28 Jul 2021

Elmwood 'revolutionises' global packaging proofing with GMG technologies

Gmg Elmwood Lfr

Global brand design consultancy Elmwood says its recent installation of GMG FlexoProof and GMG ProofControl has revolutionised its digital proofing capabilities. Increasing colour accuracy and proof-to-proof consistency has compelled this fast-growing FMCG, Retail, Food / Beverage and Corporate agency to begin implementing GMG-powered Epson WT7900 proofing systems across its studios worldwide.

Elmwood has established production locations in London, New York, Singapore and Melbourne. Working with blue-chip international brands and clients such as Morrisons, Kimberly-Clark, Unilever, Anchor and Seven Seas, clearly accurate and consistent colour rendering is crucial to the company’s service.

“Colour is one of the most important elements to a brand’s strength in communication across all its assets,” says Peter Aldous, Creative Services Director at Elmwood. “Identifiable colour integrity in the reproduction of these assets needs to be set at an early stage. By using the powerful GMG tool we can assure the replication and quality our clients deserve.”

“Prior to installing GMG ColorProof, one of our biggest issues was the amount of resource we needed to produce consistent colour,” he continues. “Our previous RIP / colour management solution could not give us the quality that we – and our clients – expected, so there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing manually tweaking output settings to achieve the required output. What we needed was a system that could give us the quality that we wanted faster, and without as much manual intervention, day in and day out.”

Elmwood invested in GMG FlexoProof and GMG ProofControl to address its colour management and output issues. GMG FlexoProof is a colour proofing and calibration application designed for the specific requirements of the packaging and label printing industry. Featuring halftone digital proofing of flexographic / package print jobs, FlexoProof ensures accurate and consistent proofing output regardless of print device, colour space or substrate. FlexoProof includes the GMG SpotColour Editor for precise and repeatable colour matching of spot colours.

GMG ProofControl is a fast, tangible way to be assured that proofs are being produced to a measurable, predefined standard by incorporating target values from international industry standards such as ISO, PSR Gravure, SWOP and GRACoL.

“The results have been fantastic,” says Peter. “Being able to quickly and easily work to a predefined industry standard such as Fogra and ISO 12647 has increased colour accuracy and given us the confidence to produce identical proofs whether they’re needed the same day, or a year later. Using GMG technology has allowed us to implement a consistent, corporate-wide PDF standard which we can use regardless of the final print process, or print substrate.”

It’s not just Elmwood who are happy with the results. “We’ve been getting very favourable comments from our clients,” says Peter. “One particular client has said that we’ve revolutionised their proofing phase. They’ve told us that the quality of proof that we’re producing for them is far and away the best result to portray design intent, to the point that they want us to work with them to bring their other suppliers up to the same level. We even have two specific examples where designs that would have otherwise been rejected on the basis of the perceived colour quality have been approved as a direct result of being produced using GMG applications.”

Within a very short space of time, Elmwood’s GMG installation has become an intrinsic part of its production processes. “I cannot over-stress how much of a difference implementing GMG has made to the realisation of design intent to our clients,” says Peter. “It’s got to the point now where we cannot imagine how we lived without it.”

The next step for Peter is to roll-out the GMG-based proofing solution across the rest of Elmwood’s locations. “The combination of GMG FlexoProof and ProofControl has allowed us to both increase the quality of our value offering to our clients, while at the same time reduce production time, costs, errors and wastage. Implementing a standardised, corporate-wide proofing initiative across all our studios, and working closer together with both clients and printers to produce the best possible end-result, will help us stay ahead of the game and, hopefully, push forward the boundaries of what’s possible within the industry itself.”

Toby Burnett, MD, GMG UK, comments: “Elmwood’s passion in producing the best possible design and taking that all the way through to print is a perfect example of the new generation of services provider who works very closely with everyone throughout the production chain. Their work in removing output inconsistencies, working to a defined industry standard and pushing their new capabilities to clients helps raise the quality of proofing not only internally, but for the industry as a whole.”

[Image caption: L-R: Peter Aldous, Creative Services Director at Elmwood, and Will Hearn, Technical Sales for GMG Color Ltd]

GMG announces availability of OpenColor 1.1

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GMG has announced the availability of GMG OpenColor 1.1. Designed to enable brands and packaging press specialist to accurately predict spot colours, GMG OpenColor has won high-level recognition, including the 2013 InterTech Technology Award, the 2013 Flexographic Technical Association Technical Innovation Award and an Innovation Award from the ERA - European Rotogravure Association.

