Advanced ColorSoft®

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The basic design of our advanced color matching programs has evolved from more than 30 man years of   PC color software development. Our design objective was to develop a master software set to:

  • Control multiple instrument color measurements
  • Calculate color data and color QC functions
  • Create, manipulate and store color data
  • Calibrate colorants to allow a wide range of
    industries to formulate and correct colors
Advanced ColorSoft by ColorTec

From the master program we provide the
ColorSoft user the tools to build the system to meet their specific requirements. We provide both full systems with all capabilities or limited software sets with one or more functions. Our full ColorSoft Windows program is offered as software modules:


  • Basic System for Color Measurement, Data Storage and QC Module
  • Formulation & Batch Correction Module
  • Colorant Characterization Module
  • Formula Storage Module

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Spectrophotometer Measurement Control - senses the instrument and its calibration condition, receives spectral data, allows averaging, positioning of samples and identification of standard trials. The program is provided with the special instrument interface communications protocol depending on the instrument requirements. A variety of calibration techniques are provided in addition to the instrument manufacturer’s recommended technique.

Basic QC Module

Full Formulation Capabilities

Color Formulation Matching Module - Allows color matching by combinatorial match prediction using all possible combinations  from a full range of colorants or user selected colorants. Matches are sorted by cost and best color by single Illuminant or by the least metameric match.   Allows manual match and semiautomatic formula prediction using operator selected colorant combinations from a range of colorants. Allows the addition of a waste batch as a new colorant and correction of neares "SEARCH"candidate from existing proven color match formulations.

Batch Correction Module - Predicts additions required to correct batch from user entered formula or by automatic calculation based on colorants used. Also will do automatic analysis of unknown batches and predict possible corrections. Provides reformulation scaling for test batches to production batches. Includes manual add to manually adjust batch and estimate results for batches and waste. Allows "reduction of add " based on color tolerance. Provides functions to integrate corrections with initial matches and save corrected formulas.


Color Correction Module

Colorant Module

Colorant Characterization Module

Builds color matching K and S and/or K/S files that allow the user to characterize their colorants for matching and correction;provides 9 sample characterization methods, includes automated techniques for less experienced operators. Multiple Resins, bases, whites, substrates can be calibrated for specific colormetric functions in addition to colorants (dyes & pigments). The software simulates color letdowns on-screen. Allows colorant data base adjustment for new colorant batches and for quick check of colorant candidates for recycle. Multiple databases can be built to meet various application requirements.

Color Library - Allows user to create one or more library of color standards (Basic Module), with formula add on (Formula Storage Module). Allows search for closest matches and recall of formulas with color standards. Offers a wide range of base to colorant options based on weight and volume calculations. Searches can be based on any color criteria selected. Color Library is provided in MS ACCESS format.

Color Library

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Color Measurement- Color instrument interface is supplied in the Basic System Module and is required for all operations providing communication protocol to one or more color instruments. ColorSoft is designed to communicate with a variety of color instruments, both Spectrophotometers and Colorimeters, via standard USB or RS232 serial interface.

The instrument drivers control calibration logic, demanding calibration each time the instrument is turned on (utilizing the instrument manufacturer’s methodology or other optional methods); hold current calibration, initiate color measurements, receive reflection or transmission data from the instrument, save the data, allow averaging of 2 or more measurements into one measurement, run diagnostics and perform electronic switching from one instrument condition to another, if the instrument is designed to do so.

We provide software to work with most color instruments that communicate 10nm and 20nm data via RS232 serial lines with user selectable 400 to 700 nm or 360 to 780 nm extended range.

ColorTec also supplies complete new systems working with the ColorTec "family" of color instruments and will mix software offerings for older color instruments as well as new full systems.



Data Management offers universal ODBC compatible (MS Access) data management in a 64 bit Windows environment. We develop 4 types of data bases in our software. The first is called a Saved Set; it contains a standard and multiple trials, including for each measurement, ID ( 40 character A/N), notes about the measurement, reflection data from the color measurements stored as the instrument out-puts the data, in 10nm or 20nm spectral format.

From the reflectance data the system calculates X,Y,Z, in 3 Illuminant weightings of the 14 illuminants offered in the basic software. 2 and 10 degree observer math is user selectable. The colormetric calculation of choice is also stored with the record (we currently support Hunter L,a,b, CIELAB, FMCII, CIELuv, XYZ/Yxy, CMC with settable ratio, Lch, CIE94 (CIEII) with settable K factors). These files are used to store and recall measurements for data analysis, development of colorant files and for future formula prediction or correction. Save Set data is provided in the Basic System Module.

