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HP Indigo 5600 Digital Press Color Matching Issue

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  • HP Indigo 5600 Digital Press Color Matching Issue

    Hi guys, first of all thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
    At my current business I have been assigned the new task of Prepress Operations. I have experience and education with graphic design but mainly for web format so print preparation is new to me.

    -The printer is a HP Indigo 5600 Digital Press.
    -The material being printed on is a 12 mil Indigo coated plastic substrate.
    -The software using to create the image and define and manage color is Adobe Illustrator.
    -I am using an iPro2 scanner to create ICC profiles for the printer.
    -I am using an x-rite spectrodensitometer to verify printed colors.

    I have created a template to print out different colored cards. I have defined each card cell with the CMYK values of the requested Pantone colors that I retrieved from Pantone's website. I exported the image as a pdf a few different ways. The attached photos show the defined CMYK values that I input for each cell as well as the corresponding Pantone Numbers. In parenthesis are the pantone values that i got from scanning the printed core with a spectrodensitometer. The first image does not have any color conversion done on export of the PDF. The second image shows the values retrieved when the PDF had been exported with an ICC profile created by scanning color swatch charts provided by the xrite software, and printed on the HP printer. If you look at the numbers on the images provided, you can see, that for some reason only 5 of the 20 colors defined actually match the defined value input.

    I need assistance in figuring out how to get the colors I define in illustrator to match the colors printed out. Once again any assistance is appreciate. Please let me know if more information is needed.




    #1-No ICC Profile used when exporting(color values in parenthesis are the color values that actually printed) #2-ICC Profile used when exporting(color values in parenthesis are the color values that actually printed)

  • #2
    The Indigo does a GREAT job matching your everyday Pantone colors. It has a built in Color Look-up Table at the RIP which is specifically set up to approximate the Pantone color you send. I say "everyday" Pantone colors to differentiate from the metallics and other specialized inksets like for the textile industry. If you have the additional green, orange, and violet stations you can match even more. That being said, the CMYK ink can do an amazing job matching Pantone colors. The trick is to leave the colors as Pantone spot colors in Illustrator and resend to the press. Converting to CMYK ahead of time severely limits the magic that HP programs into the RIP. Give it a whirl-I'm sure you'll be pleased.

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    • #3
      Macmann,

      Thank you for the advice. I used the Pantone Solid Coated color book in illustrator to populate the cells with the appropriate color. I have to wait a few days to test this though. Before I print though, I am saving the file as a PDF to print. Just so I am understanding correctly, you are saying that when I save the PDF my output should say No Conversion? (see attached image)

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      • #4
        Roger that-post your results - I'd be interested to hear how it worked for you.

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        • #5
          To use the inbuilt Pantone licensed lookup table, make sure your ticket template is setup correctly!

          Other wise it'll convert to the alternate CMYK value in the Spot Colour.
          Prepress Monkey

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          • #6
            OK. So I created the template with the 20 different colored cells using Pantone Swatches in Adobe Illustrator, then saved the file as a pdf with no embedded ICC profile. We printed selected Pantone Emulation for the color management on the printer and also printed the file using the Pantone Lookup table to CMYK. Both prints resulted in the scanned color being farther off than they were when I manually input the CMYK values in Illustrator. Rather than having 5 of the 20 cells match color, now there is only 1 cell that matches the desired Pantone value. I am not sure where I am going wrong on this task but feel that I am probably missing something that should be quite apparent. I have researched this topic extensively of the past couple of weeks and all the information I have found says that I am following the proper steps to ensure my color should match but with no successful results. Any insight is appreciated.

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            • #7
              Can you post a pdf or .ai file for inspection?

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              • #8
                TemplateNOICCPANTONESPOTS.pdf
                Here is the file I am trying to print to color match.

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                • #9
                  I noticed you are using the newest version of Illy already-I am not. Most of the Pantone colors in your file have a C 2-what book is that from? All the Pantone Solid Coated I have are just a C. I know that for the magic to happen at the Indigo the color names have to match exactly to what is at the Indigo RIP. The 5600 is not exactly the newest of units - perhaps you should contact HP-their technical support is outstanding.

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                  • #10
                    I noticed the Pantone Color names in the file. This was due to the same Pantone colors being used in another color group. I deleted the old color group and made sure that the name of each Pantone color was in the correct format. I am going to try to print another test today to see how much of a difference this makes. We are having an HP-Tech come out to service the machine soon so that would be my opportunity to ask printer specific questions to HP. Hopefully the help given here is enough to get me where I need to be. I will post further updates as I make them. Thank you for helping.

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                    • #11
                      Hello PrePress Newb,

                      As you are using a HP5600 with no DFE, your lookup table dates back to 2013.

                      The attached .PS is HP's very own handy-dandy-make your own Pantone Fandeck. Pantone colours added since then will not be in there not in your look up. So you can use this to check.

                      We have been working the way you are working now since 2004 - its not great, but without the DFE you don't have much choice.

                      The built in Lookup Table cannot help you from one substrate to another. So if substrate A is a cream coloured coated stock and substrate B is a blueish white coloured coated, the CMYK values are fixed.

                      Do you not have Orange, Violet and Green installed? They can help you hit more spots than CMYK alone.
                      Attached Files

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                      • #12
                        ...ohh .... back to the original question.

                        - "how to get the colors I define in illustrator to match the colors printed out."

                        Well your color in illustrator should be your Target. So lets address that first.

                        For reasons that are not quite clear to everyone, for some years Adobe have been modifying the values of the spot colors that ship with Illustrator.

                        My advice is to download Pantone Color Manager from the Pantone website (it takes time to find it). You want the free version.

                        On the back of your Pantone Fandeck or in the first few pages is a registration code.

                        Use this code to activate the Pantone Color Manager. If you have no fan deck then you have to buy the app.

                        You now have access to all the latest Fandecks and their values. You can export the decks as color books for Illustrator. (.ase) files.

                        You now will now be using the most current LAB values in your artwork.

                        Make sure Illustrator is using the profile you need in its colour working space.

                        Your saved files will have an accurate color target value which are then link to an ICC profile. This gives your press the best chance of achieving the target in the shortest time.

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