New features in GMG OpenColor 1.1 extend its functionality still further and include extended import of measurement data and further adjustment capabilities to the GMG OpenColor profiles.

The use of multi-colour printing and the increasing complexity of jobs that use different combinations of inks, substrates and screening, amongst other variables, is a continuing trend in package printing, Consequently, one of the critical challenges facing Brand Solutions and Packaging Prepress providers is the ability to accurately and reliably communicate colour throughout the entire supply chain - from the brand manager to the printer.

Until now, to accurately communicate a mix of colours, every combination would require a specific test chart showing the different combinations - a costly process that involves colour fingerprint charts, the making of plates, and lengthy testing.  GMG OpenColor resolves this complex packaging problem and provides highly accurate colour profiles, with less information. By using OpenColor, users avoid printing combinations of overprints. They just print single colour patches and combine the colour and substrate properties within the software.

“This has been an exciting year for GMG and GMG OpenColor,” says Victor Asseiceiro, Director, Business Unit Packaging at GMG. “It has received significant recognition by respected associations and, more importantly, has been adopted by a number of leading companies throughout the world. However, we are not complacent and will continue to build features that will make GMG OpenColor even more powerful and easy to use.”

The new GMG OpenColor 1.1 offers powerful data import functionality that automatically averages data, which is especially helpful when importing data collected at different press run times. As a result, any possible deviation is included in the final profile calculation.

This new version of GMG OpenColor provides tools to adjust color intensity and dot gain. Users can define a target dot gain from a specific printing process or adjust dot gain measurements to compensate for possible faulty printing conditions, which can occur during reference print runs or colour standard productions. By avoiding re-runs, users save time and money.

Flexo pre-press companies, particularly, will profit from this colour and dot gain adjustment.  They can define target dot gain for a spot colour or for a complete data set. Plus, they will be able to adjust dot gain and ink density to suit optimal press condition. Operators can adjust parameters and modify highlight, mid tone or shadows are per channel and colour as needed for production.

GMG OpenColor 1.1 also gives users the ability to correct the substrate white point and add dot correction to the profile - without the need to recalculate the profile - to simulate the correct substrate colours and produce Contract-level proofs.

Schawk! USA Inc standardises on GMG ColorProof and GMG OpenColor

Gmg Colorproof

Schawk! USA, Inc. has signed an agreement to standardise on GMG ColorProof and GMG OpenColor as the primary proofing and colour management technology for all Schawk! locations worldwide.

Schawk! produces brand assets and protects brand equities to drive brand profitability. Leveraging its 60-plus years of industry leadership, Schawk! identifies and deploys scalable solutions to address a brand's complex production and delivery needs through proven expertise in workflow, resourcing, colour management and imaging. Schawk! joins a growing list of GMG packaging customers around the world who have adopted GMG ColorProof and GMG OpenColor.

In recent years GMG ColorProof, the multiple award-winning proofing software, has established itself as the most professional software solution for producing colour-accurate contract proofs for the complex needs of packaging producers. GMG OpenColor creates high-quality multicolor profiles simulating printing behavior of diverse printing technologies, media types, and screening technologies, without requiring ‘proprietary chart based’ press fingerprinting. GMG OpenColor helps achieve significant optimization of the entire package printing process chain. With proofs that both represent pure spot colours precisely and simulate their complex overprinting behavior, it is now much more simple to prepare and verify print data.

Schawk! had expressed a strong desire to standardize its global proofing process with a consistent system that would accurately represent colour—no matter the ultimate print process, ink, or substrate used. Schawk’s internal workgroup, the Color Task Force (CTF), spent more than a year conducting extensive testing and analysis before it decided to work with GMG’s colour solutions. GMG OpenColor, a 2013 InterTech Technology and FTA Innovation Award recipient, was a critical component of this decision due to its groundbreaking spot colour overprint prediction capabilities. CTF also was impressed with the ability to perform worldwide remote proofing at customer and print sites—as well as global Schawk! locations.

Schawk! is currently in the process of implementing the GMG proofing system worldwide.

