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CHROMiX ColorNews Issue #49 - Tab Delimited Text Files

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  CHROMiX ColorNews
   Issue # 49 - August 28, 2012

This Month's Contents

  1. CHROMiX News
  2. Latest blog entries in ColoRants (and Raves)
  3. Shows and Events
  4. Color Industry News
  5. Forum Topics, Random Bits, etc.
  6. Article - CGATS and Tab-delimited Text files
  7. CHROMiX Open Box items for sale
  8. ColorNews Admin (feedback, subscriptions, etc.)

For the very freshest color updates, check out our new blog Colorants (and raves).

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Find full details about subscriptions, etc at the end of this newsletter.

CHROMiX News What the heck have we been up to?

ColorThink Pro - a new Tips and Tricks video

Interested in learning more about ColorThink Pro? Check out Pat Herold's absorbing new Tips and Tricks training video, "Viewing a Rendered gamut in Colorthink Pro".

Curve2 Verify - now for sale

CHROMiX and HutchColor have recently released an updated version of Curve2 (v2.3) for those customers who simply want to verify a sample print (such as G7 Grayscale or G7 Targeted compliance). Curve2 Verify mode is the same exceptional verification feature as in the full version of Curve2, but can now be licensed separately. Users can buy a "Verify-only" mode of Curve2 for only $99. For those customers who wish to unlock all Curve2 features, you can upgrade to Curve2 for $1100. Version 2.3 of Curve2 also includes a new Demo mode allowing users to try out the interface and the main calibration and verification functions of Curve2 without a serial number. Sample files are included and must be used in Demo mode.

New OneRun Targets

Curve2 version 2.3, now supports two different "OneRun" targets. In any color list you drop into Curve2, it will automatically identify the patches that belong to a P2P target, an IT8 target or now an HC2052 target. The idea is you only need one collection of patches in order to do both the G7 Curve linearization and the profiling of the press. This is particularly useful when used with our VPR (Virtual Press Run) module. We make available a few samples of these OneRun targets at CHROMiX, but anyone can create their own if you know a few basics about manipulating tab-delimited text files. For example, you may want to re-arrange the patches so they fit the dimensions you need for your sheet or measurement instrument. Read this month's article on Tab-Delimited Text Files for more hints on how to do this.


CHROMiX Blog Here are some of the recent posts to our blog: Colorants (and raves)

Shows and Events Color-relevant gatherings to plan for

September 10th - 12th, 2012 - SPECTRUM 2012 - Arizona Grand Resort, Phoenix, AZ. Spectrum is an IDEAlliance annual conference designed to integrate and engage all media professionals and the associations leadership councils and working groups.

September 18th - 23rd, 2012 - Photokina 'World of Imaging' - Cologne, Germany. Premiere event for photography and imaging of all kinds.

October 7th - 10th, 2012 - GRAPH Expo 2012, McCormick Place South, Chicago, IL. The grandaddy of US-based print and graphics shows and conferences. CHROMiX will be there. HereÕs a great overview of GraphExpo:

October 18th - 20th, 2012 - SGIA Expo 2012, Las Vegas, NV.

November 12th, 2012 - ICC DevCon 2012 Conference hosted by the ICC, plus the IS&T/SID 20th Annual Color Imaging Conference - Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown, 711 South Hope Street. A conference for users and product developers of ICC based color management.

December 1st - 4th, 2012 - Color Management Conference presented by the Printing Industries of America - Hotel Valley Ho, 6850 E. Main Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251. Exclusively focused on color management only. CHROMiX will be there.

Events Calendar: For all current and future events, bookmark this calendar.

Color Industry News What's going on in the world of color

Barbieri SpectroPad EDP Award

The European Digital Press Association (EDP) awarded Barbieri the 2012 EDP Technical Committee Award for the SpectroPad. The SpectroPad boasts a few unique and innovative features: WiFi capable, battery-powered, 6 mm aperature, support for M0-M1-M2 Illuminant conditions and more.

basICColor gHOST v2

basICColor released gHOST version 2 color server. gHOST manages PDF/X to PDF/5n files, TIFF, JPEG and PSD pixel files. With options, gHOST handles standard and MultiColor ICC and DeviceLink profiles and fully automatic conversions via hotfolder or drag&drop. And more. gHOST supports Mac OS X Mountain Lion and Windows 7.

