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Observations and Discovery
Four pre-print production areas were the suspected causes of inconsistent color image
results on press:
1) No clearly defined Submission Standards and Best Practices for photographers,
2) An absence of a well-defined and Color-Managed Production Workflow,
3) Unassigned responsibiity and an unclear criterea for Digital Image Preparation, and
4) Heavy black ink coverage in CMYK formulation and apparent dot gain on press.
Indian River Magazine
Image Capture: Interior wall colors and brightness in real estate articles were inconsistent. In the absence of a gray card or Color Checker reference within each scene, accurate color could not be assured. Different views within a room appeared different colors.
Image File Format: Evidence of staging, or posterization, in lighter areas of certain images proved to be evidence of tonal degradartion caused by excessive resizing and editing of some JPEG files in the production stage.
Image Preparation: Images are adjusted on an individual basis only if they appear too dark to the photographer or Editor. Any sharpening takes place at full capture size.
Ovid Bell Press
The problems noted in the Spring 2017 PSL and IRM books pre-submission image files were examined closely and compared with the Kodak Insite image files. The press dot gain/dot slur and mottling issues were discussed directly with Terry Myers, the Pre-Production Manager (and then indirectly with Gary Cundiff, the Pressroom Manager) at The Ovid Bell Press in an effort to pinpoint the causes of the problems.
Dot Values: The digital file dot values were measured in the PDF files submitted by the publisher and then again as they appeared on Ovid Bell's Kodak InSite Prepress Portal. Significant value differences were observed in the CMYK numbers between the two systems.
CMYK Transition: A meeting was set up with Ovid Bell's Pre-production Manager Terry Myers. Terry confirmed that Submitted CMYK PDF files were routinely transposed into another CMYK formulation within the Kodak Insite Prepress Portal workflow via a "Device Link" process. The result of this transposition produced a heavier printing black plate; a common trait of GCR (gray component replacement) conversions. The heavier black plate ink content of the resulting CMYK file seemed more susceptible to dot gain and darker apperance as well as a more visable dot rosette pattern.
Prepress/Pressroom: The structure of the black dots printed on several of the pages appeared elongated suggesting press-related dot slur of some sort which could certainly contribute to the darker appearance of some images. The issue was addressed to the Pressroom Manager who confirmed that the pressman's notes for that run date indicated a press-related anamoly that caused black dot gain on two of the magazine's signatures.
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