‘Colour separation into such profiles remained time- consuming and inaccurate,’ Hauke remarks.
‘During our labours, however, we saw the benefit of extended-gamut printing and when Opaltone was presented, the missing puzzle pieces fell into place. Although Opaltone wasn’t new, the ability to proof it using the actual Opaltone ink set and the ability to separate and colour adjust with great efficiency made it the first commercially-viable colour model of its kind,’ he maintains.
‘We immediately noted its fine balance too. Whereas other multicolour ink models added inks (greens, oranges, violets) in an attempt to address inaccurate CMYK colours, this was ill-conceived, like treating the symptoms as opposed to addressing the cause,’ Hauke argues.
This, he contends, is where Opaltone is clearly different. ‘Opaltone’s extra-trinary Red, Green and Blue process inks sit perfectly between existing CMY primaries. ‘Truly complementary!’ he quips. ‘What’s more, equal parts of R’G’B’ trap to produce a neutral grey balance, eliminating the “process Black” flexo plate. Now only one line Black is needed for barcodes and text.’
Understanding the impact on printed material
The impact Opaltone has on the visual appearance of printed material is not widely understood. In Hauke’s view, the best illustration is to compare the old cathode ray tube TV with the latest LED TV. ‘I cannot imagine a brand owner going back to CMYK after seeing his product printed in CMY+R’G’B’,’ says Hauke.
And designers and ad agencies supplying artwork on disc needn’t worry about designing in CMYK as these elements are ‘expanded’ in saturated areas into the full Opaltone colour gamut. ‘So design in CMYK or RGB or spots. All can be converted or “expanded” into Opaltone,’ Hauke adds.
Spot colours in flexo specifically can now be accurately printed at a much higher line screen. Previously, flexo inks and ink mixing systems did not allow printers to achieve target density on spot colours when running aniloxes capable of reproducing fine line screens. Imagine attempting to print tones in a spot colour at 200lpi? With spot colours this is impossible but with Opaltone spot colour simulation it can be the norm.
Also proofing spot colour traps was highly inaccurate. Imagine a product with spot Orange, spot Violet and process Cyan trapping (overprinting) one another’s tones. Proofing this was impossible since the transparencies and sequencing of these inks were unknown to the proofer. With Opaltone the proofer is fully aware of these factors and such proofs are now reproducible on press.
Furthermore, simulated spot colours can be printed at target density with great consistency. This is illustrated by looking at a spot colour guide and comparing a spot colour on one of the first pages to the same colour on a subsequent page. A dramatic difference can be seen, and the question is which is correct? ‘That’s why we’re finding that Opaltone has closer Delta E matches to spot colours than many spot colours have to their intended targets in flexo. Remarkable!’ Hauke declares.
‘We’ve also discovered that colour is more easily balanced using Opaltone than CMYK. How can that be? How can juggling seven balls (CMYKRGB) be easier than juggling four (CMYK)? The answer is surprising. Imagine attempting to create a bluish colour using 50% Cyan and 50% Magenta. Balancing density and tone becomes critical. If one ink gains over the other, a dramatic shift takes place, not so much in density, but in hue. With Opaltone, though, the same colour would primarily be made up of Opaltone Blue, so changes in density and tone of complementary colours would have a far smaller effect on the hue.’
Ultimately colours generated in Opaltone are clean in the sense that it’s possible to control the number of complementary inks to create the colour; and total area coverage needs to be no more than in CMYK.
Acme Graphics is ready to support printers (offset, dry offset, flexo and gravure), brand owners, designers and ad agencies with advanced Opaltone prepress and/or plates to leverage the benefits this exciting product can offer.
• Stand out on the shelf – colours that POP
• Consistent results
• Harmonisation (offset = flexo = gravure)
• Standardisation (Printer A = Printer B)
• See accurate proofs
• Green technology
• Reduced print costs
• What you see on screen = what Opaltone can reproduce
• Proofs are spot-colour accurate
• Don’t change the way you design – no learning curve required
• Competitors designs (in CMYK) look flat and lacklustre
• Use as many spot colours as you wish
• No wash-ups
• Dramatically reduced ink room inventory
• Reduced start-up waste
• Reduced cost = higher margins
• Opposition cannot match results
• OT7 calibration provides simple but effective colour control standards
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