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Process Controls Start-up Kit Part # 7341

GCA/GATF Digital Proof Comparator 2.0.3


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300%/400% SWOP, 133lpi user screen 80K 80C 70M 70Y

user defined screen 100 100

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Copyright 19971998, GATF/Systems of Merritt

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Serial#; CompanyName Mac Distiller PS Version: 2017.801; level 2 Hres: 600 Vres: 600 Dir: Halftone Type: 2

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Serial#; CompanyName Mac Distiller PS Version: 2017.801; level 2 Hres: 600 Vres: 600 Dir: Halftone Type: 2

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Serial#; CompanyName Mac Distiller PS Version: 2017.801; level 2 Hres: 600 Vres: 600 Dir: Halftone Type: 2

3 Copyright 19951998 Version 1.1.3 42.3 84.7 127.0 169.3 2pixels 4pixels circle

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Serial#; CompanyName Mac Distiller PS Version: 2017.801; level 2 Hres: 600 Vres: 600 Dir: Halftone Type: 2

3 Copyright 19951998 Version 1.1.3 42.3 84.7 127.0 169.3 2pixels 4pixels circle

4 solid 50/200 99.5 99 98 97 96 95 uncorrected scale (top)/corrected scale (bottom)

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Copyright 1999 Graphic Arts Technical Foundation All Rights Reserved Printed in the United States of America

Reproduction in any form by any means without specific written permission is prohibited.

Agreement for Use


The Process Controls Start-up Kit (Part # 7341) is sold for use in a single site by the purchaser. It is unlawful to distribute this product to other parties without the express written consent of GATF.

Graphic Arts Technical Foundation 200 Deer Run Road Sewickley, PA 15143-2600 Phone: 412/741-6860 Fax: 412/741-2311 Email: info@gatf.lm.com Internet: www.gatf.org

Orders to: GATF Orders P.O. Box 1020 Sewickley, PA 15143-1020 Phone (U.S. and Canada): 800/662-3916 Phone (all other countries): 412/741-5733 Fax: 412/741-0609 Email: gatforders@abdintl.com

Process Controls Start-up Kit User Guide

Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Target Descriptions Proof Comparator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-1 Highlight /Shadow Target . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-2 Microline Target . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-2 Checkerboard Patterns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-2 Positive and Negative Semi-Circles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-2 Solid CMYK Patches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-3 CMYK Tints(25, 50, 75%) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-3 RGB Solid Overprints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-3 RGB Tints(25, 50, 75%) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-3 Total Ink Coverage Target . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-3 GATF Star Targets/Vignettes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-4 Pictoral Montage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-4 SWOP gray balance patches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1-5 GATF Digital Plate Control Target . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2-1 Variable Information Block . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2-2 Horizontal/Vertical Microlines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2-3 Checkerboard Pattern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2-4 Curved Microlines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2-5 GATF Star Target . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2-6 Solid Coverage Patch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2-6 50% Reference tint patches(150 & 200 lpi) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2-6 Highlight/Shadow Target . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2-7 Tone Scales(corrected and uncorrected) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2-7 Production Color Bar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3-1 25, 50, 75% Tint Patches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3-2 Solid Ink Patches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3-3 Star Target . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3-4 300% Patch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3-5 3 Color Gray Patch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3-6 RGB Overprints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3-7 Printing and Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3-8 Dot Gain/Print Contrast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3-9 Ink Trapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3-10 Color Hexagon Instructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3-10 Color Hexagon Chart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3-11

Process Controls Start-up Kit

The GCA/GATF Digital Proof Comparator


How can you be sure that the proof accompanying the digital file of your brochure or ad work is an accurate representation of the information in the file? The GCA/GATF Proof Comparator is used as a reference tool to determine quality and control of each proof, comparing visually ( with the photo image or gray balance) or densitometrically with screen tints and solid density. Use the target to determine whether the digital imaging system is accurately and consistently reproducing the digital files that are processed through it, and also measure key attributes of the imaging system. The target also contains targets that measure the exposure resolution and directional effects of the imaging system in addition to its reproduction characteristics. A unique aspect of the target is that it carries on a two-way dialogue with the RIP and changes its dimensional tolerances and element sizing in response to the resolution of the output device. To install the Digital Proof Comparator, follow the installation instructions in the Read Me file on the CD.

will provide valuable feedback as to whether an electronic imaging device is performing within specifications and with a high degree of consistency. Specifically, the target can tell whether the requested resolution is being utilized for output, how well the imaging device writes in horizontal versus vertical directions, whether data with circular or semicircular components is rendered with fidelity equal to horizontal and vertical elements, whether the addressability of the imaging device is sufficient to render the requested level of fine detail, whether areas of solid coverage have sufficient maximum density (Dmax) values, and how well requested halftone dot percentages are rendered on output. To install the Digital Plate Control targets, follow the instructions in the Read Me file on the CD.

Purpose of the Color Bar

The Production Color Bar is a basic 4-color bar that will aid in the characterization and run control of a printing press. The bar can be repeated to achieve any size across a press sheet, and has user defined screen rulings. The GATF Production Color Bar meets the specific needs for a particular segment of the printing industry. This is representative of the growing requirement for specialization in control images in the graphic arts industry. The design of the GATF Production Control Bar is the result of careful analysis of the requirements for process control of a sheetfed lithographic press. The bar contains elements to measure ink densities, dot gain (25%, 50%, 75%), print contrast, gray balance, and ink trapping as well as directionally sensitive targets to monitor slur or doubling. The design of the GATF Production Control Bar incorporates a wide variety of elements while still providing the frequent solid ink measurements needed to achieve balanced For applications that utilize direct to plate systems, GATF has developed two companion products, the Single-Tier Four-Color Smart Control Bar and the Two-Tier SixColor Smart Control Bar. These color bars actually carry on a dialogue with the RIP and reports valuable information to the user via the color bar information line. These two smart color bars will be followed by other configurations as our development efforts in this line continue.

