Star product: Fujifilm XMF ColorPath
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Fuji's cloud-based colour-management software system
What does it do?
XMF ColorPath is a cloud-based colour management system for achieving ISO 12647-2 colour on both offset and digital printing devices that print to this standard. Its prime purpose is to minimise the time it takes to ensure a device and ink combination is successfully printing to ISO 12647-2, but it also provides a means of checking colour calibration over time and automatically compensating for any detected colour variation. Fujifilm Europe ESBU business strategy manager John Davies says: "When used in combination with Fujifilm’s wide range of digital print devices, such as the Inca Onset range and the Acuity LED 1600, and with Fujifilm’s range of Uvijet digital inks, XMF ColorPath allows customers to print to their chosen printing conditions quickly, accurately and consistently."
When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?
The first version of XMF ColorPath, XMF ColorPath Sync 1D, was announced at Fespa Digital 2012 in Barcelona, and was specifically aimed at the wide- and large-format print market. A new version of XMF ColorPath will be released this month and includes the ability to create Device link Profiles (DLPs), a feature for optimising ink usage and a more comprehensive range of tools for validating colour accuracy. This release of XMF ColorPath also extends the market from just wide-format to also now include offset and digital commercial printing. XMF ColorPath will also integrate with Fuji’s XMF Workflow system to allow users of this to access ColorPath colour management capabilities directly from within the workflow.
What are its USPs?
Whereas prior to the release of XMF ColorPath Sync 1D, colour management was mainly managed within the RIPs used to drive the digital devices, with printers as a result working with lots of different approaches to colour management, Fuji says XMF ColorPath coordinates colour management across lots of different devices. Other unique selling points, it adds, include the software’s ability to produce accurate colour calculations from a small number of colour measurements, and the fact that it’s totally cloud-based, meaning the software can be easily accessed from multiple portals at a print company. "What we mean by a full cloud-based system is that no actual software has to be installed by the end-user – the system is simply accessed via a web browser," explains Davies. "So XMF ColorPath is not a software application that you need to install on various workstations that all need to be maintained with the same version of software or that all need to be configured the same way to ensure consistent colour. It’s different in that there is just one application with which all users interact."
How does it work?
What makes XMF ColorPath fast is its ability to obtain sufficient information from a small number of colour patches to confirm if a device is still printing to ISO 12647-2, reports Fuji. Whereas traditionally, large colour charts were required to obtain sufficient information to make such colour calculations, which meant stopping production to print off a colour chart to be measured, the charts used by XMF ColorPath for this purpose can be as small as just 24 patches. This means the charts are small enough to print in the margins of every job, so any print from a job in production can be pulled and measured to verify if the colour is still within specification, without interfering with the actual print production process.
Explaining how the cloud-based element of the software works, Davies adds: "The colour measurements are taken by measuring colour charts with a spectrophotometer that connects directly to the web browser. The colour data is sent to our cloud servers and it is here that this data is processed by our unique Fujifilm colour engine. The required colour curves are generated in the cloud and delivered back to the RIPs, once again via the web browser interface to XMF ColorPath."
How easy is it to use?
"XMF ColorPath is extremely easy to use," says Davies. "There is no ‘software’ to learn, the web interface guides the user through the required stages and, unlike software systems where many settings are hidden in Preferences, XMF ColorPath guides the user in logical steps to make sure they’re only asked to provide the information required for the chosen task."
How much does it cost?
The price for XMF ColorPath starts from £2,500 including set-up.
Operating system Cloud-hosted by Fujifilm, accessed via web browser (Mac or PC)
Price from £2,500 including set-up
Contact Fujifilm 01234 572 000 www.fujifilm.eu/uk
Bodoni Systems pressSIGN
pressSIGN controls the printing of four colour process and spot colours, enabling operators to adjust the density of the solid colour to achieve the lowest possible Delta E, and to adjust the tonal curve to match the target. Reporting facilities provide management information on the quality of the print, and users can connect across the internet centrally, controlling standards and spot colours and press passing using built-in soft proofing facilities.
Operating system pressSIGN runs on an SQL database and can be installed on a combination of Macs and PCs
Price £3,095 for pressSIGN-Pro, £3,795 for pressSIGN Multi-Site Internet Server
Contact Bodoni Systems 01923 220530 www.bodoni.co.uk
Mellow Colour (PrintSpec)
PrintSpec is an Adobe Air application that allows exchange of colour quality and calibration data via the internet. PDF image files can be included along with measurement data from the press, and viewed in the colour managed Adobe Acrobat module, which visually reflects the actual printing condition.
Operating system Mac and PC
Price £1,950 for remote press run approval and press calibration
Contact Mellow Colour 01386 421534 www.mellowcolour.com