Drupa Preview, Buren, The Netherlands (February 20, 2004) – Creo Inc. introduces two new software packages that allow printers to dramatically reduce the use of special inks in their press room. Spotless 4 and Spotless X software enable printers to represent spot colors on press with process inks, making spot color replacement easy and accurate. This increases press room efficiency, and frees designers from the constraints of using only a few spot colors in a particular job. By benefiting both a printer’s bottom line, as well as helping them serve their customers with more value than ever before, Spotless printing offers printers a means to grow their business.
“Spotless printing means the printer can avoid the multiple press runs and washups that spot color inks require, and jobs can often be ganged up to further increase efficiency,” explained Mark Nissen, Spotless product manager, Creo. “Spotless printing leverages the process stability of Creo thermal imaging with the color stability and extended gamut of Staccato screening. Spotless takes these advantages to the next level by accurately predicting color on press, right in the prepress workflow. Spot colors are automatically converted to process colors, with the particular print conditions (such as press, paper, and ink set), taken into account. Spotless printing is an elegant way to increase efficiency in the pressroom and provide better customer service.”
The process stability Dr. Nissen refers to derives from the SQUAREspot thermal imaging heads on the Creo Trendsetter Quantum and Lotem Quantum computer-to-plate devices while Staccato screening paves the way for Spotless printing solutions. Staccato screening, Creo’s advanced stochastic FM screening technology, produces high-fidelity, artifact-free images that exhibit fine detail without halftone rosettes, screening moiré, gray-level limitations or abrupt jumps in tone—without impacting RIPing or rendering time.
Staccato screening is a major breakthrough that enables process builds to perform like spot inks in terms of color purity, stability, and fidelity. Staccato screening increases color purity by reducing the color-contaminating effect of the substrate. It provides stability by resisting the effects of normal density fluctuations, yielding colors that are much more consistent across a press run, and between press runs. Staccato screening offers much greater fidelity by being free of screening angles throughout the tonal scale, enabling it to overcome many of the limitations of conventional AM and hybrid screens. It presents fine lines at any angle without breaking up, and smooth flat tint builds that are free of rosettes and other unwanted patterning, much like a special ink.
The traditional problem of proofing spot inks is also solved by linking to ICC-profiled proofing devices, such as the Creo Veris or Integris proofing solutions.
Fewer Special Inks with New Spotless 4
The first of the new Spotless software packages is Spotless 4. This software enables printers to leverage the full benefits of their four-color press by using a conventional CMYK ink set to create process color builds that accurately emulate spot colors, easily and reliably. Inefficient and costly processes such as washups, split fountains, multiple press runs, and custom ink blending are reduced dramatically. Spot colors within gamut, whether they are named in a file, or measured with a color measurement device, are automatically converted to process builds, proofed and printed. This allows printers to offer their customers more color options than before. Designers are able to specify dozens of spot colors in a file, and their work is much more accurately presented. Spotless 4 software also enables accurate remote proofing, enhancing communication between the printer and the print buyer —a desktop proofer in a remote location can accurately predict the behavior of a particular job on press.
Flexibility with New Spotless X
A far greater range of spot colors can be represented both on proof and on press with another product, Spotless X software. The ‘X’ refers to expanded ink set capabilities. Spotless X enables a printer to reach even greater advantages by using a flexible expanded (usually six-color) ink set. This product is expected to have special value to the packaging market, where bright colors help move product off shelves, and batching jobs enables versioning for greater flexibility. With Spotless X software, printers are able to provide customized service to their clients, while at the same time increase their own operational efficiencies.
With Spotless X, printers may choose any ink set depending on their needs. They may add new process colors that yield the widest gamut possible or ones that expand the gamut in a particular direction. Another option available to them is to expand the gamut with a particular client’s corporate or brand color, retaining the ability to use it as a spot ink, while also leveraging it as a process color build. This is of particular advantage when a major client has a particularly sensitive brand color. The printer is able to provide the same special ink service to the client for their corporate color, while also offering the added benefits of an overall expansion in available gamut, for brighter and more impressive overall results than ever before, with no compromises.
Spotless X software goes beyond the capabilities of spot color inks by applying its gamut expansion to not only vector images (the traditional domain of spot inks), but also to raster images, such as photographs. This increases their dramatic appeal, and can be used to add unsurpassed realism and vibrancy.
Spotless printing is part of the Value in Print initiative from Creo that is helping printers to maximize the value of their investment in Creo prepress technology. Through new technology, service and expertise, Creo is helping printers expand their business, increase efficiency of their printing process, and penetrate new markets.
New Staccato Extended Color Screens
Bundled with Spotless X software are Staccato Extended Color Screens. This product adds six screens to the existing Staccato CMYK set, bringing the total to 10 unique screens. In the past, printers using an extended ink set had to reuse a CMYK screen for their extended colors. This screen duplication would lead to several problems, which had to be resolved through inefficient and costly manual procedures, even trial and error. The problem was that conflicts between process colors sharing the same screen would lead to overprint issues such as color shifts. Instability within a form or across a press run was also possible. With Staccato Extended Color Screens, additional process colors carry none of these risks and complications. Being unique screens, they do not interfere with each other. They behave predictably, allowing a printer to concentrate on growing his business and satisfying his customers.
The new Staccato feature size, Staccato 18, provides printers with an alternative that is slightly finer than Staccato 20, yielding a higher resolution image and a closer representation of a continuous-tone image. Staccato Extended Color Screens are also available a la carte.
See brilliant samples of new Spotless printing at the Creo stand at Drupa in Hall 4, Stand B10.
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