Raise your hand if you love finding out that a customer’s paint order is mistinted.

 

Anyone? No?

Hey, we thought we would ask! But did we truly think we would find someone who enjoys making those tedious corrections? Nope – we’re not that crazy. Mistints are genuinely a pain! Those blasted time-wasters cut into margins, and erode loyal customers’ trust in your products. But how can you best this bothersome beast?

 

We have a few tried and true ideas! Here are our top-five tips on intercepting imperfections before they leave you in a lurch:

 

Become a Sample Sleuth

Ask questions. Go over the sample’s details with your customer, with inquiries like “how old is the sample?” “has it been sitting in the sun?” “has it been subject to any alteration over time?” It may not occur to customers that there are variables that could have affected the sample they provided and what you measure is what they’ll get. Gather as much information as possible, so you can unlock the product’s full potential on the first go-round.

 

Keep it Squeaky Clean

Dirty samples can cause avoidable headaches. Remember that segments from highly-trafficked areas like corners, baseboards, hallways, and stairwells, may not produce their ideal color due to an inevitable build-up of daily grime. Ensuring a sample is as spotless as possible upon receipt will save considerable effort on preventable corrections.

 

Manage your Maintenance

Although spectros and dispensers require minimal maintenance, that little bit of extra love can go a long way. Spectros should be regularly calibrated. Dispensers are at their most accurate when there is no colorant build-up, so manufacturers generally suggest a daily purging to avoid clogging. Treat your equipment right, and it will return the favor!

 

The Perfect Match

Have you ever matched a color and had Delta*e and Metamerism numbers pop up? “What the heck are those?” you may have asked yourself at the time. Think of them as the golf score of paint – the lower the number the closer you are to your target color. Delta*e is the visible measure of change between two colors. Metamerism is the visible change between two colors across different light sources. No more running to the parking lot to compare colors!

 

Embrace the Barcode Scanner

Sometimes you become so deeply immersed in your operation, or you have become such an expert, that your brain can autopilot through certain activities. This is where a Barcode Scanner comes in handy. When all those paint cans start to look the same, the scanner is your assurance that you’ve picked the right base each and every time.

 

 

We understand that even with these practical suggestions, a mistint can occasionally occur. If that happens, our biggest piece of advice is to put your color matching computer to work. Should a correction be out of your reach, Datacolor’s best-in-class matching technology will provide a new, upgraded formula that will administer the color you need.

 

Hopefully this information will save you some hassle down the road!

David Cardinal is a veteran travel and nature photographer who specializes in Southern Africa and Southeast Asia, as well as North American mammals and birds. Co-author of The D1 Generation, David has had his articles and images appear in publications including Outdoor Photographer, Studio Photography & Design, Photoshop User, PC Magazine and Dr. Dobbs Journal.

 

David’s clients include non-profit and socially responsible institutions such as the BBC, California State Parks Foundation, the City of Palo Alto, San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, Bay Trails, Point Reyes Bird Observatory, US Fish & Wildlife Service, NANPA, Bay Nature and Western Birding and National Geographic Kids magazines. Visit CardinalPhoto.com

 


 

Vibrant colors, distinct lines, playful elements and an unmistakable sense for the moment passing by – these basic elements characterize Firat Bagdu’s unique photographic art.

 

Firat Bagdu was born in 1973, lives and works in Cologne and discovered his interest in photography at a young age, focusing on under water photography, architecture and people. His hobby quickly turned into passion, passion turned into profession and he soon owned professional equipment and a studio.

Not before long and Firat Bagdu became a well-known portrait and wedding photographer. This talented newcomer’s reputation quickly made it far beyond the city limits of Cologne and the first job offers from other parts of Germany started rushing in. Today, Firat Bagdu stands for high-quality and creative photographic art throughout Europe.

 

Bagdu’s distinct style is due to his unique composition of color, light and form. Much more important, however, is his attention to detail one can clearly spot in each of his photos. „An inspiration can be completely trivial, like for example the perfect combination of colors. Oftentimes I don’t find my inspiration in optical aspects, but rather in smells, sounds and the moods closely linked to these. The art of photography consists of capturing these moods and moments.“ Firat knows how to capture special moments with his camera. His compositions are sometimes clearly structured, sometimes serious, sometimes playful – most of all, they are always innovative and proof of his great creativity and technical knowledge.

 

His photographic art is not only well received by his customers, but also by the press. Amongst others, the prestigious photo magazine „PhotoPresse“ published Bagdu’s impressive portrait of a young African woman that won a German photographic competition.

 

 
Awards:
 

  • “Best Wedding Photo Of The Year 2012” – First Place Germany (by PhotoPresse)
  • ”Worlds Best Wedding Photography Award” 2012, USA, Fearless Photographers
  • ”Excellent Photography 2012/2013″, Germany, BPP
  • ”Portrait & Emotion” 2011 Second Place, CEWE & PhotoPresse
  • FSO Winner 2011, First place in the Category “Life Photo”, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Coverphoto of the year, third place 2010, Germany (PhotoPresse)
  • Coverphoto edition 05 PhotoPresse

 
Website: firatbagdu.com

 


 

When your trusted instrument comes to the end of it’s life, how do you move forward?

Major Paint Manufacturer selects Datacolor to ensure continued superior color quality

 

Change is not easy, but when you are forced to make a change, be sure to take the time and evaluate all your options.

 

Datacolor 800Change was forced upon our customer – a major North American paint company, when the color measurement instrument they had come to know and love – the GretagMacbeth Color-Eye 7000A came to the end of its life, with support being terminated, they were faced with a tough decision on how to move forward. Like most of the leading brands and manufacturers, they have come to rely upon instrumental color evaluation to consistently achieve the right color in their products.

 

After careful evaluation of the proposed replacement for the 7000A by the existing vendor and the solution by Datacolor, this paint company selected Datacolor 800 family to replace their fleet of 7000A instruments.

 

The reasons were simple, while none of the new equipment’s measurements agreed with the 7000A completely, the Datacolor 800 and 500 series of instruments produced closest match based on the tests conducted by this paint company. In addition, the 800 family of spectrophotometers satisfied the requirements of a true close-tolerance instrument with excellent performance and inter-instrument agreement “out of the box”. You can read about the importance of inter-instrument agreement in our previous blog.

