Color Management/Workflow Questions

orestesp

Member
Hello,

I have a cut-sheet digital press (toner) that is driven by a Fiery DFE. I recently acquired a i1 Pro 1 spectrophotometer and ever since I have been doing research in how to establish a proper workflow and how to do proper color management. Our workflow is as follows:

Say we want to print on something like this: GardaMatt Art

• We design whatever it is to be printed in CorelDRAW in CMYK.
• The CMYK ICC profile that we will use is ISO Coated v2, since we will be printing on a coated stock.
• The file is then exported to a PDF/X-3 .pdf file (we have an older version of CorelDRAW licenced that doesn't support X-4) with the CMYK color profile embedded to the file, which is then loaded on to the Fiery

Question #1: Say the client sends us some object that is in RGB rather than CMYK (basically every other day) and has to be included in the file. Should we let CorelDRAW do the conversion to CMYK during the export process, or should we let the Fiery handle the conversion from RGB to CMYK? For spot colors, for example, it is best to define it in CorelDRAW as a spot color, export the .pdf with the "Native" option enabled so that no cnversion to CMYK happens and then finally let the Fiery do the conversion to CMYK, so long as the Fiery has that particular spot color in its spot color library and all the correct RIP settings were used.

• After loading the job on the Fiery, we obviously have to pick the correct settings for the job. Which leads us to:

Question #2: Under "Expert Settings" in the "Color" tab, does the CMYK source profile have to match the same profile that is embedded on the .pdf file that we created previously? Finally, if we were to include a RGB object that has a ICC profile attached to it and the RGB values weren't converted to CMYK during the .pdf export process, should the RGB source profile on the Fiery also have to match that profile that was embedded to the RGB object?

Also, how can I make sure that my digital press, when printing with coated media that we used basically 90% of the time (which probably has enough gamut for the job), can reproduce all the colors specified in a profile like ISO Coated v2?

Would calibrating the press to G7 targeted help with this? I have Fiery Color Profiler Suite v4.9.0.21 installed on my computer - we of course calibrate with the calibration wizard from CWS for the paper that we print on).

Finally, a technical question for anyone that has done G7 on the FCPS before - does anyone know why the checkbox I outlined (in red) would be greyed out?

option.png


Thanks in advance to anyone who chimes in - hope my questions aren't completely daft!
 

orestesp

Member
I forgot to ask this yesterday; What color settings would you suggest to a customer that is about to export and send you a .pdf file of a design of theirs to be printed on your digital press?
 

Puch

Well-known member
Try to export PDF/X-1a files out of CorelDraw. That way Corel has to do the color conversion to CMYK (as PDF/X-1a does not allow RGB colors) and resolves all transparency situations. The advantage of this is that you can check everything in Acrobat, before printing. For a bulletproof workflow you might get approval from the customer based on that 'master file'. On the other hand, if you feed PDF/X-3 (or higher) to your DFE, you have to use paper and click charges to proof the content, then it's up to you to catch errors.

To question 2.: yes, the source profile settings in the DFE should match the conversion settings in CorelDraw. If you go along a CMYK-only workflow, then you only have to take care of the CMYK profiles. If all the setting read 'ISO Coated v2', then you wouldn't have big headaches.

On a side note: you might try to use FOGRA 51 (PSO Coated v3) as your target CMYK space as today's coated papers tend to be way blue (because of the excessive use of OBAs). You might get a better color match with the color newer standard.
 

phapp

Member
“The CMYK ICC profile that we will use is ISO Coated v2, since we will be printing on a coated stock.”
Where are you located? In the US?
 

orestesp

Member
Try to export PDF/X-1a files out of CorelDraw. That way Corel has to do the color conversion to CMYK (as PDF/X-1a does not allow RGB colors) and resolves all transparency situations. The advantage of this is that you can check everything in Acrobat, before printing. For a bulletproof workflow you might get approval from the customer based on that 'master file'. On the other hand, if you feed PDF/X-3 (or higher) to your DFE, you have to use paper and click charges to proof the content, then it's up to you to catch errors.

To question 2.: yes, the source profile settings in the DFE should match the conversion settings in CorelDraw. If you go along a CMYK-only workflow, then you only have to take care of the CMYK profiles. If all the setting read 'ISO Coated v2', then you wouldn't have big headaches.

