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Premedia & Printer Requirements | Digimarc Barcode FAQs

13 July 2021 244 Views

Frequently Asked Questions about working with Digimarc as a premedia or printing specialist.

Q: How is Digimarc Barcode applied?

A: For packaging, a trained production artist applies Digimarc Barcode to the digital file using Digimarc-enabled design software. To enhance a file with Digimarc Barcode, two assets are required: the color-corrected, print-ready file and a completed print specifications form for the press environment. Digimarc uses Gracol2006 Coated as a default CMYK color profile if one isn’t provided by the print vendor.

Q: How does Digimarc Barcode influence my ink or ink sets?

A: Most color separations and inks can be used with Digimarc Barcode. Spot colors will generally have more noticeable changes than process colors and composite artwork. Packages with large areas of white ink, transparency or exposed substrate may require special considerations.

Q: How does the substrate and printed material configuration affect Digimarc Barcode?

A: Information about the target substrate is key to successful enhancement. In general, it is easier for digital devices to read conventional barcodes and Digimarc Barcode on opaque packages with significant flat areas; transparent and/or non-flat packages are inherently more challenging (e.g., cylinders, bags, pouches). The enhancement provider will account for the specifics of the substrate and form factor.

Q: What happens if I print different than the provided ICC profile or print specifications?

A: Digimarc Barcode performance or visibility may be impacted when solid colors exceed 4∆E2000 or TVI/Dot Gain exceeds 8 percent variance to the mid-tone in the provided ICC profile or print specification.

Q: How can I ensure the data integrity of Digimarc Barcode?

A: Digimarc offers tools to check digital artwork or print samples to verify correct product data. Digimarc Verify is available as a free mobile app for both Android and iOS. Printers are required to use the Digimarc Verify mobile app, a fast, effective method for checking print samples to validate that the data contained in Digimarc Barcode matches as expected with data contained in the traditional barcode. Digital files with Digimarc Barcode include an Enhancement Report, which has information about Digimarc Barcode and provides a map of Validation Points, or areas on the print sample which should be scanned with the Digimarc Verify app. To select the Validation Points, Digimarc Verify - Desktop looks at each enhanced separation and picks the points with the highest detected strength, so we can be confident Digimarc Barcode will make it through the printing process with high fidelity and be detectable with Digimarc Verify - Mobile.

For even greater assurance, optional methods for validating the accuracy of Digimarc Barcode on press with a flatbed scanner in conjunction with Digimarc Verify Desktop software for Mac or PC.

Specifically, printers may validate the consistency of Digimarc Barcode relative to the UPC/EAN data on press by using the Epson Perfection model V39 flatbed scanner.

The benefit of this method is that it provides a comprehensive validation for the code across the entire scanned print sample area, as opposed to manually pointing at the print sample with the handheld scanner. Digimarc Verify desktop software also produces a detailed report for your QC records when using the Epson flatbed scanner. To learn how to connect this flatbed scanner to a computer, please click here.

Additionally, to confirm that retail barcode scanners, which typically use red light illumination, can detect Digimarc Barcode, scan the print sample with an enabled handheld scanner. Specifically, you should buy and use the recommended Zebra Technologies models DS8178 or DS3678.

Other devices from Datalogic and Honeywell are also available and capable of performing quality control checks for Digimarc Barcode, including:

  • Datalogic Joya Touch A6
  • Honeywell Granit 1980i
  • Honeywell Xenon 1902g

It is recommended that you only buy these scanners as new hardware from a verified barcode scanner reseller. To learn how to connect these handheld devices to a computer, please click here.

Please watch our series of free educational videos that show you exactly how to perform these crucial quality checks using Digimarc Verify software.

Q: Digimarc Verify – Desktop used to provide information related to Recycling. What happened?

A: The newest version of Verify – Desktop no longer by default offers a Coverage Map or Digimarc Barcode Count for the Recycling use case. Those features are currently restricted to a select group of users.

Q: What are Validation Points?

A: Digital files with Digimarc Barcode include an Enhancement Report, which has information about Digimarc Barcode and provides a map of Validation Points, or areas which should be scanned with the Digimarc Verify app. Each icon represents an ink or separation carrying Digimarc Barcode as well as a validation point to scan. Multiple enhanced separations could be checked with the same validation point, indicated by a special icon. The Validation Points Map will indicate where the print QC technician should point the phone camera to QC the print sample. Find out more about Validation Points.

Q: How do I connect a flatbed scanner to my PC for Digimarc Barcode quality control?

A: Printers may follow these basic steps to connect an approved flatbed scanner to a personal computer for Digimarc Barcode quality control:

  1. Use the Epson Perfection V39 flatbed color image scanner; and connect to a computer; please consult the manufacturer’s product manual for recommendations about connecting the device.
  2. Place the print sample on the scanner. If it is too large to fit, place just the areas enhanced with Digimarc Barcode according to the Enhancement Report on the scanner.
  3. Scan and evaluate Digimarc Barcode coverage on the print sample.

Q: How do I connect a handheld scanner to my PC for Digimarc Barcode quality control?

A: Printers may follow these basic steps to connect an approved handheld scanner to a personal computer for Digimarc Barcode quality control:

  1. Use the Zebra DS8178 or DS3678 handheld scanner and connect to a computer; please consult the manufacturer’s product manual for recommendations about connecting the device.
  2. Activate Digimarc Barcode detection capabilities by scanning a barcode within the product manual.
  3. Scan the print sample according to the Barcode Scanner Coverage Detection Map included in the Digimarc Enhancement Report to evaluate retail performance.

Q: How can I ensure the quality of Digimarc Barcode through the printing process?

A: For jobs that contain Digimarc Barcode, do not make any adjustments to the press or file once enhanced. In addition, avoid common plates between jobs. If the specifications are followed in a color-managed press environment, Digimarc Barcode should scan and perform as intended.

To further check quality, Digimarc Verify - Desktop features Application Ratings, an easy-to-understand, 5-star rating system that offers guidance about the package’s suitability for a specific use. By using Digimarc Verify to scan the artwork enhanced with Digimarc Barcode, you can understand the expected scanning performance for a variety of use cases.

Q: What are Application Ratings?

A: This is a feature in Digimarc Verify – Desktop that provides an easy-to-understand, 5-star rating system for guidance about the package’s suitability for a specific use. Users can analyze the expected scanning performance for a number of real-world applications, including retail barcode scanners at checkout, mobile app scanning by consumers and more. Learn more about Application Ratings.

Q: How does the printer know which separations carry Digimarc Barcode to image new plates?

A: The enhancement provider will communicate which separations have been used to carry Digimarc Barcode. Typically, enhancement legends and/or reports are issued along with the enhanced job. Any questions should be directed to the provider of the enhanced file.

Q: What devices and apps can scan Digimarc Barcode?

A: Digimarc Barcode can be scanned by barcode scanners, machine vision equipment and smartphones that have integrated Digimarc technology. In addition to Digimarc Verify, the Digimarc Discover® app is a free mobile app that can be used to scan Digimarc Barcode. The app is available at digimarc.com/app.

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