Fiery Ex RIP + 700 = Color Problems?!
I'm currently overlooking a digital printshop (it's really a print department rather then a standalone, but in size it would probably rival a printshop). We've had it setup for a year now and from the beginning we've had all sorts of problems. Most noticeably it's the color shifts. I would appreciate if anyone could help as we're simpy not getting anywhere.
Here's the print setup:
1x Xerox 700 with external Fiery RIP + EFI ES-1000 Spectrophotometer
2x DC250 with integrated Fiery
1x Phaser 5500
To operate these we use the Command WorkStation 5. (+Remote Printer Server for people to submit files from across the company)
Due to the nature of our business we have over 700 unique brands of brochures, flyers, price guides etc. (total well over 3000 different files and that's not counting the mono forms) These get printed on request and ideally the color should be the same every time. Before the 700 was introduced a year back, all of these were printed on the DC250's.
After that however due to financial reasons we were asked to stick to mono on the DC250's and do all our color printing on the 700. Obviously a degree of difference in color is to be expected when you switch to a new printer so we drew a line and had a fresh start.
The problem is sometimes shifts occur within a few days and nothing seems to help.
-99% of our files are in PDF
-we stick to one way of submitting the PDF files to the Fiery (they have to pass through that unfortunate remote printer server first though)
-the PDF's are created with no ICC profiles attached to them
-on the fiery we always apply ISO coated
-we calibrate twice a day
-the printshop is in air-conditioned environment with stable levels of temperature and humidity
-we have regular callouts of Techs, Engineers, Analysts, you name it we have it.
They all spend tons of time here scratching the back of their heads and never give us any definitive answer.
-we even had xerox trainers here doing a course on digital color and workflow.
-each time they update the fiery we are told to expect another color shift
-each time we update the CWS (e.g. from 4 to 5 and later updating the 5 to latest releases)
We are also told to expect color shifts!
Currently I think we have exhausted all possibilities short of replacing the printer... So if there's anyone out there who had similar problems with this setup and managed to solve them I would really appreciate your help...
Also, I've read several threads on PrintPlanet prior to posting this and from the looks of it i get the feeling that:
-Fierys seem to have more color problems than Creos - specifically someone said that they replaced their Fiery with a Creo and the problems went away, can someone recommend the same?
-700 was launched too early with too many faults and bugs
-another observation is that the latest CWS5 release is very buggy, don't know if anyone else noticed but on our fiery the impositioning now seems to be a huge problem as we now have to save everything as a flattened PDF(yet another opportunity for a color shift)....
Not sure how much color shift you are experiencing, but a few things I may try.
- I probably won't calibrate twice a day. If you are calibrating, make sure you calibrate for each paper you use independently.
- I would probably avoid passing through print drivers and print servers. Can you create Hot Folders? Have all the users drag & drop the PDFs in Hot Folders with all the color settings done.
- Have Xerox upgrade the X700 and Fiery to the latest versions. I think it is 3.0 and 1.5 respectively.
- I think the latest CWS is 5.1. Do you have that one?
700+Fiery color problems
Thanks for your reply at the same time apologies for my late response. I went through our settings and procedures and found a few things that we might be doing wrong. So I drafted a list below. I’d really appreciate any input you might have
Calibration > currently we calibrate on Xerox 120gsm gloss coated twice a day. I’ve been told by our Xerox consultants that algorithms are applied to adjust the calibration values for all other stock.
Also as we really wanted to standardize our print process we are only using one output profile. It’s “ Fiery Xerox DP700 Uncoated 90gsm v1F”
Q1: Is it standard across the industry to calibrate for every stock individually? We use all of the below Gloss 120,140,170 Satin 120,140,170,250, Uncoated 100,120,160,300 – that’s the stuff we would use for color prints. Would this mean calibrating on 11 different papers every day…?
Would this also mean creating 11 separate output profiles?
File submitting > Unfortunately, majority of the files have to pass through a piece of software called ‘Remote Printer Server’. It’s developed by Eprint Direct, and in the UK distributed by Xeretec. This program was introduced to us to act as a file and statistics manager. Basically people request(send) their documents to the server and can put in notes and choose dropdowns to select paper size & weight, Accounting information and other bits. We archive the files that have been submitted and once a month export the report to match it against the fiery logs.
We’re comparing requested clicks vs printed clicks and the result is a wastage ratio for the printshop.
The way remote printer server handles files is shady at the very least. We don’t know how much it affects the color of the files. The files are submitted from acrobat or reader via a plugin under file>remote print. However it has a capability to create folders which seem to cooperate with fiery hotfolders (basically you point both the remote printer server and the Fiery hotfolder to the same folder). So at least here I think we’re keeping to the original values as much as we can.
