Toward better image reproduction in offset

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: This thesis has focused on color reproduction processes in the graphics field and is based on theoretical research and practical studies. The purpose of this thesis was to investigate how new tools and tools adapted to a specific production set-up can be used to raise awareness regarding the quality and workflow of images and image processing for sheet-fed offset within the graphic industry.The work is divided in to the following three study areas with several sub-studies:1) The first research goal of the thesis is to identify knowledge levels regarding color separation of images and demand specifications within printing houses.2) The second research goal is to investigate whether novel tools and new terminology can help to increase the knowledge level regarding color management3) The third goal is to investigate whether process specific adaptation of key color control tools can improve quality levelsThree surveys about color reproduction (focusing on level of knowledge concerning color separation, the use of ICC-profiles and demand specifications for controlled color reproduction) at printing companies in Sweden were made between 2000 and 2004. The surveys indicated a serious problem in the graphic arts industry, involving both an insufficient understanding of color management and a lack of communication.An important part of the work was to assist in make color management understandable for users and thereby optimize printing. For this purpose, digital test forms have been developed. The developed tools, together with descriptive material, will facilitate the understanding of color management issues. Definitions within the field of color separations have been examined, and changes have been suggested. A new term for separation “Compensation by Black”, CB, has been suggested, instead of e.g. GCR and UCR.Is it possible to adapt the different parts of the process chain in order to achieve an improved production? Yes! This work has developed the method for adaptation of the scanne rtest chart, the printing test chart for image categorization and the control strip forsheet-fed offset using gray balance. This thesis suggests that it is possible to produce a custom-made IT8 target test chart for scanners and achieve a result at least similar to or even better than the standard test charts on the market. This work has also shown that itis possible to adapt the test chart for printing to image category. The result showed that low-key image separated by the image-adapted test chart showed more detail in the dark areas than a low-key image separated by the standard test chart, in the prints on a coated paper. The result from the adaptation of a control strip for sheet-fed offset showed that gray balance can be used as a control parameter for quality control in sheet-fed offset.