|Preflight: The first step in producing a job at Bokland Custom Visuals|
When a file is submitted to Bokland Custom Visuals for reproduction, whether it is being output on our LightJet 430 printer, our Gandinnovations 1224 UV Cureable Direct to Substrate printer or any of our other large format printers, the first step is preflight.
Preflight is the process where a qualified technician checks the files submitted for a project to make sure they meet all requirements necessary and that all necessary elements for proper printing are included. This step ensures that we can meet the clients deadline and also create a finished product that meets the clients expectations.
Some of the criteria we look at includes: proportions, image quality, resolution, fonts and many others. Once the file has passed our preflight process we can proceed to create a quality large format product on our LightJet 430 printer, our Gandinnovations UV Cureable Direct to Substrate Printer or any of our other output devices.
Bill Booth - Graphics Specialist, Bokland Custom Visuals
ICC Workflow: Embedding Profiles
One of the first steps in a color managed workflow is choosing an input or editing color space sometimes also referred to as a work space. Input profiles determine a color range or gamut you can work in and they are device independent.They allow you to edit your images in a controlled and consistent manner. Input profiles are used in image editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop
Two of the most commonly used input profiles in digital photography are Adobe RGB 1998 and sRGB IEC61966-2.1. The default in most programs is sRGB. This is the common profile used for preparing images for the internet. It has a smaller color gamut and can simulate color consistently on different monitors. If you are planning on printing your image on a large format printer like a LightJet or high end inkjet, you're better off using a profile with a wider color gamut like Adobe RGB or Colormatch RGB. While not all the colors within these profiles are printable they will give you larger and more pleasant range of colors to work in, and better results.
To set up input profiles in Photoshop CS4 go to:
Menu > Edit > Color Settings
Here's a really important thing to remember -
All your work is for nothing if you don't embed the profile when saving.
The profile you choose to work in needs to stay with file, so when its re-opened
or sent to a printer the colors will display and convert in a consistent manner.
Paolo Desanctis - Graphics Production
Soft-proofing is an on-screen simulation of how your image will look when output to an inkjet printer, substrate and ink combination or an RGB printer like the lightJet. It is based on an output profile of that device made especially for a that substrate and ink combination. A calibrated monitor is crucial for viewing color accurately and soft-proofing can take your images and color control to the next level. A printer can not reproduce the entire range of colors that are viewable on a monitor, these are known as out of gamut colors. Each printer, paper, ink combination has its own gamut or range of reproducible colors. There may also be a shift in color balance from what you see on your monitor to the print. If you’re sending images or a design project to a printer for output on their LightJet or large format printer, the need for proof prints can be minimized with soft-proofing and you can identify what colors may need a little attention. To soft-proof your image in Photoshop, select View > Proof Setup > Custom. The Proof Setup dialog box will pop up, in the first drop down select the profile for the output you’ll be using. You can request this from your printer or photo lab. Next, select a rendering intent. These are the methods by which out-of-gamut colors are mapped from the working space to the gamut of the printer, paper and ink. Perceptual works well for most images especially if there are many out-of-gamut colors. Relative Colorimetric can be better choice if your image doesn’t have any colors that are out-of-gamut for the intended output. Meaning there is less interpolation in the mapping of color to the output device, where as Perceptual there may be more interpolation in mapping colors, attempting to preserve the relationship of colors inside and outside the output gamut. Black Point Compensation should be checked, this ensures shadow detail will be maintained in the output gamut. The Simulate Paper Color and Black Ink check boxes add a simulation of the whites and blacks of the profiled paper and ink. When a printer profile is made the color of the paper is one of the factors in building the profile, because the spectrophotometer is reading the combination of the ink, and the paper below it. These can be helpful if you are printing on off white or tinted substrates. When you click OK, you will see a simulation of the image printed through your output profile. To toggle between the proof simulation and the normal view press Ctrl-Y. Soft proofing can be a very valuable tool when preparing images for your trade show exhibit, POP poster or décor project. Feel free to email with any questions or to request one of our output profiles. Paolo DeSanctis Graphics Production
If your looking for consistent color from your large format print vendor or photo lab, calibrating your monitor is a must. A monitors color output varies even from out of the box and especially over time as they age. Calibration keeps them operating in a stable and consistent way. Hardware monitor calibration is the best and most accurate way, and in recent years has become much more affordable. You can pick up a monitor calibration package from a leading color solution company like X-Rite for around $200. 10 years ago this sort of technology cost thousands.
Hardware based calibration uses light monitoring and measurement devices (spectrophotometer) with color management software to achieve more exacting and consistent results. With hardware calibration the red, green and blue phosphor colors, as well as the white points, are all accurately measured and corrected to an industry display standard. Re-calibrating every 2-4 weeks will maintain the monitor so that the way it produces color will stay consistent over time. If your monitor is not correctly displaying color, then time spent on image editing could actually be counter-productive.
Adopting and maintaining a monitor calibration and color management system will guarantee the results on every trade show, large format print, and POP display project that you work on, saving time money and frustration!
Regardless of wether you are making a ten foot Trade Show booth, Point of Purchase Graphic, Vinyl Banner or a Wooden Sign, a hard copy will make your job go smoother. Even if your hard copy is in Black and White it can help us catch any errors that can occur in our process. You have all ready done your work of providing your fonts (We recommend outlining fonts) and related graphics. Now we have to process your file in our RIP Software for printing. In the case of Indesign or Quark we may have to create an intermediary file like a PDF or an EPS for processing. Many things can go wrong. Fonts can sometimes can drop out or be replaced with a font of a different manufacturer. Spot colors used with transparency may yield unexpected results or even elements within you file may completely drop out. All of these things, and more, we can catch more quickly with a hard copy. With most jobs we recommend getting an approval print, but a hard copy can help avoid a second approval, saving you valuable time and money.
When submitting a file to Bokland Custom Visuals that contains text for large format graphic output, there are steps you can take to insure that your project is completed on time and to your expectations. Providing us with all the fonts used is one step. Also, many graphic applications allow fonts to be converted to outlines. Whenever possible, providing files with fonts converted to outlines is the safest way to go. Once you convert all fonts to outlines it is no longer necessary to provide us with the fonts used.