Idealliance releases XCMYK expanded gamut dataset

idealliancexcmyk1-inIdealliance has released a new dataset and profiles supporting XCMYK four-colour expanded-gamut printing. After 26 international test runs over 15 months, Idealliance has released the XCMYK profile and announced XCMYK, a new colourspace representing XCMYK expanded gamut printing that can be achieved on offset and digital devices. The dataset and profiles can reproduce a larger gamut than that of GRACoL, the industry’s current standard for print quality. The XCMYK dataset and profiles can also be used directly in digital front ends (DFEs) for presses, proofers and other devices. Profiles can be used on traditional four-colour presses as well as on a variety of digital devices to produce a colourspace larger than current traditional printing.

Tim Baechle.
Tim Baechle.

“GRACoL continues to meet the quality needs of the majority of printing today, but many devices can now print to a larger colourspace,” said Tim Baechle, Idealliance Director of Global Print Media Markets and Technologies. “Because of this, Idealliance and its GRACoLWorking Group sought to develop a colourspace for the future that can be used both by digital devices as well as traditional offset presses.”

The output space of XCMYK represents an expanded gamut based on 26 dedicated press runs conducted on offset presses using standard IS0 12647-2 compliant inks and non-traditional (e.g. FM) screening, as well as a wide variety of digital devices. The project was overseen by the GRACoL Working Group and a special task force of more than 100 professionals from 88 companies, and conducted over a 15-month period in 2015-16 involving test runs from all over the world – including Canada, the United States, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia and Pakistan. The XCMYK project involved significant contributions of press runs, time, labour and raw materials from printers, manufacturers, and Idealliance volunteers – with total time and raw materials estimated at more than $350,000.

XCMYK Expanded Gamut printing represents just one part in a series of Idealliance expanded gamut initiatives. The Idealliance Print Properties and Colorimetric Council and GRACoL Working Group is conducting a traditional expanded colour gamut (CMYK+OGV) research and education project, with details to be announced in the coming weeks. With the introduction of XCMYK, Idealliance is making profiles, datasets and basic information about calibration and profile use available. To learn more about XCMYK, or to download the profiles, datasets and other information, please go to www.gracol.org.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.