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Quantifying quality Research

When looking at an image, either digital or printed, most people first decide whether it looks good. However, that decision is obviously arbitrary and based on opinion. So, how do specialists decide what looks good when creating printed documents or digital images? In other words how do you quantify quality?

Since the invention of the printing press, researchers have been trying to answer this question by combining the “left-brain” need to measure and analyze performance with the “right-brain” understanding of what looks good. Now, RIT’s Print Research and Imaging Systems Modeling Lab has developed a new device designed to better address this issue and enhance the measurement of print image quality.

The micro-goniophotometer, designed and built by laboratory staff, measures the optical phenomenon known as gloss, which is used in the print industry to measure material appearance. The device specifically relates instrumental measurements to the characteristics of gloss and gloss variation. The device improves upon previous measurement techniques by providing a 180 degree range, which is double that of normal gloss meters. The increased trajectory allows for the measurement of specular light over a number of angles and spatial dimensions, greatly improving the accuracy of the results.

The device is currently being implemented by Hewlett Packard for use in its image analysis research and is also being considered for the creation of imaging standards by the International Standards Organization. Researchers also hope to develop an enhanced version of the device that is portable and less expensive than the current version.

While their will always be issues related to what looks good, new technology such as the RIT device, may ultimately provide a new level of understanding related to image quality and make the print production process more precise and successful.


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