GATF/Systems of Merritt Digital Plate Control Target


The GATF/Systems of Merritt Digital Plate Control Target is a test device written in native PostScript language. It is designed to monitor electronic imaging devices, particularly platesetters and imagesetters. The digital file displays data obtained directly from the raster image processor (RIP). It contains a variety of targets sensitive to exposure, resolution, and directional effects. The physical dimensions of the imaged target are 0.5 6.0 in. (12.7 152.4 mm). This target has been developed in response to the increasing use of digital workflows where it is often inconvenient and/or impractical to resort to traditional film-based targets to monitor process variations. The Digital Plate Control Target provides an easy-to-use tool for confirming that input specifications are being observed by an electronic imaging device and that the output is at a consistent level of quality. It eliminates the uncertainty about whether the RIP in an electronic imaging device is following the operators instructions or being diverted by internal or external overrides, and whether it is capable of performing as requested. It provides a consistent means of monitoring exposure level, checking imaging resolution, diagnosing directional effects or image inconsistencies, and confirming platesetter/imagesetter linearization. When the Digital Plate Control Target is used in accordance with the procedures set forth in the users guide it

Digital Proof Comparator User Guide

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GCA/GATF Digital Proof Comparator 2.0.3


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user defined screen 95 96 97 98 99 Serial#; CompanyName Mac Distiller PS Version: 2017.801; level 2 Hres: 600 Vres: 600 Dir: Halftone Type: 2 Multibit Pixel 42.4 84.7 127.1 5 4 3 2 1

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top: 75c,63m,63y; bot: 75k

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Copyright 19971998, GATF/Systems of Merritt

Digital Proof Comparator User Guide

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Digital Proof Comparator User Guide

GCA/GATF Digital Proof Comparator 2.0.3


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user defined screen 95 96 97 98 99 Serial#; CompanyName Mac Distiller PS Version: 2017.801; level 2 Hres: 600 Vres: 600 Dir: Halftone Type: 2 Multibit Pixel 42.4 84.7 127.1 5 4 3 2 1

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SWOP

Copyright 19971998, GATF/Systems of Merritt

Figure 1-3. Positive and negative semi-circles. Figure 1-1. Positive and negative microline targets. Figure 1-2. Pixel checkerboard patterns.

Figure 1-4. Highlight/shadow section.

Digital Proof Comparator


The GCA/GATF Digital Proof Comparator 2.0 is the first native PostScript version of this device, which has been used to monitor analog and digital proofing systems since 1984. (The first digital version appeared in 1990.) The digital proof comparator reports information about the RIP. The information displayed includes the registered user, PostScript version, horizontal resolution, vertical resolution, direction of travel, screen ruling, dot shape, and screen angle. Several pixel-based resolution elements are clustered together in the lower left portion of the target. In each of the resolution patterns the imaging system is addressed in its basic units (pixels). The size in microns of the target elements are computed and displayed as well. The first series of patterns are horizontal and vertical microlines (Figure 1-1) in positive (20/80) and negative (80/20) fields. Such patterns are displayed for 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-pixel line widths. For high-resolution imaging systems these pixel line patterns are very sensitive exposure monitoring targets. Adjacent to the pixel line patterns are the pixel checkerboard patterns (Figure 1-2) in 1-, 2-, 3, and 4-pixel sizes. The one-pixel checkerboard, for example, is made up of a pattern created by one-pixel-on, one-pixel-off exposure. This is the first pattern of squares that the system can write. Some imaging systems cannot successfully hold a one-pixel checkerboard pattern. Each of the checkerboard patterns should appear as a medium shade of gray with equally sized black-and-white elements. The last group of resolution targets are the positive and negative semi-circles (Figure 1-3) at 1, 2, 3, and 4 pixels. Drawing a curved line is more difficult for an imaging system than a horizontal or vertical line. Thus, the one-pixel curved lines are the most difficult challenge given to the imaging system. All of the resolution targets are sensitive to exposure inaccuracies during imaging. The straight line and semi-circular elements are also sensitive to directional bias in the imaging system. The highlight/shadow section (Figure 1-4) of the digital proof comparator is used to find the smallest and largest reproducible dots of an imaging system. The dot values vary from 1 to 5% and from 95 to 90% for each process color. A hand magnifier is used to find the first and last imaged dots for each color. These values form the end points for the tone values that should be used.

Digital Proof Comparator User Guide

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GCA/GATF Digital Proof Comparator 2.0.3


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user defined screen 95 96 97 98 99 Serial#; CompanyName Mac Distiller PS Version: 2017.801; level 2 Hres: 600 Vres: 600 Dir: Halftone Type: 2 Multibit Pixel 42.4 84.7 127.1 5 4 3 2 1

300%/400% SWOP, 133lpi user screen 80K 80C 70M 70Y

user defined screen 100 100

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top: 75c,63m,63y; bot: 75k

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Copyright 19971998, GATF/Systems of Merritt

Figure 1-5. Total Coverage Patches

Figure 1-6. Three-color tone patches.

Figure 1-7. 25, 50, 75, and 100% tone values. Leftside scales are imaged at the screen ruling and dot shape selected by the user at output. Right-side scales are imaged at 133 lpi with square dots.

