Monday, November 23, 2009

How to (theoretically) roll your own colour matching system

The following gives background and advances an untried method for developing a colour matching system. It hasn't been tried yet, but I'm working on it.

The basic facts: Colour matching systems exist to standardize colour across the different parts of pre-press workflow. The dominant player, Pantone, uses ten different inks to create its spot colours. In addition to spot colour, Pantone employs its own augmented version of CMYK: Hexachrome, or CMYKOG. Hexachrome is supposed to be able to replicate more of the Pantone spot colour gamut than traditional CMYK can.

To roll your own spot colour standard, you'll need:
  • a light spectrometer (build, buy or borrow)
  • samples of ink from various manufacturers
  • samples of basic, elemental pigment
  • a precise scale
  • time
  • various types of paper
First, analyse your ink selection. which colours do the various manufacturers have in common, aside from CMYK? Once you've found a range of widely available colours, it's time to break out the spectrometer. Make some consistent colour swatches. That is to say, lay in a supply of a few types of paper. Take one of your available colours (you'll want to make sure you have a sample of that colour as produced by different manufacturers). Applying your ink evenly, create a swatch of that colour for each manufacturer. You should have several different swatches of the same colour, a few for each different brand of ink (more or less, depending on the number of papers you're testing with).

Next, grab your spectrometer. Use it to measure the different inks, comparing readings across brands. If two inks have the same readings on one type of paper, go on to the next type of paper and make sure they still match. If you get an exact match on all types of paper, score! Now see if any of the other inks match the spectrum. From each colour group, you should get data about which brands match each other exactly. Be sure to note the details. In an ideal world, it should be possible to find a grouping of different ink manufacturers who make matching products (although who knows what the success rate will be in reality). If they match across the spectrum of common colours, you've got yourself a palette.

You can use this palette as a jumping off point for your own colour mixing experiments. You'll eventually want to narrow down the number of different inks. Pantone, as mentioned above, uses ten. With a base selection of inks, consistent across several manufacturers, you can create your own custom palette of spot colours.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

OCS poster, wiki

It just occurred to me that I never actually put up the final, fixed version of the OCS poster. So, ta dah!

Also worth mentioning is the OCS presence on the Create wiki. It comes with a flashy new domain name for OCS: Eventually, I want to get a more permanent site up at that address, but for now, it's pointing to the wiki, where the future of Open Colour is being discussed.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

OCS Research Report V1.0.1

Version 1.0.1 of the OCS Research Report is now available. Download the pdf.

Revisions in v1.0.1:

p1. contributor list
p6. "The reverse of this is, of course, also true."
p6. "(including #0099cc, the colour of the OCS logo)"
p7. "As mentioned above, Pantone provides mixing instructions to print professionals. These instructions provide the direction necessary to create any colour in the Pantone range from a set of base colours (these colours include process yellow, process magenta, process cyan, process black, orange, red, blue, yellow, warm red, rubine red, rhodamine red, purple, violet, reflex blue, process blue and black). These instructions are laid out in a similar fashion to paint mixing ratios."
pp7-8. "despite the existence of other viable palettes such as Focoltone, Trumatech, Munsell (the rights to which are currently owned by X-Rite, Pantone's parent company), Toyo, HKS, RAL and so on."
p9. "(a Canadian chain of book stores)"
p13. "is" between the words "involvement" and "what" in paragraph 3
p15. a space between "students," and "use"
p15. "Usability: Even if they wish to try Open Source alternatives, many designers lack the skills required to do so. They may find programs difficult to install, with technical issues they aren't used to dealing with."

Formatting changed to minimize excess white space at the tops of some pages.

p11. " and the principles behind it" from after "(FLOSS)"

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

OCS Research Report Versioning Guidelines

The OCS Research Report is not going to be a static document. Revisions and suggestions are always welcome. (If you have anything that you think needs to be added, email me.) As such, we need a versioning system. Partly so that I won't forget and partly so that it's more widely known, here's the plan: I don't anticipate leaving the 1.somethings any time soon, if ever. So, the syntax will be 1.section added.section revised. In practice, this means that the newest version (coming soon), with changes to the section on colour spaces, will be version 1.0.1. Good?

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Site

Up and running, at a temporary address, the main OCS website. It's a little bare bones at the moment, but should be getting more content in the near future.

OCS site

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Friday, April 10, 2009

OCS Action Plan

I've worked up a bit of a strategic plan for the future of the Open Colour Standard, based on conclusions from the research report mentioned earlier.

Areas outlined in the action plan: major problems, low-hanging fruit, actions that can be taken to advance the Open Colour Standard and actions to support Open Source for designers.

Download the action plan as a PDF

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Research Report: release 1.0

After yesterday's post of the beta version of this report, it's now time to roll out version 1.0. Changes since the last version include a newly added bibliography and table of contents, changes to the inline citation style and new content added to the section on Open Source and designers.

Download version 1.0 as a PDF

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Monday, March 2, 2009

The Purpose of the Open Colour Standard

Brief words about the Open Colour Standard: OCS is a union of colour theory and large scale information organization. OCS will be executed within an open source framework.

Open Colour Standard Goals
  • Create an Open Colour Standard to rival proprietary colour spaces
  • study colour for commercial and artistic uses in an open and transparent way, within the spirit of FLOSS
  • educate designers, creators, businesses about the importance and benefits of open standards
  • grow a community of open source colour developers
  • take the prohibitive costs out of getting precise colour in print media

The mission of the Open Colour Standard will be to:
  • educate the populous about colour
  • democratize the precise use of colour in real world applications
  • encourage experimentation and development with colour
  • make colour accessible