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Flowing is an email I have revived form Laura Hughes of Freeze Frame Publishing. I made no editing, just added a few links at the bottom. If you were looking for a Christmas story to make your day, this is it.

I wanted to send you a note today thanking you for your wonderful software… and its new improvements. We used the template for the 8×8 photobook in making a man’s dream become “touchable.”

Anthony Torrone is a 56-year-old, developmentally disabled man who has been keeping a journal of his prayers for years. His dream was to have it published. You and I know that no publisher would touch this project. Ken and I knew we could make it happen because we had good software to use. So the short version is a bunch of retirees helped a man realize his dream… but it gets even better.

His story ran on the front page of The Grand Rapids Press yesterday. He has had two book signings and has sold out of 340 books in two weeks!

This link is the blog site set up by “Team Anthony” to help him share this chapter of his story.

This link is the post of the video of Anthony watching his book covers come off the iGen4 at Color House Graphics.
This has certainly become bigger than Ken or I could have anticipated… and what a nice “opportunity” that is! We are set to print his second run of books today: 400 softcover copies and 60 hardcover copies. He has sold out of his first run of 300 softcovers and 40 hardcovers.

What has been so incredible is the outpouring of support and love to this man. His neighbors and friends collected monies to pay for the first printing (which was for ink and paper only). Schuler Books and Music donated their space for his book signing which was held on Saturday, Dec. 3. They are also selling his books, collecting taxes, doing all kinds of paperwork… and not taking a share of proceeds. Anthony’s neighborhood businesses are all selling copies of his book… again, for no cut in proceeds. Two retired Press reporters and a photographer donated their time and skills to create the beautiful book that Ken and I have the privilege to print. Even the attorney for his trust has donated his time and expertise to make sure Anthony benefits from all sales of his book.

This is a wonderful Christmas story.

Who knows how far this will go. It has already gone much farther than any of us working on this thought it would. A press release will go out today. It will go far and wide. Anthony had big dreams all along… and they are coming true for him.

We’ll keep you posted on what happens next!

Happy Holidays,

If you want to order the book online, click here. If you just want to take a look, click this link.  (if you decide to buy it, just remember to put in the coupon code Anthonybook)

Dear DigiLabs Technologies Customers,

I wanted to take this time to share with you some of the latest developments of our platform as well as those that have been available but remained mysterious for a while. I am sure you will find all the new features as exciting as I do.

Our team works hard to continuously update our offering in order to serve the needs of our wide international customer base. In the last couple of years, we have been focusing on cloud based offerings, so you can customize your application using web based tools at anytime from anywhere. Our web platform enables the simple release and immediate access to new features.  The cloud solution further ensures an integrated update system for the software. Once an update is released, you can easily and immediately customize, build, and test your application. Once you are ready to release the application, it becomes automatically live and accessible to all your customers worldwide.  This turns updates and upgrades into a breeze. Our upgraded download delivery network provides the most efficient download speed for your customers using multiple global end-points with no hassle and no extra costs.

Enough with old news and on to the most up-to-date material. We have recently completed a new version of the My Photo Creations product. This is a major update with more than a 100 additions based on your feedback and requests. Below is a summary of some of the main features in this release:

Place images and text over the spread
You ask, we answer.  The software now enables the placement and movement of images across the gutter of two the pages. This means that your client can place an image in the middle of the page! This was always available in a full bleed double page spread, but now not only is it much more flexible and customizable but it can also apply to text and other graphical elements.
Take a look at a sample:

Where did my images go? My book is empty!
Does this sound familiar:  “Where did my images go? My book is empty!”
Just so that you never have to answer this question again, we have added the ability for users to locate their images from their software. As before, the software will use all of its intelligence to locate the images by itself, but if it is unable to, it will ask for them. This means that if the user imports images into the software from a specific location to create a product and later moves or renames the images outside the application, the software will prompt the user to point out those images. This will make reordering of products simpler.

Albums that open with a full spread
For all those serving the professional photographers, we have a treat for you. Albums can now start on the left so that all pages in the book are full spreads. Wave goodbye to the two extra sides. This feature is also great as it enables users to edit the inside of covers for soft cover books. Need a visual? Here you go:

Brag Books
All those users who just want to throw one full bleed image per page and be done, we are with you. A click of a button and your book is automatically created in a matter of seconds and you are on your way. This makes a great brag book.

Those of you that haven’t been to Japan might be confused about this one, but we thought we would share. The trendiest thing in Japan is those little photo books with one image per page that get strapped to cell phones. This gives a neat touch of personalized decorations to the smart phones.

And much more…
Consistency is a key and albums are joining in for similar visual design to Photo Books. In the new version of the software not only are JPEG’s full bleed for photographic output but the software displays bleed view for the user to consider while designing.

For all those holiday time busy bees, we have added the Chinese Lunar Calendar in addition to the previously existing Jewish Lunar Calendar.

Gallery wraps are a hot commodity and therefore we have now added Mirror Wrap options. Gallery Wraps also use an adaptive resolution warning system. Low resolution warnings are based on the assumed viewing distance of the gallery wrap. Larger gallery wraps can have slightly lower acceptable resolution as they will be viewed from a distance and thus the perceived quality is the same as smaller wraps from a closer distance.

Those were only the highlights. Overall, this release has more than a 100 changes and improvements that I hope you will find useful. Read below for instructions on how to get going with the new version.

