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Automatic Spot Color Matching Using In-line Densitometric Measurements

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In many applications a very accurate color needs to be achieved in print. In industrial printing this applies often to product colors which have to be consistent across printing sessions of the same product and across printing technologies (e.g. packages, labels, banners, and adds of the same product). In Enterprise printing this can apply to company logos. Currently few solutions are possible: One solution is using special inks. However, the design of the ink is not always feasible, and may be very expensive. The most common is the use of special color conversion tables. However, in most cases the accuracy of these tables is not perfect over the whole color gamut and further tweaking must be performed in order to achieve better accuracy, which increases the setup time for each job.

We propose a method for spot color printing using the set of available inks on the press. Our method is an iterative scheme that contains a feedback from a simple In-Line Densitometer (ILD) located in the paper path of many industrial presses after the printing engine (all our experiments have been conducted on HP Indigo presses). Required colors are specified by their Lab values. In each iteration a new coverage is printed and measured by the ILD, the algorithm calculates the change in coverage that is estimated to provide an output that is likely closest to the target Lab values required by the user. Initial results show the achieved mean accuracy for in-gamut colors is less than 1 ΔE. This accuracy is achieved for various paper types without any need to pre-define the paper type or other parameters.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2010

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  • CIC is the premier annual technical gathering for scientists, technologists, and engineers working in the areas of color science and systems, and their application to color imaging. Participants represent disciplines ranging from psychophysics, optical physics, image processing, color science to graphic arts, systems engineering, and hardware and software development. While a broad mix of professional interests is the hallmark of these conferences, the focus is color. CICs traditionally offer two days of short courses followed by three days of technical sessions that include three keynotes, an evening lecture, a vibrant interactive (poster) papers session, and workshops. An endearing symbol of the meeting is the Cactus Award, given each year to the author(s) of the best interactive paper; there are also Best Paper and Best Student Paper awards.

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