2 color that was going to be time consuming to lineup and mask. Cost wise printing with cast vinyl and over laminate was going to be less. Only question was could I match what was close to PMS 187 and 2747. Setting the artwork to 187 and 2747, then once in the RIP create a color chart and use that to match the actual vinyl sample. Got so close you could not tell the difference, client loved it. And what a breeze to print roll to roll, over laminate roll to roll, weed across table with cutter cutting on one side take-up roll on laminator on the other side then roll to roll transfer tape on the laminator, final trim and out the door.
     
  17. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Member

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    I'm curious about this. The sheet took a thousand man hours to create?
     
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  18. dypinc

    dypinc Very Active Member

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    Anyhow! Why could you not just save a spot color library with those values?
     
  19. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    You can, but have you never been bit by a computer crash, or program update gone awry?
     
  20. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Member

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    Are you creating these color substitute test samples each time you need to match a questionable color?
     
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