Perfect Backlits

Posted by Scott on 31 January 2012 | Comments

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We now offer the absolute best in illuminated printing. Often backlits are let down by dull colours, washy blacks and shadows or colour casts (when an image looks slightly yellow or green etc) which ruin a great image. Up until now we've used in-house developed techniques to get great backlits with densities that don't wash out when the lights are on, but this was never completely reliable. We had a new addition late last year in the form of a spectrophotometer. The great thing about this new model is that it does transmissive readings.

Confusing jargon? A spectrophotometer is a device that scans colour by reflecting a light off it and then provides a digital reading to a software programme. Transmissive readings are done by shining a light through the colour to simulate a light box. For us it allows complete control of all backlit colour. For you it means absolutely brilliant backlit graphics with great skin tones and colours that match what you see on your screen. The accurate calibration of our system ensures that backlits get the same attention to detail as all other standard print media we do. It's predictable and reliable colour.

Colour management - how can it help?

If we threw a file into our image processor with all colour settings turned off then your guess is as good as mine what the image may print like.

By turning the settings on, the system requires extra info to work properly or it's just having a guess too. It needs to know how the graphic was made, from a colour point of view. It also needs to know where these colours are going. Printer, ink and media have a big influence on what an image will ultimately look like. To control this properly we need to map all the colours we can print for each media we print on... these are called icc profiles.

3D map of the full gamut (range) of colour of a synthetic paper using UV curable ink.

An icc profile is in basic terms, a data file of a 3D map that defines all colours highlights and shadows that a printer can produce on a particular media. By having this colour map, the image processor can accuratley translate your colours from your file to reproduce on the media required, and if it can't do a perfect match it will mathematically get the colour as close as damn possible to the original colour in the file.

The key to making this process work is having accurate measurements, that's why our Barbieri Spectrophotometer is so important.