The tone value increase in halftone printing commonly referred to as dot gain actually encompasses two fundamentally different phenomena. Physical dot gain refers to the fact that the size of the printed halftone dots differs from their nominal size, and is related to the printing process. Optical dot gain originates from light scattering inside the substrate, causing light exchanges between different chromatic areas. Due to their different intrinsic nature, physical and optical dot gains need to be treated separately. In this study, we characterize and compare the dot gain properties for offset prints on coated and uncoated paper, using AM and first and second generation FM halftoning. Spectral measurements are used to compute the total dot gain. Microscopic images are used to separate the physical and optical dot gain, to study ink spreading and ink penetration, and to compute the Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) for the different substrates. The experimental results show that the physical dot gain depends on ink penetration and ink spreading properties. Microscopic images of the prints reveal that the ink penetrates into the pores and cavities of the uncoated paper, resulting in inhomogeneous dot shapes. For the coated paper, the ink spread on top of the surface, giving a more homogenous dot shape, but also covering a larger area, and hence larger physical dot gain. The experimental results further show that the total dot gain is larger for the uncoated paper, because of larger optical dot gain. The effect of optical dot gain depends on the lateral light scattering within the substrate, the size of the halftone dots, and on the halftone dot shape, especially the dot perimeter.
In printing, halftoning algorithms are applied in order to reproduce a continuous-tone image by a binary printing system. The image is transformed into a bitmap composed of dots varying in size and/or frequency. Nevertheless, this causes that the sparse dots found in light shades of cyan (C) and magenta (M) appear undesirably noticeable against white substrate. The solution is to apply light cyan (Lc) and light magenta (Lm) inks in those regions. In order to predict the color of CMYLcLm prints, we make use of the fact that Lc and Lm have similar spectral characteristics as C and M respectively. The goal of this paper is to present a model to characterize a five-channel CMYLcLm printing system using a three-channel color prediction model, where we treat the ink combinations Lc+C and Lm+M as new compound inks. This characterization is based on our previous three-channel CMY color prediction model that is capable of predicting both colorimetric tri-stimulus values and spectral reflectance. The drawback of the proposed model in this paper is the requirement of large number of training samples. Strategies are proposed to reduce this number, which resulted in expected larger but acceptable color differences.