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Scanner Characterization for Color Measurement of EP Printed Output

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Typical automated print quality assessment tools use desktop scanners to analyze printed output. Unfortunately, due to the noncolorimetric properties of scanners, results can vary significantly depending upon the scanner used. This paper describes an investigation into using ICC (International Color Consortium) profiling as a tool to characterize the color response of a given scanner. The goal of this work is to create a scanner profile that can accurately measure the color of EP (electophotographic) printed output through the manipulation of targets, post processing refinement techniques, and the minimization of the effects of scanner non-uniformities. Targets with known color characteristics were created and scanned. Using open source software, ICC profiles were created from the scans to characterize a scanner's response to the colors in the targets. Through experimentation, it was determined that the maximum error of the profile can be minimized through post processing refinement. The main contributors to the average error were scanner nonuniformities and target characteristics, including uniformity, type, layout, and gamut. The results show that it is possible to, on average, characterize the output of a single EP printer to within 2 ΔE76 and the output of several EP printers to within 3 ΔE76. This is a quality level good enough to suggest that ICC profiling can be a fast, cost-effective solution toward obtaining reasonable color consistency across scanners, as well as a possible low-cost alternative to a spectrophotometer for specific applications.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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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