The two total coverage patches (Figure 1-5) are at 400% (100C, 100M, 100Y, 100K) and 300% (80C, 70M, 70Y, 80K) values. The 400% is the darkest obtainable tone for the imaging system. The 300% patch is the darkest tone allowed by SWOP for magazine production. These patches, as well as all the other tone value patches, are measured with a reflection densitometer to quantify the findings. The values should be consistent between samples from the same imaging system, and they can be used to compare the results of different imaging systems. Figure 1-6 shows a section of the GCA/GATF Digital Proof Comparator 2.0 that contains the three-color tone patches. The three-color patches are imaged in the user-defined screen ruling and dot shape on the right. They are repeated on the left at 133 lpi. The values of the three-color patches are as follows: 25% = 25C 25M 25Y 50% = 50C 50M 50Y 75% = 75C 75M 75Y 100% = 100C 100M 100Y The GCA/GATF Digital Proof Comparator 2.0 contains 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% tone values (Figure 1-7) to characterize the rendition of the process colors, plus blue, green, and red. There are two sections of this element that have the same arrangement of patches but different dot shape and screen ruling. The left side scales are imaged at the screen ruling and dot shape selected by the user at output. The right side scales are imaged at 133 lpi with square dots, as specified by SWOP. The tone patches are measured with a densitometer. Differences that are due to screen ruling and dot shape will be evident by the different readings from the two sides of the target. The tone patches in these sections can be used to construct multiple hexagons at the 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% levels. The use of concentric color hexagons as an analysis tool is described later in this manual.

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Digital Proof Comparator User Guide

GCA/GATF Digital Proof Comparator 2.0.3


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cyan Halftone Type 2


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magenta Halftone Type 2

yellow Halftone Type 2


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black Halftone Type 2


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user defined screen 95 96 97 98 99 Serial#; CompanyName Mac Distiller PS Version: 2017.801; level 2 Hres: 600 Vres: 600 Dir: Halftone Type: 2 Multibit Pixel 42.4 84.7 127.1 5 4 3 2 1

300%/400% SWOP, 133lpi user screen 80K 80C 70M 70Y

user defined screen 100 100

SWOP 133 lines per inch

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100K 100C 100M 100Y

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1 pix. 2 pix. 1 pix. 2 pix.

top: 25c,16m,16y; bot: 25k

top: 50c,39m,39y; bot: 50k

top: 75c,63m,63y; bot: 75k

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2 pixels

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3 pix. 4 pix. 3 pix. 4 pix.

user defined screen

user screen

SWOP

Copyright 19971998, GATF/Systems of Merritt

Figure 1-8. Vignettes and star targets for each process color.

Figure 1-8. Vignettes and star targets for each process color.

Figure 1-9. Pictorial montage.

The GCA/GATF Digital Proof Comparator 2.0 contains vignettes for each process color that graduate from 0 to 100% dot size (Figure 1-8). The vignettes are composed of the halftone dots selected by the user. The vignettes are useful for evaluating whether an imaging system is exhibiting banding. Banding is an objectionably abrupt tone jump in what should be a smooth transition of tones. When the number of gray levels sup-ported by a color system is too low banding will occur, but it can also be exhibited by high-resolution imaging systems due to a variety of mechanical and photochemical causes. The transition of tones in vignettes of different process colors should be the same. For one instance, one color should not change value more abruptly than the others. The star targets (Figure 8) that are located next to the vignette elements are used to indicate the resolution of the imaging system and to display any directional bias that a system exhibits. When the filled-in center of the star target is enlarged, lower resolution is indicated. If the central portion of the target is distorted (i.e., not round), a directional bias in the imaging device is present. If the central portion of the star target is elliptical, for instance, the imaging system has higher resolution parallel to the short axis of the ellipse and lower resolution parallel to the long axis. The pictorial montage that occupies the center of the Digital Proof Comparator (Figure 1-9) provides a carefully composed photographic image to visually assess differences between output systems and successive samples from the same output device. The photographic image is used to assess tone reproduction, color correction, and contrast of imaging systems. The womans face in the photograph provides familiar flesh tones for the human evaluation. Subtle differences in the contrast of the output system will be seen as changes in the reproduction of the flesh tones. The yarns and other objects in the photograph contain a variety of saturated and pastel colors from different areas of the color space.

Digital Proof Comparator User Guide

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GCA/GATF Digital Proof Comparator 2.0.3


0

cyan Halftone Type 2


100

magenta Halftone Type 2

yellow Halftone Type 2


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black Halftone Type 2


100

100

100

user defined screen 95 96 97 98 99 Serial#; CompanyName Mac Distiller PS Version: 2017.801; level 2 Hres: 600 Vres: 600 Dir: Halftone Type: 2 Multibit Pixel 42.4 84.7 127.1 5 4 3 2 1

300%/400% SWOP, 133lpi user screen 80K 80C 70M 70Y

user defined screen 100 100

SWOP 133 lines per inch

75

75

100K 100C 100M 100Y

50

50

25

25

169.4

1 pix. 2 pix. 1 pix. 2 pix.

top: 25c,16m,16y; bot: 25k

top: 50c,39m,39y; bot: 50k

top: 75c,63m,63y; bot: 75k

1 pixel

2 pixels

3 pixels

4 pixels

3 pix. 4 pix. 3 pix. 4 pix.

user defined screen

user screen

SWOP

Copyright 19971998, GATF/Systems of Merritt

Figure 1-10. Three-color gray bars.