Platinum Print installs GMG solutions to streamline proof production and increase output accuracy

Gmg Platinum

Platinum Print has recently integrated GMG software solutions to streamline proof production and increase output accuracy and consistency across its Epson, Mimaki, Ricoh and Konica digital printers and B2 Komori offset printing presses.

Celebrating its 25th year in business, this Harrogate-based print services provider offers a range of personalised direct mail, fulfilment, large-format and general commercial print to clients ranging from SMEs to national blue-chip companies. Since implementing GMG ColorProof, GMG ColorServer and GMG InkOptimizer, Platinum Print has been awarded Fogra certification, giving its clients an even higher level of quality assurance.

“Prior to installing GMG software, one of our biggest issues was maintaining consistent colour across all our output devices,” says Production Director Mark Plummer. “The front-end RIPs on our various devices delivered different results from each other, and did not offer the level of control that we were looking for. I was already familiar with industry standards such as Fogra and ISO 12647, and I was looking for a solution that could streamline and automate our production, all the while making the process of colour and profile management as easy as possible for our operators.”

GMG had been on Mark’s radar for a while as it was, in his opinion, one of only a handful of solutions on the market that could address all the issues surrounding colour management, device-independent output and ink optimisation. “GMG were one of the few suppliers that were able to come into our plant and demonstrate - with live samples - exactly how its solutions could address our issues,” says Mark. “Nobody else was able to do that. The results were head and shoulders above anything that we had seen from anyone else, and the system was very easy-to-use.”

“Thanks to GMG ColorProof, not only do our proofs match output with a higher degree of accuracy, but the subjective visual appearance of the proofs are quite amazing. Being able to both image and control output from the entire physical gamut of every device has enhanced our customer value offering.”

Platinum Print also installed GMG ColorServer, to deliver accurate and consistent results across different devices. “One of our requirements was the ability to quickly and easily deliver identical output no matter which device we print to. Using GMG ColorServer we can standardise and automate colour space conversions, to deliver fast and consistent results regardless of output device or substrate. The result is more efficient production, easier operator use and a reduction in time and material waste.”

Finally, Platinum Print invested in GMG InkOptimizer – but not just for reducing their ink costs –   Mark explains. “The vast majority of our work are short-to-medium run lengths, so we are certainly saving ink by using InkOptimizer. However, the more beneficial feature is the savings in ink drying times that the software enables. Often we’re asked to turn around jobs very quickly, and the reduced drying times that InkOptimizer delivers allows us to meet those challenging deadlines more easily.”

“GMG ColorProof, together with ColorServer and InkOptimizer, have allowed us to up our game by delivering higher quality and more accurate results to an ever more demanding client base. Together they are clear testimony to GMG’s commitment to providing solutions that not only address the needs of commercial offset, but also the specific demands of digital and large format print.”

Toby Burnett, MD GMG UK, says: “Platinum Print is a perfect example of a next-generation PSP needing fast, accurate, device-independent output that’s easy to use and maintain. GMG provides the perfect solution - removing output inconsistencies and standardising on a single user interface across all devices brings significant colour management and productivity gains.”

GMG release GMG ColorProof version 5.5

Gmg Colorproof

GMG has released GMG ColorProof 5.5, a major update of its popular proofing software.

“Our GMG ColorProof customers continuously expect the highest output quality along with reliable and consistent processes. Errors can be expensive, and colour predictability is extremely critical,” explains Michael Farkas, Director Business Unit Graphic Arts at GMG. “They rely on GMG ColorProof as the quality reference in contract proofing which, for them, makes their lives easier. With the world’s largest team of colour experts and over 25 years of corporate experience, GMG understands every aspect of colour management.”

“Many of the new GMG ColorProof 5.5 features are in response to customer requests for greater performance and usability. Users will not only find much quicker startup and job creating times, but some really helpful user interface improvements – particularly within the new Manual Job Manager,” adds Farkas. “Meanwhile, customers working with packaging will benefit from the enhanced handling of white ink and transparent areas when proofing on foil, along with enhanced integration with GMG OpenColor. And, GMG DotProof users will find a much sharper dot along with GMG ColorProof’s accurate colour.”

