The magic key in any commercial transaction is to satisfy the customer's requirements. In the color separation market the customer's expectations are consistency in the product, and films that when printed will reproduce a clean visual match to the original copy. The variables that affect the quality, consistency, and productivity for the color separation process, were reviewed. The result of this review was that the operator's scanner set-up for tone reproduction is the most critical variable in the process. An estimate of the total cost in the United States caused by rescans due to inconsistency of the scanner set-up gave the result of $462,852,000 per year. One solution to the problem of inconsistency of the scanner set-up seems to be the use of pre-scan systems. The pre-scan system helps the scanner operator determinate the optimum tone reproduction for each color separation. A review of the related literature described seven presetter and seven presetter/previewer systems. To test pre-scan effectiveness the DuPont Image Manager was used to produce the suggested scanner set-up using a computerized method for the tone reproduction determination with very little operator assistance. This study answered the research question, does the DuPont Image Manager improve the quality, consistency, and productivity of color separations made on a Hell DC 399 Scanner? The Hell DC 399 scanner was used. Two hypotheses, and the experimental design are presented. The experiment produced color separations using the judgment of three experienced and three inexperienced scanner operators, and by using the pre-scan system. With the films obtained, Cromalin color proofs were made. Judges evaluated the proofs using pair comparison to study the quality consistency improvement. To study the productivity, the average time required for the scanner set-up using both methods was measured, using the scanner operator's judgment and the DuPont Image Manager. The results of the study yielded the following conclusions: the overall visual preference of color separations was higher when the scanner is set-up according to the Du Pont Image Manager instructions by experienced or inexperienced scanner operators. The Du Pont Image Manager produces an improvement in the productivity of setting up a scanner in a ratio of 45% for the inexperienced scanner operators. The use of the Du Pont Image Manager did not significantly increase the color separation acceptance either for experienced or inexperienced scanner operators, or for different kind of originals. For low key originals, the operator's judgment produced a better overall visual color separation, compared to when the Image Manager was used. For high key originals there is no difference in the visual preference for the color separations made using either one of the two methods analyzed. For normal key, over exposed, and under exposed originals the visual preference was higher for those color separations that were made following the Du Pont Image Manager instructions for the scanner set-up. The recommendation for further study is that the same research can be performed in a real working situation, at five or six shops, using their normal jobs in the test, and asking their customers to judge the separation's acceptance.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Color separation; Color printing; Scanning systems; Electronics in color printing
Department, Program, or Center
School of Print Media (CIAS)
Arce B., Enrique A., "Improving quality consistency and productivity of color separators utilizing the Dupont image manager" (1990). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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