Shifts in the color rendition of an output device would result in color differences in these objects. The slate surface that the yarn and other objects sit on is a difficult shade of gray. Subtle differences in color rendition will cause noticeable hue changes in this near-neutral surface. When an output system is calibrated with the GATF Digital Test Form 4.0, the photographic image in the Digital Proof Comparator is used as a visual reference against which later prints are compared. Visual three-color gray bars (Figure 1-10) are also contained on the GCA/GATF Digital Proof Comparator 2.0. The 25%, 50%, and 75% gray values on these bars are from SWOP: 25% 50% 75% = = = 25C 50C 75C 16M 39M 63M 16Y 39Y 63Y

Each of the three-color gray patches is adjacent to a black tone patch of 25%, 50%, or 75% value. The black tone patches provide visual references for accessing the neutrality of the three-color patches. Each of the gray patches is divided vertically into two halves of matching cyan, magenta, and yellow combinations. The left halves of the targets are reproduced with the user-defined screen ruling and dot shape, while the right halves are composed of 133-lpi square dots. Since different screen rulings will exhibit different tone value changes in an imaging system, the two halves may not match visually. Such differences are readily apparent with the arrangement of patches on the Digital Proof Comparator. It is possible to measure these target areas with a hand-held spectrophotometer to quantify differences or access neutrality. The stand-alone version of the GCA/GATF Digital Proof Comparator 2.0 should be used to monitor digital output devices such as proofing systems. The combination of the photographic image with the precise native PostScript targets provides a highly analytical measuring device that is also easily used and visually accessible.

Digital Plate Control Target User Guide

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Serial#; CompanyName Mac Distiller PS Version: 2017.801; level 2 Hres: 600 Vres: 600 Dir: Halftone Type: 2

3 Copyright 19951998 Version 1.1.3 42.3 84.7 127.0 169.3 2pixels 4pixels circle

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Digital Plate Control Target User Guide

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Digital Plate Control Target User Guide

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GATF/Systems of Merritt Digital Plate Control Target


Serial#; CompanyName Mac Distiller PS Version: 2017.801; level 2 Hres: 600 Vres: 600 Dir: Halftone Type: 2 Copyright 19951998 Version 1.1.3
Figure 2-1. Information Block.

GATF/Systems of Merritt Digital Plate Control Target


The GATF/Systems of Merritt Digital Plate Control Target is best analyzed with a combination of visual and measurement techniques. Several of the crucial elements are evaluated with the aid of a hand magnifier, while the tone scales are best quantified with reflection or optical measurements. Studies have shown that measurements on printing plates can be effective if the measuring devices are properly tested and calibrated with the particular plate being used. The information block (figure 2-1) should be examined to determine if the output of the RIP is the same frequency, angle, and spot function as was specified in prepress. (The Digital Plate Control Target recognizes the frequency, angle, and spot function override feature of Harlequin RIPs.) When the target images a small dagger shape beside one of these values, it indicates that the RIP has overridden the value specified in the application program. The value accompanying the dagger will be the actual value on the plate, not the specified value from the application. After imaging the Digital Plate Control Target onto a plate or film, the elements of the target can be analyzed according to the steps that follow.

Digital Plate Control Target User Guide

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Serial#; CompanyName Mac Distiller PS Version: 2017.801; level 2 Hres: 600 Vres: 600 Dir: Halftone Type: 2

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Figure 2-2 Positive and negative microline targets.

Figure 2-3 Correct exposure showing positive and negative microlines imaged at the same width.

Figure 2-4. Overexposure of a negative plate exposed in writeblack mode, causing negative microlines to fill in.

Figure 2-5 Overexposure of a positive plate exposed in writewhite mode, causing positive microlines to be erased due to undercutting.

Horizontal and vertical microlines. Visual evaluation of the horizontal and vertical
microline elements (figure 2-2) can provide a quick indication of the exposure level and resolution capability of an output device/recording medium combination. First, the output resolution can be read from the information block and compared with the expected output resolution. Second, the accuracy of the line rendition is evaluated visually. Proper exposure is indicated when the positive and negative microlines are imaged at the same width (figure 2-3). With negative-acting systems, the effect of increased exposure levels is to cause the negative microlines to become filled in(figure 2-4). With positive-acting systems, overexposure causes the positive microlines to be erased due to undercutting(figure 2-5). With some systems, proper exposure is judged from the two-pixel patterns because imaging onepixel positive and negative lines exceeds the capabilities of the system. It is useful to note whether the vertical microlines are rendered as well as the horizontal ones. Inconsistencies in the imaging of horizontal and vertical microlines indicate directional differences in the output system. Refer to the arrow in the information block to determine whether the vertical or horizontal lines are in the direction of travel. If the distortion is inline with the feed direction this may indicate problems with synchronization between the transport mechanism and the speed of the write head. If the direction of distortion is at 90 to the feed direction, this may indicate inconsistencies in the perpendicular motion of the write head. Visual analysis of microlines with an 83 loupe may reveal breaks and jogs that are not apparent to the unaided eye. These irregularities are often caused by stop spiral errors. For imaging devices with a write head that responds as soon as rasterized data is available from the RIP, errors in PostScript code may result in pauses or hesitations in the stream of rasterized data coming from the write head which, in turn, may cause breaks and jogs in the microlines. Imaging devices in which the write head waits until a complete file is RIPed often produce smoother microlines.

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Digital Plate Control Target User Guide

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Figure 2-6. Pixel checkerboard patterns.

