Print Data Analysis

In this article we'll learn:

  • Which processes are completed when uploading the print data
  • How Preflight and Data Correction works
  • How to analyze print data
  • Which parameters are available in Print Data view

1. Uploading Print Data

When print data is uploaded to the Workflow, certain processes are completed when Preflighting the data. The most important processes are:

  1. Storing a copy of the original file – The original print file is stored in its original state for both Articles and Print Items in the Workflow.
  2. Converted to a PDF – All print data that is not originally in PDF format is converted to PDF without making any corrections.
  3. Preflight – Print files are checked for certain constructs in the PDF file, based on the pre-selected Preflight Profile.
  4. Data Correction – Print data is corrected using a list of standardized corrections (Fixups) and stored as the first version in the Workflow.
  5. Preflight Report – A Preflight Report is also created based on the applied Preflight Profile and any errors that were encountered.

While the first and second steps are applied by default (an administrator cannot make any changes here for example), step three and four are influenced using the options selected by the Workflow user.

1.1. Preflight

Data checks are based on the Preflight Profile that you have set under Administration > Settings > Preflight & Fixup [1]. The Preflight Profile: Default Preflight and Fixup [2] is selected by default. This Preflight Profile contains the most common corrections used in the printing industry to find critical production-related issues. If additional rules and standards need to be added, these can be added at any time by a specialist who is able to define Preflight rules using callas software's pdfToolbox.

Figure 1: The Preflight & Fixup tab available under the menu item Administration > Settings.

The following list gives a brief overview of the most important checks that are included in the default Preflight during the check-in process:

  • Page Geometry Size – Determines the Page Geometry dimensions for the TrimBox, BleedBox, Bleed and MediaBox and ensure that the PDF coordinate system starts at 0/0.
  • Resolution – Determines the minimum/maximum resolution for the uploaded file. Depending on the entered Minimum Resolution (dpi) [3], this state will be displayed as a warning in the Workflow.
  • Embedded Fonts – Analyzes all states (not embedded, fully embedded or embedded as a font subset).
  • Process Colors – Determines which process colors (CMYK) are contained in the PDF file.
  • Spot Colors – Analyzes and finds Spot Colors with overprint status (overprint / knockout) and their dimensions.
  • Device RGB – Finds all RGB objects that have no Source Profile assigned.
  • Color Spaces – Determines which Color Spaces are used in the PDF file.
  • Registration Colors – Finds objects that have been created using Registration Colors.
  • Rendering Intents – Determines all embedded Rendering Intents.
  • White Overprint – Finds all objects that use a White channel and are set to overprint.
  • Layers – Determines all layers contained in the PDF file.
  • Number of Pages – Determines the total number of pages contained in the PDF file.
  • PDF/X Status – Determines the PDF/X status of a the file.
  • Includes numerous other Preflight checks.

1.2. Standard Data Corrections

During the check-in process, corrections can also be applied to the data by default. Certain corrections are available in the Pre-flight Profile. Some are set to active and some to inactive. Depending on which settings have been selected in the General Settings panel [4] under Administration > Settings > Color Management, the corrections listed here are also applied in addition to the permanently active corrections applied in the Preflight Profile.

Figure 2: The General Settings panel under the Color Management tab.

PMS WebGui :: Color Management

1.3. Preflight Results

If warnings or errors were found during Preflighting, the number of Warnings [5] and Errors [6] are displayed in the header of the area called Document Information and User-defined Fields. To locate the Preflight Results, open an Article, Production Job, etc. and find the aforementioned area. Warnings [8] and Errors, are typically displayed directly next to the listed text for which the Warning for Error is relevant and is highlighted with the appropriate color (either yellow or red according to their severity).

Figure 3: Below we see the Document Information and User-defined Fields view with the Output Intent line being flagged with a Warning (highlighted in yellow).

1.3.1. Overview of the Preflight Results

To view listed Warnings click on the Warning symbol [5]. To view listed Errors, click on the Error symbol [6]. In both cases the Preflight results dialog will open, where both Errors and Warnings (if found) are displayed in individual tabs. Click on the drill-down arrow [9] to display detailed information regarding the Error or Warning.

Figure 4: The Preflight results dialog displaying both Errors and Warnings.

PMS WebGui :: Print Data

1.3.2. Preflight Results with Bookmarks

If you want to create a detailed Preflight Report as a PDF file, click on the Download Preflight Report symbol [7] (see Figure 3). This will create a Preflight Report with Bookmarks and download it locally to your system.

Open the Preflight Report in Acrobat Pro or Adobe Reader and select the Bookmarks tab [10]. By selecting a Bookmark, the object(s) [11] affected by the Warning or Error will be highlighted.

This function is only available for users with additional licenses.

Figure 5: The Preflight Report contains Bookmarks which highlight specific Errors and Warnings in Acrobat Pro or Adobe Reader.