On a side note: you might try to use FOGRA 51 (PSO Coated v3) as your target CMYK space as today's coated papers tend to be way blue (because of the excessive use of OBAs). You might get a better color match with the color newer standard.
In all the online resources from EFI that I have read, they suggest using X-4 over X-1a and only use X-1a "if you have a good reason to". However, is there any practical advantage that X-4 can offer to my workflow? It only seems to be adding additional trouble with support for RGB objects as you mentioned and transparencies that might cause the RIP to hang.

Probably a stupid question but here it is anyway: With regard to FOGRA 51 and all other CMYK profiles in general - is there any chance that although the paper I am using can potentially support the gamut of these profiles, my digital press can't cover it?

To come back to the question I made in my second post:
I forgot to ask this yesterday; What color settings would you suggest to a customer that is about to export and send you a .pdf file of a design of theirs to be printed on your digital press?
If I have a customer that has designed a file say in CorelDRAW or Illustrator or a similar program, should I ask for a PDF/X-1a file with all colors converted to CMYK (let's forget spot colors for a moment) - however, should the file come with or without an embedded ICC profile?

If for example the customer's program has the default CMYK profile as something like SWOP would it be simply better to send me a file with no profile attached?
“The CMYK ICC profile that we will use is ISO Coated v2, since we will be printing on a coated stock.”
Where are you located? In the US?
No, in Europe, however most of our design files use the default CMYK profile of CorelDRAW, which is ISO Coated v2, hence why I spoke of this profile specifically.

Sorry if all these seem trivial, I've been studying everything about color in the past month and although I have most things in order by now, there is some things that I am still not 100% about.
 

Ergo

Member
Hello,

I have a cut-sheet digital press (toner) that is driven by a Fiery DFE. I recently acquired a i1 Pro 1 spectrophotometer and ever since I have been doing research in how to establish a proper workflow and how to do proper color management. Our workflow is as follows:

Say we want to print on something like this: GardaMatt Art

• We design whatever it is to be printed in CorelDRAW in CMYK.
• The CMYK ICC profile that we will use is ISO Coated v2, since we will be printing on a coated stock.
• The file is then exported to a PDF/X-3 .pdf file (we have an older version of CorelDRAW licenced that doesn't support X-4) with the CMYK color profile embedded to the file, which is then loaded on to the Fiery

Question #1: Say the client sends us some object that is in RGB rather than CMYK (basically every other day) and has to be included in the file. Should we let CorelDRAW do the conversion to CMYK during the export process, or should we let the Fiery handle the conversion from RGB to CMYK? For spot colors, for example, it is best to define it in CorelDRAW as a spot color, export the .pdf with the "Native" option enabled so that no cnversion to CMYK happens and then finally let the Fiery do the conversion to CMYK, so long as the Fiery has that particular spot color in its spot color library and all the correct RIP settings were used.

• After loading the job on the Fiery, we obviously have to pick the correct settings for the job. Which leads us to:

Question #2: Under "Expert Settings" in the "Color" tab, does the CMYK source profile have to match the same profile that is embedded on the .pdf file that we created previously? Finally, if we were to include a RGB object that has a ICC profile attached to it and the RGB values weren't converted to CMYK during the .pdf export process, should the RGB source profile on the Fiery also have to match that profile that was embedded to the RGB object?

Also, how can I make sure that my digital press, when printing with coated media that we used basically 90% of the time (which probably has enough gamut for the job), can reproduce all the colors specified in a profile like ISO Coated v2?

Would calibrating the press to G7 targeted help with this? I have Fiery Color Profiler Suite v4.9.0.21 installed on my computer - we of course calibrate with the calibration wizard from CWS for the paper that we print on).

Finally, a technical question for anyone that has done G7 on the FCPS before - does anyone know why the checkbox I outlined (in red) would be greyed out?

View attachment 291177

Thanks in advance to anyone who chimes in - hope my questions aren't completely daft!
What version of CorelDRAW are you using? It is very important to set the Tools->Color Settings menu correctly.

Colour conversion can also be done very easily with Adobe Acrobat Professional. However, Fiery's RGB->CMYK conversion is very good. I see no need to use any other program.

If required, I can send you a step by step instruction, illustrated with pictures, on how to set up the Fiery software to print up to contract proof quality with the digital press using any ICC colour profile.

If you are working with Fogra 51 colour profiles but the resulting file was created in Fogra 39, colour conversion is definitely required, but you can calibrate the digital press to whatever profile you need, this is not a problem with Fiery colour management.
 