 

Other important factors that impacted the decisions were:

 
Confidence:

  • Datacolor 800 and 500 Family uses proprietary SP2000 optical technology, which captures the true spectral fingerprint of any color at the highest possible accuracy. This ensures very close agreement among all instruments in the supply chain.
  • Digital camera and LCD screen allow for accurate sample positioning every time

 
Speed:

  • Single flash measurement yields higher productivity and can reduce measurement time by at least 25% – meaning you can save over an hour per day when measuring 1000 samples

 
Flexibility:

  • The instrument can be connected from multiple computers via Ethernet thus shared with multiple users

 

Lastly, it was the people and the quality of services delivered by the dedicated Datacolor applications team that really impressed upon the customer. The team of product and industry specific application experts from Datacolor worked closely with the customer to define product requirements, application use cases, and supported the evaluation and installation process every step of the way. This kind of trust and partnership is what many of Datacolor’s customers have come to love and expect.

 

Let us help you to ease the transition you will face while replacing your old Color-Eye 7000As.

 

Contact us today to schedule a demo and start your next journey on a solid foundation.

 

Jeff Watts – Specialized in the paint and coatings industries, Jeff Watts brings 3 decades of color management experience to Datacolor as our Market Manager. In his role, Jeff works with customers to truly understand their color challenges and ensures Datacolor’s solutions meet those needs.

 

If you’d like to learn more about Jeff: Click Here

Why should you care about Inter-Instrument Agreement?

 

Like all major brands and manufacturers, you are expected to produce color-correct products that drive sales. You can achieve this goal by leveraging the use of highly precise spectrophotometers for color measurement, and by adhering to numerical tolerances for acceptable color difference for your products. To minimize color inconsistency while specifying or producing color, it is critical that the color measuring instruments used throughout your organization as well as your global supply chain produce compatible results. This compatibility is often referred to as “inter-instrument agreement” (IIA).

 

Benefits of Inter-Instrument Agreement

 

Spectrophotometers with excellent inter-instrument agreement produce color measurement data that can be shared throughout the global color development process. Color standards are measured with one spectrophotometer in the lab, and the reflectance data is then shared with supply chain partners. Rather than remeasuring a physical standard, the recipient uses this “digital” standard for colorimetric analysis. Digital color communication eliminates time and costs associated with producing and shipping physical samples. But more importantly, you can be confident in your decisions made based on the digital data and be assured of the color quality of your products.

 

The need for regular maintenance and calibration

 

To ensure excellent inter-instrument agreement between instruments within your organization and global supply chain, you need to first ensure that each instrument is performing at its best. Exposure to dirt and dust from the environment can affect the instruments ability to deliver optimal performance. Spectrophotometers, like any sophisticated instrument, will need regular calibration and service to ensure their performance and accuracy as well as long term repeatability.

 

True close tolerance instruments are the foundation

 

While regular maintenance and adherence to procedures are vital to ensure the long-term reliability of a spectrophotometer, it is equally critical that precision and reliability are fundamental elements of the initial design and manufacture of the instrument. The designation as a “close tolerance” spectrophotometer is reserved for those precision instruments that are manufactured to the highest quality standards and that have the best inter-instrument agreement. The “close tolerance” label applies only to those instruments that have very low maximum allowable variance compared to a master instrument, itself traceable to international standards. The Datacolor 800 family of spectrophotometers satisfies the requirements of a true close-tolerance instrument with excellent performance and inter-instrument agreement “out of the box”. Only a select few instruments available in the world today produce these exceptional results without the need for artificial adjustments based on measurement of tiles, a process often referred to as instrument “profiling”.

 

When these close-tolerance instruments are in use throughout an organization, colorimetric data can be confidently shared between them with the assurance of agreement. This also ensures that, within an organization or its suppliers, fleets of instruments can be merged or replaced without concerns of significant changes in historical results or on-going colorimetric decisions. It is important to take these requirements into consideration when adding spectrophotometers or replacing old ones to avoid significant variation in measurement results.

 

Contact us if you want to learn more or have older instruments you would like to trade-in to improve your color workflow, reduce errors, save time and money.

 

For most people, it is necessary to experience several different industries and career paths before finally discovering a field that truly maximizes their potential.

 

Todd Lee is not most people. He’s known where he’s wanted to be seemingly forever.

 

“I like color – I’ve been a fan of color and the science of color most of my life,” he told us. “It’s just a bright, fun way to express yourself. I was very interested in the design aspect of fashion garments, and color has been a way for me to be close to that industry without actually having to be a designer. Color was one of those options that was just fascinating, both the science and the fashion stemming from it.”

 

Although Todd is one of Datacolor’s newest members; clearly, he is no novice to the color industry. With over 20 years of experience, Todd is a valuable addition to our team, and we are excited to see him grow and develop within his new role as product manager!

 

Originally From: Smalltown USA (also called Roxboro, North Carolina – population 8,000)

 

Favorite color: “I don’t know if I can limit it to one. I would probably have to say blue and green.”

 

Outside of Work: “I like to travel, and I like to cook and entertain at home – those are probably the key things.”

 

Alma Mater: North Carolina State University

 

Time with Datacolor: Four Months

 

Fun fact: “When I was in junior high school, I was drum major in the band for a year. I played the trumpet, but as far as my becoming drum major I really don’t even know how that came about – but it happened.”

 

From Degree to Datacolor Product Manager – Todd’s Tale

 

Following his graduation from NC State University, Todd immediately had the opportunity to begin his journey within the world of fashion. During his time with some of the biggest names in the retail world, he also had the chance to work with Datacolor products. These encounters lit a spark of curiosity that would eventually light the flame of interest, and lead to the fire now found in his passion for his role within our company. He told us “I specifically sought out Datacolor because I spent so much time using their products in my previous work. Those devices and software helped me in my production or retail roles at the time. This new opportunity has given me a very interesting perspective from the other side of that coin. Now I get an understanding of what drives the Datacolor thought process behind the products, software, and realization of ideas. It gives me a full circle understanding of the color industry as it relates to retail. On a personal level, what I like about Datacolor are the products and the science behind them.”

 

While Todd has had extensive experience on the textile side of the color industry, this is his first time donning the cap of product manager within the field. He is enthusiastically mastering this new position, which gives him charge of lab testing equipment and match textiles. He describes his duties as “Ingraining yourself in the fine details of those products, and managing them. Monitoring sales, discerning new sales opportunities, and looking for advancements to the product that can keep its longevity going. In tandem to this, I look for new products that can possibly be introduced in a lab textile environment.”

 

Todd’s comprehensive experience in prior positions, coupled with his newfound comprehensive knowledge of the Datacolor products and processes, has allowed him a unique outlook on the modern challenges within the color industry. He stressed that today, some of the most common obstacles customers face are the implementation of LED lighting and becoming more sustainable. “LED lighting is creating a new perspective on color and color review. So trying to understand how we are going to continue to digitally read and understand lighting like we did prior to LED lighting, and what that means to the industry as a whole, is certainly a concern. Another big challenge is how to become more environmentally friendly. How do we create dyestuffs that are easier on our natural resources, like water. There is a lot to consider.”