One-pixel through four-pixel checkerboard. The checkerboard quadrants (figure 2-6),


which contain rows and columns of squares measuring 1 1, 2 2, 3 3, or 4 4 pixels in size, are extremely sensitive to the addressability of an imaging device. Nearly all imaging systems/recording media systems have difficulty rendering the 1 1 pixel quadrant with sharp detail. If the overall appearance of the quadrant is indistinct, with soft edges between negative and positive elements, or no clear demarcation between the two, then the addressability of the imaging device or recording media has been exceeded. With proper exposure, the resulting pattern at the higher pixel sizes should approximate an accurate checkerboard. If the pattern of dark squares is too large, it is an indication of an overexposed negative-acting plate. Conversely, if the light squares are too large it indicates an overexposed positiveacting plate. Many imaging systems/recording media combinations cannot successfully image less than a threepixel checkerboard at 10-micron pixel size. This may not be a factor of exposure, but rather of resolving capability.

Digital Plate Control Target User Guide


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GATF/Systems of Merritt Digital Plate Control Target


Serial#; CompanyName Mac Distiller PS Version: 2017.801; level 2 Hres: 600 Vres: 600 Dir: Halftone Type: 2

3 Copyright 19951998 Version 1.1.3 42.3 84.7 127.0 169.3 2pixels 4pixels circle

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Figure 2-7 Positive and negative semicircles.

Negative and positive curved microlines. The curved microlines, both negative and
positive, are very sensitive to exposure variation and directional effects in the imaging device. When the exposure is correct, positive and negative patches are rendered equally well. Underexposure of negative-acting systems causes the positive curves to image intermittently or drop out entirely. Overexposure causes negative microlines to fill in (figure 2-7). With positive-acting systems, underexposure causes negative microlines to be plugged, and overexposure causes positive microlines to be dropped out. The addition of small crosses in the circular microline patterns provides an additional level of complexity for the write head of the imaging device in attempting to render horizontal, vertical, and arcing directions equally well. Typically, the arcing microline is the one most susceptible to breaks and jogs. The small crosses extend halfway through the pattern of microlines (figure 2-7). This enables the evaluator to easily distinguish the boundaries between quadrants, while still leaving a sample of curved microlines to butt together (uninterrupted by a line of demarcation). Thus, if the imaging system is not maintaining a clear dimensional distinction between curved lines of different thicknesses, it will be evident at the points where the arced lines join together.

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Digital Plate Control Target User Guide

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3 Copyright 19951998 Version 1.1.3 42.3 84.7 127.0 169.3 2pixels 4pixels circle

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Figure 2-8 Star Target, Solid Patch, 50/150 and 50/200 target

Star target. The star target element in the Digital Plate Control Target is useful as a visual indicator of resolution and directional bias. The smaller the filled-in center of the star target is, the higher the resolution of the system. The resolutions of different systems can be compared by examining the imaged star targets. If the center of the star forms a rough ellipse, then directional bias is present. The direction of greater imaging density is perpendicular to the long axis of the ellipse. Thus, if the ellipse appears to be horizontally aligned, the vertical direction is imaging with greater density than the horizontal direction. When the Digital Plate Control Target is printed on a press, the star target provides sensitivity to dot gain, slur, and doubling.

Solid patch. The primary value of the solid patch is to provide a means for calibration of measuring instruments. When negative images are made of the target, the solid patch represents the minimum densityfilm density plus fog. When positive images are made, the solid patch represents 100% coverage.

50/150 and 50/200 reference tints. These 50% screen-tint patches at 150- and 200-line
screen rulings are helpful in comparing changes in dot gain due to increased screen resolution. When used in conjunction with the 50% tint patch on the corrected tone scale, the user has three reference points for evaluating midtone dot gain. Dot gain increases with finer screen rulings, partly because of the increase in total dot perimeter area of the finer screens. Higher screen rulings afford the opportunity to render finer detail in the press sheet reproduction. The drawback is that finer screens are more susceptible than their coarser counterparts to printing problems related to paper surface and ink/water balance. (If you are using a Harlequin RIP, when the frequency override is enabled, the Digital Plate Control Target will override the Harlequin frequency for the 150- and 200-lpi patches.)

Digital Plate Control Target User Guide


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GATF/Systems of Merritt Digital Plate Control Target


Serial#; CompanyName Mac Distiller PS Version: 2017.801; level 2 Hres: 600 Vres: 600 Dir: Halftone Type: 2

3 Copyright 19951998 Version 1.1.3 42.3 84.7 127.0 169.3 2pixels 4pixels circle

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Figure 2-9 Highlight/Shadow reference patches.

Figure 2-10 Tone Scales.

Uncorrected and corrected tone scales. The highlight/shadow reference patches (figure 29) on the left side of the tone scales are designed to accurately show the minimum and maximum halftone dot size that an imaging system is capable of rendering. On the upper scale are the requested input dot values that are unaffected by halftone compensation settings. The bottom scale displays the halftone output values of the imaging device that are subject to compensation. In addition to highlight and shadow halftone dot rendition, the highlight and shadow reference patches are also useful for evaluating exposure latitude. For example, if a plate is imaged at 75% or 150% (1/2 f/stop under or 1/2 f/stop over) of its normal exposure and still shows good highlight and shadow dot rendition, it is referred to as having good (or wide) exposure latitude. On the other hand, if the exposure variations show a significant loss of highlight or shadow detail, the plate is said to have poor, or narrow, exposure latitude. The full-size tonal scales (figure 2-10), with 5-mm2 (0.230.2-in.) patches running from 10% to 90%, plus 25% and 75% patches to represent quarter-tones and three-quarter tones, also appear in uncorrected and corrected versions. Their purpose is to provide convenient reference points on the tone reproduction scale where measurements can be made of the differences in halftone dot size. The 5mm2 patch size provides for easy measurement with a densitometer equipped with a standard reading aperture of 3.6 mm. In some instances, the user may find that differences between the uncorrected and corrected patches on the tonal scale are too slight to be measured accurately with a densitometer. For these cases, it may be advantageous to produce photomicrographs of the halftone dot structure, and from the corresponding reflection prints, measure dot areas with an electronic planimeter. This technique is used frequently in the GATF ink testing laboratory. The screen ruling of the tonal scales, including the small highlight and shadow patches, is determined by the specified resolution for the imaging system in use. It may range from 106 lpi with a 600dpi laser printer up to 300 lpi or more for an imagesetter or platesetter at 4,000 dpi. The dot shape of the patches in the tonal scale is round. Because dot gain is influenced by the shape of the dots, particularly the ratio of the total dot area perimeter to the percentage of dot coverage, round dots represent a standard for minimal dot gain against which other dot shapes can be compared. This is due to the low perimeter to tonal value ratio of round dots relative to other patterns.

