New standards and advancements in technologies and methodologies has brought soft proofing to new level of quality capabilities and demands the industry take a renewed look in adopting soft proofing in today’s print production workflows. Soft proofing systems are utilized for previewing color accuracy during prepress operations and for color verification during print manufacturing. An initial certification program was developed by Idealliance in 2006, with nearly two dozen proofing systems certified.
The following factors have prompted the development of a revised Soft Proofing System Certification Program:
- Improvements in display and measurement technology,
- New standards defining requirements for soft proofing equipment and systems,
- Requests by users for testing and validating technologies to new standards, and
- Desire by vendors for unbiased assessment of their latest systems.
What We Certify
- A soft proofing system consists of a display, software, measurement equipment and a host computer that adjusts incoming data such that a displayed image simulates the appearance of a hard copy proof calibrated to a chosen reference print characterization and viewed under standard lighting. Soft proofing systems are evaluated based on requirements specified in ISO 14861.
- A display is an LCD flat panel device with fluorescent or LED backlight, a screen resolution of 90 pixels per inch or more, a screen size capable of previewing intended content at full scale, and a gamut that encases the intended reference print condition. Displays are evaluated based on requirements specified in ISO 12646.
What We Certify To
- The default reference print characterization to be used for soft proofing system evaluation will be GRACoL 2013 for which characterization data and ICC profile are available on the Idealliance web site. An alternative reference print characterization such as SWOP may be chosen for evaluation, or evaluated additionally.
- Standard lighting refers to viewing environments that conform to ISO 3664.
- At Applicants’ request, a system may be tested for accurate simulation of spot colors. A spot color PDF/X test file containing a selection of spot colors from the Pantone Solid Coated library is available from Idealliance. The test will verify the capability to process spot color information and accurately display the in-gamut colors. The system should provide a gamut warning for spot colors that lie outside the display gamut.
- Interested Applicant may download the protocol to review specifications and determine viability for certification.
- An Application Form is completed online and submitted to Idealliance with fees based on the set of evaluations to be performed. The application form includes information about the Applicant and desired certification(s). The fee is payable irrespective of the outcome.
- Certification testing will be performed by the Evaluation Contractor (Rochester Institute of Technology PAL). Logistics for transporting hardware equipment to Evaluation Contractor are arranged by Applicant and Contractor.
- Test procedures involving colorimetric measurements will be conducted as described in the Evaluation sections on certification protocol to assess the uniformity of the display and accuracy with which the system can simulate the designated reference print characterization and/or spot colors.
- Applicant supplies an Application Data Sheet (ADS) that provides information on hardware and software as well as detailed instructions on operation. Information provided in ADS must be sufficient for a skilled operator to achieve intended results. Discrepancies or omissions will be reviewed with the Applicant. An ADS template will be provided to capture the following.
– Identification of manufacturer, system and components.
– Model of measurement device used to calibrate/profile system.
– Reference print characterization and ICC profile.
– Detailed instructions for setting up system.
– Any additional information necessary for device or system operation.
- Evaluation Contractor will provide a report to the Applicant by email. The report will include a compilation of results and status of pass or failure of each test. A sample evaluation report may be downloaded from the Idealliance web site.
- Applicant may elect to use computer hardware furnished by the Evaluation Contractor if such equipment is available at the time of certification. It is strongly recommended that Applicant provide a technician to operate the system during testing at Evaluation Contractor site.
- A certification for a soft proofing system does not expire. However, a certified system that undergoes a significant change in hardware or software will requirere-certification.
Soft Proofing System and Display GRACoL 2013 or SWOP 2013: $4,000
Additional Reference Print Condition: $1,000
No discounts for multiple systems
Coordinate logistics for transporting hardware equipment to Evaluation Contractor:
Senior Color Scientist
Rochester Institute of Technology
Printing Applications Lab
PAL Bldg 78, Rm 1425
66 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623 USA