One of the more significant features is an automatic alert. GMG ColorProof often works unattended, printing jobs from hot folders without manual interaction. However, there are times when attention is needed – for example, to load paper, calibrate a printer, or fix a job error. GMG ColorProof now alerts the administrator when attention is needed. Multiple email recipients can be notified, so the ColorProof alert will not be ignored. This can save hours. If an error is not recognised for a few hours, jobs will be queued and a company might miss some deadlines.

A faster version of GMG ColorProof

GMG ColorProof has undergone an extensive rebuild to improve user interface speed. The required time to create a new job from selecting the file until ready to print has been cut in half. GMG ColorProof startup time was reduced from 45 seconds to 10 seconds on GMG’s test system. GMG ColorProof is also available as a real 64-bit setup, more compatible with Microsoft installation and security guidelines. It can allocate more RAM, allowing for faster processing.

Improvements to the user interface

GMG ColorProof 5.5 comes with a new Manual Job Manager that offers a toolbar for the most common commands. Job status is clearly indicated with a green, orange or red colour, giving the operator instant feedback.

With more new GMG ColorProof features, a Database View offers colour-related information such as proof standards and spot colours, while a separate view provides configuration settings.

Especially with complex packaging jobs requiring various spot colors, screening settings, gradation curves etc., customers would like to archive settings for future reference or to configure the same job again. GMG ColorProof now provides a ‘save job report’ feature, containing all relevant job information and image settings.

Different proof standards require different strips. For example, GraCol needs an IDEAlliance strip, and ISO coated needs a MediaWedge v3. Configuring the colour standard with the correct strip is important for correct proof verification, but time-consuming and error prone particularly for dot proofing, where strips may look the same although they use different screening. With ColorProof 5.5, strips can be linked to the ProofStandard. Whenever this ProofStandard is selected, the correct strip is used, by default.

Unique new features for more flexibility, quality, and performance

Other ColorProof features have been added to assist with packaging jobs and prototypes:

  • White Profiling: In packaging, white usually does not cover the entire image; transparent areas let consumers see the packaged contents. With GMG ColorProof 5.5, transparent areas of the white channel stay transparent. They are not covered with a simulation of the paper tint.
  • Roland Cutting: The cutting option for Roland printers has been improved. GMG ColorProof now offers up to ten preconfigured presets for special blade and media settings, along with the most common blade settings. GMG ColorProof now also offers perforated cutting.

New: GMG ColorProof Remote Proofing Edition

Many larger companies use GMG ColorProof for remote proofing. Proofs can be sent with, literally, three clicks to different remote locations. The ProofStandard and calibration technology ensure that the remote proof is identical to the local one. The remote proof file is locked and protected against modification, so both sender and recipient see the same thing. Data exchange is based on ubiquitous technologies like FTP, which ensures that remote proofing is easily accepted at most company environments and with different security guidelines.

Now, ColorProof 5.5 is available as a Remote Proofing Edition, intended for sites that only receive ‘ready to print’ jobs from other, full version ColorProof installations. This edition costs 20% less than the regular ColorProof.

“There are many use cases for remote proofing – for example, when a repro house installs a system and also provides ink and paper consumables at the print buyer’s office. This version is intended for companies that don’t want to create jobs at their sites but will receive ‘ready to print’ jobs from other GMG ColorProof installations,” comments Farkas. “The administrator can determine whether a system can be used only by one, or more, senders. Thus, the Remote Proofing Edition can protect this investment and assure that it won’t be used for other proofs.”

Product Availability

GMG ColorProof 5.5 is available with immediate effect through GMG distribution channels.

GMG releases version 2 of ProductionSuite

Gmg Productionsuite V2

GMG has announced the release of ProductionSuite version 2, an update of the most complete production solution for wide-format printing. Highlights include a very easy to use version of SmartProfiler to profile all combinations of printers, media, inks, etc; more powerful Layout tools; and a new interior decoration option — along with a new, GMG ProductionSuite Focus edition.

GMG ProductionSuite offers the entire range of functions required in a wide-format production environment. GMG ProductionSuite is modular, comprising of a prepress file Editor, RIP, SmartProfiler and PrintStation. It currently supports over 1,000 output devices. A flexible licensing model permits custom installation: from a simple configuration on one computer with only one RIP, one Editor and functions for driving one or two output devices, all the way to an extensive decentralised configuration with several editors that can send jobs to over ten printers and cutters. With additional functions, such as industrial cutting, true shape nesting, and screen- and variable data printing, GMG ProductionSuite also fulfills some of the more unique requirements of wide format printing.

