One of my clients, Susan, was wondering
if there was anything available as research for tips on press checks.
I'm glad to say, there most certainly is. The information below is a
compilation from: Sappi's-"How to Read a Press
Sheet" book, Potlatch's-"Potlatch
Problem Solver" book, and "Understanding Color"
per Stora Enso's, plus some very valuable input from various
press operators as well as my own
'Two Cents Worth', (Ok, we both know that I like to share...a lot! So, lets go
with my non-stop rambling...)
Actually, TK's Korner Press Check Tips really was published! in a National Magazine
called "Print & Media Buyer" in December of 2007.
To people outside of our field, who
simply look at pictures and read words, it may seem odd that pictures
aren't just pictures. For those of us in the industry, however, pictures are not passive - they're tools
used to convey ideas; which are affected by every shade, nuance, and detail (or lack thereof) that they contain. Logically, the degree to which we control this process determines how close we come to realizing our ideas.
Up Front STEP BY STEP
Establish communication with Tom Kubinski, your printing consultant, early on in the design stage
Talk about specs, budgets, expectations
and deadlines. Most importantly, talk about the vision of the piece and impact you want it to make, the look and feel you are going after. How is the client expected to feel when handling the piece? Is it meant to be a one-time view/throw away or a high profile piece with a long shelf life?
Discuss the actual design, images,
techniques or anything special that you have in mind. By
getting me involved with advance planning and discussions, you are ensured
that what you present and get approved is what you will receive back. Maybe you are open to options that may
enhance your piece or give it that little something extra. I want
to make sure that what you are creating can actually be produced or
to find you available options.
Remember, that what works or doesn't
for one project, doesn't necessarily mean it will or won't for the
Each project is unique in and
Mood settings and your expectations
on the color separations will require some considerations. Are you going
for overall pleasing color or are specific areas needing to match the
original image? Keep in mind the Compression Chart, located on page
14 of Sappi's book, that shows what the human eye sees vs.
what the camera or film can capture vs. what the printing press is actually
capable of producing! (Some colors are more easily reproduced
Remember to discuss the proper paper
selection in addition to the line screen you choose and how they will
affect your final outcome. The more dots an image contains equates to
a greater number of tones you can create as long as the resolution of
the scanned image is high enough to begin with.
Because offset printing involves
physically putting ink on paper, where the ink goes has an impact on
the things around it
Cross Over Hook-Ups - images
above/below others, 4cp tint stripping-amount of, size of areas, number
of different tints, etc. will dictate if a solid PMS color may be a
Mechanical Ghosting - ink
unevenly deposited in a particular area is another concern that may
creep into consideration. If preplanned, we can work the layout on press
to try to eliminate the threat. If it occurs while on press, we may
have a few options to try.
NOTE: Remember that your design
and how it appears on your computer screen may be viewed differently
on a press
sheet or signature
Has an enormous impact on the
final printed results of your images - not only on color, but
sharpness, print contrast, level of gloss and detail!
Variables to consider when choosing a paper: brightness, whiteness,
smoothness, flatness, type of surface - gloss,
dull, silk, matte, uncoated, paper weight and even opacity. Keep in
mind that if you have or are planning on family member
pieces, you need to keep everything on the same stock. I
have an excellentsample, FLINT's
Ink Color Quiz, that shows the same PMS red color on 15 different stocks
that looks as if there were about 10 different colors of red used. See also my Picking the Right Paper Issue, Ink Tour, and Paper Mill Tour - Coated and Paper Mill Tour - Uncoated issues
Aqueous and varnish not only protect
your piece, but can enhance the images and add a level of tactile richness
not otherwise possible. Your options for where and how to use these
are almost limitless. I
have a great binder with numerous one of a
kind samples available for you to view!.
NOTE: What you have done on one
family piece, may need to be done to all. Otherwise, you run the risk
variations even if you used the same images and paper
Keep in mind my issue that spoke
directly to UV concerns as well, see UV Burn, and Creative Coatings Techniques
Due to the variety of options available,
there is only one thing to keep in mind - none of them can duplicate
the final result perfectly. Knowing what your final piece must look
like helps you pick the most cost effective option.
OFFERS THE FOLLOWING:
A) Soft Proof
(Approval Required for Contract Proof) Proofing has just gotten
a little easier, thanks to Sexton Printing.
No more cumbersome email attachments and wondering if someone has the
correct version of software, or if they can receive files larger than
1mb. Soft proofs (also called Vproofs) allow you to proof your files
virtually anywhere, anytime and all you need is a web browser.
Here's how it works: This
digital proof can be accessed through any internet browser and is intended
for proofing corrections. Sexton's
Sales Dept can track the status
of a Soft Proof by browsing to:
(1 & 2 Color Layout Contract
Proof) Ours is a CMYK backed-up, two-sided, inkjet proof required for
all jobs regardless of other proof usage that also gives
you color designation. This proof is a complete mock-up of the printed
piece that is folded and cut down to size. There is a choice of 70 or
80lb uncoated paper. One could use this proof only for non-critical
color projects and to check copy, size, positioning of artwork, pagination
C) Match Proof
(Color Contract Proof) This is an
ICC profiled single-side,inkjet proof for jobs that require the most
accurate proof-to-press match. This proof is required for scatters,
press proofs, or color corrections. There is a choice of coated or uncoated paper for this proof, and
a clear overlay simulates varnished, die-lines or a 5th color.
