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Author Topic: The Responsibility  (Read 2626 times)
opgr
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« on: May 09, 2006, 12:04:03 PM »
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Suppose the following hypothetical situation:

1. Real Big Company has new product and hires Large Ad Agency for introduction campaign.

2. Large Ad Agency hires Well Known Photographer (you) to do the product shoot.

3. Large Ad Agency then goes to reasonably sized PreMedia house to do mock&make up and have both webpages made, as well as Certified PDF CMYK conversions for different printers and media.

4. Large Ad Agency has scheduled different printers around the world to print the job.



This being the simplified chain of events. Obviously, some communication will happen in parallel, for example: the PreMedia people will contact some of the printers for specs. Certified PDF, as it currently is, does not include profiles, but just separation data that should have been generated according to specs.

These specs do not necessarily include profiles. Sometimes profiles are available, but they are mostly used for color-definition (press-behavior, A2B tables). The actual separating part of the profiles is not necessarily mandated, or when it is, the printer usually doesn't know what they are talking about.

Another parallel communication could be between the Photographer and the PreMedia house. Suppose the latter is colormanaged, and colormanagement savvy. You (Photographer) agree with them to deliver RGB images in your preferred working space including an embedded profile.


Now, something goes amiss, and some of the printed images turn out like mud. RBC really gets mad, 10 lawyers really get happy, and the accusations obviously follow the reverse chain of events.

Q1: How would you handle the responsibilities? How would you deliver your images? Would you consider delivering CMYK separated images?

Q2: Is a conventional prepresser (in order to avoid the term 'old-school') still your best friend if the lawyers show up?
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Oscar Rysdyk
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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2006, 04:56:44 PM »
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The ad agency is prime contractor to the end customer and, therefore, has responsiblity for managing the process from end to end. If they don't specify how things are to be colour managed through the process then it is the photographers job to make them aware there is an issue (if it does indeed exist). If they still don't specify what is required after having been made aware that there may be an issue then it is the photographers job to make best efforts to ensure that images are provided as per the contract with the agency. Provided you deliver what is specified in the contract then the lawyers have no room to hold you responsible for any issues which may arise downstream of your activities. If the contract is ambiguous then you have plenty of wriggle room to absolve yourself of responsibility - do not under any circumstances make offers or representations that you will take on responsibility for making sure the final deliverables will match colours/quality where you have no control.

Number one priority is to make sure the contract is explicit on what you are required to deliver prior to taking the job. Number two is don't get involved in trying to fix the problem if things go wrong (you will only get sucked into a cluster f***k situation where you will end up as the loser if you haven't got the legal backing). Number three if the lawyers do turn up politely and firmly demonstrate that you have delivered what was required under the contract, that you are unprepared to take responsibility for things that are not under your control and that if there is any additional work required to rectify the ad agencies mistakes it will cost extra.

The agency is probably being paid sufficiently well that they can afford to take the rap if things go wrong.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2006, 05:01:00 PM by DiaAzul » Logged

David Plummer    http://photo.tanzo.org/
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2006, 03:02:28 AM »
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Number two is don't get involved in trying to fix the problem if things go wrong

That is good advice indeed.

And how would you prefer to deliver your images? I'm thinking in the context of: how do you "proof" (litteraly or figuratively) that you delivered as promised? Remember, the images are all in the digital realm. You say that they look good or correct on your calibrated monitor, but, as we have seen in another lengthy discussion, some people take that to mean an eye-balled adjustment of a vaguely related profile with completely insufficient Photoshop colorpreferences to boot.

Would you deliver an Epson gamut printed image? How do you proof the epson is well calibrated (in a quick & easy, per image, production sensible matter)?

Would you (also) deliver an Epson proof print of  a SWOP converted version of the file, just to show what is to be expected with a default conversion.

Remember also that this is the primary reason that conventional prepress simply ignored the profile, and converts to CMYK at the first opportunity and make a conventional proof. (Let's call it "output-referred" ad extremum). Obviously you can't "ignore" the source profile, but for conventional prepress that would preferably be display co-ordinates. Part of the "expertise" of conventional prepress was in the ability of the operators to "translate" the screen image to actual print.

Once in the CMYK realm, another part of the "expertise" of conventional prepress is in the ability of the operators to translate measured values to print. This used to be a discussion in the time of the first chromacom systems. Conventional scanner operators didn't have a preview available in the old days, so they had to learn to always interpret a scan by the corresponding CMYK numbers. When digital image processing systems became available which included a relatively decent preview (with matte screens mounted in front of a CRT to emulate print-on-paper), scanner operators increasingly began to use the instant gratification feedback, which was (thought to be) detrimental to their ability to make scans the conventional way.

I think part of the slow transition in prepress to CM workflows (apart from an inherent inability to accept change), is that in the hay days of CM, this conventional method continued to work as the source image would mostly be in AppleRGB or sRGB. If you dumped the profile in favor of your own display representation (usually also AppleRGB in those days). this just results in slight colorshifts which would also happen in a CMYK conversion anyway. (You'd be surprised how many nuances of saturated Red would always be color corrected to M=Y=100%).

A lot has changed since then, and delivering a source image in AdobeRGB or ProphotoRGB will kill any possibility of such a conversion.

Now I think we face two main issues:
1. CMYK conversions remain an expertise because of all the other variables mentioned, such as black-generation and dot-gain compensation which btw isn't simply limited to adjusting for dot-gain, but should also include the minimum dot and maximum dot limits which incidentally can not be described correctly in the ICC profile model as it currently is.
Therefore I would recommend that Photographers should leave this to the next step in the chain, be it a prepress house, or the printer.

2. This means however that a Photographer needs some kind of proof that the images delivered conform to the contract or agreements.

The question thus becomes: How do you know (proof) that what you deliver is correct? i don't mean just proofing that the image has a profile embedded, because that still says nothing about how it looks in reproduction, even if the image gamut fits the reproduction gamut. Only if you actually have this reproduction do you have proof that you deliver something reasonable. And even then you might have to proof that the reproduction has been colormanaged properly.
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Oscar Rysdyk
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2006, 10:19:26 AM »
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Jeff Schewe described a process and solution to your question during the Epson Print Academy. I don't do CMYK so I didn't take notes but I'll relay what I remember. If Shewe stops in, he can comment on the details and/or correct any of my errors.

Basically, he suggested to convert the CMYK version to SWOP Coated 2 (If I remember correctly) and deliver it with no profile attached if no profile is provided for you to use. This way there is no chance for the print house to screw things up if they don't follow color management practices. He also mentioned including a sRGB Jpeg version created from the CMYK file for viewing and use on the website.

All this should be delivered on a CDR or DVDR to act as a sort of delivery contract. Since the disc is read-only, they can go back to the disc to see if the problem was your fault or caused by some dingbat altering the files after delivery.

If you sent them an inkjet made proof of the CMYK image (Schewe talked about collaboration between designer, photog and print house using a RIP) then they can be more certain that if they print it right, it will look fairly close to the proof (almost identical with the RIP, they had posters to demonstrate at the Academy).
« Last Edit: May 10, 2006, 10:20:16 AM by 61Dynamic » Logged
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