Documentation Request for Color Profile preferences: Colorsy

Discuss QuarkXPress color management functionality including DeviceN workflows

Documentation Request for Color Profile preferences: Colorsy

Postby ithinkquarkstink » 18 Oct 2010, 08:54

In the preferences I can select from a few color transition models: Automatic - Colorsync - Kodak - LogoSync.How does Xpress 'use' these? I'm getting crashes when changing from Auto to Colorsync on some projects. Support suggested that I just leave this as Auto so it doesn't crash (ie Groucho Marx: Doc it hurts when I do this....well, don't do that!) Why would I select Auto on a 90 chapter book and let Xpress select one of four (or more?) possible options, potetially resulting in variations in the printed book?
Support can't even provide documentation on this feature. Knowledgebase is worthless. Forums don't seem to hit on this subject, which should be documented but isn't. Can anyone else help?
LogoSync doesn't even get hits on Google search. What's up with that?
In the meantime, deadlines are looming and I've got files crashing....some say inDesign's not better, but could it possibly be worse?
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Documentation Request for Color Profile preferences: Colorsy

Postby max.peter » 18 Oct 2010, 17:18

I guess you should not be angry.
First of all, why do you need to change the transformation method of the color engine? Do you work in a special color-managed line? Did your printing office requested it? Had problems with the colors of the final pdf's? Do you try to calibrate a printing line?
If none of the above is true, you should not change the transformation method without using special ICC's.
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Documentation Request for Color Profile preferences: Colorsy

Postby max.peter » 18 Oct 2010, 20:05

There are some prefferences for professionals. About some settings, you can read a lot, following http://www.color.org/faqs.xalter
If you are not familiar with color management systems, you should work with pre-established settings. Otherwise, you can expect to have unwanted results. Before modifying these settings, have a talk with your printing office.
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Documentation Request for Color Profile preferences: Colorsy

Postby Jean-Marie Schwartz » 19 Oct 2010, 02:18

ithinkquarkstink wrote:In the preferences I can select from a few color transition models: Automatic - Colorsync - Kodak - LogoSync.
Hi! These are rather called color management system engines. They are actually converting colors from what you have to what you wish (final output). Along with the engine, you'll have to choose the color profiles, the color rendering intents and, in Quark, wether you work on pictures or straight colors. This said, I'm not a color management geek but I don't think the CMS engine will seriously damage the final result. I'd just recommend you to select the same engine throughout your apps in order to keep consistency in managing the colors. And not only selecting the same engine but also the color profiles and the color rendering intents. I'd suggest you to take some time and some energy to try out every setting you can to figure out how the pictures and colors end up. I think this is the most reasonable way of making your choice freely and cleverly. HTH.
Some resources on the Web: http://www.digitaldog.net/files/IntrotoCMS.pdf, http://www.mikerollins.com/Tutorials/ColorMgt.htm.
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Documentation Request for Color Profile preferences: Colorsy

Postby ithinkquarkstink » 19 Oct 2010, 04:28

First, I appreciate the replies. And despite my recent aggravation with tech support I've been a user since 1989. So thank you for seeing through my user name, which I adopted several months into a yet unresolved and ongoing (for nearly three years) support issue. I'm applying pressure most every way possible, and frankly I don't enjoy having to be a squeeky wheel to get help. I'll change the name as soon as the issue is resolved.

For our print projects I do the prepress work in-house resulting in a distilled PDF using Prinergy settings and specifications provided by the offset printer. The reason I even bother with these settings at all it to ensure that all 90 chapters of an image-heavy book are identical in color settings. My concern is that if I just left the settings on Automatic that Xpress might choose for me, and then might choose differently accross the book resulting in color variations on press.
Now, if Quark could document how CMS works I might quickly discover that the settings are irrelevant. Or I might discover that I've been doing it 'wrong' for years. Yet Quark tech can't provide documentation, the support isn't familiar beyond a few buzzwords. I've worked with a particular printer for several years and they've always liked our files, so I think the consistency is paying off in various ways.
Since Quark has built in a function is it wrong for me to think that it could be important? I mean, H&Js and Kerning Tables don't have to be modified, but when important they can be. Shouldn't each feature work, even if other users are unaware of the feature and just use the defaults? Or is a series of crashes acceptable, followed by years of non-resolved help from Quark? If the CMS was important in the past, but isn't now shouldn't it be removed from the software.
The several responses indicate that workflow systems at printing companies may make use of the CMS. Having worked with several reputable large printers in US, Canada, and Italy (books and magazines primarily) I've not ever been instructed to set these a particular way, nor have I ever been notified of a problem related to CMS. If you are a printer and use the CMS could you respond -- I'm certain many would learn from the information you provide.

