Article From Linkedin
"With regard to some requests I had in some Linkedin groups concerning color management in the digital textile world, I decided to share my experience in that area. I hope this description would be helpful to all of you who struggle with color problems in the day-to-day production.
My experience in textiles is as a color consultant in Portugal. Here, as in the rest of the world, the textile industry has more and more hybrid production (conventional and digital) and in some cases is moving from conventional printing to direct fabric printing. At customers that have only printing process (let say sublimation), we can get satisfactory results with ICC profiles. In these cases, I usually recommend to use Colorgate RIP (their algorithms for color mapping are better that other profiling software). It is not difficult to have all printers with a similar color output, even if they are different (here in Portugal Roland DG and Epson are the most used printers for sublimation). The problems begin when customers have conventional printing (most of the times 8 and 12 color presses), they use mainly layered designs, and they want to have the same color results in the digital printing (sublimation or direct printing). Here, the ICC world fails becomes to get noticed.
As my experience comes from offset and flexographic printing, I had the same problems about 8 years ago, when the first digital proofing systems appear. At that time, the challenge was to match the offset and flexo printing with a digital printer (Epson or HP). Of all the solutions I tried, the software which fits best this challenge was GMG Colorproof. We could in fact reproduce with an extreme accuracy the final production with a low cost proofing system. The main difference between GMG and other proofing systems was, and still is, the way they convert colors - no icc profiles, all color transformations are made cmyk2cmyk, what GMG calls 4D color transformation engine. All other proofing software's work with icc device-link profiles. And, in the icc world, the accuracy is not the same.
When I started to talk with Jesse Leskanic from Cheran Digital a few weeks ago (I met him in a Linkedin Group discussion about color), their approach to textiles was something very similar from what GMG does in the graphic arts industry: some-kind of ink formulation / color kitchen software for digital textile printers, with surprising low deltaE results, even when working with different illuminants. Jesse made me an online demo and what I saw makes all sense for the textile industry. They also support ICC workflow for True Color images, in fact their solution is not intended to substitute ICCs, but improve it when printing these type of files. However, when printing layered textile designs, their non-ICC workflow is able to achieve color accuracy far beyond what ICC workflows are designed to do. They are also able to bring a broad range of new color management capabilities that are not possible with any other digital printing color matching system available today. And, when the users are being asked to purchase 7 digit machines with speeds up to 30 meters/minute (e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSPxFpEfA1E), that should be running production, not making color adjustments.
In conclusion, the process of moving from conventional to digital production in textile industry has not been simple. There a lot of things to consider. However, there's also some people who already made it the hard way, and we must learn from their experience and advice. Cheran's technology has taken the most difficult part of digital textile printing (color matching/management) and made it totally manageable and highly accurate. The system that I saw demonstrated by Cheran is a very powerful color management system for digital printing and it must be seen to be believed and understood. It truly puts the user in control of color in a way that no other system has been able to achieve."