Color precision and quality – color management server
  • Complete 16-bit color support
  • ICC 4 color management
  • Black Point Compensation (BPC)
  • Lab, CMYK, RGB, Grayscale
  • DeviceLink color

“HD Color” refers to the concept that superior color is a valuable and achievable objective, and to the HELIOS tools that make it possible.

As a color management server and image conversion engine, a HELIOS server is a key solution for color-matching, image repurposing, proofing, and PDF and print production. HELIOS core technologies ensure that image integrity is preserved throughout the workflow, and that accurate colors are the norm. These technologies enable “HD Color”, and encompass two areas:

  • HELIOS ICC color management, and
  • HELIOS support for 16-bit per channel images

The HELIOS ICC color management system is utilized whenever images or PDFs need to be converted from one color space to another. Using ICC profiles to specify input and output color space properties allows accurate transformations. Use of an additional proofing profile allows output on one device to be accurately simulated on another, to generate color-matched proofs. HELIOS has supported ICC color management for over a decade, adding and refining capabilities with each release.

Key features include:
  • support for the latest ICC version 4 specification, and v4 profiles
  • “HELIOS ICC Tagger” application tags ICC profiles to images
  • Black Point Compensation (BPC) – preserves shadow detail in images
  • Lab, CMYK, RGB, and Grayscale color spaces supported
  • ICC rendering intents can be specified
  • DeviceLink profiles supported
  • detects and preserves pure colors during color transformations
  • support for 16-bit per channel images
  • HELIOS Admin – easy setup from Mac and Windows

ICC settingsHELIOS ICC Tagger is used to interactively or automatically embed ICC profiles, or profile references, into images, based upon settings for each file format. DeviceLink profiles are ideal for CMYK-to-CMYK color space transformations, allowing preservation of the black channel, and optimizing ink usage. In addition, HELIOS color management can detect and preserve raster and vector black, gray, white and pure CMY colors, for higher quality printing and proofing. HELIOS color management is also used to generate the color-matched proofs of images and PDFs viewed via WebShare. Spot color proofing can use embedded color values, or a spot color can be defined with Lab 16-bit values via the HELIOS Spot Color editor.

ICC color management is essential to all facets of graphics production. Whether images are converted from RGB to CMYK at the beginning of the workflow, or on-the-fly at the end, or jobs need to be repurposed from one CMYK to another, HELIOS solutions provide the highest quality output. And HELIOS proofing solutions, local or remote, for printer or monitor, utilize the HELIOS color management system to produce the most accurate color-matched proofs.

HELIOS support for 16-bit per channel images enables users to take full advantage of high bit depth 16-bit per channel images. Digital cameras can capture and save up to 16-bits per channel, providing a greater dynamic range, for improved shadow and highlight detail. But aside from Adobe Photoshop, most prepress applications only work with 8-bit per channel images. Place a 16-bit image into e.g. QuarkXPress or InDesign, and it will be reduced to 8-bits. For many purposes, this does not matter. But consider when such images get re-scaled, converted to another format, or color matched – 8 bits allow only 256 steps in the color range for each channel. This lack of precision can lead to compromises in image and color quality. 16-bits per channel, on the other hand, allow over 65000 increments. This prevents conversion artifacts, and makes use of large color spaces practical.

The HELIOS 16-bit per channel support
  • preserves image quality during conversion, scaling, and color-matching
  • allows working in large color spaces without introducing artifacts
  • supports 16-bit images throughout prepress workflows
  • enables creating PDFs with 16-bit images for archiving
  • can read/write TIFF, JPEG2000, Photoshop PSD, PDF, and PNG images

HELIOS makes it straightforward to work with 16-bit per channel images today. Using PDF-native OPI, low-res proxy images are automatically created for each high-res image saved to the server. Place these proxy images in the page layout application, and export to PDF. A PDF-native OPI hot folder will then replace the proxy images with the high-res originals. This is ideal for creating PDF masters for production and archiving. These PDFs can also be repurposed, once again using PDF-native OPI, to insert images color-matched for a specific output intent.

HELIOS HD Color ensures that color precision and quality are preserved in today's workflow, and in archives for tomorrow.