 

Over the course of many years, Todd has accumulated a close familiarity with – and great admiration for – the science of color. We are looking forward to tackling all forthcoming color challenges with his support!

 

Todd’s Takeaways for Color Professionals

 

The best feeling in the world is watching your hard work finally pay off. To reach that outcome faster, Todd had three pieces of advice:

 

  1. If you are a new colorist: be open-minded. You are dealing with every aspect of the industry: design, sourcing, allocation. Keep an open mind and understand that while some retailers may not comprehend or fully appreciate the science, you are valuable because you have an impact on every part of our business.
  2. Understand your ability to review color. This means, knowing your color test scores, understanding the basic science of color, and being familiar with the production process.
  3. Do your best to stay informed on current trends and new discoveries as they arise.

Trying to Find the Perfect Paint Color for a Home Project?

 

Finding the perfect colour for your home or office is more important than you may think. The colour of the room defines the feeling of a space. It can make you feel energetic, cozy and comfortable, or even anxious. Everyone’s perception of colour is different, which is what makes decorating your personal space unique and even more fun.

 

Choosing a paint colour can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. The Datacolor ColorReaderPRO makes it so much easier and allows you to spend less time searching for your ideal colour while also saving money. You can use it to determine the colour of a wall, match colours in different paint brands, or find inspiration from the colours of everyday objects.

 

After measuring a colour, the ColorReaderPRO will show you the nearest color in RAL or NCS color standards. Based on this information, most DIY markets including a colour mixing service will be able to utilise this information.

 

 

 

Requesting price...
Buy ColorReaderPRO for:

 

 


Painting roomMatch your colour to a different paint brand

 

You found the perfect paint colour, but your painter uses a different brand. ColorReaderPRO will find the closest match to the painters’ brand of choice.

 

 

 

 

 


Find the closest match for a previous colour used on your wall

 

You want to repaint the interior walls of your house the same colour as they are now, but you don’t have any of the original paint cans from the last time they were painted or you just bought the house. ColorReaderPRO will measure the paint colour on your wall and find you the closest match.

 

 


Read ColorFind colour inspiration from everyday objects and existing design elements

 

You want to base the colour scheme of a room on pillows that you’ve already bought. ColorReaderPRO measures the colour on the pillow, and helps to find the closest match or a palette of complementary colors.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Painting Baby RoomYour wife sends you on what you thought was mission impossible

 

Your about to welcome a new baby to the family and your wife assigns you with a project. She found furniture for the room that she loves, but wants to find the perfect paint colour to compliment the furniture and create a unified colour scheme. ColorReaderPRO saves the day. Measure the piece of furniture and use the app to find complimentary colours using your favorite paint brands. Problem solved. Happy wife, happy life.

 

 

 


 

 


 

Disclaimer- The use of third-party trademarks is for identification purposes only and does not connote any affiliation with, or sponsorship or endorsement by, the respective trademark holders.

To view this article in Europe click here >

 

Trying to Find the Perfect Paint Color for a Home Project?

 

Finding the perfect color for your home or office is more important than you may think. The color of the room defines the feeling of a space. It can make you feel energetic, cozy and comfortable, or even anxious. Everyone’s perception of color is different, which is what makes decorating your personal space unique and even more fun.

 

Choosing a paint color can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. The Datacolor ColorReaderPRO makes it so much easier and allows you to spend less time searching for your ideal color while also saving money. You can use it to determine the color of a wall, match colors in different paint brands, or find inspiration from the colors of everyday objects.

 

ColorReaderPRO is accurate across all major paint brands and the mobile app comes loaded with paint colors of Behr, Benjamin Moore, Farrow & Ball, PPG, Sherwin Williams, Valspar, NCS, and RAL.

 

 

 

Requesting price...
Buy ColorReaderPRO for:

 

 


Painting roomMatch your color to a different paint brand

 

You found the perfect paint color, but your painter uses a different brand. ColorReaderPRO will find the closest match to the painters’ brand of choice.

 

 

 

 

 


Find the closest match for a previous color used on your wall

 

You want to repaint the interior walls of your house the same color as they are now, but you don’t have any of the original paint cans from the last time they were painted or you just bought the house. ColorReaderPRO will measure the paint color on your wall and find you the closest match.

 

 


Read ColorFind color inspiration from everyday objects and existing design elements

 

You want to base the color scheme of a room on pillows that you’ve already bought. ColorReaderPRO measures the color on the pillow, and helps to find the closest match or a palette of complementary colors.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Painting Baby RoomYour wife sends you on what you thought was mission impossible

 

Your about to welcome a new baby to the family and your wife assigns you with a project. She found furniture for the room that she loves, but wants to find the perfect paint color to compliment the furniture and create a unified color scheme. ColorReaderPRO saves the day. Measure the piece of furniture and use the app to find complimentary colors using your favorite paint brands. Problem solved. Happy wife, happy life.

 

 

 


 

 


 

Disclaimer- The use of third-party trademarks is for identification purposes only and does not connote any affiliation with, or sponsorship or endorsement by, the respective trademark holders.

Bio: My name is Kirk Norbury and I’m an English landscape & time-lapse photographer based in Ayrshire, Scotland. Growing up on a farm enabled me to get close to working animals and local wildlife and being outside is where I felt most at home. While in college where I was studying graphic design I then began to get interested in photography and it was there that I was able to combine my two passions; nature & photography. Since then I have been travelling across the UK & Europe photographing all aspects of nature with my camera.

 

 

 

Aurora Borealis Over Vestrahorn – Iceland

 

 

Vestrahorn is a stunning mountain range found in the east of Iceland. I had photographed there during the day but it wasn’t until it went dark that the show really began. The Aurora Borealis was very strong that night as it danced across the sky and due to the mountain and aurora taking up so much of the landscape I had to create a 5 image panorama with my 14mm lens to get everything in.

 

Gear: Nikon D800, Samyang 14mm lens

 

 

Bow Fiddle Rock – Scotland

 

 

Found along the Moray coastline Bow Fiddle Rock is one of my favorite coastal locations to visit. I was setup before the sun appeared and using a 10-stop ND filter I was able to get some long exposures to capture the colors in the sky but also smooth out the water for a more clean image.

 

Gear: Nikon D800, Tamron 24-70mm

 

 

Ice Beach – Iceland

 

 

Iceland is known for its incredible beaches, this one is probably the most famous due to all the ice that gathers on beach which has been brought in by the tide from the Jokulsarlon lagoon. It was actually raining when I took this shot but luckily the sunlight found its way through a crack in the clouds.

