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Living with ISO-13660: Pleasures and Perils

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A first-of-its-kind print quality standard is about to be issued. ISO-13660 is intended as a practical, objective means of communication about basic image quality parameters and provides measurement methods that lend themselves to automation. Though much work remains to be done before it can be considered definitive, ISO-13660 represents a tremendous advance, laying out the first worldwide industry standard for digital print quality. On-going research and future technological developments can be expected to help flesh it out. Already, intensive day-to-day use of ISO-13660 has shown both its considerable strengths and some of its limitations, pointing the way to some significant enhancements. This paper exemplifies the use of ISO-13660 for measuring print quality in real-world applications, from print engine development to media benchmarking. The strengths of the standard, such as its dynamic threshold-setting technique, are demonstrated. Techniques like this one make the difference between robust, meaningful measurements and results with only comparative value limited to particular measurement systems. Some of the limitations of the standard will also be discussed, for example, difficulty in finding the 10% and 90% reflectance thresholds reliably, and weaknesses in the definitions of raggedness, graininess and mottle. Suggested changes to the measurement protocols are proposed for overcoming such limitations.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1999

More about this publication?
  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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