The Shed - - Industry Insight -

As de­sign­ers and pho­tog­ra­phers, we can in­vest hours of metic­u­lous at­ten­tion in our work. So, it’s no sur­prise that when printed ma­te­rial ar­rives as the end de­liv­er­able, we want to know that it will be a true rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the con­cept and in­tent. For this rea­son, cre­atives de­mand pre­cise colour re­pro­duc­tion; no com­pro­mises.

Known as ‘the stan­dard lan­guage for colour com­mu­ni­ca­tion’, Pan­tone is rec­og­nized as the au­thor­ity on colour, fa­cil­i­tat­ing ac­cu­racy in colour rep­re­sen­ta­tion across var­i­ous in­dus­tries.

And now Ep­son is one of a very few printer man­u­fac­tur­ers to of­fer Pan­tone cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, boasted by their flag­ship 64-inch roll-to-roll sig­nage printer, the Sure Color SC-S80600. It joins the in­dus­try-lead­ing Sure Color Pro­graph­ics range with Pan­tone cov­er­age ex­ceed­ing 98 per cent.

We quizzed Ep­son pro­fes­sional print prod­uct man­ager Gor­don Kerr about what this cer­ti­fi­ca­tion means for Ep­son and its prod­ucts.

The Pho­tog­ra­pher’s Mail: There’s no doubt be­com­ing Pan­tone cer­ti­fied is quite a rig­or­ous process. What did this en­tail, and why does it of­fer your cus­tomers such peace of mind?

Gor­don Kerr: We have a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence with Pan­tone, and [have] built a lead­er­ship po­si­tion in the photo and proof­ing mar­kets around our ex­cel­lence in this area. We knew that if we could of­fer a durable sig­nage printer with imag­ing qual­ity sim­i­lar to what we al­ready of­fered the pro-graphic field, it would give cus­tomers a sig­nif­i­cant ad­van­tage in terms of pro­duc­tion qual­ity and ap­pli­ca­tion flex­i­bil­ity. It took us al­most six months to achieve cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, and, while it in­volved con­sid­er­able in­vest­ment, had it not been for the strength of the prod­uct, we would not have achieved suc­cess. When our en­gi­neers first con­ceived the S80600, they wanted it to be the best in its class and a flag­ship for the sig­nage in­dus­try. Our en­gi­neers took par­tic­u­lar care to en­sure that we not only de­liv­ered a printer that could pro­duce su­pe­rior colour but [also] one that could do it with pre­dictable and con­sis­tent out­put.

Be­ing Pan­tone cer­ti­fied means that colour is an­a­lyzed — from pre­flight, file prep, and proof­ing to ink for­mu­la­tion and mix­ing, and, fi­nally, to process con­trol in print. What does this prac­ti­cally mean for the im­age — from lens, to screen, to pa­per?

The S80600 will pro­duce ac­cu­rate colour and re­pro­duce the ma­jor­ity of the Pan­tone pal­ette. It does this through the com­bi­na­tion of su­pe­rior Ul­tra Chrome GS3 ink and Pre­ci­sion Core print­heads, ad­vanced me­dia man­age­ment, and cus­tom­ized Mi­cro Weave print pat­terns, pre­ci­sion LUT [look-up ta­bles], and half-ton­ing mod­ules. While all of this Ep­son tech­nol­ogy en­sures con­sis­tent and de­pend­able out­put, with­out proper colour man­age­ment, you can’t guar­an­tee that [the] out­put is ac­tu­ally what you in­tended. The days of visual com­par­i­son and check­ing are com­ing to a close. Pho­tog­ra­phers, de­sign­ers, and print­ers who want to pro­duce pre­mium work with ac­cu­rate colour need to start adopt­ing a full colour-man­aged work­flow; from lens, to screen, to print.

The Ep­son Sure Color large-for­mat range of­fers colour and black-and-white prints with an ul­tra­w­ide gamut — up to 99-per-cent Pan­tone cov­er­age (with Vi­o­let ink). What does this mean for the user?

Ep­son’s high-colour Sure Color Sig­nage printer (SCS80600) will pro­duce up to 98 per cent of the Pan­tone range. Our flag­ship Sure Color Pro­graph­ics print­ers (SC-P7070 and P9070) will pro­duce up to 98 per cent of the Pan­tone range when con­fig­ured with Light Light Black (Llk) ink, or 99 per cent when con­fig­ured with Vi­o­let (Vi) ink. The Vi con­fig­u­ra­tion is rec­om­mend for proof­ing and graphic work where gamut max­i­miza­tion is most im­por­tant. For pho­tog­ra­phy work, where tonal bal­ance tends to be more crit­i­cal, we gen­er­ally rec­om­mend the Llk con­fig­u­ra­tion.

You’ve re­cently been at the Aus­tralian In­sti­tute of Pro­fes­sional Pho­tog­ra­phy (AIPP) Aus­tralian Pro­fes­sional Pho­tog­ra­phy Awards (APPA), as well as Photokina. What trends have you have no­ticed lately in the arts and pho­to­graphic in­dus­try that these de­vel­op­ments would ben­e­fit?

The qual­ity of pho­tog­ra­phy, and, in par­tic­u­lar, dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy, con­tin­ues to grow ev­ery year. I con­tinue to be amazed and de­lighted at what I see be­ing pro­duced these days.

The de­mand for print­ing ev­ery­day pho­tos seems to be on the de­cline, how­ever I have no­ticed a cor­re­spond­ing in­crease in aware­ness of the artis­tic na­ture and value of pho­tog­ra­phy. Whether this is due to in­creased ex­po­sure or in­ter­est I can’t say. What I can say is that the value of a qual­ity photo, im­aged well onto qual­ity me­dia, has never been as high as it is to­day.

What can be done [now] with pho­tog­ra­phy and dig­i­tal imag­ing is quite amaz­ing. Where once I went to shows and would see images put onto a va­ri­ety of stan­dard board and pa­per stocks, to­day I am see­ing more can­vas and syn­thetic stocks. I am start­ing to see peo­ple print onto spe­cialty stocks, onto film, onto metal, onto fab­ric, onto Per­spex, even onto wood. I see peo­ple mak­ing their own fab­rics and mer­chan­dise, cus­tom wall­pa­per, and even fur­ni­ture. The op­por­tu­ni­ties for dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy con­tinue to ex­pand each year.

To find out more about the Sure Color Pro­graph­ics range, get in touch with Ep­son’s lo­cal con­tact, Av­inash, on 09 366 6855.

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