 

Gear: Nikon D800, Samyang 14mm

 

 

Loch Lomond – Scotland

 

Single Tree on the banks of Loch Lomond, Scotland.

 

Found along the shores of Loch Lomond you’ll find a lonely tree that sits in the water. Usually you can see the beautiful Scottish hills behind the tree but on this day a snow storm came in to point you could only see for around 50 yards. Using an ND filter I was able to take a long exposure to smooth out the water.

 

Gear: Sony A7R, Sony 28-70mm

 

 

Northton Marsh – Isle of Harris, Scotland

 

 

The Outer Hebrides of Scotland are full of beautiful landscapes that cannot be found anywhere else. This small marsh on the Isle of Harris made for an amazing location to show the hill known as Toe Head but what brought the shot really together was the amazing S curve formed on the marsh.

 

Gear: Nikon D800, Nikon 24-120mm

 

 

Waterfall – Iceland

 

 

This hidden waterfall found in Iceland was very difficult to get to, it involved walking through a small river and once through the cavern the landscape opens up revealing this amazing waterfall that I just had to stand-in for the photo.

 

Gear: Nikon D800, Samyang 14mm

 

 

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At this point, nearly all of us see the holidays on the horizon. We’re planning trips to visit family, buying gifts for the kids, looking forward to the inevitable feasts – all of it looming in the next few weeks.

 

Have any of us really thought about what we’re doing past the New Year, though? Considering how hectic most holiday schedules can be, probably not.

 

But while we mull over the pros and cons of the lengthy drive to our parents’ house on Christmas Day, Dustin Bowersox, Datacolor’s new textile and apparel marketing manager, is already looking three years down the road and beyond.

 

How did he come to be so forward-looking? It’s all in a day’s work: “My role at Datacolor is to make sure I fully understand how our customers utilize the solutions we have today, identifying which ones to build on, and determining those we don’t have in the toolbox yet. It’s my responsibility to recognize the emerging trends in the textile industry, analyze the shifting economic models, capture where the sourcing models are moving, and then bring that information back to Datacolor. The goal is to ensure we continue to deliver value by having the solutions, technology, and resources for the future in order to continue to meet the color, quality, and business needs of our customers. It’s extremely exciting.”

 

Exciting indeed. With Dustin at the helm of analyzing future customer needs, we certainly think our outlook is bright. We are very grateful for the personal experience that Dustin now brings to our Datacolor team, and are thrilled to highlight his comprehensive background and progressive inspiration in this installment of “Meet the Experts”!

 

Originally From: Fremont, Ohio 

Favorite color: Scarlet and Gray

 

Outside of Work: “I enjoy playing and watching sports of all kinds and I’m an avid fan of Ohio State/Cleveland sports. I’ve also begun to attend more concerts. Coldplay and Imagine Dragons are on the short list of concerts to check out.”

 

Time with Datacolor: Five months

 

Weirdest Samples Encountered: Sheep’s blood, dentures, sippy cups, and pacifiers

 

Fun fact: “I like to brag about being part of my elementary schools quiz bowl team. We were Ohio State quiz bowl champs in 5th and 6th grade. I think that was my first trophy because I wasn’t very coordinated/athletic at that point in my life.”

 

Dustin’s Road to Datacolor

 

Although he has only been a part of the Datacolor family since July, Dustin is well-versed in the color industry as a whole. In fact, his career path unfolded before he even to took on higher education in the mid ‘90s. “My mom actually worked for a college in northwest Ohio that had a color program, and she worked in the engineering division,” he explained. “She said the job market was hot for graduates of the program, so I dove in and learned what it all meant, from the theoretical to the practical application of color.” The saying must be true – mother does know best!

 

Dustin continued to immerse himself in the world of color immediately post-college as well. “Right out of college I went to work in New York for GE Plastics ColorXpress, and spent five years there designing formulations for large electronic/tech companies. From there I moved onto Uniform Color Company in Holland MI, and served as Product Development Engineer. I designed color concentrate formulations for the office furniture and personal care industries as well as the automotive sector. I made the jump to textiles in 2008 when I moved north to Minneapolis and took the Color Manager position at Target. I spent nearly a decade there leading the Color Team and was responsible for ensuring that design’s color/quality expectations were successfully executed by the supply chain and delivered to the Target guest on trend.”

 

Summed up, the major brands you see or use in your day-to-day life, Dustin has had experience working with. Most of us would kill to work that closely with brand-names like Apple, Ford, and Microsoft so what prompted Dustin to make the move to Datacolor?

 

“This is an easy one! For 20 plus years I’ve been exposed to Datacolor products. I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Datacolor team throughout my career. It was humbling and exciting when the opportunity arose for me to take on this position. Because when I looked at Datacolor, I saw experts, I saw people I respected. I relied on the team at Datacolor when I had critical color management issues or questions and needed some consulting. It’s encouraging to know that I can bring my unique and diverse background to the table. I’m really looking forward to strengthening Datacolor’s relationships with brands, retailers, and suppliers in my new role!”

 

Words from the Wise

 

Every day offers the chance to improve your work life in one way or another. Dustin had three pieces of advice to give to fellow color professionals:

 

  • Understand your customer and what’s important to them. The customer is ultimately the gauge of how critical your color needs to be.
  • Don’t work in a silo – find partners. This is a closely connected industry, and I’ve had the best luck when taking questions to fellow industry experts.
  • Embrace technology and recognize the value that smart/simple color management solutions can deliver in improved product quality and your business bottom line.

By John Walrath

 

If your print seems too dark, this is an issue with the brightness, or luminance, of your display. Controlling the luminance of your display and the brightness of your working environment is essential to achieve the best consistency from screen to print.  It is important to note that dark prints can also make it seem like color is incorrect in the final print.

 

For a well calibrated display for photo editing and printing, you will need to adjust the luminance to a specified range of 100-120 cd/m2.  The Spyder5PRO and the Spyder5ELITE can make these corrections; the Spyder5EXPRESS cannot.  At first, this luminance setting can seem rather dim but with the proper lighting in your work area it will seem natural.

 


 

The lighting in your room should be fairly subdued for 100-120 cd/m2 to be a comfortable luminance setting.  A good rule of thumb is your monitor should be the brightest light source in your room.  A monitor hood is advised if you can’t adjust the lighting in your workspace.

 

A luminance of 100-120 cd/m2 is the recommended range because it offers a good balance between what you see on a display and the image in print.  Going above 120 cd/m2 will generally artificially brighten your image.  If your image is artificially brightened, it will make it more difficult to accurately evaluate the exposure of your image in print.  Left uncorrected, the result will be a print that appears too dark.