ColorBurst PLUS Promo

ColorBurst is kicking in the $300 'Plus' portion of the X-Proof RIP for FREE until October 31st. The 'Plus' version does everything the X-Proof standard does, plus adds the ability to automatically print standard or custom color bars, PrintCertification targets, and job titles with each print. Plus also allows you to define custom spot colors. Plus includes the full licensed PANTONE color library and ColorBursts AutoSpot technology which improves the accuracy of Pantone colors. X-Proof Plus version 7 available for Mac OS X only. *Promo excludes X-Proof 3800/3880 version. FREE PLUS PROMO

New Eizo ColorEdge models

Eizo has announced two new ColorEdge models in their top-end graphics category: the CG276W and the CG246W. Both have the new built-in SelfCorrection sensor and have all of the attributes of a top-end ColorEdge. The CG246W will be Eizo's first LED monitor at this level

Eizo Introduces 2 new series

Eizo has also announced two new monitor series (CX and CS) well in advance of their expected arrival. The CX is a mid-range series targeted at design and photography prosumers and professionals. The CX series includes a new built-in SelfCorrection sensor. Models will initially be the CX240 (24.1') and the CX270 (27'). The CS is a entry-level series targeted at at design and photography and also includes the built-in SelfCorrection sensor. The first CS model will be the CS230 (23'). Expect to see the first new CG, CX and CS models at Photokina in September, and despite what is on Eizo's PR, don't expect these to ship in the USA until end of the year. No pricing available yet. Eizo's NEW ColorEdge Models

X-Rite's new eXact

X-Rite is rumoured to be shipping the new eXact sensor within a month. The eXact spectrophotometer was introduced this year at DRUPA. The eXact will have OBA detection/compensation capabilities and support the new M0, M1, M2 illuminant standards. eXact will have XRGA (X-Rite Graphic Arts Standard) embedded to simplify other X-Rite instrument agreement. The eXact is targeted at the pressroom and prepress as well to connect supply chains communicating with the new cloud-based PantoneLIVE color service. No pricing available yet.

Forum Topics and other bits  Popular topics from and other things we've found along the way.

Windows 7 Monitor Profile Problems:   CHROMiX Tech Support is getting more questions lately from Windows 7 users having difficulties with monitor profiles. Here is a great link from X-Rite that should help: Win7VideoSetup

I1Display2 and Mountain Lion:   It appears (at this point) that X-Rite may not support i1Display2 in Max OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion any further.

i1Pro 2 '2nd' Tag:   i1Pro 2: CHROMiX Tech Support is getting a few calls about this one... Many people are buying the new and popular i1Pro 2 (the latest spectrophotometer from X-Rite), and not realizing that there is a second "tag"" on the bottom of the unit covering a sensor that MUST be removed."

iO Table Gen 2 Recall:   Last ColorNews issue 48 we mentioned the new 2nd Generation iO Table from X-Rite: NEW Generation-2 iO Table However, there has been a recall because of an electrical short (apparently not dangerous to users). The product affected is specifically the i1iO Rev 3, Part Number 42.62.59, Model: eye-one iO. You can find this information on the product sticker. X-Rite will contact affected users. As of 8/14/12 X-Rite apparently has corrected the problem (base plate implement) and is now shipping i1iO Table Gen 2 product again. Should you have any questions, please contact

Curiosity's Cameras:   NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover has kicked up a lot of interest lately. This short article describes the 17 cameras Curiosity has onboard. There's a bit about the camera's calibration plaque as well. The Photo-Geeks Guide to Curiosity Rover's 17 Caneras

Curiosity and NASA Video Spoof:   Puget Sound Business Journal posted a video spoof about NASA that has gone virtually viral... it'll have you smiling. NASA & Curiosity Video Spoof

UPGRADE GUIDE for i1Publish and i1Pro 2:    Many people are confused with the plethora of current i1Publish and i1Pro 2 upgrade options from X-Rite. Add to that the myriad of legacy X-Rite and GretagMacbeth products, and you have compounded confusion. We took to task to make things simpler for our customers and in the process discovered that we actually offer something unique and likely unbeatable. So, we negotiated with X-Rite some exclusive i1Pro 2 upgrades for our past CHROMiX customers who had purchased an i1Pro product since 2001. If you have been wondering how you can upgrade your older i1Pro (see lists below) to the new i1Pro 2... This is the upgrade program you have been waiting for. The savings from these offers will most likely surpass anything that you may have seen from any reseller or X-Rite. And, it's only available from CHROMiX for a limited time. These offers are effective immediately. THREE ESSENTIAL PRODUCTS: i1Basic Pro 2 Includes the NEW i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer (measurement device), calibration plate, ambient light measurement head, monitor holder, positioning target, scanning ruler, backup board, USB cable, i1Profiler v1.x software for monitors, PANTONE Color Manager software and soft-sided storage case. i1Photo Pro 2 Includes all items from above plus i1Profiler v1.x software for projectors and RGB printers, ColorChecker Camera Calibration software, ColorChecker Classic target (mini), ColorChecker Proof target. i1Publish Pro 2 Includes all items above plus i1Profiler v1.x software for CMYK+ printers. UPGRADES (6 Options): See Ad below this Guide for pricing (1) i1Basic Pro 2

Qualifying i1Pro product: *Any* i1Pro device
(2) i1Photo Pro 2
Qualifying i1Pro product: OEM i1Pro (i.e.: EFI ES-1000. Call CHROMiX Sales if unsure) i1Photo i1Photo SG Any i1Pro device plus i1Match RGB Module added
The next two upgrade options are for i1Publish Pro 2, depending on which i1Pro you have: (3) i1Publish Pro 2 UPGRADE 'A'
Qualifying i1Pro product: i1Basic plus an i1Match module added later i1Design LT plus an i1Match module added later i1Photo LT plus an i1Match module added later i1Photo i1Photo SG i1Proof i1XT i1XTreme ProfileMaker v5 profiling software Monaco Profiler v4 profiling software
(4) i1Publish Pro 2 UPGRADE 'B'
Qualifying i1Pro product: OEM i1Pro (Call CHROMiX Sales if unsure) i1Basic (if i1Match added, see Upgrade A) i1Design LT (if i1Match added, see Upgrade A) i1Photo LT (if i1Match added, see Upgrade A)
The above (4) Upgrade Offers are EXCLUSIVE FOR CHROMiX Customers. The sale ends, October 31, 2012. For PO's, all orders must be placed by November 30, 2012. This is NOT a public offering and is posted to a private website explicitly for this promo. The pricing listed here is not available through any other reseller and is below X-Rites MAP pricing. This website will cease once the promo period is over, October 31, 2012.
(5) i1Pro 2 'Device Only' upgrade for i1Profiler owners:
Qualifying i1Profiler product: Note: This adds the new i1Pro2 hardware to your prior i1Profiler purchase. i1Photo Pro or UV version bundle (EOPHO or EOPHUV) i1Publish Pro or UV version bundle (EOPUB or EOPUBUV) i1Publish software (EOPROF) i1Publish Upgrade A (EOPROF-UPGA) i1Publish Upgrade B (EOPROF-UPGB) Details: You must have bought an 'i1Profiler' solution listed above after April 2011. When you upgrade from an i1Pro legacy solution, all i1Profiler functionality will transfer to the new i1Pro2 device, otherwise it stays on your dongle. You will keep your old i1Pro which will retain monitor, projector and QA functions. This offer #5 ends December 31, 2012
(6) i1Publish Pro 2 $600 TRADE-UP Program:
Qualifying Trade-up devices: Pulse (DTP20) DTP-41 (any variety) Details: Trade-up your DTP-41 or DTP-20 and receive $600 cash back rebate after you purchase an i1Publish Pro 2. This program will be effective starting September 1 and will end December 31, 2012. More details and Pricing to be posted to CHROMiX website as they become available.
Full Upgrade Guide Details

CGATS and Tab-delimited Text files an article from Pat Herold

I hail from back in the day when building a profiling target from scratch was a laborious task, involving entering RGB or CMYK numbers by hand into a spreadsheet. When ProfileMaker 5 came out with its own target generator, I thought, "There's a skill set I'll never be called on to use again." Little did I know! There has been and still continues to be a need for manipulating these text-delimited "CGATS-style" text files and getting into the guts of them to see what's going on. Popular profiling software, like basICColor Print imports and exports these files. The long-awaited flagship product from X-Rite, i1Profiler, allows for several different file types to be used to save and load color lists as needed. Fortunately they have provided support for the more common text files to allow the average person to create and edit their own lists of colors and use them in their software.

In this article, I want to present you with a starting primer for how to build and work with color lists in the form of tab-delimited text files. This is not as daunting as it sounds. Even if you have never done any computer programing, I'll try to make this fairly easy to pick up and understand.

I suppose if I'm going to ask you to wade through a more technical article that you're used to with the CHROMiX ColorNews, I had better start out with a compelling list of benefits for you to do so! Once you know your way around how these color files are put together, you can:

- Create a list of Lab spot colors that you want to compare and analyze to see how they work in your printing system. These could be Pantone colors or other spot colors that you or your client are particularly interested in. A color list brought into a program like ColorThink will tell you quickly whether the colors are in or out of gamut for your printer.