Regards,
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Documentation Request for Color Profile preferences: Colorsy

Postby ithinkquarkstink » 20 Oct 2010, 08:18

Quark Support responded today with the following information regarding the Automatic setting:
The profiles used by QuarkXPress are defined by the Source and Output Color Setups (Edit menu), not the color engine. We suppose you mean to ask which CMM is used when the Color Engine preference is set to Automatic. In this case we use the CMM defined in the Preferred CMM tag of the ICC profile, if one exists.So I'm now set to explore 1) the Source and Output Color Setups, and 2) the CMM tag inside the ICC profile.
I'll report my progress and findings here, but if anyone else has experiecne with either (especially the Source and Output Color setups) I'd appreciate the assist.
I'm curious, too, if this type of setting can be included in the JobJacket definition.
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Documentation Request for Color Profile preferences: Colorsy

Postby Jean-Marie Schwartz » 20 Oct 2010, 21:27

Hi again. Though color is worked out since the very beginning of color printing, color management found a new wave some few years ago with color profiles, color engines, etc. I myself do not work at the printer level but at the layout level. I felt concerned and interested in color management in the way that it might help me having custom print outputs here looking as close to the final output as it'd be possible. There are still differences but I'm mostly satisfied by the results.
This said, Color Management is a whole thing and not very easy to understand in its smallest parts. To put it simply, one has to keep in mind color is produced in different ways (basically Red Green Blue lights as far as display or scanner devices are concerned, Cyan Magenta Yellow Black as far as offset printing is concerned - colors in RGB mode can be much brighter and luminous than could CMYK mode show up).
Second, each device, even working in the same mode, "see" or "render" the colors differently according to its own technology or capabilities (low cost scanners will not see all the subtleties of colors like a professionnal scanner, for instance; the same is true with printer devices, where the inks used will also make a difference along with the kind of paper used). So the aim of the color management is to map all the colors, in theory, to a neutral and theorical mode called Lab (tridimentional representation of the colors: each color has a Lab value, and only one; and any color value in Lab mode represents one color and only one - search the Net for illustrated and more documented explanations on that color mode).
Then to render a given color in another color mode (RGB, CMYK, HSB or whatever), the device you make use of will need a correspondance table to map all the colors to what it can actually give out (very dark colors with different Lab values will roughly output the same on a CMYK printer device because the device is much more limited in color rendering than displays). Those correspondance tables are called Color Profiles. They would keep information on where the colors come from (digital camera with a given profile; flat scanner with a given profile mapping the colors they "see" to Lab values - according to a color chart - search for scanner characterization, for example). So each device has its own "amount" of colors called color gamut. The larger is the gamut, the more you'll have variety in colors at output. Typically, RGB gamuts are larger than CMYK (but you can obviously find shorter RGB gamuts; it's then on purpose).
Then raise the question of what to do with out-of-gamut colors from one device to another? Typically, blues are much more rich on displays than they should be on an offset printer. So how should those blues be handled? Will they be mapped to the nearest blue available on the offset printer? And what about the neighbor blues then? Should they remain as they are on display (and so subtle differences in the image would disappear) or should they be moved down to another blue in the CMYK gamut so the subtleties are kept? That's what is called the color rendering intent (absolute and relative colorimetric, perceptual, and saturation).
And to handle the profiles along with the rendering intents, the computer needs an engine (ColorSync on a Macintosh, for example). That's all you must know to starting managing colors in your workflow. You can also set Quark Prefs so Quark doesn't handle at all color profiles from Source to Output (search the forums for "color management off" or sth).
As for default Quark Prefs, I'm not sure Quark could set sth satisfying all the users for offset color profiles, to only take that, are not the same in US, in Europe or in Japan. Then the users workflow are so different from one user to another it'd be impossible to set a satisfying default preference at all.
Source and Output Color setups will definately depend on your own workflow. Please read Quark's documentation shipping along with the software and take some time to make your own trials and tests and see what matches your needs.
(Sorry for the JobJacket thing, I've not used them really so I couldn't help you. But I think color setups can be inserted.)
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