 

 

Achieving consistency from screen to print depends heavily on your display’s calibration settings.  But, the paper, the printer and the quality of the paper profile for the paper/printer combination are very important too. To be certain and have the best quality paper profile for your printer, it is advisable to create your own with a product like SpyderPRINT.

Watch Video

 

It is important to view your print with a sufficient amount and color temperature of light. We recommend that you illuminate your print directly with a daylight balanced bulb to evaluate. You should also allow a print to dry 10-15 minutes for final evaluation.

 

 

The goal with calibration is to correct your display to remove any bias from your display and provide an accurate view into your digital world.  If you need to unnaturally alter your image on your display so it looks good in print, you end up wasting time, ink and paper to get a satisfactory print.  Calibration can provide a what-you-see-is-what-you-get workflow.

 

For more on the correct process to achieve the best consistency from screen to print, we have created simple How-To guides to outline the process.

Learn More

How did you get your start in photography?

 

I don’t recall a specific moment when it all got started – I suppose I had been playing a lot with my Mum’s camera when I was a child, so my parents decided to give me a camera of my own. I have been hooked ever since.

 

What type of photography are you shooting and what motivated you to focus on that genre?

 

Nature and travel photography include many different aspects of my photography. It therefore is one of the most diversified photographic genres you can think of. I’m fascinated by the versatility of photography while traveling and the challenge to locate a variety of scenes and themes and then transforming them into an image – be it realistic or abstract.

 

 

Did you experience any challenges as a woman entering into the photography market?

 

For a long time, even longer than travel photography, nature photography was dominated by males. It’s now slowly changing. In the beginning, I was sometimes surprised by skeptical glances, but I don’t necessarily think being underestimated is a disadvantage. Images speak for themselves, no matter if they were shot by a man or woman.

 

What has been your biggest achievement or obstacle along the way?

 

My biggest success is to be able to do what I love doing – and to make a living out of it. My biggest challenge is me, for example being a perfectionist.

 

 

Who and/or what inspires you most?

 

The nature, the light – and the people I meet while traveling with their stories.

 

What is your approach? Is there anything in particular you try to achieve during a shoot (for example triggering certain feelings, etc.) or are there any specific techniques you use?

 

Most important is to be patient, open and receptive – for the moment that evolves, for the light, for the split second of a movement, an expression. When it all comes together and the photograph works out as planned, you can express the feeling of the moment: astonishment, excitement, happiness, fear, serenity, laughter.

 

 

Why is accurate color important within your workflow?

 

Because I want to make sure the final image looks the way I envisioned it – no matter if it’s a fine art print, an image in a book or on a monitor.

 

Any tips or advice for photographers just beginning their career?

 

Take pictures of what fascinates you, inspires you, touches you, makes you happy – it’s the pleasure of taking pictures that will help you face the negative aspects in your life as a photographer. Have the courage to take your own shots. Don’t think about career to often.

 

 

Sandra Petrowitz PhotographyBio: Sandra Petrowitz combined three of her passions in one profession: To photograph, to write and to travel. She’s a journalist, offers workshops, guides photo travels and is one of the publishers of a German photo magazine called “fotoespresso”. Her book, “The Traveling Photographer” was published in 2013. She’s most happy in the sand desert, in the African bush as well as being circled by penguins in wonderful Antarctica. She’s so fascinated by nature and the light of these high latitudes that she spends several months a year working in polar regions.

 

 

 

Website: sandrapetrowitz.com

Facebook: facebook.com/sandra.petrowitz         

We’re going to let you in on a little secret.

 

Color can be complicated. Really complicated.

 

From the outside looking in, it may not seem that way. But trust us when we say color can stir up a lot of questions!

 

And no one knows this better, or can explain it more comprehensively, than Datacolor’s Senior Applications Specialist Kenny Thomas.

 

Kenny is one of the go-to supporters of the inks, pigments, films, plastics, and industrial coatings fields, who also provides educational and consulting services. He is a true polymath – he seems to have almost encyclopedic knowledge! Typically, any issue considered abnormal or overly-complicated, ends up on his desk. But he has made it his mission to assist Datacolor’s customers by resolving these complexities.

 

“I like to help any customer I encounter. If a question is weird, it is usually given to me, and I am happy to find the answer” he told us. “There’s connections among the sciences that go to the very psychophysics of color. I love it when I can find a link between these, and relate it to someone who is facing some obstacle. My motivation truly comes down to this: I get to watch another person react to their frustrations being positively resolved. You can see it – it’s a visceral reaction. Sometimes they’ll laugh, sometimes there’ll be a sigh – I love that.”

 

With well over three decades of experience in the arena, Kenny is without a doubt a one-of-a-kind authority in his department. That wealth of knowledge, coupled with a fervent desire to support Datacolor’s clientele, has created the precise formula for this brilliant, dedicated problem-solver to thrive within our industry. We’re thrilled to shed a little light into his world, and thank him for sharing his knowledge and professional adventures!

 

Location: Lawrenceville, but with his laptop and phone he could be anywhere 

Favorite color: Visible ones

 

Educational Background: Chemistry and Microbiology

 

Favorite hobby: “It varies. I tend to binge-focus on activities. But piano is a constant – I think people are surprised when they find out I play the piano.”

 

Fun fact: “I was raised on a farm, and then worked part-time through school as a musical comedian. I told bawdy jokes while playing the piano. But the most fun thing I’ve ever done in my life (when I was younger) was skydiving.”

 

Most Unique Samples Handled: Embalming fluid, tattoo ink, nano voids, encapsulated colors.

Kenny’s Journey with Datacolor

 

Kenny has officially been with the Datacolor team for 30 years. With an initial background in pigment production, he ended up with our staff on an aeronautical whim. He laughingly explained that “In 1987 a recruiter called me about an open position and said, “Do you want to go to an interview in New Jersey? You’ll get to ride on a plane!” I had been on one plane ride before that, so I excitedly told him “I’ll do it!” – not expecting to be overly impressed with the actual interview. But there I met the people I would eventually work with, and it all started because I wanted to ride on a plane 34 years ago.”

 

Spending so much time at Datacolor has certainly afforded Kenny the opportunity to encounter a wide scope of challenges. Knowing this, we were interested to hear a few of those most memorable to him. He recalled, “In 1998, I undertook a project to determine which algorithms, between those from ACS, Datacolor, and ICS, were the most effective at executing specific tasks. That survey of methods was challenging. Later, when ChromaCalc III was released, I probably coded about one third to half – maybe more – of the features and functions of those specifications, and the longevity of that product makes me proud. More recently, we had a client whose network was attacked by ransom-ware during the night, causing their system to be completely locked down. This crisis occurred over the weekend, and unfortunately, they had nothing to work with as far as backups or installation media. But what they did have was my direct number that forwards to my cell phone. I answered it, and while the client ran to the store to buy a new desktop, I remotely found a backup of some of their data and was able to assist them.”