Q2: Is anyone using different(better?) software to keep track of their wastage and stats? Or would this be done via some job-ticketing system? I’d appreciate any input about the remote printer server if anyone uses it…
X700 & Fiery > are updated regularly and I’m sure we have the latest versions. We get an engineer out at least once in a fortnight and they always check and report this.
CWS > is currently at version 18.104.22.168. We have experienced some bugs relating mainly to imposing and user interface (selections disappear whenever a file finishes processing or printing).
However this is logged with Xerox and we’re awaiting their response. It might be related to our particular setup.
Profiles > There are no simulation profiles attached to our PDF’s at moment of creation. Once on the Fiery we always apply ISO coated.
Q3: Is it worth to have identical profiles on the fiery and on the design computers used for exporting PDF’s? So say we would apply the same profile during export from inDesign and then use the same one as simulation profile during printing on fiery. Or is our existing system where we don’t attach any profiles at the beginning ok?
If so is it ok to use offset profiles like the ECI ISO coated v2? I read a lot of people use it.
PDF Standard > I’m sure Design keep to one standard, although I can’t recall which particular pdf version they export in.
Q4: Is it worth getting design to export everything in a PDF/X standard? What would be the recommended standard, I read X-3 is widely used. Or is it one of those things were people find what they like and stick to it?
Design standards > I’ve got a Xerox production guide for designers left here by the Xerox trainers and the advice there generally is to link EPS files instead of AI’s and TIFF’s instead of JPG’s. Also they advise to use Adobe Distiller, but our design guys don’t like the idea at the very least.
Q5 Does the above have in anyone’s experience adverse effects on the file and would it affect printing?
Other Problems -> Transparency
Design supply a lot of brochures with transparencies and faded effects and just love using CMYK elements on top of RGB pics. As a result I’m sometimes unable to get it to print correctly. In some cases I use “composite overprint” turned on and it helps, but not all of them.
I had one particularly problematic case here last week where the transparencies didn’t print correctly. Coincidentally we had our Xerox rep on site and he tried printing it with the simulation profile set to “none”. The file printed with the correct transparencies but of course the color was of!
Are we genuinely doing something wrong in our procedures? Or are we expecting too much from digital? We differ from a traditional printshop in that all of our documents are generated internally( so there is the potential for ultimate control) and ideally we would like to have a simple printing process without having to fiddle with the controls in between jobs because of the sheer volume of different documents coming to us every day. I’d appreciate your input on anything mentioned above. I realize I’ve asked a lot of different questions so If someone finds they should be better spread across several threads let me know and I will dissect them.
>> currently we calibrate on Xerox 120gsm gloss coated twice a day. I’ve been told by our Xerox consultants that algorithms are applied to adjust the calibration values for all other stock.
>>Also as we really wanted to standardize our print process we are only using one output profile. It’s “ Fiery Xerox DP700 Uncoated 90gsm v1F”
I don't think the algorithm really works. I would calibrate for every single paper stock I use and also calibrate seperately for the lightweight and the heavyweight stocks as well.
so basically I need to create 11 output profiles and perform 11 calibrations every day? Sounds Fun
I've worked on some 700 and Igens and from what I can gather , the least amount of profiles you setup the better. The time used to set up each profile and recalibrate everytime you use it is exhausting. I would try to use the default profiles as much as possible and manually adjust in the color profiler to pinpoint the exact colors you need.
Hey so you need to control the humidity for the 700 at 40%
keep it there and this should fix all registration issues and color consistensy.
Also keep in mind your location and area weather will HUGLY affect the performance of the machine unless you control this.
Hi Milo, thanks for the suggestion. Can you elaborate?
Originally Posted by Milo Wilson
I've used the color profiler a couple of times, but how would you go around the profile tweaking? Would you create an extra profile purely for difficult cases and then tweak it or would you actually change the existing profiles?
I have an EFI EX8000AP. With regards to calibrating every day to every paper.... I don't and my color swings are less than 2dE from run to run. And yes many of these are reprints. I might calibrate once or twice a week and ALWAYS restore device first (Button on bottom left of calibration screen). I was told that you can create more issues if you keep building calibration profiles on top of each other, so Xerox said to restore device first.
With regards to the transparency problems, from my understanding that is not a "digital printing issue", it's a problem with postscript not being able to render the transparencies correctly. I have had to export PDF's as high res tiff's to get a printable file. The quickest resolve is to inform the designers how to design a proper file to reduce the risk of trans. issues.
You made a point about every time you update you get color shifts. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. My point is if you get the results you are happy with stop "updating" and start printing. My techs. have told me that many of the updates tend to cause additional problems and refuse to perform an update just because there is one to perform.
I wouldn't be quick to jump ship and get a Creo, I'm sure they have their issues too.
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