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Any experience with CMY ink savers/optimizers?

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  • Any experience with CMY ink savers/optimizers?

    Does anyone have experience with any of the cmyk-cmyk ink saver products (e.g. Alwan, GMG, etc.)? It's my understanding that they all use some form of GCR, which has a bad habit of compromising detail and introducing artifacts. I'd like to reduce ink usage for environmental and cost benefits, but not at the cost of quality. Thanks in advance!

    Edited by: Larry on Dec 4, 2007 6:17 PM

  • #2
    Re: Any experience with CMY ink savers/optimizers?

    Hi Larry,
    As a reseller of GMG Colour Management solutions I have a great deal of experience with their proprietry 4D colour technology employed in Ink Optimiser.
    I can assure you that far from affecting the quality of press output adversly, if installed and managed correctly, it improves the quality of images particularly in detail brought out in shadow area and crispness in contrast. Although ink savings are on average 20% in sheetfed implementations the real gain is in stability of the print run in terms of image area and first to last sheet reducuction in difference. The profiles supplied with Ink Optimser are built with 3 differing levels of CMY replacement with Black (G1 being the strongest and G3 being the least affecting). In installations where GMG's Print Control and Rapid Check are used to standardize the press output to ISO39L for example, using advanced TVI reproduction curves and optimised Density targets, most clients employ the G1 profile where there is little CMY behind areas where black can be used instead. This has the advantage of less problems caused by density shift across the imaging width of a sheet and also from sheet to sheet because there is less colour to affect. The results are a huge saving in wasted ink and media and much time saved in make ready. I have test sheets that show Ink Optimiser images next to standard ICC seperations and they would blow you away. I also have the same sheet where the density for Cyan and Black have been raised 0.4 and 0.5 respectively and Magent and Yellow have been lowered by the same values. The result is virtually no shift in colour or neutrals in the Ink Optimised images as opposed to the standard images exhibiting Cyan cast's, grey skin tones and blue neutrals.
    Yes its scary to have less colour control on press but please be assured that if "Good" process control is in place then this system truly is amazing and works beautifully.
    The final icing on the cake is in terms of image standardisation. I have another sample sheet with 7 images of the same neutral portrait file seperated in seven different ways using standard ICC colour management. These include SWOP, ISO27L, Euroscale Coatedv2 and so on. When printed on the same press sheet they have varying casts of colour as you would expect. The same 7 images with those seperations where also all put through Ink Optimiser and printed on the same sheet below the untouched ones. You know whats coming next......the IO ones all look virtually identical. I have extra sheets output using the CMY plates only and the Black plate on its own which show the differences in seperation

    Hope this helps.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Any experience with CMY ink savers/optimizers?

      Hi Larry

      You can get a 14 day Demo of Alwans Color Hub to see how it works.

      You can custom set your GCR to your needs,very flexible product.

      We are using Kodaks EVO for our pdf workflow, we were told it was able to use Color Management / Device Links and its not working.

      I have tested the Alwan product and its high quality and does what it claims to.

      I would suggest you demo anything you decide on first before laying down the cash, not ALL things work as advertised.

      I am sure you cant go wrong with either Alwan or GMG....Both are tops in this field IMO.


      John

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      • #4
        Re: Any experience with CMY ink savers/optimizers?

        GCR was first introduced in the 80s as a way to reduce ink usage and increase on press color stability esp in publications printing (heatset web). However, witihin the first year or so printers abandoned the technology (Ads supplied using GCR were rejected by the publisher) due to print-ability/run issues. What has changed on press since then to make GCR (esp maximum GCR) now a viable separation method?

        thx

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Any experience with CMY ink savers/optimizers?

          Simon,

          Since PDF/X-4 is the (near) future, does GMG (or Alwan, or any other that you can think of) allow repurposing of PDF/X-4?

          Don

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Any experience with CMY ink savers/optimizers?

            Really ? I didn't know that Printers abandoned GCR 20 years ago.

            I'm at a heat set web shop,first I have ever heard of it.

            I use GCR seps for both my Web and Sheetfed departments without issue.

            I would think that the differences now are in the profiling applications that give you many variables
            in order to fine tune your GCR.

            Basically anything that doesn't have flesh tones can handle Max GCR if you wanted too.

            With flesh tones you I wouldn't be as aggressive and go with a medium GCR and start your black a little higher.

            The only time GCR can be of issue is if you mix your seps on the same sheet, say having a GCR sep opposite a UCR sep
            can tend to make the press room rip their hair out.Or if you presses Hammer their blacks and Gain is out of control.

            Also with CTP and the newer presses we typically print sharper compared to 20 years ago.

            John

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Any experience with CMY ink savers/optimizers?