D) Press Proof
An actual printed piece using your
images or stock art to see how they will reproduce. Naturally these
are more expensive and time consuming and
should be used only when other methods can't simulate the effect.
UP A PROOF:
Make sure that you are in a controlled
and color balanced (5000K ANSI* standards) room when checking color. The environment in which color is
viewed can change it dramatically. There is a RHEM Graphic Arts Light
Selector for Color Viewing available that helps you check to see
if you are in a properly controlled room.
In addition, how well you articulate
any corrections determines whether or not you'll get the changes you
want. I recommend noting general statements
about your wishes unless you feel confident in giving specific percentages
and or color moves. ie. Brighter, cleaner
color, Skin tones too warm, Soften highlights, More definition, detail, Open up - too heavy, etc.
Color" per Stora Enso's #5 issue: It's important to know that when printing, light passes through transparent inks of the three subtractive primary colors - C=cyan, M=magenta and Y=yellow, striking white paper and reflecting
back to the eye through the colored ink film. Call
me if you need more information on how this is beneficial not only during
press checks, but earlier in the proofing stage as well.
How each one affects the outcome
Cyan - pigment absorbs red and reflects or transmits
blue and green light
Magenta - pigment absorbs green and reflects red
and blue light
Yellow - pigment absorbs blue and reflects red
and green light
Black -is added to enhance
the depth and extend the tonal range of the colors
Conventional four color printing
can only reproduce approximately 100,000 distinct shades, while the
human eye can be anywhere from 1 million to 10 million. See the Compression
Chart link for additional info mentioned under Original Images
earlier in this issue.
NOTE: Difficult colors to capture
in 4 color process: Oranges, greens, purples, and intense shades of
any color plus
By this time, you
& I have covered all the bases, made the necessary changes and corrections.
This means the press OK should go fast, fun and uneventful.
Extra measures that
most are not aware of that are offered and used on EVERY press run by
Sexton (not utilized by other companies) -
Keep in mind that Sexton
uses a CIP4 Cooperation for Integration of Processes system (processes in, pre-press, press, post-press).
This means that all the settings for color in our proofs are transmitted
directly to the presses once you approve your proofs, which makes for
faster, more accurate and more economical press checks. Thus, making your job a whole
B) Heidelberg's Image Control
color measurement system
color differences and sends them to the press online. Quality control
outside the press supports the spectrophotometric measurement of the
entire printed image and simultaneous online color control. Operation
is easy and convenient, thanks to the touch-screen color display. A measuring bar scans the entire printed
image and breaks down a print sheet into more than 160,000 measuring
points. Each of these individual points is then compared with the corresponding
point on the OK sheet. Prinect Image Control then determines the deviations
from the predefined reference values and tells the operator automatically
what adjustments are needed. These are transferred online to the press,
which regulates the ink zones in the printing units. Up to four presses
can be connected to Prinect Image Control.
Check out the following links to see the
machine and learn more about it.
Plus there are other important extra quality processes that we have
show them to you at your next press check and you'll know why they
are important and not mentioned specifically in this issue.
NOTE: Keep in
mind that the cost of making changes increases significantly as the
process moves along
1) Laser stage, 2) Final Proofs, 3) Plates, 4) Press
CHECK - WHAT TO DO NEXT:
Make sure you have all supporting
materials on hand, ie. dyluxes, final color proof, companion pieces,etc.
Furnish me with your
family of pieces with any specifics so the press operator can start
with your end goal in mind.
Establish a rapport
with your operator who really understands their press capabilities and
how to get what you want.
(a make ready sheet that isn't
for color, but can be used for proofing content)
Check copy changes noted on dylux
Check design elements
Check positioning of art and type
Lastly, check stock - paper, weight
Mark sheet #1 and number all following
to track your moves
Check print quality
Overall color and balance
Type, crisp edges, any broken type?
Check for hickies, dirt or scratches
Check for consistent densities across
page. (Especially with cross over hook-ups etc.)
If you find areas of concern, be
sure to circle and draw a line out to white area of the sheet so your
notes don't get missed.
NOTE: Take your time and don't
try to do it all at once. Step back and get an overall view and impression.
sheet to your color proof and understand where a give-and-take may be
necessary. Speak in generalities about
adjustments so the press operator can decide what the press actually
needs to do to get there.
Also keep in mind the difference
between your proof material (its brightness, whiteness and coating)
compared to your printed stock. These differences will dictate what
may or may not be obtained on press
Continue to mark sheets in numerical
Double check previous adjustments
Check tints, with each color move,
they may have shifted
Check side to side, similar colors, especially cross overs
Confirm areas that get (or don't get!) coated, quantities, version differences, etc.
Finally, make sure that any changes
you've made aren't revising other critical areas due to the signature
NOTE: Don't be afraid to cut or
fold sheets, lay them next to one another, especially important with
cross over hook ups
And for those seasoned press checkers,
the color bar area has a lot of information to use to
your advantage. Pages 24 & 25 in the Sappi book has an excellent description of
Sign Off Sheet-
When you like it, sign it! If there's
a chance the piece may need to reorder, ask to have it recorded.
SPECIAL NOTES: For some colors,
even the smallest variance can shift the color significantly. The industry
are 5-6%. However, for some PMS colors and 4cp tints, a 3-4% variance
can have a profound effect. Neutral
grays, purples and colors that have a lot of transparency
color in them are the biggest culprits.
Potlatch's "PROBLEM SOLVER" Trouble Shooting:
Don't forget that proofing materials
will look different than the printed piece. First check the whiteness,
brightness, gloss etc. of your proof material to your projects stock.
Even the coatings will affect your final outcomes.
ie. A yellow stock to proof material
will mean that your colors will be yellower and glossier, no coating
on piece may mean colors are not as rich or vibrant, etc.
Hickies occur when
particles adhere to the plate or blanket, causing either a donut effect
or an unprinted void surrounded by printing
out ink fountain, drop fountain blade, clean, hot water wash, rollers,
add fresh ink from new can, change inks
Pick outs Ink is too tacky or coating is defective causing
stock to be pulled and deposited onto the blanket. Subsequent sheets show partial filling or absence
blankets, change inks, reduce ink tack, reduce impression cylinder pressure,
try different grade of stock.
Ink build up on the
blanket, eventually lifts off a portion of the image, pulls the fibers
or coating from the sheet.
a different lot of ink, adjust fountain solution levels, replace blanket
or try different grade of stock
when paper itself pulls apart during printing.
ink tack, back cylinder pressure or try different grade of stock.
or Slur-printing dots don't align, causing a blurred image
or color variance.
& clean grippers, lower ink tack, re-adjust feed table, try different
grade of stock.
Mottling happens when
ink lies unevenly on the sheet or in a solid area.
4cp/reverse cyan/magenta ink sequence tack. Put heavier coverage down
last and solid colors in last unit, increase press speed, try different
grade of stock.
The only solution
is to try a different grade of stock. Usually heavier or no
coating may be the answer.
I hope this gives
you some tools to use, and please keep your recommendations for subjects
to be covered in future issues coming at me!
------ CUT HERE AND TAKE WITH YOU TO YOUR NEXT PRESS CHECK ------
1) ___ Bring all supporting
materials with you - companion pieces, sign offs, etc.
2) ___ Look at final proofs and
3) ___ Number all press sheets
in upper right hand corner consecutively with the changes you are making
4) ___ Look at overall color
to see if OK or needing adjustment
5) ___ Make general color
comments so operator may adjust according to where the press has
been, and can go - ie.
"Flesh tones too warm/jaundiced looking, Whites too dirty"
6) ___ If cross overs are present,
check color consistency of different positions
7) ___ If using 4 color
process tints, check color consistency throughout
8) ___ If PMS colors are
being used, check against PMS book or color chips
9) ___ Check registration marks
if color is not adjusting properly
10) ___ Check for hickeys or picking,
before final sign off
11) ___ If coating with varnish
or aqueous, check for registration and smooth application
12) ___ If mailing and using a
coating, is a knock-out necessary for ink jetting, lasering or written
Lastly, 13) ___ Sign off when everything
looks good! Make any last
minute notes on sheet for operator to watch for or do while getting
up to speed on press and ask for the number of press sheets you'd like
to take back!
Stay tuned for the next issue of TK's Korner. You just might be surprised!
Please refer back and visit often the entire library of TK's Korners where you will find information on subjects that may be of interest to you like:
Creative Coatings Techniques
Picking the Right Paper
Press Check Tips
Ways to Save Money
Why Print in a Down Market?
Why Work With TK?
BE SURE TO CHECK THEM OUT!
Hope this helps and stay tuned for the next issue of TK's Korner. You never know what might be covered!
If you have a production issue not discussed above that you would like me to address, or a project that needs to be looked at, please give me a call or send me an email. I will do whatever it takes to ensure you get the best value for every marketing dollar invested.
You can also check out my profile, join my network and view more client comments on LinkedIn at:
Referrals are greatly appreciated, if you know someone I could help, or who might like to receive TK's Korner, please let me know.
Take care and have a great day!
Tom Kubinski, Printing Consultant
Printing Consultant Who Helps You Make Good Impressions
Direct: (651) 255-1225
Cell: (612) 760-3700
Selected portions reprinted in Print & Media Buyer, a national magazine for the print industry. (Search for Tom Kubinski)
Print & Media Buyer Magazine, Winter issue 2007
Below, please find a PODi case study of nationally recognized campaign plus 3 issues that have been published in a National magazine.
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