In this episode, four international industry veterans of digital and analog print technologies like offset, inkjet, screen, flexo, and gravure discuss the tremendous difference in value between G7® and litho-centric TVI specifications like Fogra.
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This episode of the GAMUT Printing & Packaging podcast is brought you by Kodak. Kodak is a global technology company focused on print and advanced materials & chemicals. We provide industry-leading hardware, software, consumables and services primarily to customers in commercial print, packaging, publishing, manufacturing and entertainment.
Jeff Collins: 0:03
So here's the question: In the print and packaging supply chain, how do we deliver new ideas and innovative practices to continually improve your profit, your brand and your quality?
Jeff Collins: 0:15
Welcome to the GAMUT podcast and I am your host, Jeff Collins, director of Print Technologies for Idealliance. We are a non-profit global think tank serving the graphic communications industry with 12 offices strategically located around the world to better support our membership. You can support the GAMUT podcast and content like this by becoming a member of Idealliance by going to www.idealliance.org.
Jeff Collins: 0:44
Today's episode is sponsored by Kodak. Kodak is a global technology company focused on print and advanced materials and chemicals. They provide industry-leading hardware, software, consumables and services primarily to customers in commercial print packaging, publishing, manufacturing and entertainment.
Jeff Collins: 1:05
In this episode of the GAMUT Podcast, we discuss the importance of moving from TVI-based specifications like Fogra to near neutral calibration, or G7® calibration. And here are some clips from previous guests discussing their experience when they made that move.
Jeff Collins: 0:00
To get started. Michael Ruff a global pioneer and expert in grand format and screen printing discusses the incredible value and confidence that was gained when they moved from ISO TVI-based specifications to G7, to align color across different technologies.
Michael Ruff: 2:36
I've seen the first big change in our business in 2006 when Don Hutchison made a contribution to the print industry in G7 technology, and that's actually the biggest driver of confidence that I see right now. At that time, it was not fully integrated. But now all the manufacturers are on board with analog and digital work flows now that accept the G7 as a valuable tool. It's working tremendously with the quality of color management tools and software. All of those things support G7 now. When I started in that, it was only 12 years ago, and what was amazing was just the transformation that I've seen in the grand format industry. See, I taught color calibration through targeting the dot gain in density. It's very similar to the ISO methodology of offset litho.
Jeff Collins: 2:38
Michael Ruff: 2:38
Now we did experience good results in the grand format industry because they were a little bit behind the industry because they were just measuring mostly density, and then they would do a bomb for a cut value similar to offset. But a screen print and even a digital curve is much different than that. It's not an exact match. It's gonna get a nice, smooth, good looking print. But it wasn't possible, to be, actually visibly accurate by controlling the solids in the TVI. And what we were trying to match was Chromo and some match prints.
Jeff Collins: 3:15
So when we were back in the days using dot gain and TVI to dial the press center to dial color in and whether it's a match a chromo or a match print or maybe even a previously printed piece, sometimes we would get, you know, the dot gain numbers right, but we would also compromise, you know, a key metric or the key thing in color reproduction, which is gray balance.
Michael Ruff: 3:44
Well, that all changed in 2006 when Don introduced the G7 methodology. I don't think it was even called that back then, but the way I found out about it is I was actually reading an offset magazine and I read about Don and ISO members of the print properties group going out and testing gray balance on offset presses across the country. And the difference was they were evaluating the color of the solids, not the density. And they were also evaluating the three color CMYK overprints, they called triplets. And that was in LAB also for toneality and balance. And so when I read about that, I knew the problems that we were having in our industry, were related to dramatic change—is actually in the substrates and the inks that we were having to use every day. So when I read that, I thought, that just hit me like a George Foreman punch in the left ear. You know, I knew that would work in the screen print world. I didn't have to be convinced. Nobody had to show me. Just the concept was enough for me. So I got on the horse and I went to Chicago and to the man Roland G7 class, and I got trained by Don and, you know, some of the people there were not very encouraging. They said, You know, you can't do this in screen printing. Well, actually, they were wrong.
Jeff Collins: 5:15
Michael Ruff: 5:16
After I got trained, I started using the Gray Balance Method and it was exciting because I could see the improvement on common visual appearance on screen and digital presses. So this began to move our industry forward, and, I believe, the whole industry. When we started getting on board on this, we started believing that we could make acceptable reproductions in that 12 647 edge to proof. And so that began to build what what I call unwavering confidence.
Jeff Collins: 5:48
And in this clip, we hear from Niall Coady of MPX Colour discussing the differences between implementing G7 methodology for calibrating inkjet and UV offset compared to using TVI-based specifications and standards like Fogra and ISO or PSO.
Niall Coady : 6:05
We are working with a large, well, an enormous company, an international company that is a print management company. They're working on behalf of one particular large brand and they've asked me to do some work with a multitude of different suppliers that are point of sale.
