How to determine optimal solid ink densities (best match delta-E)

Note: This module is no longer the preferred way to establish the correct densities as modern MeasureColor versions use (auto-) Chromatrack in all modules. With new installs, the module is hidden by default in the user profiles.

This QuickStart document describes how to use MeasureColor’s Printability Module to determine the optimum ink film thickness (best match delta-E)

Whenever you need to calibrate your print process to a standard, the first step is to determine the optimum ink film thickness (Densities) for your solid ink on the selected material. For this purpose, MeasureColor has a special module, called ‘Printability test’. By printing and measuring a special printability test form you can quickly determine the exact ink response on your materials.

What you need:

  • MeasureColor 4 Pro or higher license level
  • MeasureColor Printability test form (printability_testform_v3.pdf)
  • Compliant scanning measurement device

Generic preparations:

  • Create 4 printing plates from the Printability test form (linear plates by preference but not mandatory)
  • Download and import the Color bar definition
  • IMPORTANT: on the press console open ALL ink keys to the same level
  • Print the form where you want to find the target densities as noted on the sheet in the center zone

MeasureColor 4 workflow (for wet and dry prints):

  • Open the ‘Printability test’ module
  • Create a new job based on the proper reference and make sure the ‘MeasureColor_printability_50’ color bar is selected for this job
  • Open the Measurement window and select the condition for this measurement (wet/dry)
  • Optional: print some fresh sheets so you can measure the wet ink if needed
  • Measure the color bar and hit ‘Finish’
  • Let the sheet dry properly (24hrs)
  • Open the job that contains the ‘wet’ measurement
  • Open the Measurement window and select the condition for this measurement (dry)
  • Measure the color bar and hit ‘Finish’

Analyzing the ink performance and select ‘best match’:

  • Open ‘Printability test’ module
  • Select the job you wish to analyze and open the ‘dry’ measurement for that job
  • In the ‘Results’ view, you see a graph area which holds tabs for each printed color, CIE-ab details are shown on the right
  • Above the graph on the left, you see a slider. Move the slider to the right and watch what happens as you move it back and forth
  • Move the slider until the measured point reaches to the lowest point on the (vertical) delta-E axis. This is your ‘best color match’ for this ink!
  • Note the ‘Best match density’ AND the little number you see right to the density (e.g. ‘(9)’). Click on the button on the right to save the result
  • Repeat for each color
  • Now that we have found the best match and corresponding density for the dried result, we want to find the corresponding density for wet inks
  • Open the measurement that contains the ‘wet’ measurement
  • Drag the slider to the same patch (e.g. ‘(9)’) as found in the dried result. Click on the button to save the result.
  • Note the density for this ‘wet’ ink condition
  • Repeat for each color
  • Instruct your press operator to use these densities and maybe update the target densities for your Presets (Process Control Module)

Next steps: