Markzware‘s FlightCheck, the patented preflight solution to check prepress files for print quality control, has Non-PDF
Ground Controls. These include a Colors Usage area. This Colors Usage area includes the following Ground Controls:
- Unused Spot Colors
- Used Spot Color
- Unnamed Colors
- Non-Default Trap
- Bitmap Frames
- Mismatched Colors
- Mismatched Spot/Process
- Similar name spot color
- C+M+Y+K Too High
- C+M+Y+K Too Low
Read on to learn how these preflight features can help you.
Markzware FlightCheck 7.5 Mac Ground Controls:
Non-PDF Colors Usage
Non-CMYK/Pantone® – This Ground Control triggers if a color detected is not CMYK (like RGB or LaB) or not a Pantone color. Pantone colors, whether Spot or Process, display a model of PAN in the Overview window under the Model column.
Unused Spot Colors –This Ground Control triggers if a spot color is in the jobs color palette, but not detected as used in any objects. These objects may be shapes, fonts, images, etc., in the document.
Used Spot Color –This Ground Control triggers if a spot color is in the jobs color palette and is used in any objects. These objects may be shapes, fonts, images, etc., in the document. This flag indicates that the actual print job will contain additional plates, usually more that 4 (CMYK).
Unnamed Colors –This Ground Control triggers if FlightCheck detects unnamed colors in the job. Unnamed colors are created by mixing a color and applying it to an object (e.g., shape or text) without adding the color to your color palette. Several software packages have a feature that allows you to name unnamed colors.
Non-Default Trap – This Ground Control is specific to QuarkXPress, in which users can define non-default trapping for a specific color. (This is done via the Edit > Colors… menu > select a color > click the Edit Trap button.) If the user has modified the default trap value for a specific color, this GC will trigger. If the color is not used in the document, but resides in the color palette, this Ground Control will still trigger. However, the color will not show as used. When this GC is triggered, an icon appears in the non-automatic default trapping column in the Colors area.
Bitmap Frames – Some programs (e.g., QuarkXPress and PageMaker) allow the user to apply built-in frame styles to boxes. These frames are bitmap frames and, depending on your print workflow and RIP configuration, may print as very pixilated. This GC triggers if a bitmap frame has been applied to a box or shape.
Mismatched Colors – This GC triggers if an EPSF file contains a color whose color values (CMYK component values) do not match a color of the same name in the documents color palette. This is an issue when:
• spot colors with the same names are used in document and in imported EPSF files
– and –
• each application defines the CMYK components of those spot colors with different values.
This becomes important for spot colors, as you may get two plates from a RIP for what you thought was a single spot color. For Process colors, this may cause items you expected to be the same color to be different colors on the final printed piece.
Mismatched Spot/Process – This GC triggers if an imported or placed EPSF file uses a color also in the applications color palette and the two colors do not match type. (One is a process and one is a spot color.) For example, you have an EPSF file with Pantone 185 Red as a spot color and you place this EPSF into an InDesign document. In the InDesign document, you have Pantone 185 Red, but you have converted it to a process color. These two reds will actually be on different plates upon output from the RIP. This is because the Pantone 185 Red as a spot will create a fifth plate, whereas the Pantone 185 Red converted to process will be composed on CMYK inks. The two Reds will look different when printed and may have enough difference in visual color to cause a job issue.
Similar name spot color – This Ground Control triggers if 2 spot colors have very similar names. This situation can occur when spot colors are selected from different libraries. For example, PANTONE Rubine Red M and PANTONE Rubine Red U. One color is from the PANTONE Solid Matte library (M), and one is from the Solid Uncoated PANTONE Library (U). Each color will typically produce a separate printing plate, whereas you may want just a single plate for Rubine Red.
Blend/gradient – This Ground Control triggers if a color is detected as being used in a blend or gradient. Blends are a Quark-based term and Gradients are an Adobe-based term (typically Illustrator and InDesign).
Patterns – Certain programs come with pre-defined fill patterns that can be applied to shapes. In certain workflows these patterns may cause problems on final output. The two most common problems are that the pattern:
1) prints pixilated because it is a bitmap pattern
– or –
2) is a postscript pattern, which can slow down the RIP and take a long time to process.
Hairlines – This Ground Control allows you to set a threshold of how fine a hairline you are willing to accept. (FlightCheck can check up to three digits to the right of the decimal place.) Example: If you enter a value of .25 points and turn on this GC, any hairline less than or equal too .25 points will trigger this GC. For this example, this means:
• a hairline of .24 or .249 points will trigger this GC.
• a hairline of .25 point will trigger this GC.
• a hairline of .251 or .26 points will not trigger this GC.
Transparencies – This Ground Control triggers if a transparency is detected in an object used in the document. This GC will also trigger if you create a drop shadow in InDesign that is not 100% opaque. This flags color-filled boxes with transparency, and does not flag text or images with transparency applied.
C+M+Y+K Too High – This Ground Control triggers if the sum of the CMYK values for one color exceed the value you specify. Colors with excessive ink amounts in them can cause drying or paper-tearing problems when the job is printed. On the Overview windows the default filter is to show Used Colors, whereas in the Results window there are no filters applied. Thus you can see a discrepancy between the color names listed in the Overview and Results windows.
C+M+Y+K Too Low – This Ground Control triggers if the sum of the CMYK values for one color are less than the value you specify. Colors with very little ink amounts in them can disappear at print time. This may be because the plate cannot hold a very small dot, or the plate becomes worn on the press over time. The same limitation listed for C+M+Y+K Too High also applies to C+M+Y+K Too Low.
Here is a video that shows how FlightCheck can preflight colors and more:
Preflight spot/process/colors, trap, bitmap frame, blend/gradient,
pattern, hairline, transparency, CMYK, and more with FlightCheck.
For more information on Markzware‘s pre press software to check digital files for print quality, see the FlightCheck page. For more desktop publishing (DTP) and printing solutions, see the Markzware Products page.
Markzware FlightCheck 7.5 Mac Ground Controls: Non- PDF Colors Usage