The second database file type are Reflection Files (ODBC compatible) of unrelated color measurements with search functions. The structure of the color measurements are the same as the Save Sets. Data can be moved from Reflection Files to Save Sets and back, on demand.

Often Reflection files are used to store Master Standards of data. Reflection Files are useful to store fan deck colors with 2 fields of alpha numeric ID information, which allows a color number in one field and a color name in the second field.

You can recall from this file, or measure a color and recall one or more close colors. This type of field is useful in storing competitive color decks, recalling them and running a match, without having the competitive color available at the site.

Database of Standards uses ODBC format

The third type of database files are Formula Storage Files (ODBC compatible), which are files that allow you to store the quantities of colorants and base materials in weight and/or volume which are proven to produce a defined color measurement. This feature becomes a valuable asset as an electronic formula book for your standard colors.

ColorSoft provides the tools to tie a Formulation File to a Reflectance File and to one or more a Colorant files. Utilizing Search functions use this feature for a measure and search function. This allows using the closest color as a match, or using the components of the closest color as the staring point for a rematch.

Formulas can be recalled by ID and scaled to various batch sizes, switched to weight and/or volume in a range of outputs (weight= ounces, pounds, grams, Kilograms, grains ) (volume= ounces, settable shots, quarts, gallons, millimeters, liters). Allows calculation of VOC if base data is entered in colorant file. Formula Storage Files are included as part of the Formula Storage module.

The fourth type of database file are K and S, or K/S Colorant Files developed in our master system using the proprietary technology of the Colorant Characterization module.

For opaque materials ColorSoft has the logic to use samples prepared using white bases and colorants based on using, black, and white mixtures; black, white, and mass tone mixtures; a series of white let downs; and black with a series of white letdowns and a mass tone mixture.

We can use one or more of the K&S colorant calibration techniques in any one colorant file. Multiple colorant files are allowed, each using separate colorant calibration tools.

For specialty Plastics, some Ceramics, some Cosmetics, Cement and some Coatings applications, resins can be calibrated to take into account the color contribution of the non colorant base portion of a mix.

Multi concentration K/S Textile and Clear Ink colorant characterization and clear solution (or clear film) mixing colorant characterization based on Beers Law are also supplied and supported.

Colorant Charcterization

System Logic is designed to allow the user and ColorTec support engineer to set specific requirements for data analysis, color matching, colorant calibration and color correction. The setup for data analysis can be done on a master system while developing colorant data bases and organizing the system for the other plants.

The systems sent to the other plants can then utilize colorant data bases developed on the master system as long as the instrument metamerism is minimized. Changes can be made in the field by sending new files or software updates to each of the locations. The satellite locations can purchase just the Basic QC module and the Formulation & Batch Correction module.

This allows development flexibility at the central lab and still maximizes efficiency of sample preparation for plant support. If local plants still need the freedom to use different colorants to meet local conditions they will need the ColorSoft Colorant Characterization module.

Networking of Data and Operations is planned into the ColorSoft software design. We can install the software on single unit systems, Local Area Networks based on Token Ring or Star configurations (Novell or NT) or Peer to Peer LANS.

We also offer unique "Work Only" station licenses that can be used to extend the use of your ColorSoft investment to allow multi applications using one color instrument with multiple stations in the local plant. This allows the technician to do day to day work on the main station and still allow you to recall color data or do other color operations at a second station.

Some ColorSoft users use the "Work Only" license on a portable computer to take color data to a customer for review or to allow a remote modem call in to support plant operations trouble shooting in off hours or while a key technical person is traveling.


Success of Color Formulation Systems as measured by the accuracy and repeatability of color matches is highly dependent on the quality of instrument, its light source and the quality of the colorant calibration samples and the precision of sample measurement procedure and the accuracy of the weigh ups including the precision and minimum resolution of the weigh scales, the consistency and the quality of the formulation prediction, rather than the software.

ColorTec’s objective is to optimize our software matching results to provide the best match that each type of color instrument is capable. If the database samples are well made, the color instruments of good quality, the operator carefully measures the sample, you can expect color matches with color accuracy well below the visual threshold with a ColorSoft System. On going results are highly dependent on the color consistency of the materials used for formula prediction and correction.

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ColorSoft® is a registered trademark of ColorTec Associates, Inc., other manufacturers trade marks acknowledged; the software is licensed for use of a single computer to the original purchaser, multiple instruments are allowed.