Certification from an outside party is a differentiator for any business, setting you apart from the competition. It’s proof that a skillset has been mastered, further validated by an external review or assessment. The Oxford dictionary defines “certified” as “officially recognized as possessing certain qualifications or meeting certain standards.” In the print buying world, an SGIA Digital Color Professional certification means consistent, predictable and repeatable color matters to you.
SGIA’s program — a mix of lecture and hands-on training — is unique in our industry (there are other programs that are video based and/or equipment based, but few with the hands-on elements of our Color Management Boot Camps). Some programs test individuals on old static videos across multiple steps for a certification. Some RIP software offers certification programs for both end users and distributors of their products. However, none of these programs are as comprehensive or personal as SGIA’s Color Management Boot Camps and the Digital Color Professional certification. SGIA’s program evolves and changes when needed. It’s not tied to any software or manufacturer, nor is it tied to any one person (we now have nine instructors between SGIA and our partners, who all contribute to the ever-changing content).
The value of SGIA’s approach is that it teaches students about all aspects of color management, from capture through design applications — such as Adobe CC — to proofing and prototyping and final output. Boot camps give students an opportunity to try each of these steps with a professional guiding them along. Questions are answered and theory is demonstrated.
SGIA teaches them about the entire profiling process, using hands-on instruction to profile a printer while also learning how to troubleshoot when an issue arises. Students learn the value of ink limiting (saving money for their business) and of regular verification (keeping reprints to a minimum). We believe wholeheartedly that the best way to learn is to do it.
With this approach, individuals are tested first in the form of a rigorous online assessment that confirms their understanding of basic color management theory and principles. They are then tested in the form of a print submission, which evaluates their ability to color manage their print process and achieve certain industry-recognized criteria. At each stage, a digital badge is issued that individuals can display in their email signature or on their LinkedIn or Facebook pages. Because the badge is digital — with embedded metadata — it allows anyone to see what they did to earn it.
SGIA’s program gives attendees the ability to manage their print process, and with that ability, they can make good decisions regarding which tools and processes to use. As an example, when we conduct training with various RIP software, one thing I like to do is have some students use the Idealliance G7™ calibration method, which requires extra measurements and steps, while other students — using the same printers — use the standard calibration method. At the end, we compare our final output and find that all of the students are able to achieve good/passing gray balance regardless of which approach they took.
When students complete SGIA’s training, they’ve had the hands-on experience to understand the fundamentals and are well-equipped to color manage their devices, troubleshoot problems and achieve that consistent, predictable and repeatable color.