Soft proofing part comments

Soft proofing has the potential to reverse the way printers are controlled in the past, but it depends on whether the printer will use soft proofing as soon as possible. To explore this issue, a major topic at the World Wide Web Offset Conference (WOA Conference) last year was the soft proofing of printing. The following is the opinion of the meeting chairperson on the topic of soft proofing.

Essentials - Color Management

In fact, soft proofing has nothing to do with proofing. Soft proofing is a category of color management. As Marshall McLuhan stated, the importance of the media is more related to the media than to the message. Therefore, the author believes that soft proofing can be expected to be the ability to arrange, measure, and change the image data of image data, and is more important than reproducing the final image. As a topic of color management, soft proofing is a brand new trend in the printing industry, and the printing industry is experiencing its power for the first time in the rotary printing sector. This is because the market is most sensitive to market trends, and the image-based part of the industry is just right. in contrast.

What is the basis of the above observations? First of all, in the proofing market, despite the fact that cost is an important factor in printing, users always put the quality and reliability of color quality first and the cost is second only. Second, soft proofing has gradually steadily promoted the future proofing market. Shares power.

The reliability of color quality is very important for printing. Printing has been eroded by other communication technologies. However, because print can deliver the desired quality for end-users, printing has been able to sustain or even continue to grow. If proofing is a color contract in the printing industry, the printing industry is the color contract that other industries use to communicate with their customers. If the printing industry continues to promise to provide such quality, the above statement will be established.

In addition, printers can now directly use spectrophotometers to measure image data so that printers and customers can have more confidence in their results. In the past, the measurement method we used was only density and dot gain, but it was not directly related to image color. We printed the CMYK images to the correct density and dot gain targets and relied on the press for interpretation to produce a combined color effect. Now we can measure color at each pixel of the image. We should use this to define whether the image is printed correctly.

Density and dot gain are delivered to quality control instruments. In fact, the current plan is still on paper. During the Rotation Print Specification (SWOP) print proof certificate, it was found that both images can be measured under very strict standards and still appear to be inconsistent. Color measurement is a big leap forward, but it does not really become an accurate process. The industry still needs a clear definition of a “measured match” (formally defined as two measurements) that can make good use of the spectrophotometer and enable printing to continue to use its high “quality” in other communication media. Similar images can be considered visually consistent).

How to integrate speed and price into soft proofing? If we can eventually measure and ensure image quality, speed and price will become a driving force for changing the printing and proofing. If the cost of proofing is only a very small proportion in the printing work, the price will be relatively unimportant. As printing costs continue to decline, the cost of proofing will certainly decrease. The price at the beginning of proofing is extremely high, and there is ample room for downward adjustment. In the past, thousands of dollars were required for proofing, and several hundred dollars are still needed in some markets. The real justification is speed. The printing industry is inferior to other communication media in terms of speed. The proofing process requires that the actual image be delivered to the customer over an actual distance that cannot be tolerated for a period of time. Therefore, the pursuit of speed is an impetus for reversing the proofing industry and shortening delivery time to an overnight demand. The cost will rise significantly under the market that supports the principle of saving. To create the future, the proofing market needs a system that can provide quality products at reasonable prices without extra time.

Soft proofing is currently benefitting from the staggering of different needs. Soft proofing provides real-time digital data transfer, and allows senders to check the quality of the recipient's output system in real time using CIELab's metrology methods.

This will enable customers to print and publish real-time verifiable color data, and time-saving remote soft proofing will begin to challenge the reliability of proofs that need to be shipped. This is a very powerful concept.

Will traditional proofing be eliminated? In fact, soft proofing removes the essence of the proofing process and transmits verifiable color data. As long as the connection with the new delivery system continues, the most important reasons for proofing are still there (such as tangible color contracts, etc.). Just because the industry has reduced the delivery time to an overnight time without affecting the sample size a few years ago, the transmission of color data also has this advantage. Therefore, all types of proofing systems will still have their markets, among which the best quality, speed, and price will be optimal, but they must be compatible with the new color data transmission model. They must be driven by data to manage color, and the consistency of the color values ​​measured during printing is the best indicator of their reliability.

According to the above, does the author expect that soft proofing will replace the hard proof of traditional printing factories in the near future? Will those who are in favor of replacing hard proofs win in this debate? The answer may have some reservations. Just as soft touch proofing is mainly responsible for the verifiable transmission mechanism, it is not the final printed version of the data. In fact, none of the soft proofing vendors advertise their proofing better than their competitors. They emphasize speed, monitoring, reliability and ease of use, and they are pushing the market to a dead end. To embark on the road to success, they must work together to establish a color communication process so that users of any system can collaborate with users of another system. If printers can transmit the expected data, they will most likely continue to print hard proofs based on the data because of their appearance and feel, but the premise is that soft proofing should be verified. However, even if the printers are considering speed and cost in making the decision, they may still choose hard proofs as filings to protect their interests after making decisions on quality on behalf of their customers. This situation must be maintained until the definition of a "measured match" is fully defined, but the goal is very remote.


In summary, soft proofing has revolutionized all media, not information (color measurement data can replace density and dot gain to determine quality, but images still need proofing). In addition, the revolution can bring results to the printing industry in the future. This is because the revolution has the potential to increase speed and quality.

Reprinted from: 271 of the Graphic Arts: Bernie Lau

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