- Go beyond the limits of the target generator in your profiling software to make a profiling target with *fewer* patches. Why? Perhaps you don't need a profiling target, but a customized "quality verification" target which contains the key colors that your company is interested in keeping an eye on. This would never be used to create a profile, but is a great way to fit the patches you want into a small space that you can print out once in a while to verify that your colors are consistent. I have used this with great benefit in a company that mostly produced 4x6 RGB prints and needed a daily "control strip" of specific colors that fit onto this small space.

- Move patches around in a target. It might be very useful to have a row of your primary colors in a certain place on your profiling target. Having a few K-only patches down in a corner makes it easy to verify whether color management was left on when printing the target. Just knowing how to do simple edits like this is very useful.

- Become a better troubleshooter. Say you are trying to re-generate a profile with an older measurement file, and your profiling software gives you a message that says "invalid file." Once you get to a certain point in your knowledge of color management, you're going to want to do more than merely fire off a tech support email to the software manufacturer and wait for an answer. A better solution is to find a workaround quickly to allow you to get your job done. Many error messages are attributed to problems in measurement files which are tab-delimited text files.

- Create unusually shaped targets. If you wanted to profile the face of a CD or DVD for example, you would need a round target with a hole in the middle rather than the usual rectangular target. It is possible to do this if you know how to edit reference and measurement files.

So what's a "CGATS tab-delimited text file"?

This is a simple text file (with a .txt extension) which contains table-based information that uses tabs to separate the different columns of information. You can create and use these files with a simple text editor (like Notepad in Windows or TextEdit in Mac) - but it sometimes turns out to be easier to work these tables out in a spreadsheet program like Excel, and then output them as tab-delimited text.

CGATS is the organization that rolled this exchange format into a standard (CGATS.17-2009) which has been widely adopted in the color industry. Sometimes people refer to any tab-delimited text files as CGATS files, but doing so could be a bit confusing, for the CGATS.17 standard also covers .xml files. CGATS.17 text

All CGATS-style tab-delimited text files will start at the top with a few rows of "header" information: Explanatory information defining the terms that will be used, and other necessary information. The last line of the header information is: "BEGIN_DATA" (minus the quotes). The only "footer" required is a final line at the bottom which reads "END_DATA".

In between BEGIN_DATA and END_DATA is the table containing all of your patch color information. For a reference file, you would see RGB data if this were an RGB color list (used for monitor profiles or driver-based printing) with numbers between 0 and 255. A CMYK reference will contain CMYK columns running from 0 to 100.

A measurement file will contain columns of Lab, XYZ or other flavors of information. It might also contain 32 to 36 bands of spectral information - which represent the actual bands of light reflectance that was measured by the spectrophotometer. These days, measurement files generally contain the reference information columns too, so that the same file can act as both the reference and the measurement.

But let's start it out nice and simple. Here's a small color list of Lab values that you could type out in about a minute. Just remember to separate the different "words" by hitting the tab key, not the spacebar.

Lab_L Lab_a Lab_b
91 -2 96
44 -29 2
click to download this file

This will give you a 2-patch color list containing a yellow and a green patch. This is easily imported into ColorThink 2 or ColorThink Pro, where you can, for example, transform these values through a profile or view them in the Grapher. Of course, you can take this as a template and substitute your own Lab values and make the list as long as you like.

Oftentimes, color lists contain a leftmost column which numbers the items in the list, and also a column next to it which represents the name of the patch.

Some software have different requirements in the header that they are looking for in order to accept a file. You can easily figure out what's needed by saving out a sample file from the software and opening it in a text editor to see what they like to put in the header.

For example, here's a file that would work as a basic RGB reference file for i1Profiler. Type - or copy and paste the following:

1 red 250 50 50
2 white 251 252 253
3 blue 30 30 180

click to download this file

You will have the start of an RGB reference list which can easily import into ColorThink 2 or Pro, or into i1Profiler as an RGB patch set.

A text editor is easily managed, but does not allow you to add/delete entire columns or sort data. So a spreadsheet program like Excel is a much better way to sort columns of data, rearrange data from one part of the color list to another, or eliminate or add entire rows. Don't have Excel? Google docs offers a simple spreadsheet program as well, and it's free.

