Matthias Wille
9th of December
Color Management
Image Enhancement

Image Enhancement is more than Color Management

In the past digital printing has generally involved professional image material. The increase in personalized print products now means that more and more image data from amateur photographers has to be processed, the quality of which does not always meet the usual standards. Whereas a consistent color management workflow used to guarantee good production quality, new demands are now being placed on image quality in order to be able to supply the end customer, i.e. the consumer, with a high-quality product.

Imaging Solutions AG, a world leader in the photographic market, has been supplying equipment and software for the industrial processing of digital images in large-scale photographic laboratories for almost 10 years. The problem of the highly variable quality of the image data supplied by customers has existed there since the beginning of the digital revolution of the photographic market, on the one hand due to the initially poor quality of the cameras, and on the other hand -after the technology had developed rapidly -due to the still possible errors in the recording of the images. The constant innovation in the camera sector has brought higher resolution, better optics and increasingly sophisticated software, but a significant factor remains the person behind the viewfinder; who is usually only partially interested in the technology of the camera, but simply wants to have beautiful pictures that reflect exactly what he / she remembers.

The solution to this new challenge to image quality is the use of image processing software not only in the camera, but in the production process of digital images to digital prints on photographic paper or other print media. This software is generally referred to as image enhancement software and must be clearly distinguished from color management in this respect. Whereas color management deals with the problem of different color spaces, color pickup and color reproduction, image enhancement is used to analyze and correct image data with various algorithms. Whereas color management aims to reproduce color data of different origins on different output media with the same or at least comparable quality, image enhancement simply aims to produce beautiful images from any data.

Imaging Solutions' Viesus™ image enhancement software is designed for fully automated, unattended processing of digital camera images in large-scale photo labs and features robustness, flexibility and high processing speed.

The image enhancement software is integrated into the workflow as the first processing step. When Viesus™ processes the images, ICC profiles embedded in the images are taken into account, with analysis and correction performed in the standardized sRGB color space. Although the Viesus™ corrections are fully automatic, i.e. without the need for an operator, each image is corrected individually. The Viesus™ algorithms were developed and optimized based on an image database of several 100,000 images.

After establishing Viesus™ as one of the leading solutions for outstanding image quality in the photo wholesale laboratory, Imaging Solutions now also offers this software for digital printing. The Cewe Color Group, one of the largest digital printers in Europe, uses Viesus™ to improve the images in their photo books produced on HP Indigo. Cewe Color has licensed Viesus™ as a software library and implemented it in its own workflow.

Alternatively, Viesus™ can be integrated into the production workflow as a stand-alone server solution. The images are transferred to the Viesus™ server via so-called hot folders and, after image correction, are passed on to the next step in the workflow (see figure work-flow). In addition to processing individual images, the Viesus™ server can also process PDF files in which the images are embedded as RGB data.

Although Viesus™ runs fully automatically, the algorithms can be controlled in various degrees of freedom, so that the correction result can be precisely tailored to the customer's needs. The Viesus™ server allows the storage of any number of parameter sets and their assignment to a hot folder.

The use of Viesus™ image enhancement software enables the automated production of high-quality consumer products in digital printing, thus opening up new markets.