Updated SmartProfiler 2.0: Same reliable high-quality color management—even easier to achieve.

GMG SmartProfiler is a wizard for the calibration and profiling of all supported print devices without requiring expert knowledge of colour management. With highly automated SmartProfiler colour management, printers get guaranteed repeatability without any need for expert colour knowledge – even with spot colours.

ProductionSuite 2.0 features a new, automatic rendering intent. “While most profiling and colour management tools may require an operator to go through a number of ‘trial and error’ steps to obtain a satisfactory separation, in SmartProfiler 2.0 GMG takes responsibility for building the profile,” explains Markus Finkbeiner, Director Business Unit Wide Format Printing at GMG. “It is truly a “smart” profiler, creating the profile depending upon media, ink set, substrate, and other variables. GMG’s time and knowledge is definitely built into the product.”

The new SmartProfiler 2.0, which now operates on both OS X and Windows platforms, has a new user interface to make it even easier to get outstanding colour results. It is one, complete software application to create all profile components, including print mode, ink splitting, calibration and profile. The integrated media manager inside SmartProfiler offers a complete, streamlined overview of every profile including, for example, spot colour edits. GMG Device Link (MX4) profiles are now created on the fly, based upon where the file is intended to be output. There is no longer any need to create several printer-media-mode (PMM) combinations for different RGB and CMYK workflows.

Operators can manage the profiles, creating names for parameters such as mode and media that best identify each profile. A new test chart generator recognises the defined media width and measurement device. SmartProfiler 2.0 also creates optimized test chart layouts for large and wide format printers. It offers full support internal measurement devices, such as those found in HP Designjet and Epson StylusPro.

“While an expert can deliver acceptable colour results with most any colour management solution, with GMG ProductionSuite 2.0, anybody can produce the same exceptional colour results, right out of the box,” says Finkbeiner.

Layout: More flexibility for a wide variety of jobs

With the new Layout feature, GMG ProductionSuite 2.0 will be integrated into even more workflows, producing a wider variety of print products. True shape nesting is very easy to programme. For example, users can create 100 stickers, rescale them in three different sizes, and nest them by true shape, all with just a few mouse clicks. Integrated cut and white support are built in.

If desired, users can even open a true-shape nested job within the RIP, change the job layout by readjusting parameters such as the amount of images, job rotation and cutting information—and then print and cut the job. So, nesting can be created by either the prepress operator or the print operator.

New interior decoration option

Available as a new, additional option, interior decoration can support two significant functions for the digitised creation and printing of textiles and wallpapers: colourways and step & repeat. The ProductionSuite Editor step & repeat tool supports all common algorithms for the textile industry. Patterns can be moved in any direction. Then, colourways allows several colorations within one job. Similar, multiple layouts can be created in different colours on multiple layouts, but with the same, precise step & repeat layout. Most important, with GMG’s colour-accurate technology, GMG ProductionSuite can assure one delta-E accuracy in textiles from a digital press, no matter when the file is printed. Thus, textiles and wallpapers are always colour and design consistent, a ‘must’ demanded by interior decorators.

GMG ProductionSuite Focus Edition: Fully functional wide format workflow at an entry-level price

GMG is also releasing GMG ProductionSuite-Focus Edition, an entry-level price version of GMG ProductionSuite intended for print shops that wish to bundle a complete workflow – instead of solely a RIP – at the time of purchase of a new digital printer. The ProductionSuite Focus Edition is a fully functioning workflow system, including all four ProductionSuite modules. It also offers the same cutting functionality as the standard licensed version. However, it is offered with a one-user license and one printer driver. Upgrades are available to add more printer drivers. Optional modules are not available.

“We wanted to offer small and medium-sized print shops the benefits of GMG ProductionSuite, at a very affordable price,” comments Finkbeiner. “Almost immediately, with GMG ProductionSuite Focus Edition, these shops will be able to offer the quality, speed and consistency that a complete automated production workflow provides.”

GMG ProductionSuite 2.0 and GMG ProductionSuite Focus Edition are available now through the company’s distribution channels and will be on show on GMG’s stand - G50S - at FESPA 2013