The  previous post discussed t the difficulties of color matching.  To sum it up.  Color is a variable of light and light conditions which vary. Its production depends on the material used to produce it and the device we produce it on. We can not define all colors. We can not print all colors, and each machine will print a different set of colors.

So, if we can not define it, print it, or in may ways even agree on it, how can we even start to match colors?

There are many consultants and color experts out there that will be happy to help you. This is because the details of implementing color management is real life is complex. In this entry I do not intend to do that.  I will try to explain the fundamentals of  color management and what need to happen for it to work. When it comes to the details, you will probably still need this consultant, but at least you will know what you are paying for.

First we need to agree on the meaning of color. In 1931, the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) has defined the CIE_XYZ color space.  The CIE_XYZ color space represents color mathematically as the sensation of color that people with normal color vision will experiance when fed with defined light under defined viewing condition.  In the years later, other CIE profiles were developed, but we will skip directly to the CIE_LAB.  The CIE_LAB color space is designed to approximate human vision and represents all the colors we can see.  We don’t need to know more about it except that its model is such that  it is good as a definition and can be supported by todays computing power on desktops and printers. The CIE_LAB (or the CIE_XYZ) are Device Independent Profiles. They do not define colors by the specific numbers user by a specific device to display a colors.

This is in contrast with Device Specific Profiles. A Device Specific Profile represents color by a specific color we get from a specific device that is producing the color, such as RGB or CMYK devices. By definition they represent a specific device, but we will get to how they do it later.

The actual color management boils down to a simplistic process:

Know where you came from. The producing device (camera, screen, scanner) knows about himself enough to attach his own Device Specific Profile which can tell us the device (color) perception of the world.

Know were you are going to. The receiving device (printer, monitor) knows his own profile, so he knows what is his (color) perception of the world.

Know the way. Translate between those two different (color) perception of the world the best way you can.

And yes, it is simple as that.

The Device Specific Profiles describes each input and output device that participates in the process. A profile also has an additional function. Not only it defines the way the device understand the color values, it also provides a way to map between the device colors space and the CIE_LAB color space (and back). The Device Independent Profile (also knows as PCS, for profile connection space) defines color in a deice independent way and will act as a mediator between the two profiles. Since every profile can translate from its own color space to the PCS and back, the PCS is the Rosetta Stone of color. For example, we can take an RGB value in the screen space, convert it to a CIE_LAB value, and convert it from CIE_LAB to a device specific CMYK value. Note that we did not need the two devices to know about each other in advance. We did not need to match the specific screen to the specific printer (which was the way it was done in the past).

The actual mapping between the profiles via the profile connection space happens in the Color Management Module (CMM). The CMM is a software  application that does the mapping in a way the colors remains consistent across the transformation. The key challenge for the CMM is how to handle gamut mapping, or colors that cannot be reproduced on a device and still get as close as  if it were visually the same color. To do that mapping the CMM will need not only the profiles, but some rules about mapping missing colors. Those rules are called rendering intent, for example, do you want the colors to match perfectly and the others to be “clipped” (you will choose this for a logo, where the color accuracy is key) or would you prefer to map all colors and keep the relationship between the color the same (as in a photo).

As you noticed, all of this process depends on each device having its own device specific profile, but I never told you actually how do we get it. And make no mistake, this is the most important part of it all. If the device profile does not describe the device color abilities correctly, we will not get matching colors regardless of how fancy of a system we use! The art of setting the device profile is called calibration. The calibration process measures the device actual outputs against a predefined set of inputs to build the device profile. Monitor calibration is typically done by connecting a sensor to your screen and running a piece of software that produce a series of colors on the screen and reading them from the sensor. Since the application knows what color value it used and what color values did the sensor sense it can build a map between the device actual colors and the expected colors, or a Device Specific Profile. With a printer, the process typically involves printing a page with a known set of colors and measuring each color to build this mapping table. This is were it gets complicated and labor intensive. You need to profile for each paper type, and machines will move out of calibration based on volume, age, load, and humidity, to name a few, so this is a never ending process.

So, to have a good color managed process you will need to have the right systems in place, which is the simple part. You will have to use those systems correctly. You will need to educate your users to use calibrated monitors and to keep them calibrated. You will need the software they are using to support the profile information on screen and when creating the files to print. You will need your printers to be properly calibrated on a regular basis and you’ll need to pay close attention to the system settings (such as rendering intents or what profiles apply to what paper / job).

Not rocket science, just plain old consistent craftsmanship.

Finally, after countless hours and delays the new version of MyPhotoCreation is  out.  We have started upgrading all our customers to the new version. Please keep in mind that doing it for hundreds of customers in 22 languages and 5 continents does take some time and does offer some challenges.  We take advantage of the first few upgrades to perfect our process and find all the last minute glitches. Once we done that we expect a fast release to all of our existing customer base worldwide. Expect to be notified when this does happen in the comming weeks.

The Digilabs crew has freshly arrived home from the Print ’09 show in Chicago.  Print09 014The show ran from September 11th through the 16th & is the largest show for printing in the United States!   We had the privilege of presenting in the HP, Xerox and Duplo booths showing the highly anticipated new version of the Digilabs software & integrated and automated workflow! Chicago was beautiful & we had some great meetings!  People seemed to LOVE the new version we previewed which is special in SO MANY ways…

Check out the book Xerox made of their Print ’09 booth using our online book share HERE!

Latest pictures form Print China. Note the logo on the center stage.