Niall Coady : 6:21
Now my name is Coady. I am might as well be Wild Bill or Buffalo Bill Coady because the Wild West is what I would class the large format market to be, you know, the different rips, the very complicated workflows, the different printing technologies themselves, ink substrates. I mean, Jesus. I've been into a place where the substrates stacked on top of each other looked like a collage of colors. It was unbelievable!
Jeff Collins: 6:44
I can imagine and just walking into where they store their rolls and the different substrates—it boggles the mind how they keep track of all the different substrates.
Niall Coady : 6:59
I've got the answer for you, though, Jeff. The answer is G7 because, of course, G7 doesn't have a paper, it doesn't have an ink , and, you know, I'm not preaching about it. I really—to be honest with you, I'm very impressed with G7. I've known Don Hutchinson since 2002 or something and never really touched on the subject with him. But sitting down and having a bit of time with Ron Ellis was very, very useful for me, and I immediately saw the light, if you will, and the way it was explained was not the way it has been explained to me in the past, and I saw immediately all the pitfalls in how Fogra implementation, well, it's not bad, but certainly, you know, the pitfalls of that type of implementation—at least in the offset and the digital type of environment.
Niall Coady : 7:51
But I just, you know, I really do believe that in the POS side of the business that G7 is the key and the answer. I've literally been on four sites since I did my training with this large print management company and doing presentations and practical demonstrations of how G7 works using Bruce Baines spot on technology and using dev optins curve technology, and of course, color logic as well. The man, Thorsten has got the math down for G7 paths. As far as I'm concerned, I've been independently showing these people how this works. And actually, this morning I got my first purchase order for a large and very well-known point of sale company in the north of England who pushed the button on going G7 and the big brand for the big print management company to be educated and perhaps to convince that G7 is the way to go here in the UK as well as, well, literally their company and every other country in the world.
Niall Coady : 8:47
So you know, things look good for G7 in the UK, and I think perhaps I might be able to solve this Wild West issue with G7. The best dot gain in the world in any instrument on my offset press, and I could have the dot gain perfect and I can have the end points of the color perfect. But for some reason, I don't seem to get the gray. And of course, he says the reason for that, of course, is that the methodology in the Fogra approach does not account for—or indeed should I say, I shouldn't say the Fogra approach. I mean, in the excellent physical standards Elf, 12 472 It doesn't talk about the trap of the inks and how the inks trapped together. And of course, in POS for me, I was working on UV litho press, right, so UV is gonna trap very differently to the standard offset. So the light bulb just went on at that point and I could see why we were failing all the grays and why things were really, really not coming into play. So the first one, I literally—I'd been back a couple of days from Belgium and the training I literally had gone to Rick Hatmaker of Chromix, and said, right, I need a set of your software there and I'm gonna go in and I'm gonna give this a shot.
Niall Coady : 9:59
I walked onto that site, I walked onto that site, and within about three hours, we had his press calibrated and their on-set Fuji digital machine calibrated. I had to put the digital silk... we were working on silk paper just for the sake of doing the test. I had to put the digital paper over the offset, and it was such a good match that the client just couldn't believe what he was seeing. I mean, he'd never seen that. I mean, as you can imagine on UV offset and for digital application, we'd use the profiles and we'd get the gray pretty good. You know what I'm saying? But never without a profile had he seen a gray balance or neutral balance. And it kind of clicked for him, too, things like, Well, I said to him, Look, we could take advantage of the full gamut of the press—the digital press, that is—by balancing the gray and just not having a profile in place. Or you could have a profile in place if you wanted to use, for instance, G7 targeted or the color space type of approach. I started to explain this, and he started to get very interested in it. And I could see that light bulbs were going on in his head as well. And for me, look, I'm purely, I don't have a degree in color science. I've just been doing this for so long that if I wasn't good at it, I might as well just go home now. So I'm very practical in the way I implement technologies, is the point that I'm trying to make, and when I see a client get as excited as I am about about the results of a system in place, I know that we're onto a winner.
Jeff Collins: 11:24
In this clip we hear from K. Panthala Selvan, the managing director for Idealliance South Asia, sharing his experience in India moving from PSO and ISO TVI-base specifications to G7.
K. Panthala Selvan: 11:38
When we do an ISO calibration we see the skin tones are slightly reddish with us. When we do on G7, it looks neutral and it looks good. And since we look collaboration and digital inkjet your offset, flexo, gravure. After all, when I compare all the samples side-by-side, I see—the picture looks very close to each other. We have an understanding that an image printed on one substrate, and the same image printed on another substance and on the same machine will not look the same. The image printed in one process and an image printed in another process, it doesn't look the same. But after G7, when I compare all, all the G7 expert training programs I show them—this is the flexo printed in this machine. This is a gravure printed in Bangkok, this is printed in Mumbai, for gravure, this is printed in Delhi. There's an offset Delhi, there's an offset. I keep all the samples side-by-side, and they look very close to each other. And this is what's amazing.
