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Color differences from on-screen, to composits to actual paper

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by spikechiquet, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    Our new press foreman is banging his head against the wall because nothing that is built on the screen comes out the same way as it does in the paper.
    Of course, there are TONS of reasons as to this (the computer screens in the newsroom aren't all calibrated the same; the composits are printed on an inkjet printer and it uses powder onto a thicker paper while the newsprint is thinner and they print with liquid ink...etc)

    One thing that maybe I could do is send the CMYK differently through Quark...but is that possible? Can I send (for example) the Cyan plate at 70%, the Magenta at 85%, Kroma at 90% and Yellow at 35%? Or is this something that needs to be worked out either at the production end or the press end?

    We print to film and burn to plate..if that helps with this quandry.
  2. apeman33

    apeman33 Well-Known Member

    I don't think there's anything you can do. How old is the press? That could be a huge factor because it's difficult to make an older press calibrate well. And you'll probably never get a true blue on an old press with CYMK. Our blues always look like a light shade of purple.
  3. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    The press guy figures it's at least 35+ years old.
  4. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Seriously, spike, unless you're the owner or publisher, this is not your concern.
    It's up to the press foreman to get the press calibrated right, not you. There is nothing you can do nor should you worry about it. Do your job, not someone else's.
  5. Oggiedoggie

    Oggiedoggie Well-Known Member

    I haven't touched Quark in more than 10 years because our shop uses CCI mostly with a little InDesign and Illustrator, but aren't there color management settings available in Quark? Similar to PhotoShop?
  6. McNuggetsMan

    McNuggetsMan Member

    It's not her job or responsibility (unless she is the production editor and then I would say would have some responsibility) but you can look at the process and see if there are standardizations you can put into place to minimize the problem.

    For example:

    Are the problems worse on one day than another? Are the days consistent? We found that depending on who was running the press each night, the colors would vary - same 5 days good, same two days bad. So they gave the two days guy some extra training. We also got some improvement by going to a system where one person did the final color balancing on photos and that person (or his replacement on his off days) used the same computer every night so you had less problems and more consistency. If the blue is bad every day in the exact same way on every photo, that's a problem for the press operator to solve. If there is variation, however, within the paper and consistently from day to day, you (or someone) need to evaluate the procedures for setting colors.

    Please note, when I was at a paper that fixed some of these problems, we were pretty small so one person could handle all the photos for a single night. It's probably harder to do this at a large paper.
  7. apeman33

    apeman33 Well-Known Member

    Agreed. And as I said earlier, the age of the press is a factor. The foreman would like every issue to be perfect, but with a press that old you could do everything perfectly and he could do everything perfectly and you'll still have issues. Our press isn't even as old as yours (20-25 years old, I think) and we have issues every time we do color (which isn't very often because someone has to buy a color ad before we'll do color and in this small town, color ads are a hard sell.).
  8. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    I'm just asking for suggestions to help the press foreman. Never said I was concerned or even cared much, he just asked me what my thoughts were and I thought I would put it out there...just looking for things to get him on the right path.
  9. Liut

    Liut Active Member

    Kudos to the press foreman for giving a shit.
  10. UPChip

    UPChip Well-Known Member

    If it is truly not long for the printed page, I pity future generations of editors for not being able to just blame it on the pressmen.
  11. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Someone's got way too much time on their hands if they're worried about this. As Spike said, it could be screen calibration, inkjets or even the paper its printed on. Had the same "problem" at one place I worked where pages were shipped electronically to the press that was an hour or so away. A newbie copy editor spent half a shift trying to "fix" this, until the news editor on that night told him to get back to his pages.
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