Inkjet Contract Proofs
I am looking for opinions regarding high end inkjet printers for making GRACoL contract proofs.
What printer and RIP are you using and is it reliable and accurate?
Do you make dot proofs (screened) with your printer and are you happy with the results?
Do you have to constantly do head cleanings to keep your proofs in spec?
Any recommendations or opinions would be appreciated.
BTW, we have a Epson 9800 and EFI ColorProof XF RIP.
We are generally happy with the results verifying each output with 12647-7 control strips.
Regular head cleanings are needed to stay in spec. I think we have some permanently clogged nozzles.
I am currently trying EFI DotCreator to make screened proofs. So far, not so good. Soft dots, moire' patterns in some tint values, streaks (even after a head cleaning).
How about trying a head alignment, just set all the necessary settings when doing head alignment like the thickness of the paper and so on..
also do a feed adjustment if necessary. I used to print positive films using EFI Dot Creator and it's very hard to find a decent setting that does not have a moire pattern. I managed to find one though but the lpi is low if I remember correctly that was 127.27lpi with round dot with 1440x720 resolution.
We use Serendipity Black Magic (real dot proof) tinted for the various substrate colours, from either the Rip files or one bit tiff plate files in a plate RAIDS queue, then sent to various printers, Epson profiles exist from Black magic which requires only slight tweaking. We have calibrated the complete PMS book plus metallic simulations with very good results. Some softening of the halftones is required of course to repurpose to the inkjet nozzles but colour seems good; one cannot expect absolutely sharpness without moire but the settings in BM are very good. By proofing the actual plate files, we maintain a ROOM architecture and can reproof at anytime should an older proof be lost or discoloured with age.
Running a nozzle check each shift start keeps the control. Some older Epsons use a gravity feed while newer ones use a pump feed which is preferred. We also found Serendipity good to deal with although time zone differences mean a little patience is required.
The head alignment helped. The moire pattern is not as bad and the Delta E got a little closer. Still not very impressed with Dot Creator!
I have heard now from several people that Black Magic is the way to go for dot proofs.
Thanks for the feedback!
One Bit option
you can get good proofs from EFI XF, but you must have right tools. If you need Gracol proofs, you need OneBit Option, and you must make proofs from real screened data.
Dot Creator option is a low-cost, entry level solution for dot proof "simulation" and entry level "rip" for computer-to-plate and computer-to-film.
If you are using Dot Creator option, you are proofing nothing. You can get moiré on final print where on proof are not, and vice versa. Your proof dots are different from printed dots. This is good for advertising agency, not for real printers.
Ask your EFI dealer for time-limited dongle with this option, maybe they will be willing to prepare demo proof for you from your screened data ... i think, this will be cost efective than switch to another SW.
Anyway, this is common problem, as many dealers of EFI are not aware of this difference and they are marketing Dot Creator in a completely bad way.
All the best
Originally Posted by Tommyjt
Thanks to everyone for the advise.
Tommyjt, most of the major inkjet proofing solution vendors have an option for the simulation of halftone dots from contone data, and or for proofing the true final 1 bit TIFF plate files from a RIP combined into a composite colour file retaining the plate screening (or Esko LEN or for "copydot" input files etc).
The processing process is quite good when one is submitting a regular contone file such as a PDF, however when one is processing multiple 2400 or 2540 ppi single page or imposed page separations the proofing process is significantly slower. Proofing and retaining 1 bit TIFF data on say an Epson proofer is usually done at a minimum resampled output resolution of 1440x1440 ppi, rather than the more common 720x720 or 720x1440 ppi used for contone proofing.
There is often a concern when two different RIP systems are used, one for proofing and a different one for plating. For example, Kodak Prinergy workflow uses a direct connection to the optional Kodak Proofing Software Matchprint Inkjet RIP to ensure that the same RIP that produces plates also produces the proofs.
There is a middle ground approach that some inkjet proofing solutions offer - true 1 bit TIFF screened data input, that is then descreened and resampled to the proofer resolution for a contone proof. This ensures that one is proofing the plate data that is going to press, however one does not have the processing and printing overheads of retaining the high resolution of the original plate files.
As far as I know, most commercial offset printers have long since moved on from producing dot proofs - they have been happy with contone proofing for many years now. It is basically in flexo packaging that most still require a dot proof. For final approval a true dot proofing device such as a Kodak Approval is often used, while for iterative proofs an inkjet contone or perhaps an inkjet "dot proof" is produced.
True, especially with today's emphasis on speed and price (and higher screens) ... and with today's contone systems, capable of some advanced features, as minimum printable dot etc.
All the best,
Originally Posted by Stephen Marsh