K. Panthala Selvan: 12:40
Number two: while this an expert training program, I showed them both in the offset or a gravure or flexo, and a digital. So I keep a digital sample calibrated and verified certified sample off of digital. And then after run, too, I keep the final sample of run two of the flexo or gravure or offset.
Jeff Collins: 13:00
K. Panthala Selvan: 13:02
Participants have an idea that it doesn't match. When they see, they're very astonished. They're really happy to see that. And this is—I mean—the results are so convincing that the participants are happy.
Jeff Collins: 13:16
And in this episode, we hear press expert Michal Eichler discuss the complications using TVI-based specifications and standards compared to G7 and offset litho environments.
Jeff Collins: 13:30
So give me your first impression of using G7 methodology to calibrate. And what were some of the advantages that you immediately saw, once you got your hands around it?
Michal Eichler: 13:41
Before G7, they all used the tedious keep TVI method. So first of all, it was a time consuming thing and there was no easy way around it. Measurements had to be taken in each color in each screen value. And with this in hand, a curve had to be plotted and it was more or less a little bit of a guess-work involved. And yeah, it got very complicated. Vizier introduction off different screen, That boy example Stochastic screen.
Jeff Collins: 14:14
Michal Eichler: 14:15
And it was a lot of measurements, trial and error— a time consuming and tedious approach. Doing a TVI curve on the regular screens, you're talking about at least a day from scratch with stochastic screen. We're talking about two days. Foreign Bank until we finally had a match.
Jeff Collins: 14:36
You know, we were doing TVI and then now we're looking at Highline Screen Frequencies 300, 600 lpi with conventional screening and then our 10 micron and 20 micron. So the screening was a variable. And then, of course, you have factors like ink set as well as the substrates that are also factors when we're developing tone curve. So we've got all these variables working with you at the demo center. We could get anything under the sun, depending on what the customer wanted to see.
Michal Eichler: 15:06
Yes, you got that right. And anything, everything possible under the sun, so pretty much opposed is a full of variety of stops plate not being limited. Thio people will board. Spurt was including plastics metals, sometimes wood... Anything was possible to be printed on in offset printing. And not only sits on, it was a challenge of different ink sets. Wrong about conventional things. Warned that things UV inks, exotic inks sometimes limited supplementation and small printing presses who operated large former printing presses the Air D card digital presses direct imaging and waterless printing for song. All those different technologies, different printing processes, was an extra challenge on the color reproduction.
Jeff Collins: 16:03
You know, we're talking about alignment of color, and you just described a huge amount of variables, and many of our customers are faced with these, right? They don't just have one technology under the roof for one application. Very diverse product line and equipment that goes along with that. Going back to aligning that color on all those difference scenarios that you just described, sometimes—you can correct me if I'm wrong—you probably got close enough, as close as you could, time depending. And then you just went with it. And often maybe things weren't perfect, and that was caught by the customer. "Why doesn't this press match that?" Did G7 methodology help resolve that?
Michal Eichler: 16:49
Oh, absolutely, Jeff. Like you mentioned earlier, I mean, you and I at the time we've been a little bit skeptical about what is cheese on it's probably just something nice and new and shiny and not the technical. And let's give it a try. So after going our initial trial period, test period and education with G7, it became an instant shine and in place the technology and the love of the date because it is so simple. But yet a very powerful range achieved a good match, which is the entire process was device-independent, and process-independent. That's the key thing. For the first time, we have a method that allows achieving a good color match because development piece of equipment and different technologies so it can be applied to Why offset printing right offset printing, UV, conventional, but it also can be done in flexo, screen printing and you name it. This is awesome. And we found it very easy to do. Very quick and it gets you almost instantly results that was a closer match in betters and compared to the TVI method, we used to run no in a fraction of the time. Dylan Technologies, including blending together. So we have machines that have been one machine intertechnology for printing. And also after technology for printing and all this has to be color managed.
Jeff Collins: 18:33
Michal Eichler: 18:34
And now it all comes back, it all comes back to the print buyer. stealing the final piece that has been printed and print buyers believe in the similarity of visual appearance across different print product that is so critical. And no one really knows that typical print buyer is distributed geographically all over the world now—different continents even. feeling this whole different technologies until on types of spending and we always try to achieve a close visual match in all locations and all different print processes. So we all know that substrates, gamut and other print characteristics vary for all the different print products. But it's all the print products that are gray balanced and mutual tonality as defined by G7. They look remarkably alike to the human eye. And this is key for going global on the different print technologies to have the visual appearance.
Jeff Collins: 19:58
Thanks for listening to the Gamut podcast. If you have ideas, suggestions or would like to join us or even sponsor a future podcast, simply email me at email@example.com. That's firstname.lastname@example.org. Take care and have a productive day.