Tuesday, November 28, 2006


WHAT'S THE POINT - An exercise in Colour - REC

You know the way you read something, and think “Someone’s pulling my leg here” - Well, that happened today.

My reader will by now be aware of my fascination for Things Photographic, so I very recently trawled one of the many excellent websites which support and explain for us mortals the technical background to digital imaging. I came across a rather erudite (that means I didn’t fully understand it) article on some of the issues involved in keeping consistency in colour matching through the chain of Digital Camera, Viewing screen and the final Printer output ie making sure that what you think you photographed actually comes out as you expected in the final print. Yes, I know it’s sad, but if it wasn’t for people like me, the anorak industry would implode and disappear.

Anyway, the author was explaining how uncontrolled the printing industry is in this area – you’d think they would be totally clued up here, with process controls and standards coming out of their ears. But no – they seem to operate on the basis of “Make the colours look nice, and the customer will be happy”. Let’s hope none of the managers in this bit of the printing industry fancy a change of career direction and try their hands at building aeroplanes.

This loophole is apparently now being closed, and a range of new standards has been developed to allow the Industry to move forward on a common, standardised basis, and put a tgeeny bit of control into their processes. For reasons I haven’t the slightest interest in trying to understand, three new complementary standards have now been developed, and they are all in the process of introduction.

Their names are – Specifications for Newsprint Advertising Production (for Newspapers), General Requirements for Applications in Commercial Off-set Lithography (for Commercial Printers), and Specification for Web Off-set Publications (for more specialised Printing) – or in acronymic terms, SNAP, GRACOL and SWOP.

I kid you not – look it up on Google.

Who said the Americans didn’t have a sense of (sic) humor?

1 comment:

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