 

Overcoming these challenges seems to be all in a day’s work for Kenny. But after 30+ years of conquering complicated quandaries, you would think he would be ready for a break! When asked for his personal reason for working at Datacolor, he quipped, “Who said it was work?”

 

He then elaborated: “At the same time I’m teaching, I’m also learning – from both coworkers and clients. For the most part, I really don’t think what I do is work. I’m part of really great team here at Datacolor. Whether it’s a customer or colleague, they might share a trick or correct a misconception, but after all these years in the field, I’m still learning and growing. How rewarding is that?”

 

Words from the Wise

 

We wanted to know what advice Kenny would give to any color professional. Here are his top 5 tips (although he has plenty more in his arsenal!):

 

  • Repeatability and Reproducibility of your color processes will determine the quality of computer color predictions
  • Metamerism, judiciously used in color prototyping, can support more consistent production
  • Color is an indicator. So is spectroscopy. Learn the color and spectral effects material & process changes.
  • Know your color discrimination capability and aptitude.
  • “Device-independence” is a relative term. Any color containers (coordinate system, material or mind) is a device.

You have probably heard us use the term ‘the world of color’ more than once. But what do we mean by that?

 

There are those who would describe it as the vast cornucopia of colorants. Some people would say it’s simply hue, lightness, and saturation. Those with kids may remember it as a nighttime light show at Disneyland.

 

For Ken Butts, our Global Key Account Team Manager, it’s pulling Datacolor’s entire textile color industry together as one efficient unit around the world. As he puts it, “We have key account managers in Europe, North America, Hong Kong, and China, and their jobs are to support our largest retail/apparel accounts. My role within that is to help coordinate the global activities of the key account managers. We want to be sure that a color manager in the US has the same support as a color manager in Asia, in order to ensure that their processes are communicated clearly to their suppliers. Ultimately, our job as the global specifiers team is to help brands and their suppliers keep up with the latest trends by creating efficiencies in objective color management throughout their retail and apparel supply chains. My role is to manage that relationship, be sure my team has what they need to be successful, hold them accountable to certain goals, and be a liaison between ourselves and other teams.”

 

If that sounds complex and important, that’s probably because it is just that. Ken has been a key player in a large, positive step forward for Datacolor through the reunification of the global specifiers team. After nearly five years of being disbanded, Ken has been a part of the reconstruction of this pivotal organization that aims to tackle the inherent challenges of supply-chain color management in the retail and brand apparel industry. We are excited to see what pioneering, forward-looking solutions Ken and his crew provide, and are so thankful for his years of experience and dedication to his craft!

 

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina 

Favorite color: Green

 

Favorite hobby: Gardening

 

Alma Mater: North Carolina State University

 

Majored in: Textile Chemistry

 

Favorite things about Datacolor: “Seeing our customers be successful. I also enjoy the opportunity to communicate directly with anyone in the company. From the person in the factory to the CEO, it’s nice to be a part of an organization where there is such transparency from top to bottom. You feel like you make a difference.”

 

Fun fact: “People always seem surprised to find out I have six children!”

 

Ken’s Connection with Datacolor

 

Ken has certainly set the bar high in terms of commitment. Whereas some of us can’t even remain loyal to our “favorite” restaurants for more than a year before we’re tired of them, Ken has been a member of the Datacolor family for 25 years. To put that in to perspective, he has been with our team only one year less than the World Wide Web has been a public service. Impressed yet?

 

It all began when Ken started working at a textile manufacturer directly after graduating from college. He told us, “As part of my training there the first year, I used a color matching system that my employer had purchased from a company called Applied Color Systems. ACS had an office in Charlotte, which was only about two hours from where I was working. Because of that proximity, ACS often approached my employer about our performing testing on new products and their product updates. I got to know the ACS folks really well, and got to know their products and give them feedback. Then in the late ‘80s Datacolor purchased ACS. After working in the mill for five years and working three weekends a month there, I decided it was not for me. I wanted the opportunity to travel (and not work weekends!), so I reached out to a fellow I knew at Datacolor to see if there were any openings.There weren’t at the time, but a month later a position did open, and three weeks after that I was working at Datacolor.”

 

Being a part of our staff for so long has afforded Ken some unusual scenarios in which he was able to walk our customers through difficult situations. He recalled one particular time “in the late ‘90s, I happened to be on vacation visiting some relatives in Florida. A distraught customer in Canada reached out to me there. They had a pretty complex server implementation for the programs they were using from us, and this color manager had accidentally deleted his entire Datacolor folder that contained all of his programs and data. The whole plant was being run by this software, so he of course was in a panic. Now this was back when you either had to be on-site or have a computer in front of you while you were on the phone, but because I was on vacation I didn’t have those options. I spent about 16 hours on the phone with him doing everything from memory and visualization of what everything looked like. Over two days we got them fully back up and running and he was extremely grateful. I have found over the years that for me, the greatest experience of working at Datacolor has been solving customer problems when they’re in crisis mode.”

 

Many of us nowadays can barely visualize what is currently in our pantry, much less recreate entire programs from memory. Ken’s prowess in our industry and dedication to our company do not go unnoticed, and we truly appreciate everything he contributes to our team!

 

Words from the Wise

 

You’re always one decision away from a completely different outcome in your day. To reach the best decisions and gain the most favorable results, Ken had two pieces of advice:

 

  • Develop a close partnership with your technology provider. They are instrumental (no pun intended!) to your overall success.
  • Keep in mind the importance of measurement integrity – everything we do is based on the quality of the data we enter into the system.

At Datacolor, we understand that every customer is unique. One could even say our customers are comparable to – wait for it – colors!

 

Each color on the spectrum is different. Whether that contrast is huge, like the general distinction between black and yellow, or tiny, like the discrepancy between ‘rose pink’ or ‘watermelon pink’ – there are still differences!

 

Similarly, our customers, even if they are in the same field, can have very distinctive needs. So how do we pinpoint what products best suit individual customers, and divine and address their particular concerns?

 

That’s where Jeff Watts, our resident Market Manager, takes up the mantle. On the paint, coatings, and plastics side of things, he is a client-driven one-man-show of strategic direction. We appreciate the technical expertise that Jeff provides, and are happy to highlight him and his contributions to the team in this edition of “Meet the Experts”!

 

Location: America’s 12th official state, North Carolina
 

Favorite color: Blue

 

Educational Background: Western Illinois University, home of Rocky the Bulldog – the Fighting Leathernecks’ mascot since 1958!

