Idealliance (idealliance.org), the industry association representing all facets of the global media supply chain, has released a new dataset and profiles supporting XCMYK four-color expanded gamut printing. After 26 international test runs over 15 months, Idealliance has released the XCMYK profile and announced XCMYK, a new colorspace representing XCMYK expanded gamut printing that can be achieved on offset and digital devices.
The XCMYK dataset and profiles can reproduce a larger gamut than that of GRACoL®, the industry’s current standard for print quality. The XCMYK dataset and profiles can also be used directly in digital front ends for presses, proofers, and other devices. Profiles can be used on traditional four-color presses as well as on a variety of digital devices to produce a colorspace larger than current traditional printing.
“GRACoL continues to meet the quality needs of the majority of printing today, but many devices can now print to a larger colorspace,” says Tim Baechle, Idealliance Director of Global Print Media Markets and Technologies. “Because of this, Idealliance and its GRACoLWorking Group sought to develop a colorspace for the future that can be used both by digital devices as well as traditional offset presses.”
The output space of XCMYK represents an expanded gamut based on 26 dedicated pressruns conducted on offset presses using standard IS0 12647-2 compliant inks and non-traditional (e.g., FM) screening, as well as a wide variety of digital devices. The project was overseen by the GRACoL Working Group and a special task force of more than 100 professionals from 88 companies, and conducted over a 15-month period in 2015-16 involving test runs from all over the world, including Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan, Canada, and the United States.
The XCMYK project involved significant contributions of pressruns, time, labor, and raw materials from printers, manufacturers, and Idealliance volunteers, with total time and raw materials estimated at more than $350,000.
XCMYK Expanded Gamut printing represents just one part in a series of Idealliance expanded gamut initiatives. The Idealliance Print Properties and Colorimetric Council and GRACoL Working Group is conducting a traditional expanded color gamut (CMYK+OGV) research and education project, with details to be announced in the coming weeks.