              I have looked at and tried Alwan and it is a very capable piece of software. The solution that is most interesting for us is Rampage's Inkdrop.
              Since it is at the back end of the workflow it makes repurposing much easier(late binding.) You will need third party apps to create profiles
              and device link profiles used with Inkdrop. We are a G7 qualified printer and have not finalized our decision to go this route yet. The experts
              are saying there is no sacrifice in quality...in fact they are claiming the press to proof match is better using the DLP workflow than harmony
              curves. From what I have seen (just on docs I have proofed) there is not a sacrifice in quality.
              Regards,
              Todd

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Any experience with CMY ink savers/optimizers?

                Hi Don,
                No news on PDFX4 compatibility for IO at the moment although I have been assured by GMG Development Team that it will be implemented at some point. They are all busy working on the new version of the GMG RIP Software to be launched at Drupa next year !!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Any experience with CMY ink savers/optimizers?

                  Todd

                  Are you saying you can use the Rampage InkDrop with Harmony ? or are you already a Rampage shop ?
                  I was looking at Alwan but we are using Prinergy EVO, and it doesnt really interface seamlessly into our workflow.

                  I think with Alwan or GMG anyone would be hard pressed to see a loss in quality.....Just my opinion !


                  John

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Any experience with CMY ink savers/optimizers?

                    John,
                    We are a Rampage shop, please let me clarify. DLP workflow is producing better press to proof match than use of plate curves.
                    Sorry for causing any confusion.
                    Regards,
                    Todd

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Any experience with CMY ink savers/optimizers?

                      Todd,

                      Have you just done this test to see if you need to repurpose?

                      1. Take SWOP CMYK (not just images, but lineart tint blocks of varying colors also), don't change the CMYK numbers (not repurposing), and just proof it on GRACoL2006_Coated1v2. Do this by on the proofing rip assuming that the SWOP CMYK is really GRACoL2006_Coated1v2 CMYK (Absolute Colorimetric from GRACoL2006_Coated1v2 press profile to custom proofer profile).

                      2. Repurpose SWOP CMYK to GRACoL2006_Coated1v2 (Relative Colorimetric w/ BPC on) (so are repurposing), and proof it on GRACoL2006_Coated1v2 (Absolute Colorimetric from GRACoL2006_Coated1v2 press profile to custom proofer profile).

                      3. Compare. Are they really much different? If not, no need to repurpose.

                      Don

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: PDFx and PDF support in CMYK Optimiser

                        Hi Don,

                        You will be pleased to note that Alwan CMYK Optimiser v3.0 has been released. V3.0 has all the Adobe Acrobat Libraries built in, providing native Adobe support for all PDF types to 1.7 including support for transparency.

                        Furthermore, we have now ratified full support for a Kodak integration into Prinergy which includes file tracking in the optimisation process and full automation using Rules Based Automation and Smart Hotfolders.

                        I saw another post claiming that the these solutions use GCR and suffer from artefacting and loss of quality. This is certainly not true in the case of the Alwan solution.

                        1. The algorithms used in the MAX ink separation area are a clever combination of GCR & UCA. There are 6 separation options available, with a unique slider to control the fine tuned level of black replacement. This ensures that the emphasis on the separation is a combination of colour matching and ink savings, with all the control you will ever want or need to ensure that YOU are happy with the final product.

                        2. The DYNAMIC Device link system that builds CMYK to CMYK links in Alwan CMYK Optimiser is linked to each individual component of the PDF. A device link tuned to each image! The result is better overall contrast in print and more appropriate ink reduction in sensitive images, when compared to other similar technologies.

                        Here is a graphic that makes the case for Dynamic Device link: http://alwancolor.com/pub/grand.swf

                        Hope this info helps.

                        All the best

                        Niall

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: PDFx and PDF support in CMYK Optimiser

                          Thanks Niall. Unless I can upgrade my workflow to a PDF workflow that has really good color repurposing built in, then to heck with it. If Alwan is implemented into Prinergy, then that would be good for Kodak Prinergy customers to be able to do repurposing. It's been too long since I cared (not really that I don't care, but it's got to be easy and in a workflow I upgrade to, cause I ain't planning on having to think about it whether it repurposes or not).

                          Don

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Any experience with CMY ink savers/optimizers?

                            Just curious. I am familiar with ISO 12647-2. What is ISO39L and ISO27L? Sounds like Fogra specifications, not ISO standards.

                            Jeff

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Any experience with CMY ink savers/optimizers?

                              >What is ISO39L and ISO27L? Sounds like Fogra specifications, not ISO standards.

                              I believe those are referring to the Fogra 27 and Fogra39 characterization data sets and/or the profiles on which they are based. ECI/Fogra have a bad habit of inicating "ISO" in the name of the profile, which would lead one to assume that these are are officially "ISO" profiles.

                              Comment

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