Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Send it back, or just smash it ?

Yes, users get frustrated with color management. Max Corman is rich enough to express his rage in a way many of us can only dream about.

Here is an excerpt from his post: "This device was not coming out alive. Basically i just smashed it about a dozen times on the ground until i felt the neccessary release that had been long coming. How XXX could make such a stupid design is beyond me."

I'll leave my readers to decide whether the calibrator was guilty as described and got what it deserved or whether there was a miscarriage of justice.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

PIA/GATF conference impressions

Hi folks, I'm back in Paris after attending the PIA/GATF conference in Phoenix where I got a press pass thanks to Mr. Jim Workman of GATF -Jim, thanks for the freebie ! A few hundred people attended, mostly printers solidly convinced of the usefulness of color management, and a sprinkling of color experts/consultants who were networking. The numerous courses and tutorials allow print industry attendants to learn the techniques, and figure out how the pieces fit together.

One of the wierdnesses of the color management field is the essential role of this tier of color consultants who help users pick solutions and make them work. I chatted with Don Hutcheson, Steve Upton and Roger Breton. I also had the honor of talking to Abhay Sharma, who is the author of "Understanding Color Management".

As regards specialist CMS vendors, the usual suspects were doing time, namely Xrite ,Gretag, Eizo, ICS, Fuji, and the ColorEyes people, as well as Alwan of France and Chromix who are both software vendors and consultants. Plus a bunch of RIP and proofing solution suppliers.

Xrite had managed to sneak a DTP70 onto almost every table in the vendor room, their automatic spectro is obviously getting traction with OEM solution vendors like RIPs. Gretag had a couple of prototype IOs waving their little arms and measuring, it's time to get product out to buyers, folks ! Eizo had spread wide-gamut CG220 monitors around. Fuji seems to be interested in taking their minilab color correction software mainstream, targeting it at wholesale image processors like magazines or agencies. And yes, there is obviously money to be made supplying the humble D50 lightbooth.

My own "Best of Show" award goes to Steve Upton of Chromix, for his ColorThink Pro profile visualization and evaluation tool, a must-have for every serious color geek. With an add-on ribbon for Steve's demo of multiplex juggling - photos have been omitted here but might be made available for blackmail purposes if payment is offered ;)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Microsoft embraces and extends Colorsync

The above is a photo demonstrating peaceful coexistence at the PIA/GATF conference of the Tiger and the Borg. This session had Roger Siminoff of Apple (seated left) and Tim Grey of the Borg (right) talking about their companies color management policies.

Roger informed us that "Steve Jobs is a genius", and that Apple has long been conscious of the importance of color management, and as an example are pushing remote proofing or paperless proofing, which they consider an important market.

Tim showed how Microsoft is overtaking the ICC model with Vista's WCS (Windows Color System), and Tim added "Bill Gates is a genius too".

The consensus seems to be that WCS has considerable technical merits, and is a step forward from the present ICC practises. Tim indicated all design documents for WCS are available to developers under NDA, and will be made public when Vista is released. And that the reason why the ICC had not been approached with this stuff was that it was felt to be too slow.

Still, this session went down badly with a number of questioners, all of whom, like this author, were concerned about the interoperability of WCS with non-windows platforms. Tim Grey's short answer was "if you don't want it you don't have to use WCS, you can keep on using ICC instead in Vista"!

Interestingly, some Xrite employees seemed unhappy about the quantity of information filtering down from Billsville, while the Gretag crowd seemed happy with everything about WCS to the extent that they even bought this Borg-averse journalist an excellent prime rib dinner.

Friday, December 02, 2005

IO and Profile Maker Pro 5.05 for Windows - update

A little bird tells me that a first production batch of robot IO clones are ready to go out into the world and measure. They were ready and waiting, all they needed to face a life of precise servitude with Swiss serenity was software that has now been gifted them: Profile Maker Pro 5.05 for Windows can be found on the Gretag Macbeth site .

This update is supposed to be able to drive both Gretag's own IO and Xrite's DTP70. It is also supposed to incorporate a significantly improved Gamut Mapping in the profiling engine. All of which makes it a recommended update as far as I'm concerned.

You know how much I love my DTP70, I just hope PMP 5.05 can acquire data from this instrument in spectral mode, it would seem the current version only reads the LAB values. And yes, inquiring minds want to know whose dog ate the homework —excuse me— the Mac version of PMP 5.05 ?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

My own test shots.

Nobody is sending me interesting files so I've started making my own. Here is the first one, showing the setup testshot and then and then the hand-tuned version. I find the profiling tools give me accurate color easily, pleasing color not in this case.

Of course, profiling technology does have its uses for on-screen viewing and printing of the colors in this image.

I'll post the profiled images soon.

I have the peppers sitting next to me in the light used to make the picture above, and they match the CG210 pretty well. I think I'll dig out a spectro tomorrow and measure the peppers, It's an interesting variation of the usual print/screen matching game

I've also tried previewing this image using profilesfor my Epson 2100 printer, and it looks hopeless on matte, but will probably print decently on glossy. The background and eges are what gets hits hardest.