GATF Production Control Bar User Guide

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GATF Production Control Bar (version 2.4)

GATF Production Control Bar User Guide

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GATF Production Control Bar User Guide

C M Y K

GATF Production Control Bar (version 2.4)

GATF Production Control Bar (v


Figure 3-1 25% 50%, 75% tint patches.

25%, 50%, 75% tint patches


There are 25%, 50%, and 75% tint patches (figure 3-1) included on the color bar to measure dot gain for each of the four colors.. There are 4 repeats of each of the process colors across the color bar. Three different tone values are used because the dot gain is not symmetrical throughout the scale. The 50% value is used to characterize the dot gain of the system because it will be the highest of the three. Dot gain is the increase in dot size between the value assigned in prepress and the printed dot area measured on the press sheet. Total dot gain is comprised of a mechanical and an optical component. There are different formulas for calculating dot gain that isolate the two components. The Preucil formula given in this manual provides total dot gain values, which are the values of greatest interest to the printer. Most densitometers will automatically calculate printed dot area. To obtain dot gain values, the target dot area is subtracted from the printed dot area. The dot area calculation is dependent on the relationship between the solid and the tint. To obtain accurate results, the solid density should be measured from the same ink key zone as the tint density. The GATF Production Control Bar has solid patches imaged adjacent to the tint patches to facilitate this measurement. See page 3-9 for further instructions and the formula to calculate Dot Gain.

GATF Production Control Bar User Guide

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GATF Production Control Bar (version 2.4)

Figure 3-2 Solid Ink patches.

Solid Patches
The GATF Production Control Bar has CMYK solid ink patches (figure 3-2) to provide thorough monitoring of the ink densities across the press form. This allows the press operator to set the ink keys to provide uniform inking. The solid ink densities are read on the printed sheets with a densitometer to establish the ink settings for the press run. In some instances ink settings are determined by in-house or industry-wide specifications (SWOP or GRACoL). In other cases, the ink densities are adjusted to obtain a best visual match with the supplied color proof. If the latter approach is used, it is common that the ink settings for a given color will not be the same across the press form. A reflection densitometer is used to monitor solid ink densities. It is important to realize that densitometers differ from one another in spectral sensitivity and aperture size. All densitometers are suitable for in-house process control purposes, but if density numbers are communicated between plants then all the plants should use matching densitometers. The spectral sensitivity of a densitometer is determined by the filter set, the light source, and the lightsensitive device. The broadest difference in spectral response is found between narrow-band and wide-band instruments. This refers to the band pass of the filter set that is used. In general wide-band densitometers are more popular in the U.S. while narrow band is more popular in Europe. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has defined a set of spectral responses for wideband densitometers that is designated Status-T. Densitometers of different manufacture will agree with each other on measured densities if they both conform to the Status-T standard. Density recommendations published by SWOP and GRACoL are Status-T densities. The density values measured from wet ink samples will be different than the densities of dry ink samples. This phenomenon, known as dryback, is principally due to the change in gloss that occurs as the ink dries. The dry samples will generally be less glossy and have lower measured densities than the wet samples. The amount of dryback to expect changes with the ink and paper used.. It is an important consideration when reprinting a job and trying to match the densities that were used on the earlier press run.

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GATF Production Control Bar User Guide

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GATF Production Control Bar (version 2.4)

Figure 3-3 Star targets in all four inks.

Figure 3-4 Excessive Dot gain.

Figure 3-5 Directional bias.

Figure 3-6 Doubling.

Star Targets
The GATF Production Color Bar contains star targets in each of the four colors to monitor slur, doubling, and dot gain changes during the printing operation. The star target consists of a circular pattern of alternating solid and clear wedges that culminate at the center of the target in a tiny clear circle. In total, there are 36 solid wedges (each encompassing five degrees of rotation and separated by five degrees of clear space). The star targets are visually evaluated and they are very sensitive to directional affects that adversely effect print quality. The star targets on the ok-sheet are used as a reference for comparison with the star targets taken from sample sheets during the pressrun. Although some interpretation is needed to decipher the star target, the press operators quickly gain familiarity with the appearance of a well-printed star target. The visual conditions that indicate problems are as follows: An enlarged central portion (figure 3-4) of the target that is round in shape is an indication that a high amount of dot gain has occurred. An enlarged central portion of the star target (figure 3-5) that is oval in shape indicates that directional slurring is present. The direction of the slur is perpendicular to the long axis of the oval. A figure-eight pattern in the center of the star target (figure 3-6) shows when doubling has occurred The small clear center of the star target will generally remain open during sheetfed printing. When the center is filling-in completely, then excessive dot gain or slur is occurring. The advantage of the star target is that it helps to diagnose the causes of conditions that will all result in higher dot gain readings if a densitometer alone is used. It is also very quickly evaluated, thus saving time during the pressrun when the operator is typically very busy.

