10 Replies Latest reply on Nov 10, 2010 11:58 AM by Ericris

    Opaltone and/or Hexachrome color library


      Does anyone know how to get an Opaltone swatch library for Illustrator CS4?

      Or for that matter Hexachrome.

      I have gone to the Opaltone site but it only shows screenshots yet there were no links on how to purchase or download their

      library for Illustrator.





        • 1. Re: Opaltone and/or Hexachrome color library

          Dear Nick,  go to the Opaltone.com web site contacts page, email the Australian contact, I am sure he will help you out. It really is a great system, search my why iot is not more commonly used, maybe as regulations for waste inks from spot colors are enforced printers will relaise the environmental advantages of Opaltone, if color flexibility is not attractive enough.

          • 2. Re: Opaltone and/or Hexachrome color library
            John Danek Level 4

            It appears that any swatch libraries through Opaltone.com is proprietory information that is also patent pending.  Therefore, they will not disclose the technology willy-nilly.  However, if you go to their home page and click on the "What Is Opaltone" link, you will see their fee arrangement there.  They will sell you a license to use the system.  However, beware.  You will need an 7-color digital proofer and an 7-color press in order to use the ink system.  Many print buyers have been reluctant to pay for additional hexachrome print jobs, especially when traditional Spot color is much more efficient and consistent. Opaltone's claim that the environment is vulnerable to stock piles of spent Spot inks are exaggerated.  Most press runs are managed to use just enough ink for the job and any leftover ink would be stored for future reorders.  And, their claim that CMYK was developed a hundred years ago and is old technology is another exaggeration.  If that were the case, hexachrome would of deemed CMYK obsolete a long time ago ( because hexachrome has been around for a long time and, customer feedback has told print shops that CMYKGO makes most process color jobs look unrealistic ).  Now, there are cases where hexachrome does benefit the customer and is used.  Epson has had their Ultrachrome print system in place for a while now.  The added print inkjet carts is nothing new.  You can purchase an Ultrachrome proofer which has C, Lc, M, Lm, Y, K, Orange, Green, Gray ( if I recall correctly ) cartirdges that produce wide gamut photographic quality prints and fairly accurate Spot color matches using the Colorburst RIP system.  I have not seen any inkjet proofers that use CMYK+Orange+Green+Blue cartridges.  Their technology would have to work with many mainstay C, Lc, M, Lm, Y, K inkjets that are currently out there in the photographic printer segments.  So, my question is: is there a proprietory inkjet proofer out there that can take advantage of their technology?  And, if so, how many presses are available to handle these custom jobs?  How does the ROI workout for everyone involved?  Just curious.

            • 3. Re: Opaltone and/or Hexachrome color library
              XG_fan Level 1

              Dear John,


                                  I think the web site of Opaltone sounds more scary than it really is (it is not a good web site at all), the cost will surprise anyone who is looking for expanded color systems, and Opaltone do have a proofing solution now, they have a RIP and ink set for inket printers such as Epson models that can be used for proofing, mock-ups, photography, it is 6 colors, CMYRGB, other cart positions stay vacant, they do not have black ink, black is made from the RIP, thorugh combination of RGB, the logic of color supports Opaltone, there are 2 color systems, additive (RGB) and subtratctive (CMY) Opaltone joins the 2 together, you cannot get a better system for maximum color oppurtunity, logic dictates that, their RIP also can do any other spot colors such as Pantone, because they have the gamut covered, you do not always need 7 colors on the press, you only need to run enough colors to get what is required for the designs, most of the time a design would ask for 1-2 spots as well, which would make a job 6 color anyway, if no register issues, some offset and digital, you can have same as the proofer, CMYRGB and get everything you want.


              By the way, Pantone killed Hexachrome in 2008, you cannot get any seperation software for it anyway, so it is pointless including OG in inkjet printers, the only way to add the color is to use icc profiling, this does not equate to a printable job on a printing press, nowhere to plug in the icc profile on the press.


              Also, the environmental claim on spot (mix-in-the-can inks) is relevent, have you ever visited a packaging printing plant where they use liquid inks, such as Flexo or Gravure flexible pakaging printing, you will see how much left over spot color ink stock they have, it acumulates and eventually all gets dumped, I have seen ink stores at such printers that were so huge, it could have been classed as the 8th wonder of the world.


              Also, please check on the net, you will find that CMYK methiod of printing was developed or refined and put into use by Max and Louis Levy in the 1890's, making it around 120 years old as a printing method, you can find that on wikapedia under printing history.


              Please be ware, as I stated above, you can use the Opaltone proofing system to do regular CMYK+spot colors, you do not have to use it for XG color, but, if ypu do not use it for XG, you are depriving yourself a real oppurtunity, also, the addition of RGB back into images is also automated in the RIP so you can do channel swaps and all sorst of neat tricks, you do not have to be a wizz at Photoshop, this is for the Photo and indoor sign market, making life easy for the not so experienced who want the benefit of image boost with RGB color.

              • 4. Re: Opaltone and/or Hexachrome color library
                John Danek Level 4

                I looked into their tech pages a bit more.  They do mention a Black plate "is necessary for text".  An RGB generated Black perhaps works in a photographic print, but not a print production workflow.  I'm still not convinced.  But, thank you I was not aware that Pantone had abandoned Hexachrome.  I personally never have been able to work hexachrome into any of my print jobs.  At any rate, I could see this type of color output working in a proprietory workflow as an option, but I would not necessarily agree that it replaces existing CMYK technologies.  I have never seen a stock pile of inks that you describe and would think it illustrates a mismanaged print production inventory of consumables.  The production managers that I have worked with weigh the Spot color mix to match the demands of the print run.