Sometimes, you can open a text file directly into Excel and it will automatically walk you through a few questions relating to how you want the data parsed out into columns and rows. If you find that Excel does not accept a color list file directly, open a blank worksheet and, from the menu bar, choose: Data -> Get external data... Here you can browse to and select the text file you want to get - and Excel will open it into your worksheet.

Some of the useful functions of Excel would be: Using the sort function to identify the location of specific patches in a long color list. If you decide you don't need XYZ data in a measurement file, you can easily delete those columns and edit the header information accordingly. Bringing a file into Excel will strip away any quotation marks that surround the color name, and then you can save this cleaner version out of Excel again. (Some programs won't accept a tab-delimited file that contains quotation marks.)

To save the file out of Excel back into the tab-delimited file that will open properly in all these programs, choose:

- File > Save As..., - Give the file a name, and choose the Format as "Text (Tab delimited)", - Choose Save. If you wish to immediately open this color list into another program, you will need to close out of the file in Excel, in order to allow it to be available to other programs.

Measurement files
So far I have been talking about reference files, required for creating targets. If you're also involved in measuring colors, you'll find that measurement files take different forms depending on what application you are using.

- is a free program by X-Rite which allows you to create, measure and save targets. Since X-Rite's MeasureTool app is being phased out, ColorPort is the recommended free, universal app going forward. ColorPort creates targets using the .xml format (another variant of the CGATS.17 format.) which is not quite so simple to read and edit as the ASCII format. But that's okay, because what you're really needing to know is how to save your data out of ColorPort. When saving a measurement, you get a dialog box with several options. The default format is "CGATS". Using either the default or the "ProfileMaker 5" option will get you files that you can bring into ColorThink, i1Profiler, Curve2, and others. You can also choose the "Tab Delimited" option which allows you to customize what information is included in the saved file.

- from the ProfileMaker suite, still has a large following of users. MeasureTool outputs its measurements as tab-delimited text files (there are no other options.) These are generally acceptable by most profile-building apps.

basICColor print
basICColor is a very popular profiling software in Europe. It is designed to work with CGATS tab delimited files, and accepts them easily.

If you have an i1Pro or an iSis chart reader, i1Profiler is the software you will likely be using to make profiles going forward. It can be a bit fussy about the flavor of text-delimited format that you import into it. It will accept fully compliant CGATS.17- formatted files, and some of the latest updates make it easier to accept older files and save out to various flavors of output format. If you have any trouble getting files into i1Profiler, use the examples in this article as a place to start troubleshooting. When saving your files out of i1Profiler, take advantage of one of the "ProfileMaker5 CGATS" options in order to view your files in ColorThink or import them into Curve2.

Curve software was developed before i1Profiler was released, so it was designed to accept ProfileMaker flavor of text-delimited files. When you read your P2P target using ColorPort for example, choose the ProfileMaker5 option for the output format to be compatible with Curve2. Curve2 also has the ability to export the P2P measurements that have been dropped into it. When exported, Curve strips off the original header and puts a simplified text-delimited header in place. These files can be brought into programs like ColorThink for diagnosis. ColorThink Pro
ColorThink 2 and ColorThink Pro like to receive data in the ProfileMaker flavor of files. So choose this option when saving measurement files if you'd like to bring them into ColorThink for analysis. ColorThink can also export color lists created in its Worksheet. These have a simplified text-delimited header and the files containing reference information (device values) can be imported into Curve2, ColorPort, i1Profiler and basICColor Print.

Well, I'm at the bottom of the page, so I'm going to have to wrap this up. I'm sure what you're read so far has created more questions than I've answered, and I'm sorry about that. (I did tell you this was just a primer, didn't I?)

Let me suggest that any readers that would like to take a crack at some of this should send questions to the ColorNews section of our ColorForums. ColorNews Discussions I wrote this article because there is a dearth of information online about how to do this. With this article as a starting point and several discussions that might follow, my hope is that this will provide useful information about this neglected aspect of target manipulation and editing.

Thanks for reading,

Patrick Herold

   To read this article with images in ColorWiki, click here

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Entire Contents of CHROMiX ColorNews (c)2012 CHROMiX, Inc. CHROMiX, Maxwell, ColorThink, ColorNews, ColorSmarts, ColorGear, ColorForums, DisplayWatch and are trademarks of CHROMiX Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. CHROMiX ColorNews is intended as an informative update to CHROMiX customers and business associates. We are not responsible for errors or omissions. You may not copy or reuse any content from this newsletter without written permission from CHROMiX, Inc.