Puch

Well-known member
The key is simplicity here, no need to overcomplicate things. Fiery can and will convert colors, and you have some controls over this process. Problem is, your real proof of the outcome of this conversion is when you print a copy of the publication. In today's cut-throat business environment you have to make sure two things: 1. you only print what you need to print, 2. you catch all errors before printing. The best way to do the latter is to delegate back the checking to the cuctomer. Let them evaluate and approve the job. This way you minimize your liability when printing jobs put together in God knows what software.

As Ergo said, it's crucial to set the color spaces right before conversion. If converion happened with a wrong profile, you can 'massage' the data, but an image - ruined by a small gamut profile like SWOP - will not magically gain back it's original form, even if you use the most sophisticated Device Link conversion software.

I would suggest the clients to use the CMYK profile with which you have the most success matching. If that's FOGRA 39, then instruct your customers to supply jobs as PDF/X-1a documents, with ISO Coated v2 as Output Intent. The embedded profile will not do any harm, on the contrary: it helps you and your customer to establish a common evaluation practice. If you both have decent displays, you will see very similar renderings of the same material.

If you accept 'open' materials - source files like .cdr - then it's you job to set the color spaces as you need and produce a press-ready PDF. In this case I would suggest you to do an approval cycle with the customer, as I said above.
 

abc

Well-known member
In all the online resources from EFI that I have read, they suggest using X-4 over X-1a and only use X-1a "if you have a good reason to". However, is there any practical advantage that X-4 can offer to my workflow? It only seems to be adding additional trouble with support for RGB objects as you mentioned and transparencies that might cause the RIP to hang.

Probably a stupid question but here it is anyway: With regard to FOGRA 51 and all other CMYK profiles in general - is there any chance that although the paper I am using can potentially support the gamut of these profiles, my digital press can't cover it?

To come back to the question I made in my second post:

If I have a customer that has designed a file say in CorelDRAW or Illustrator or a similar program, should I ask for a PDF/X-1a file with all colors converted to CMYK (let's forget spot colors for a moment) - however, should the file come with or without an embedded ICC profile?

If for example the customer's program has the default CMYK profile as something like SWOP would it be simply better to send me a file with no profile attached?

No, in Europe, however most of our design files use the default CMYK profile of CorelDRAW, which is ISO Coated v2, hence why I spoke of this profile specifically.

Sorry if all these seem trivial, I've been studying everything about color in the past month and although I have most things in order by now, there is some things that I am still not 100% about.
Actually there are some good reasons for using PDF/X-4.
the file remains editable up to the rip, whereas if you flatten you are committed.
The rip actually renders the file to separations, whilst flattening in application has to preserve text, graphics, images, shading, layers etc, whilst flattening transparency.
Rendering in the rip is done at the output resolution of the device, whereas when you flatten in-application you do it a reduced resolution.
You can also test your rips suitablility and configuration to handle PDF/X-4 with the Ghent Output Suite.
There are configuration files for the Fiery so it's easy to configure.
 

phapp

Member
You had asked about G7 with CPS, but only running v4.9.0.21. I don't think G7 module was released until v5.1. You might look at getting on SMSA to get the latest version.
 

orestesp

Member
What version of CorelDRAW are you using? It is very important to set the Tools->Color Settings menu correctly.

Colour conversion can also be done very easily with Adobe Acrobat Professional. However, Fiery's RGB->CMYK conversion is very good. I see no need to use any other program.

If required, I can send you a step by step instruction, illustrated with pictures, on how to set up the Fiery software to print up to contract proof quality with the digital press using any ICC colour profile.

If you are working with Fogra 51 colour profiles but the resulting file was created in Fogra 39, colour conversion is definitely required, but you can calibrate the digital press to whatever profile you need, this is not a problem with Fiery colour management.
Version X6, we also do have Adobe Acrobat (not Reader) installed. This is from the instance of CorelDRAW that I have installed on my home computer but I am 90% sure the settings on the work computer look something like this (this is with the X-1a preset selected on the previous dialog):

corel.png


I would only use Output color as Native only when I have CMYK + spot, since it's better to let the Fiery handle the conversion from spot to process (I have also updated the PANTONE coated and uncoated libraries to v4 so it has all the fancy new colors if needed).

As I mentioned, almost all of our work is printed on the same coated sheet and I guess I am somewhat lucky that the default CMYK profile for CorelDRAW was ISO Coated v2 (ECI). My Fiery does not have a "Use embedded profile" checkbox for CMYK, but only "Use PDF/X output intent profile". Also, after embedding ISO Coated v2 to a test .pdf file and by using Acrobat's preflight module I was able to determine that the same profile had been marked as an output intent profile.

P.S. Please PM me the instructions you mentioned, I would fancy taking a look.

