Color Science & Imaging:
Print Production Automation Lab
• Acknowledge that this talk is one of the keynotes
from the MCSL25th Anniversary symposium
• Approach the topic as a question of color
• Format the presentation as a series of questions
• First portion are a broad sampling of opportunities
• Last part is more specific to my ongoing research
Future of Color Imaging
Q: What tool would you want to
have when you meet the president?
Q: What’s a good way to remember
something that never happened?
Ink jet print of me with ink jet printed Bill & Dave.
Q: A Softball is to a ping-pong ball
Ink Jet Drop Volumes
• Five years ago 30 to 50 picoliters
• Where a picoliter is 1/1,000,000,000,000 liter
• Currently as low as 2 to 4 picoliters,
− with an announcement of 1 picoliter drop (~20 microns)
− example application is printing prototype flexible displays
• Roughly from a softball to ping-pong ball
• Spot sizes from 150 microns to 50 microns
• See also image sensor detector sizes
Q: How long does it take to get a
spectrophotometer from a benchtop
to a printer?
Dr. Arthur Hardy with his spectrophotometer.
Journal American Oil Chemists Society
So that’s about 80 years from benchtop to printer.
Q: Is there more to colorants than
dyes, pigments and the occasional
Graphene created through abrasion of graphite?
Nanoscale Structural Color
• Carbon nanotubes with 10 nm diameters can have
reflectances of < 0.05%
− Z. Yang et al, “Experimental Observation of an Extremely
Dark Material Made by a low Density Nanotube Array”,
Nano Letters, (2008)
− P. Vukusic et al, “Structurally assisted blackness in
butterfly wings”, Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B, S237-239 Suppl.
− X. Zhou et al, “Color Detection Using Chromophore-
Nanotube Hybrid Devices”, Nano Letters (2009).
Q: Is Variable Data Printing just
Variable Data Textiles
− CIELAB encoded
uploaded to a
web site and then
this case is color
Q: When is printing not about
HP Labs – Information Surfaces Lab
Roll-to-roll self-aligned imprint lithography flexible displays.
Color properties a key consideration.
The Color Thesaurus
• Mashing of
Q: How many colors per feet per
minute are there in a high speed
Inkjet Web Press: Speed
400 Feet per Minute
Inkjet Web Press: and Color
1200 x 600 dpi addressability
Four Color CMYK Printing
From pages per minute
to miles per hour…
Q: Seen any interesting color
imaging in a museum lately?
New York MOMA: April 2009
The Printed Picture Exhibit:
“the enormous social impact of multiple images.”
Chromaticity Diagrams @ MOMA!
“If today's complex
tools are not carefully
controlled they wreak
Digital Presses @ MOMA
“In the digital realm
it is no longer
possible for a
printer to develop an
intuitive grasp of
processes simply by
Q: What does a book with 5000
authors look like?
Unconstrained Color Naming on the Web =
A Book with 5000 Authors
Q: What do you mean, your
computer is better at naming colors
than you are?
Machine Color Naming
• Every pixel gets a color name
− Color, the only meaningful cognitive category for a single
• Based on large scale corpus of color names
• Basis for lexical image processing
• My computer knows more color names and color
name boundaries than I do.
• In fact it taught me chartreuse.
Q: So the color naming debate is not
just about the universalist versus
relativist philosophical argument?
Prototype Theory vs. Fuzzy Logic
CIELAB each pixel
Slices one at a
Theory need a
Logic need full
in a color
Q: How does color naming pixels
• Massive, non-uniform, image independent, natural
language partitioning of color space
24-Bit Original Uniform Device Lexical
(27 colors) (25 names)
• Pages per minute to miles per hour
• Digital is the original, and it’s museum-worthy
• Variable data color grows out
• Race for flexible color displays
• Innovations on the nano-scale
• Numbers to names, and back again