 

Favorite hobbies: Boating, fishing, and diving

 

How were you introduced to Datacolor? : “I was first acquainted with Datacolor years ago while I was working for INX International – the third largest producer of ink in all of North America.”

 

Jeff’s Story at Datacolor

 

It was Julius Caesar who first said, “Experience is the teacher of all things.” And Jeff certainly has learned plenty through his decades of experience in the color industry!

 

After first being inundated to the trade in the early ’80s, Jeff became part of the Datacolor family in 1994. He spent 16 years with us as an Applications Manager before deciding to gain additional exposure to the industry at both Dunn-Edwards Corporation and Valspar. He returned to us with new, far-reaching expertise last year to maintain the roll of Market Manager – a position that aims to build the ideal strategy for Datacolor’s products, as well as determine the best interests of our clientele. He provides the market direction for some of our largest retail paint customers, and has some impressive perceptions as to the future of those clients. When asked how our customers will change and improve in the world of tomorrow, Jeff told us he believes:

 

  • Customers will move more progressively into the world of automation. It takes the guesswork out of the picture, and provides the most accurate results.
  • The need to wet-match every formula in order to ensure accuracy will be greatly diminished over time, due to increasing intelligent systems and technology.
  • Software as a Service (Saas) will become predominant. This web-based method of software delivery will allow data to be accessed anywhere, as long as there is a connection to the Internet. The attraction to this model is found in it’s ability to reduce costly on-premise hardware required for most software-hosting.
  • Customers will become more attracted to the financial savings that technology provides.

 

In his tenure as Market Manager, Jeff has provided extensive account management experience and solutions, and we cannot wait to see how his resourcefulness and ingenuity help our clients reach their goals.

 

Jeff’s Advice for Color Professionals

 

No department is perfect – which means there is always room for improvement! Here are Jeff’s suggestions on how you can get the maximum return on investment in your own line of work:

 

  • Maintain lab etiquette
  • Establish a repeatable process
  • Develop a “Color Eye” – AKA, train your color perception
  • Do your homework on your everyday equipment
  • Standardize your procedures

By David Long

 

Choosing the Location

 

The key point when shooting landscapes in the fall is to remember that the foliage just adds color. You still need a strong composition to create interest for the audience. In the Northeast, fall colors can start in early to mid-September in low-lying marshes and with early-turning trees like swamp maples and birches. Elevation can change timing by at least a week. There are now a lot of good apps that provide fall color maps, but I tend to rely on making calls to local contacts to get the best information. Past peak conditions can still yield rich colors and more isolated compositions to allow shooting into November.

 

 

Interesting Weather Makes Interesting Photos

 

My favorite condition to shoot fall colors is an overcast sky as it provides soft/even lighting in which you can shoot all day long. Fog and light rain are even better as they create a mystical atmosphere and great color gradation. On the rare occasion when there is an early snow, you are rewarded with the colors popping out of a totally neutral background. But fall is also full of sunny days, so keep shooting and look to get out in the magic hours of morning and evening. Find shade when you can, or in full sun try to use it to backlight the leaves in your scene.

 

 

Equipment/Techniques

 

I use a telephoto lens to compress and bring the leaves more “into the scene”.  I usually shoot 1/3 to 2/3 of a stop under and always use a polarizing filter to eliminate the shine off the leaves and deepen the hue. Wind is your enemy in shooting fall colors so I prefer the early morning when it is calmest or I make sure I set my shutter speed at a high enough level to “freeze” the moving leaves. If you have moving water in the scene, use a tripod with a longer shutter speed to give a little motion to the stream or waterfall. I like between 1/3 – 1 second depending on the water’s speed.

 

 

Perspectives

 

I try to engage my audience by varying the scene from the traditional landscape. I do many of my shots around still water in order to provide reflections that create a little distortion to the viewers, which tends to hold their interest. I also try to find paths, roads, fences, etc. to provide leading lines into the scene/foliage. Another technique to change the normal way the audience sees the scene is by getting low to the ground, shooting straight up or including a close-up of foreground leaves in the scene.

 

 

Fall is a wonderful time to shoot and as Albert Camus said, “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower”.

 

Website

Instagram

500px

Photography is my passion. Rain, snow, fog & sunshine, I’ll be out with my Labradoodle, Meg, searching for a unique & intimate scene that I connect with or simply to absorb myself in the ever-changing beauty of my local landscape. I’m a lover of all things outdoors but I have an affinity for obscure woodland where I enjoy the therapy, wildlife, atmosphere and tackling compositional challenges. I don’t obsess over the technicalities of photography; instead I crave experiences and unique moments in time that serve as a constant reminder that there is far more to outdoor photography than a photograph.

 

Simon has just won the Light on the Land category in Outdoor Photographer of the Year. Simon is now in the running for winning the whole competition which is announced in March. Below you can see a video of the Judges’ Insight (his photo is about 2 mins in) and here is a link to visit the winners page: https://www.opoty.co.uk/pages/2017%2Bwinners/.

 

 

 

Email contact: simon@baxter.photos

Twitter: @simonbaxter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/baxterphotography/

Blog: https://baxter.photos/photography-blog/

Website: https://baxter.photos

By John Walrath

 

As photographers, we are always looking for color that matches our creative intent. Often the need is to reproduce color absolutely and the other is to simply achieve better color. Absolute color relates to translating color as accurately as possible from the real world to our digital world, while better color can mean a nicer look or consistency between multiple shots. A lot goes into reproducing color accurately. Factors like lighting, camera and lens as well as the actual colors of the subject are important considerations.

 

 

The light source illuminating your subject bears a major influence on color capture. Camera sensors are very capable in many lighting conditions but struggle in others. Lighting can be the biggest obstacle. Strong or vibrant color can also challenge a camera’s capabilities.

If absolute color accuracy for the most faithful color reproduction is your goal, using a known color reference to aid color correction is the best way to assure color is accurate. The alternative is to push and pull sliders until you believe it looks correct. Implementing a SpyderCHECKR is a more efficient way to confidently reproduce faithful color.

 

 

SpyderCHECKR is used to correct the influence of the light source, or sources that illuminate your subject and to adjust color. To use, include the SpyderCHECKR or SpyderCHECKR 24 in the scene you are photographing to be used as a reference image. Take a reference image like this each time the lighting changes.

 

 

When you edit these images, use the white balance eyedropper on one of the several neutral tones on the front of the SpyderCHECKR. If you seek just a white balance correction, use the large gray target on the reverse side. To correct for color accuracy, create a user preset with the SpyderCHECKR software using the color chart reference and apply it to the set of images in the same lighting. Once you apply these techniques, you’ll be on your way to having absolute color accuracy.

