A study on understanding the use of process color-based color communication systems to print synthetic colors accurately and consistently

Michael Lim

Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in December 2013.


The study is intended to provide a better understanding on the use of process color-based color communication systems such as those provided by Focoltone, Trumatch, and Pantone, in order to print synthetic colors as accu rately and as consistently as possible. Using Focoltone's system, an investiga tion was done on the materials and documentation, as provided by the Focoltone kit. The available information, as provided by Focoltone, was supple mented by the author's interpretation of Focoltone's specifications. From the author's understanding of Focoltone specifications, a set of procedures were outlined that would contribute towards the accurate and consistent reproduc tion of synthetic colors on a press run. The study concludes that the use of standard film dots, as specified by Focoltone, to reproduce the reference colors on the swatchbook, is question able because the dot gain characteristics of press run(s) used to print Focoltone's swatchbooks differ significantly from that of industry average values obtained from FIPP. Moreover, as each production press would exhibit its own dot gain characteristics, the use of a standard film dot in the printing process would not contribute to an accurate reproduction of color. Instead, the study recommends that procedures have to be established that: 1. Enable the conversion of standard film dot area specifications into custom film dot specifications to suit the particular press run's dot gain vi characteristics. This procedure requires the availability of the plate/press curve of the printing process used to print the swatchbook, and that of the production press, as established in a fingerprint press run. 2. Ensure that the graphic reproduction process, from film to plate to press, is implemented in standardized conditions and manner, and that process control of SID be established, so that deviations from desired SID and dot gain are minimized. This way, the synthetic colors, using process color-based color commu nication systems, can be as printed as accurately, with reference to the refer ence color swatches, and as consistently throughout the press run.