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IDEAlliance Announces First Certified Monitor Proofing Systems

Press release from the issuing company

Alexandria, VA, April 8, 2008.  IDEAlliance today announced that 27 monitor proofing systems have passed the newly launched IDEAlliance Monitor Proofing Systems Certification Program.  This comes after two years of ongoing research by the IDEAlliance Print Properties Working Group and the SWOP Technical Committee in conjunction with the Rochester Institute of Technology Printing Applications Laboratory to determine how best to judge the quality of monitor proofing systems to the "numbers.


When SWOP merged with IDEAlliance in 2005, plans were set to aggressively modernize the SWOP specifications to meet new demands of the industry for improving proofing quality and the proof to press match.  By 2006, SWOP approved a second proofing stock, the #3 stock typified by Fortune Gloss.  In addition the committee ratified the use of the IDEAlliance G7 Proof-to-Press Process for calibrating both proofing systems and presses to facilitate a close visual match between the two. In the summer of 2006, the IDEAlliance Print Properties Working Group conducted a series of web press runs, on behalf of SWOP, using G7 techniques to develop a realistic characterization of publication printing.  The new characterization datasets that were developed as a result of these web press runs were recently balloted as ANSI/CGATS TR003 and TR005.  These datasets, along with a new dataset for the GRACoL #1 sheet for commercial publishing now known as TR006, were used as the basis for launching a new "to the numbers" proofing systems certification program.

Prior to this, the SWOP Certification program combined a numeric evaluation of proofs produced on a sheetfed offset press based on target TVI values along with a human evaluation of visual similarity of candidate proofs to the reference offset proof.  The new hard copy proofing certification program no longer relied on visual evaluation.  Instead proofs are now measured and judged "to the numbers" of the characterization datasets developed from press runs.  The new program was launched in the fall of 2006 and today over 60 hard copy systems have been certified to the tight tolerance of an average 1.5 dE.  These systems, along with their Application Data Sheets (ADS) can be located in an online database found at http://www.swop.org/certification/monitorlist.asp.

According to Gina Sigmon, Quebecor World and Chair of the SWOP Committee, "We believe in the near future, hard-copy proofing will be obsolete.  The rapid shift toward virtual proofing, means that SWOP must focus its attention on issues unique to emerging virtual proofing workflows.  We need to develop specifications and best practices that will assure that monitor proofing can reliably and confidently match the visual appearance of an image on press.  The new IDEAlliance Monitor Proofing Certification Program for SWOP and GRACoL makes a major step in that direction."

About the New Monitor Proofing System Certification Program

The challenges of developing a "to the numbers" program for monitor proofing systems were huge.  The ISO 12646 Specification for monitor evaluation was used as a basis for the program.  Procedures were intentionally designed to be close to the procedures for hard copy proofing system certification where ever technically possible.  Between December 2007 and March 2008, 30 monitor proofing systems underwent the new certification procedures.

Today we are pleased to announce 27 systems have passed the new monitor proofing certification process.  These systems met the ISO 12646 criteria (with recommended amendments) for luminance and monitor uniformity. For each certified system the difference between the characterization data set and the IT8/7.4 target is an average delta E2000 ?2.0 for all patches and a maximum delta E2000 ?6.0 for at least 95% of all patches. Solid patches cyan, magenta, yellow, red green and blue on the IT/7.4 are delta E2000 ?7.0 from the characterization data set.

Newly Certified Monitor Proofing Systems

The newly certified monitor proofing systems include (in alphabetical order):

- CGS Publishing Technologies International ORISProof Grade #1, #3 and #5 on the EIZO CG241W Display and the EIZO CG221 Display

- DALiM DiALOGUE for Grade #1 on the Apple Cinema 23" Display and for Grade #3 on the Apple Cinema 30" Display and the EIZO CG211 display

- EIZO Proofing System with Adobe Acrobat 8 for Grade #1 on the EIZO CG241W Display and EIZO CG301W Display

- ICS Remote Director Proofing System for Grades #1, #3 and #5 on the Apple 30" Cinema Display and the EIZO CG241W display. Grades #1, #3 on the Apple 23" Cinema Display. Grade #1 on the EIZO CG221 and Grade #3 on the EIZO CG211 Display

- Kodak Matchprint Virtual Proofing System for Grade #3 and #5 on the Apple Cinema 30" Display, on the EIZO CG241W Display and the EIZO CG211 Display The systems are listed at www.swop.org/certification/monitorsystems.asp.

Understanding the Limitations of the Monitor Proofing Certification Program

The 30 monitor proofing systems initially evaluated for certification provided IDEAlliance with a wealth of information and data upon which we can progressively tighten the certification criteria.  The Print Properties Working Group that developed the certification criteria assumed that monitors would easily pass the ISO 14526 monitor-uniformity criteria.  Our experience indicated that while this assumption was valid for white, it was not valid for the uniformity of the display of dark grays. This is because the whites depend significantly on the backlight, while the grays depend on the uniformity of the LCD panel itself.  Based on the data we have gathered, IDEAlliance is recommending through CGATS and ISO an amendment to the ISO specification for determining the uniformity of dark grays.  For purposes of certification, all displays that are certified as part of a monitor proofing system must comply with ISO 12646 as amended by the newly proposed values.

According to Dianne Kennedy, VP of Media Technologies for IDEAlliance, "It is important for the industry to understand that performing certification on any one display with any one monitor proofing system does not necessarily guarantee the same result on a different display of the same model of monitor.  IDEAlliance notes that each monitor of a particular brand and model is unique.  That is, for any given brand of monitor, while our experience in certification shows that while most displays pass the ISO criteria, an individual monitor may fail the ISO criteria due to manufacturing issues or may fail at some point in the future as a result of use.   IDEAlliance therefore recommends that in addition to calibrating each monitor routinely, users should also verify the uniformity of the display over time as well.  The monitor proofing systems vendors have agreed to provide a monitor uniformity test with their system and over the next 12 months will implement software to automate that process for users."