 

By John Walrath

 

At the end of every October, thousands of photographers and videographers descend upon the Javits Center in New York City for the PhotoPlus Expo. For those attending, it’s an exciting time to learn about recent product announcements. For those of us who work in the industry, it is an excellent opportunity to connect with and educate customers.

 

 

The 2017 PhotoPlus Expo marked my 5th year attending. I am accustomed to the hectic nature of the show but I have also become familiar with Manhattan. When I was asked to share my experience at PhotoPlus on Datacolor’s Instagram I was thrilled. To have the opportunity to not only provide an inside look at PhotoPlus, but to share New York City how I see it was very exciting!

 

My Approach

 

Knowing that I would need to make photographs daily to share, I wanted to have a common theme binding them together. I sought to capture images that unmistakably represented New York City. However, that isn’t very challenging since New York has so many recognizable locations. I wanted to go beyond the obvious.

 

When I think about New York, the words movement and energy come to mind – I used these words for inspiration. I recently completed a series of images where I intentionally incorporated selective motion blur. I decided this would be a good approach to demonstrate the movement and the energy of New York City.

 

With my assignment set and my camera in hand (a Fuji X-T2 if you are curious), I hit the ground running as soon as I finished setting up the day before PhotoPlus Expo opened.

 

 

Camera Technique

 

To create selective areas of motion blur without a tripod, I needed to find a shutter speed that I could hand hold my camera but also slow enough that would not freeze the action within my composition. For this technique, I used a shutter speed of about 1/60 and adjusted my ISO and aperture to the point the image was exposed as I intended.

 

I love shooting from a tripod but this can be challenging in New York. I mostly shot hand held but I did use a tripod for some of the images I made. When using a tripod, all I was concerned about was finding a shutter speed that matched the motion blur I wanted to create in an image. I did not need to worry about balancing creative effect with a shutter speed that can be held by hand.

 

Compositionally speaking, I needed to focus on how the static subjects and the moving subjects interacted. For example, a composition where movement leads off the side of a photograph is less effective than one where the movement leads into the image to create depth. After some practice, I was able to anticipate where and how the movement would occur within my composition.

 

Below are some of my favorite photographs:

 

 

Making the Print

 

I find a lot of joy in printmaking. I love the moment when I first see an image on paper. I do not print every photograph I make but I believe that part of my role as an artist is to create physical pieces of art and not just digital files. Printmaking is part of a photographer’s heritage and I believe it should still be a skill that is practiced by every photographer.

 

 

One image that I was particularly happy with is the one above, on the left. I like the way the people and the cars move through the frame towards the Flatiron. The Flatiron is also my favorite building in New York City so I am sure that influences my fondness for this image. I usually end up with at least one image of the Flatiron every time I visit New York.

 

When I got home I fired up my printer. I chose to print this image on one of my favorite papers: Red River Paper’s San Gabriel Baryta.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Photographers embrace the challenge of creating a three-dimensional world on a two dimensional surface. Adding selective motion incorporates the element of time into a photograph. I enjoy the layer of depth it adds and its another compositional element I have to work with to make an image more dynamic. I feel it was an effective choice to convey the way I see New York City.

By Ken Butts

 

 

Ultra-portable devices can be important tools for textile color measurement. Small, inexpensive, and relatively accurate, these instruments meet specific industry challenges. I recently discussed ultra-portables in a presentation to the AATCC Coloration Challenges symposium. Here are some key points from that event.

 

Objective color evaluation matters

 

For 40 years, businesses have understood that objective instrumental color evaluation improves efficiency in the overall color development process. In production, objective color evaluation ensures accountability at a reasonable cost, helps identify problem materials or colors quickly, and helps transition companies from visual sample evaluation to precision color management.

 

Accurate textile color measurement also helps designers to be more efficient. They don’t have to develop new colors where standards already exist, don’t have to buy as many samples to compare colors, and can efficiently match components such as thread and zippers.

 

Why ultra-portable?

 

It’s a challenge to blend objective color selection methods with selection based on personal aesthetic and inspiration. Yet color measurement that’s available at the point of color selection can support both the goals of the business and the designer’s creativity.

 

Spectrophotometers, the instruments often used to control color quality of fabric in production, are highly complex and not truly portable. Even if it’s not as accurate as a spectrophotometer, a low-cost instrument equipped with mobile apps and small enough to carry in a pocket or purse may be ideal in certain circumstances.

 

For example, with an ultra-portable device a designer could easily measure colors at a fashion show or in a competitor’s store — and then determine whether the color is in their own library or available from a color standards provider.

 

Optical design of ultra-portable devices

 

A number of ultra-portable instruments have been released in the last couple of years, sometimes branded with the logo of the companies that adopt them. While designs vary, most devices include:

 

  • LED illumination
  • A method of filtering and consolidating light
  • A sensor

 

Here’s a typical design.

 

 

Similar to colorimeters, these devices produce color responses for a specific light source that can then be used to calculate results such as CIE L*a*b* values.

 

Features and performance

 

Color look-up is currently the primary application for ultra-portable color measuring devices. Essentially:

 

  • User makes a measurement
  • System returns one or more matching colors from one or more databases
  • Result are displayed on the device, a mobile app, or both

 

In addition to displaying color matches, the mobile app may allow the user to build palettes and share information with others.

 

The prices and capabilities of ultra-portable devices vary considerably, as shown in the following table. Brand names aren’t included, since I’m not endorsing one over another here.

 

1 2 3 4 5 6
Price $59 $349 $249 $700 $179 $490
Standalone Mode No No Yes Yes No No
Bluetooth Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Integrated White Tile Yes Yes No Yes No Yes
Admin App No No Yes No No No
Weight 29 g 60 g 61.5 g 165 g 50 g 60 g
Dimensions 27.5 mm dia x 55 mm 30 mm dia x 109 mm 144 x 52 x 40 mm 60 x 54 mm 51 mm dia x 51 mm

 

It’s interesting that while higher price typically correlated to higher performance, only two instruments achieved a 94% success rate: one cost $250 and the other $700.

 

Other use cases

 

In addition to providing quick and easy color matching for designers, ultra-portable devices offer benefits for others in the industry.

 

  • Trim and accessory manufacturers can take advantage of more efficient color search for customers
  • Color standard providers can use branded mobile apps and devices as sales and marketing tools
  • Future developments might make ultra-portables useful for performing basic textile color quality control functions, cataloguing warehouse inventory, and other tasks

 

If you’d like to discuss ultra-portable instruments in greater depth, please contact me directly or subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates.

 


Ken Butts Global Key Account Team Manager, has an extensive background in textiles with over 30 years supporting the trade. Ken leads the worldwide specifiers team – a unit designed to work closely with brands, retailers, customers, and prospects to understand and overcome the inherent challenges of the textile industry.