GATF Production Control Bar User Guide

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GATF Production Control Bar (version 2.4)

Figure 3-7 Ink Coverage Patch.

300% Ink Coverage Patch


The GATF Production Bar has a four-color overprint patch of 300% total coverage to measure the maximum ink density that will be achieved by a press system. The highest theoretical dot area coverage is 400% (100% coverage from each color), but it is impractical to use 400% coverage because the ink will not transfer or set properly. The SWOP specifications allow no more than 300% total coverage for color separations destined for reproduction by heatset web printing. GRACoL recommends coverage values from 240% to 320% depending on the type of paper used. The dot distributions in the 300% patch follows the SWOP recommendation of 80% black, 80% cyan, 70% magenta, and 70% yellow.

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GATF Production Control Bar User Guide

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GATF Production Control Bar (version 2.4)

Figure 3-8 3-Color gray patch.

(L1-L2)2+(a1-a2)2+(b1-b2)2

Where: L1 = Sample reading : L2 = Reference reading a1 = Sample reading : a2 = Reference reading b1 = Sample reading : b2 = Reference reading

3-Color Gray Patch


The GATF Production Control Bar also contains a 0.25-in. wide three-color gray patch with an adjacent 50% black tint patch for reference. The distribution of dot sizes in the three-color patch is: 50% cyan, 39% magenta, 39% yellow, which corresponds to the recommended gray balance values from SWOP. The hue of gray formed in this patch should be close to neutral for typical process inks used in sheetfed lithography. The 50% black patch adjacent to the 50% gray provides a known neutral. Ideally, the hue of the three-color gray patch will be a close match to the black tint patch. The hue of the three-color gray patch is extremely sensitive to shifts in the printed densities of the inks. The cyan, magenta, and yellow inks are simultaneously monitored with the three-color gray patch. Visual analysis is generally used by making a side-by-side comparison of the gray patch on the samples collected during the production run with the press ok-sheet. Visually noticeable shifts in the color of the gray patch signal changes in the printing conditions. Densitometric or colorimetric analysis can also be used with the three-color gray patch. In the first instance, the gray patch on the OK-sheet is measured with a densitometer. Cyan, magenta, and yellow density readings are all recorded. Some densitometers can make all three readings simultaneously. Three density readings are also made from samples collected during the production run. Differences in any of the density measurements signal that printing conditions have changed. The required corrections can often be deciphered from the density data, For example, if the blue-filter (ie., yellow ink) density is higher relative to the other two densities, then the yellow ink may need to be decreased. Colorimetric analysis allows the user to plot the color of the gray patch in the perceptually-based color space, CIELAB. The gray patch on the OK-sheet is measured with a colorimeter or a spectrophotometer to determine the L*, a*, b* coordinates. When a sample is taken during the press run the gray patch is measured and the L*, a*, b* coordinates are noted. The color difference, E (see formula above), is often used as a means of quantifying the perceptual differences between the two colors measured.

GATF Production Control Bar User Guide

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GATF Production Control Bar (version 2.4)

Figure 3-9 RGB Overprints.

Red, Green, Blue Overprints


The GATF Production Control Bar contains blue, green, red overprints (figure 3-9) to measure the ink trapping of the press system. The appearance of blues, greens, and reds in the reproduction is influenced greatly by the ink trapping. Ink trapping is a measurement of the efficiency with which a process ink is transferred to a previously printed ink film compared to the transfer efficiency of that ink to unprinted paper. The trapping values should be monitored during the press run because they will drift as the rheological properties of the ink change. For instance, if too much water is being used with the yellow ink, it might be manifest be decreases in the trapping of the green and red overprints. To calculate ink trapping, the printing sequence must be known. The most commonly used printing sequence is CMY with black either first or last because this sequence optimizes the saturation of the overprint colors. Most reflection densitometers will key the user to make the appropriate measurements and automatically calculate trapping values. The calculation of ink trapping requires the measurement of the reflection densities of three different patches: the overprinted color and each of the two component colors. Accuracy is increased when the measurements all come from the same inking zone on the press sheet. See page 3-9 for further instructions and the formula to calculate ink trapping.

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GATF Production Control Bar User Guide


7. Locate the point on the curve where further increases in density do not result in increases in print contrast. Subtract three times the value of the standard deviation for that ink color from the solid density associated with highest print contrast. The resulting density value is the aimpoint for that printing system. The process control tolerance limits are set at plus and minus 3 standard deviations from the density aimpoints.

Printing the Color Bar


During press makeready, the solid density should first be adjusted to the desired setting. The most meaningful aimpoints for density levels are based on internal standards, which are determined by objective tests of the printing press. Some printers use industry standards like the SWOP Hi-Lo Ink References (available from the International Prepress Association) to obtain aimpoints and tolerances for their process inks in lieu of in-house testing. In other cases, the in-house aimpoints are determined through a process of trial and error. There is a growing interest in statistical process control in the printing industry. An advantage of testing the capacity of a printing system is that realistic aimpoints and tolerance levels can be established. One method for establishing process control aimpoints based on in-house testing is as follows. 1. Use the GATF Sheetfed Color Printing Test Kit to troubleshoot the printing system so that good image transfer is achieved. 2. Perform a study of the variability of each ink color at the densities recommended by SWOP. This is done by balancing the ink and water at the proper density,allowing the press to run for several thousand impressions, and pulling samples at regular intervals. The length of the pressrun should be determined by the run length of the average job for which the press is used. At least 100 samples, taken at random from the run, should be used for analysis. 3. Calculate the standard deviation for the ink densities from the samples. 4. For each color, the ink density is systematically varied beginning with a low density and moving through the entire range of printable densities, the ink and water are brought into balance with each other and samples are collected. 5. Measure the densities of the printed samples and their associated print contrasts. 6. Construct a graph that plots the ink densities along the X-axis and the print contrasts along the Y-axis.