                • 5. Re: Opaltone and/or Hexachrome color library
                  XG_fan Level 1

                  Dear John,


                                 I would just like to clarify one more point from your last posting, the Opaltone method is not like Hexachrome was, it does not replace existing CMYK, it adds RGB to the CMYK or combines wioth 1 or 2 of the CMYK colors to create a spot color, by the way, if you run CMYK + Spot 021 orange and say 485 red and maybe a maroon spot, they can all be created by the addition to CMYK of R only, so 5 color job for CMYK + 3 spots.


                  Now, just quickly, Hexachrome dio replace CMYK, you imported the RGB file into Hexwrench speration software and it woul export 6 channels CMYKOG, this did rerplace the existing CMYK, Opaltone never touches the existing CMYK< it stays in tact, it adds to it with R,G, or B or any or all depending on the design color requirements. So CMYK does not look like it will go anyware in a hurry, the expansion or expanded color gamut is just that, expanding on the existing CMYK, not replacing it.


                  Also you ar right, it is not for everyone, not all printers would find Opaltone easy to work with, you have to good at what you do with CMYK before you attempt to do better or more, but those who can master it get great benefits with the flexibility once they get there head around it.

                  • 6. Re: Opaltone and/or Hexachrome color library
                    John Danek Level 4

                    Thank you for taking the time to discuss Opaltone technologies.  I didn't want to give you the sense that I did not understand the RGB are indeed additional color inks "added" to existing CMYK to achieve a better Spot color match.  I also understand the pros and cons of Spot color and the limitations CMYK has in its formulations used to match Spot colors and its abilities to come close, but never really hits some Spot color matches, if at all.  At this point I would assume that Opaltone, through its licensing fee(s) would supply the color libraries fro Illustrator ( also noted is Opaltone's inability to supply any uncoated color percentages, which means you're limted to coated stock only ), a software RIP(?), ICC color profiles(s), and color swatch reference books.  A realist would say that would be a big disruption in an already cluttered color management system where there are fairly good multi-color-cart proofers already available that are performing quite well.  ROI ( return on investment ) is another consideration I'd take a long look at.  That said, I could see some benefit in a photographic proprietory system as noted in previous posts.  However, Spot color matching is typically done in a print production workflow, not a photographic one.  Opaltone is not a Spot color system.  It is a process color system with added colors to widen the color gamut to make Spot color matching easier in a process color workflow.  I would love to see an actual print comparison chart of the entire Pantone Spot color library using Opaltone in an inkjet printer just to see, indeed, how close they can "match" a Spot color.  I really do not want to compare colors on a web site via a computer monitor.

                    • 7. Re: Opaltone and/or Hexachrome color library
                      XG_fan Level 1

                      Dear John,


                                          OK, just to clafiry, Opaltone is a complete system, they have thier own RIP, they have color books, they have all the necessary software for the workflow from design to press, for automation of matching spot colors, no they do not have uncoated, yes they can get a very good match for spot colors other than their own, they do have their own proprietry icc profiles and profiling software for matching various media, the they also have the OT7 calibration system that achieves the match between what is printed as density and tone curve for the printing plates versus the color proof, there is nothing missing, it is complete. I am not sure what region you are in, but if you contact the Opaltone representative in your region they may print the Pantone spor colors for you and post to you, so you can see for yourself, it is proably worth asking anyway.

                      Thanks for the interesting discussions on this, by the way, I have been following expanded gamut printing (XG) since 1995 when I wrote a paper on the subject for the packaging printing industry, and later, when Opaltone came a long, it answered all the questions that I had been asking, of course Hexachrome was the first with color books and software, but OG is only part of the XG solution, and it works much better adding to the existing CMYK image file than it does trying to create 6 channels from 3 channel RGB image file. But that is all history now, but they had the right vision, a solution to spot colors via a process method.

                      • 8. Re: Opaltone and/or Hexachrome color library
                        nickg2010 Level 1

                        Thanks everyone for the thoughts.

                        I actually got a response from Opaltone and they sent me swatch books and the CDs with the swatches for Illustrator.

                        Very impressive group from a sales standpoint.


                        Still wish Adobe would build Extended Color Gamut visualization into Illustrator.

                        • 9. Re: Opaltone and/or Hexachrome color library
                          XG_fan Level 1

                          Dear Nick,


                                         Glad you got what you wanted from Opaltone, they are not the big bad wolf after all, and I agree with you, Adobe should support XG color in Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign, I do not know why Opaltone is not in these programs, especially this day and age, I wonder if Adobe ever consider this, if they ever approached Opaltone, maybe they think it is only applicable to printing packaging, not a big enough market for Adobe, or not their main market with their software. But, now that Opaltone have inkjet proofing capability, you can print Opaltone on a regular inkjet printer, this will really open some doors in the Photo market, and this is where Adobe including Opaltone in PS would really excite the masses, once they relaise thay can enhance their pics and print them cost effectively as well, this would help both Adobe and Opaltone, why don't they team up and improve the product offering?

                          • 10. Re: Opaltone and/or Hexachrome color library

                            Hello there


                            Did anybody know about Truetone or heptacromia? About communication for any colours from digital, direct or screen colours.