For the users of the Workflow, production-relevant information for a Print Item or Article is displayed in the Print Data view. You can access Print Data view as follows:

Articles

  1. Select the menu item Article > Articles, which will display the Article List.
  2. Search for the desired Article in the list using a Filter or by entering text in the search field.
  3. Double-click on the Article.
  4. The Article with the Print Data tab selected is then displayed.
  1. Select the menu item Order > Orders, which will display a list of all Orders.
  2. Search for the desired Order in the list using a Filter or by entering text in the search field.
  3. Double-click on the Order.
  4. The Order is displayed with the Print Data tab selected.
  5. The Print Data for individual Print Items is displayed when you select it.
  1. Select the menu item Job, which displays a list of all Production Jobs.
  2. Search for the desired Production Job in the list using a Filter or by entering a text in the search field.
  3. Double-click on the Job.
  4. Select the required Print Item.
  5. The Print Data tab is displayed automatically.

The Print Data tab [12] provides various information.  The individual areas are briefly described below.

Figure 6: The various information areas offered in the Print Data tab.

2.1. Preview

In the Preview area (marked in green), a preview image of the Print Item is displayed including guides that represent the ImageBox [13] and the Expected Bleed [14] (production format).

If you hover over the TrimBox button [15] below the preview image, a box is displayed in the same color as the button below the preview image. If the page geometry of a Print Item is set differently from the TrimBox, you can also view these boxes by selecting the corresponding PDF box in the drill-down list Set ImageBox [16]. By selecting a different ImageBox, the box chosen will be used when imposing and rendering the Print Item.

Figure 7: The TrimBox is overlaid on the preview image.

PMS WebGui :: Print Data

2.2. Document Information and User-defined Fields

The Document Information and User-defined Fields area (marked with Cyan in Figure 6), displays the Preflight results when checking for Dimensions, Number of Pages, Resolution, Layers and the Output Intent. In the header you will find the detected Warnings and Errors [17].  The footer contains the most frequently used Fixups [18] grouped by topic. By clicking on the page navigation points [19] further information about the PDF can be viewed, access to User-defined Fields is also available here.

Figure 8: The Document Information and User-defined Fields area in Print Data view.

2.3. Production Information

In the Production Information area (marked with blue in Figure 6), parameters used for production are displayed. Production Information includes: the size of the ImageBox or the expected Bleed, Winding Direction (important for label printing), Process Steps, the Substrate information and the applied Output Configuration for the Print Item.

In this information area, the user can set the Bleed [21] and change the applied Color Policy [20].

Figure 9: The Production Information area.

2.4. Fonts

In the Fonts area (marked with orange in Figure 6), Fonts contained in the PDF are listed, including their Status [25]. The status can be either: fully embedded, an embedded font subset or not embedded.

The number [22] of fonts contained in the document is displayed in the header. The line below shows the minimum Font Size [23] and the minimum X-Height [24] found. The footer contains two Fixups: Embed missing Fonts [26] and Convert Fonts to Outlines [27].

Figure 10: The Fonts information area.

PMS WebGui :: Print Data

2.5. Process Colors

In the Process Colors area (marked with yellow  in Figure 6), all Process Colors used in the PDF are listed. In our example, only two Process Colors are used in the PDF, therefore only Magenta and Yellow is displayed.

The header shows the number [28] of Process Colors used. The footer contains the Fixup groups: Adopt Color Values [29], Black Handling [30] and Tone Value Corrections [31] with individual Fixups in each drop-down menu. Rendering Intents contained in the PDF file can be displayed by clicking on the navigation point (gray dot) [32].

Figure 11: The Process Colors panel.

PMS WebGui :: Print Data

2.6. Spot Colors

In the Spot Colors area (marked with red in Figure 6), all Spot Colors contained in the PDF that have not been flagged as Technical Colors by the user in the Workflow are listed. For each Spot Color, the ∆E reproduction value, Overprint status, and the Dimension the color, and the Spot Color Definition are specified.

The header displays the number [33] of Spot Colors used and the line below shows the selected ∆E calculation [34]. The footer contains Fixups such as: Spot Color Definition [35] and Create Grid Chart [36] as well as the Fixup groups: Spot Color Tools [37] and Add White or Varnish [38], both drop-down menus contain multiple Fixups. Source Color Spaces are displayed by clicking on the navigation point [39].

Figure 12: The Spot Colors information panel.

PMS WebGui :: Print Data

2.7. Technical Colors

In the Technical Colors area (marked with magenta in Figure 6), all Spot Colors used in the PDF that have been allocated as Technical Colors by the user in the Workflow are listed. For each Technical Color we see: the type (CutContour in this example), Overprint status, the Dimension of the color, and the Spot Color Definition used for rendering Lead In/Out.

The number [40] of Technical Colors used is displayed in the header. The footer contains the Fixup: Spot Color Definition [43] and the Fixup groups: Spot Color Tools [42] and Create Dieline [43] each containing a drop-down list of Fixups.

Figure 13: The Technical Colors information panel.

PMS WebGui :: Print Data

2.8. Separations

In the Separations area (marked in gray in Figure 6), all Separations used in the PDF are displayed, allowing the user to see very quickly where each color separation is and which overprint status each Print Item has. In order to measure color values, double-click on one of the separations to open the Separations dialog.

Figure 14: The Separations information panels.

3. Analyzing Color Separations

Double clicking on the preview or directly on individual color separations will open the Separations dialog, where you can view more detailed information. To determine the color values for a Print Item, select the pipette tool [44] and move the tool to the desired position where a value should be measured [45]. The corresponding values are displayed in the color values list [46].