Bob Cordeau, UniGraphic Color Manager
UniGraphic, Inc. has been a leader in New England’s printing industry for almost half a century. While it became widely known for its consistently excellent commercial printing and prepress work, over time the firm has established expertise in many other essential services. Today, the company and its 145 employees are known for its dynamic large-format printing, expert image retouching, and as the premier digital print shop in the region.
Recently, UniGraphic purchased printing company Vermillion, expanding the company’s capacity and capabilities.
color for print
In UniGraphic’s large-format division, the company had three different RIPs and color-management software packages. It also prints on about 30 different materials. The uniqueness of UniGraphic—it does everything from commercial print to large-format—led it to find a consistent color-management system that would work across all its devices. Color management was difficult with several different RIPs.
“Color accuracy was OK, but it wasn’t as good as I would have liked,” says Bob Cordeau, UniGraphic Color Manager. “It was a pain to color manage all those RIPs with the different software systems. It would be much easier to manage all of our color from one central location, which would allow us to ‘dumb down’ every RIP we had, allowing us to color manage files for printers throughout our facility.” After testing GMG ColorServer (Booth 227), he found it simplified workflow and inter-process color matching. Color management for all the RIPs was turned off.
UniGraphic created PrintHub, a centralized file server with hot folders for every inkjet printer and large-format material in the plant. Prepress operators, working within a PDF workflow, drop files into PrintHub hot folders, based upon the destination printer and color standard—for example, GRACoL. Proofs from the files are produced on the Epson digital inkjet printer.
After the proof is approved, the PDF file is automatically sent to the wide-format group. There, they drop the same PDF file into PrintHub, selecting a folder with the correct printer and substrate—for example blue back, opaline, bus wrap, satin, smooth—that UniGraphic regularly runs. Each has to be profiled. There, it is color managed by GMG ColorServer, maintaining the integrity of the original PDF file. When the resultant output PDF file—with a ‘CS’ prefix—leaves GMG ColorServer, it is delivered to the RIP to be printed.
“It was better to centralize—drop a PDF file to the hot folder representing the correct printer and the proper material, and print,” says Cordeau. Everything is color managed to an on-press G7 GRACoL setting. It’s a beautiful thing. Before, I had a few difficulties with some of the materials. They did not profile well. GMG ColorServer does a great job.”
Acquiring a new company—and approved proofs
“When we purchased Vermillion, we inherited a lot of work in progress. Unfortunately, they proofed jobs differently than we did. Clients had already seen the proofs and OK’d them. These were 50- to 60-page jobs. The problem was that our presses are set up to match our proofs—not theirs. We didn’t want to have to color-correct hundreds of pages to have our proofs match Vermillion’s OK’d proofs. It would have cost a lot of material and time,” recalls Cordeau.
“I decided to create a device link profile in GMG ColorServer and color managed the PDF files that were OK’d through GMG ColorServer,” he says. “The files ran through the system and were automatically converted from using Vermillion’s press fingerprint characteristics to UniGraphic’s. When printed, they looked like the approved Vermillion proofs. The great thing was that no corrections were edited by hand. They were all done by GMG ColorServer’s color management.”
The system was seamless in transitioning all the jobs. Cordeau treated everything on a job-by-job basis. He tested a job, ran five pages, compared the device link profile, matched the Vermillion proofs, and went to press. He did the same thing with the next job…and the next. “It worked out great,” says Cordeau. I made a quick workflow in GMG ColorServer and, now, any operator can simply drop a PDF to a hot folder rather than color-correct images and tints. It’s very easy to use.”