Analysis of the GATF Production Control Bar


During production work, the ink densities are adjusted to achieve the desired aimpoints. The densities are read at five locations per 12.5 in. of press width. Frequently repeating solid patches have been provided to achieve a high degree of control when adjusting the ink keys of the press. When changes are made to the ink key settings, the press operators should allow sufficient time for the changes to fully affect the systems before new measurements are made. When the solid densities are in the correct range, measure the dot gain, print contrast, and ink trapping values. Microprocessor-assisted densitometers will calculate these values automatically. If your densitometer does not calculate these values, the values can be determined by manual calculation. In practice, it is sometimes necessary to deviate from the target ink densities to achieve a better visual match with the proof. When this occurs, the densities are read from the OK sheet, which was approved for the run. The densities and other printing conditions found on the OK sheet become the process control aimpoints for that pressrun. The values measured from the sample prints are compared against the process control aimpoints. A visual assessment of color match is also made between the samples and the OK sheet. See example of Process control aimpoints on the following page

GATF Production Control Bar User Guide


Print Contrast 60 50 40 30 20 10
1.37 Aimpoint 1.31 Lower Control limit Cyan Density Associated with Maximum Print Contrast Maximum Obtainable Print Contrast

3-9

Print Contrast
Print contrast is calculated from the solid ink patches and the 75% tint patches, according to the formula shown below. The use of print contrast as a control parameter is increasing. Print contrast has been found to have a high correlation with dot gain in some studies. When dot gain is low, print contrast will tend to be high. Therefore, as a process control parameter, it is usually sufficient to monitor either print contrast or dot gain. However, when printing characteristics of the system are being measured, it is useful to know both the printing contrast and the dot gain. Generally, higher print contrast yields better print quality. Print contrast relates to the shadow portion of the reproduction. A printing system with higher print contrast is able to maintain a greater number of distinct tones in the shadow region. Printing conditions that cause print contrast to decrease, include excessive dot gain, low solid density, and fill-in due to insufficient water. PC = Ds - D75 Ds
= print contrast = density of solid = density of 75% tint

1.43 Upper Control Limit

1.00

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Ink Density
Standard deviation of cyan (previously measured) S=0.02 Process control limits +/- 3S = 0.06

Process Control Aimpoints

Dot Gain
Dot gain can be measured for the 25%, 50%, and 75% tint patches. The density of the accompanying solid ink patch is required for dot calculations. It is important to use a solid ink patch from the same ink key zone as the tint patch that is being measured. The printed dot area is calculated using the Murray-Davies equation as shown. Dot gain is calculated by subtracting the film dot area from the printed dot area. This dot gain value represents total dot gain, which includes optical and mechanical components. Dot gain has been found to be an important attribute to monitor during printing. Changes of about 3% in dot gain can cause noticeable shifts in visual appearance. If the dot change is not uniform for all colors, the hues of the reproduction will shift. %ADA =
t 1-10-D 1-10-Ds

100

PC Ds D75

100

%ADA = Apparent Dot Area Dt = Density of the printed target tint minus the density of the paper Ds = density of the solid patch minus the density of the paper

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GATF Production Control Bar User Guide

Ink Trapping
Ink trapping values are measured from the solid overprint patches of green, blue, and red and from the single ink film patches of cyan, magenta, and yellow. The trapping numbers relate to the proportion of the second-down ink that transfers to a previously printed ink. This is compared with the transfer of the ink to blank sheet. The trapping numbers do not represent accurate percentages of the ink film that is transferred to the first-down ink (due to failure of the law of additivity of densities). The trapping numbers are treated as an arbitrary scale. Higher ink trapping values are preferable to lower values. To obtain ink trapping values, density measurements are made from three ink patched: the first-down solid, the second-down solid, and the solid overprint color. All measurements are made with the densitometer filter appropriate for the second-ink down color. The ink trapping formula is as shown. Ink trapping is an important print attribute to monitor during the pressrun for two reasons. First, the majority of colors in the average image are composed of various combinations of cyan, magenta, and yellow (e.g., green grass of blue skies), and second, the characteristics of ink transfer are subject to change during a pressrun as the rheological properties of the inks change. Trapping values are affected by several factors, including the absorptivity of the paper, the tack of the inks, and the press speed. It is difficult to isolate the cause of good or bad ink trapping because there are significant interactions occurring between the printing materials during the press operations. Ink and water interactions, for example, will affect the tack of the inks, which also changes the trapping values. D2/1-D1 T= D2
Where: T = Apparent Trapping D2/1 = Density of overprint D1 = Density of first down ink D2 = Density of second down ink

Color Hexagon Instructions

Remaining densities with lowest values subtracted


blue green red blue green red

cyan

magenta

yellow

blue

green

red

GATF Color Hexagon data table

X100

GATF Production Control Bar User Guide

3-11

GREEN

CYAN

YELLOW

1.0

1.0 .5

.5

.5

BLUE RED 1.0

1.5 MAGENTA

Graphic Arts Technical Foundation 200 Deer Run Road Sewickley, PA 15143-2600 Phone: 412/741-6860 Fax: 412/741-2311 Email: info@gatf.lm.com Internet: www.gatf.org