Actually there are some good reasons for using PDF/X-4.
the file remains editable up to the rip, whereas if you flatten you are committed.
The rip actually renders the file to separations, whilst flattening in application has to preserve text, graphics, images, shading, layers etc, whilst flattening transparency.
Rendering in the rip is done at the output resolution of the device, whereas when you flatten in-application you do it a reduced resolution.
You can also test your rips suitablility and configuration to handle PDF/X-4 with the Ghent Output Suite.
There are configuration files for the Fiery so it's easy to configure.
If we have the source file there is little point for us to have an PDF file that we can edit, we can just implement the changes and then re-export the PDF file.

In you experience, would the reduced resolution of X-1a that you mention affect the final printed result in a significant way vs using PDF/X-4?

The key is simplicity here, no need to overcomplicate things. Fiery can and will convert colors, and you have some controls over this process. Problem is, your real proof of the outcome of this conversion is when you print a copy of the publication. In today's cut-throat business environment you have to make sure two things: 1. you only print what you need to print, 2. you catch all errors before printing. The best way to do the latter is to delegate back the checking to the cuctomer. Let them evaluate and approve the job. This way you minimize your liability when printing jobs put together in God knows what software.

As Ergo said, it's crucial to set the color spaces right before conversion. If converion happened with a wrong profile, you can 'massage' the data, but an image - ruined by a small gamut profile like SWOP - will not magically gain back it's original form, even if you use the most sophisticated Device Link conversion software.

I would suggest the clients to use the CMYK profile with which you have the most success matching. If that's FOGRA 39, then instruct your customers to supply jobs as PDF/X-1a documents, with ISO Coated v2 as Output Intent. The embedded profile will not do any harm, on the contrary: it helps you and your customer to establish a common evaluation practice. If you both have decent displays, you will see very similar renderings of the same material.

If you accept 'open' materials - source files like .cdr - then it's you job to set the color spaces as you need and produce a press-ready PDF. In this case I would suggest you to do an approval cycle with the customer, as I said above.
We have always been sending the final proof for approval by the customer and to be honest, we never really had any real trouble with customers complaining about color. Most of the time, for files created by us at least, what we see on the screen matches what's printed by the press.

I am simply trying to adopt the "best practices" for sending files and settings for the DFE, so I know I am doing things the best way possible, if that makes sense.

I am honestly a little confused, since I still haven't wrapped by head around this topic completely yet, so to wrap things up, for my workflow, which basically involves us creating a CMYK (+ spot every once in a while) .pdf file to print on the coated media I linked to earlier.

• Export file as X-1a (let's leave X-4 out of the equation for now)
• Embed the CMYK profile used to the .pdf file (so that will be ISO Coated v2 (ECI) - I am hesitant to switch to e.g. PSO Coated v3 since we have a bunch of files designed on ISO Coated v2 and in switching things around, other people in the shop might get confused with what exactly is going on)
• (This is more of a question honestly) Since my Fiery lacks the "Use embedded CMYK profile as source" option, should I a. Just select manually the same profile I embedded to the file as the source CMYK profile, or b. Check the "Use PDF/X output intent" checkbox?

You had asked about G7 with CPS, but only running v4.9.0.21. I don't think G7 module was released until v5.1. You might look at getting on SMSA to get the latest version.
The G7 checkbox is there, but it is greyed out, meaning I can't select it for whatever reason. I will check if I can get a later version installed then.

Thanks to everyone for replying. Much appreciated.
 

orestesp

Member
Finally, what would be the difference of just sending CMYK data (w/ no embedded profile) and just picking a source profile from the Fiery vs. embedding the profile?
 

Puch

Well-known member
Finally, what would be the difference of just sending CMYK data (w/ no embedded profile) and just picking a source profile from the Fiery vs. embedding the profile?
There is no visual difference. If I remember right, there is a setting if you want to 'automatize' this step. By clicking the appropriate checkbox, the DFE will use the embedded profile (or the Output Intent) as a source profile. Of course it does a great job ruining an otherwise perfect job, eg. when the images are separated correctly in Photoshop (to FOGRA 39) but the PDF is produced in InDesign with a wrong Output Intent (eg. SWOP). We get a lot of documents like this.
 

mrserge

Member
For spot colors you actually don't care about the document color space. But what you care about is color conversion process (both: on exporting graphic from CorelDraw and your RIP settings).
And you should use PSO Coated v3 as v2 is very outdated version that is not reflect color spectrum of coated paper range available nowadays.
 

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