HYBRID Software, with its PDF editor PACKZ and the prepress workflow CLOUDFLOW, is a major player in the production of packaging and labels. Part of Hybrid Software Group, its sister companies include Global Graphics (known for its RIP software), Meteor for controlling digital printing systems, Xitron workflow systems, and IC3D for virtual 3D mock-ups.
At the end of 2021, Hybrid Software Group PLC announced its acquisition of ColorLogic, a specialized provider of color management software. ColorLogic conducts a significant portion of its business with OEM solutions for color management in digital printing and prepress, and it also has its own products, including ColorAnt, CoPrA, and ZePrA, which are continuously developed. One and a half years after the acquisition of ColorLogic, the first fruits of the collaboration with HYBRID Software are now becoming apparent.
The graphic below impressively illustrates the interaction and synergies of the mentioned products.
Overview of ColorLogic and HYBRID Software products: In ColorAnt, measurement data are recorded, spot colors are imported as CxF, and everything is spectrally optimized. CoPrA calculates print and DeviceLink profiles from the measurement data according to ICC standards. In PACKZ, the profiles from CoPrA or spot colors are primarily used manually. ZePrA is used for the automatic optimization of PDF files and can be controlled by the CLOUDFLOW Colorspace Module. RIP curves for CLOUDFLOW can be imported from ColorAnt.
Measuring fingerprints is the basis for color management at HYBRID Software and ColorLogic. This measurement data is used for creating RIP compensation curves, ICC print profiles, and complex color transformations based on ICC DeviceLink profiles. In addition to the X-Rite iO3 measuring table, a wide range of other measuring instruments is supported.
ColorLogic ColorAnt with MeasureTool
ColorAnt and its MeasureTool are ColorLogic programs for capturing, optimizing, and editing spectral color data. This data can come from a variety of sources and can be prepared for various purposes. Applications for measurement data from ColorAnt include linearization/calibration of printing systems, profile creation for printing systems (CMYK + multicolor), the creation and optimization of complete spot color libraries, and the adoption of spectral data from color formulation.
ColorAnt supports a large number of color measurement devices on the market, including all X-Rite models for the graphic arts industry, as well as solutions from Techkon, Barbieri, and Konica Minolta. An integrated test chart generator addresses both linearization of RIP curves and the creation of profiling charts. In addition to capturing measurement data, ColorAnt has a powerful spectral model for processing spectral measurement data. This allows, for example, CxF data of spot colors to be imported into ColorAnt from color recipes and then included in existing measurement data. This means that individual channels can be replaced or supplemented by spot colors in CMYK or multicolor profiles. ColorAnt is also a tool for maintaining spot color libraries for specific applications, making them available for proofing, digital printing, as a reference for quality control, or for the calculation of multicolor profiles. When using a fixed color palette in digital or flexographic printing, complete CxF color libraries can be optimized for printing in ColorAnt. This includes metrological optimization and the use of a maximum of three color channels. For linearization or calibration of printing systems, ColorAnt calculates and exports compensation curves that can be loaded directly into the RIP. These enable adjustment of printing processes to specifications such as G7 or TVI values. Importing, optimizing, editing, and outputting spectral data in ColorAnt consistently work with open standardized file formats. Repro companies and printing houses can thus be sure that they can use their spectral data in all programs, including those from competitors like Esko or GMG.
CoPrA stands for Color Profiling Application and is used to generate or edit ICC profiles from measurement data. Thanks to ColorAnt, measurement data can come from a single printed measurement chart or from a combination of a printed test chart and spectral spot color libraries. This allows for an efficient integration of changing spot colors into color management, especially in packaging printing. ICC DeviceLink profiles represent a complete color transformation from a source to a target and are necessary for high-quality color transformations in print production. For example, when converting print data from an industry standard like Fogra39/ISOcoatedv2 to an in-house standard or when proofing an in-house standard on a specific proofing medium. CoPrA allows the optimization of such ICC DeviceLink profiles through iterative color measurements or editing via Photoshop for special applications. Since CoPrA consistently relies on the ICC standard, device and DeviceLink profiles can be directly used in all ICC-compatible application programs (e.g., Adobe CC or PACKZ and CLOUDFLOW by HYBRID Software). Since January 2023, PACKZ has expanded its support for multicolor profiles, allowing adjustments to be made directly in the editor, such as adapting print data to a CMYK+X channel printing. Thanks to the ICC standard, no additional programs are required.
ZePrA is ColorLogic’s PDF ColorServer. The software can be operated both as a standalone solution via hot folders and integrated into automated workflows, such as through CLI scripts (Command Line Interface) or JSON into self-programmed printing platforms or Enfocus Switch. With the release of version 11 in May 2023, it can form an integrated solution with CLOUDFLOW using the Colorspace Module. ZePrA offers a wide range of tools to automate special tasks. This includes the integration of optimized spot color libraries for special applications, color management with on-the-fly calculation of DeviceLink color profiles, minimization of color channels used when printing with CMYK+X colors, or optimizing ink consumption.
In addition, ZePrA can be used to configure proofing workflows where control strips are automatically placed, which can also include the spot colors of the respective print job. PantoneLive is available as an option, and for digital printing systems, calibration according to G7 or ISO 20654 can be performed through ZePrA if needed.