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Eye One iO automated scanning table review
Using the Eye One Pro gets even easier - and more accurate with the iO
A device to help speed up profile making and make it more accurate.
We've reviewed various versions of the Eye One profiling package elsewhere, and found it easy to use, and capable of very good results when producing icc printer profiles.
If you are making more than the odd one or two profiles, then manual measurement can introduce inaccuracies and inconsistencies into your profile making.
The Eye One iO automated scanning table is a USB controlled scanning arm that automates the scanning process.
It holds your i1 spectrophotometer to move it over the target.
If you are making profiles as part of your business, it makes it a lot easier for less skilled staff to carry out the measurement process.
Keith has been looking at what this device from XRite/GretagMacbeth does...
My first Eye One package came with a simple ruler to align the measuring device as you scanned it across a test target
Original Eye One ruler
You can see that the device has rollers to allow you to step down the paper as you scan it
Next came the improved scanning table, which both held the target firmly and provided a standard background for your test patch (target) prints.
An additional slide held the back end of the sensor in place, ensuring that you didn't scrape your target print, and the sensor was kept at a more uniform alignment.
Printer profiling relies on accurate and consistent measurement of the coloured test patches.
With the Eye One match software, you do get the chance to see each row of measurements as they are read in, and the software will spot more serious errors. However it is still dependant on you taking the care to do it right.
Now that's OK if I'm making just one profile, but what if I want to make half a dozen to try a range of new papers?
I'm interested in colour management and enjoy testing things, however I get bored easily. It's all to easy to just let a row of measurements be rushed or slightly mis-align the ruler, so I end up with data 'contaminated' by a tiny portion of the row above or below.
Remember that one duff measurement can throw out a profile, and in general, the more patches that a target has, the better the profile will be.
So much easier if only you could remove that human element...
The iO robot arm
First of all I have to admit that this is one of the coolest and most impressive bits of colour management kit I've got... It's the one thing that never fails to impress visitors. There is something about the movement of the arm that fascinates people :-) I've had a number of very different careers and this bit appeals to the engineer in me -- My printer room has a desk with two big drawers in it, one full of Technics Lego and the other full of Meccano ;-)
OK, back to printer profiling...
Your Eye One spectrophotometer fits into a clear plastic tray. In the photo below you can see the USB plug at the back, that goes into the spectro.
A USB lead then connects the whole device to your computer (the iO also has a small external power supply)
You can also see the white plastic glider ring, that protects the print while being scanned.
Fitting the Eye One
The iO handles targets up to 10mm thick, so if you want to profile printed ceramic tiles for example, then no problem.
You can also see the white tile calibration target for the Eye One in the top left corner of the picture. The device rests over this in its 'rest' position.
The glider ring is a 'consumable' item, and will require replacement after several hundred sheets are measured.
Spring clips hold the 'glide plate' in place (you can see that the scan height is set to a thicker target material)
Using the iO with Eye One Match
I'll be looking at the more advanced ProfileMaker Pro software in some future articles, along with the Eye One iSis measuring device.
The eye one Match software detect the presence of an iO and offers you the opportunity to use it.
Using the iO
Since I've described the target printing and profile building process in the other Eye One articles, I'll just show some of the differences you get with the iO here...
I'm going to measure a two (A4) page 918 patch target that I made when testing a new paper on my Epson 1160 - as ever make sure your targets are printed with the correct media settings and allowed to dry properly.
The chart is positioned on the table.
Mouse over the image to see the effect of the chart hold
The software needs to know where three specific corners of the target are, so it can move the arm to scan the patches
Positioning test chart
Selecting a corner patch
Once selected, the device just does its stuff...
Reading the second page
Note how the readings are displayed as they are taken - line by line
Once finished, the software builds your profile and that's it...
Very easy to set up and use. Adds an extra element of confidence and accuracy into my profiling workflow.
I tried a wide variety of targets and it just worked...
Makes it that bit easier to do some experimentation when creating profiles, if like me you find manual patch measuring a fundamentally tedious process ;-)
X-Rite/GretagMacbeth and their distributors offer the iO in a range of packages and special deals - so it's very difficult to give exact pricing - best to see what they or a local reseller is currently offering.
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Profiles need accurate repeatable measurements - the iO helps achieve this by automating the process. It is quick and efficient and unlike a human operator, won't get bored.
In the example above I've looked at using the Eye One Match software - if you are using more advanced profiling software, then the accuracy of automated measurement should be even more appreciated, particularly if you are using targets of thousands of patches.
Ideal too, if you have to measure targets printed onto thicker materials such as packaging.
Works on both Macs and PCs, available either on its own, or in conjunction with different level profiling solutions from X-Rite/GretagMacbeth (more details)
Specifications (From manufacturers)
The views in this article represent those of Keith Cooper.
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