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Entering the New Era of Color Management

Fine-art printmaker reaps productivity rewards

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Artists from all over the world submit their original creations to New Era Publishing in Austin, TX for the digital output and finishing of limited-edition prints. The company uses the TruGiclee quality-control principles established by The Giclee Printers Association.

New Era uses a ZBE copy-stand system with PhaseOne digital camera to digitize the images, then outputs them on one of six IXIA/IRIS and Roland HiFi JET wide-format inkjet printers. Before implementing a color-managed workflow, company president Joseph Garcia admits that achieving color consistency was sometimes difficult because each printer has varying characteristics and can at times produce different results.

After receiving color-management guidance and training from color-management expert Dan Reid of Renaissance Photographic Imaging, New Era now uses X-Rite's Color Ensemble to profile their monitors, scanners, and printers. The Ensemble includes the X-Rite DTP41 Series II spectrophotometer, DTP92 monitor optimizer, and MonacoPROFILER software.

Production manager Kelly Ballew (shown here) has seen a significant reduction in scrapped materials due to inaccurate color–especially when transferring an artist's work on canvas to paper. Because New Era has separate profiles for their canvas and paper, they don't have to output an image several times to see if the colors will be consistent.

Garcia estimates that they recouped their investment in the X-Rite Color Ensemble within six to 12 months, and notes that, “Today it contributes it approximately 5% of our gross margin profit. A lot of this is due to reduced waste. Today we're real confident in our ability to produce consistent color, especially over longer runs. If I were an artist, I wouldn't trust a shop that wasn't color managed.” (New Era Publishing: www.newerapublishing.com; Renaissance Photographic Imaging: www.rpimaging.com)

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