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 ;)

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