News Column

"Image Forming Apparatus" in Patent Application Approval Process

July 15, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- A patent application by the inventor Kawasaki, Tomohiro (Osaka, JP), filed on February 27, 2014, was made available online on July 3, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application is assigned to Kyocera Document Solutions Inc.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to an image forming apparatus for effectively performing an image processing on image data in which a vector object and a raster object coexist.

"Up to now, when outputting an achromatic-color (gray) image using a color printer, it is typically possible to express an achromatic color by mixing several colors using a predetermined color conversion table.

"According to the principle of subtractive color mixing, the achromatic color can be expressed by performing printing with the three primary colors, yellow (Y), magenta (M), and cyan (C), being mixed in equal proportions.

"However, the thus-expressed achromatic color is not as sharp as an achromatic color produced using a single color of black (K), and can produce an unusual resultant product such as a color drift.

"To solve the above-mentioned problem, an image forming apparatus is provided with a line-drawing extraction circuit wherein when dots that compose a black character or a black line drawing are extracted from composited image data obtained by compositing color image data and binary black and white image data, bits corresponding to the extracted dots within a bitmap memory are set to '1'. The image forming apparatus is configured so that when a bit corresponding to a dot of a color signal within the bitmap memory is '1', the color signal is output with CMY and K converted to 0 and a maximum value, respectively, and printing thereof is performed with only K ink.

"Accordingly, the image forming apparatus is configured so that when a part of the data related to black is detected from the subject image data, that part is expressed in a single color of black (K), thereby attempting to prevent color drift or the like from occurring in the outputted image. When the printing of an achromatic color including not only black, but also gray is similarly performed using only the K ink, the same result can be obtained.

"However, the image forming apparatus described above does not distinguish between a raster object (for example, a scan image) and a vector object (for example, a character) in the subject image data.

"For example, in the image forming apparatus, when the image data includes a vector object, the vector object is not composed of dots. Therefore, even when the vector object is drawn in the achromatic color, the image forming apparatus still expresses the vector object in multicolor (for example, CMY or CMYK).

"Accordingly, in the image forming apparatus, a color processing is still required even to reproduce the vector object in the achromatic color.

"Therefore, in a situation such as illustrated in FIG. 10, where two objects whose areas overlap each other are both black and where one of the objects is composed of a vector object and the other a raster object, output formats are a CMYK output and a K output, respectively, and hence there is a blur in the overlapping area, resulting in reduced visibility.

"Another image forming apparatus expresses a raster object and a vector object in CMY or CMYK. In this situation, mutually different color conversion tables are generally used to perform color conversion. This is due to the fact that the raster object is image data for reproducing colors as closely as possible to that which a human sees, while the vector object is designed to express characters and lines more sharply.

"In FIG. 18 an example of a raster color table and a vector color table are illustrated that are included in a conventional image forming apparatus. As illustrated in FIG. 18, even when an RGB input value of '(50, 50, 50)' for the raster object and an RGB input value of '(30, 30, 30)' for the vector object are different from each other, both produce the same CMYK output value of '(100, 100, 100, 100)'. As a result, the vector object and the raster object assimilate each other, thereby making the output image not as sharp.

"Specifically, in the situation illustrated in FIG. 19, where image data is obtained by using a watermark (electronic watermark) that reads 'ABCDEFGHIJ' and a scan image with an overlap, it is possible to clearly distinguish an overlapping portion that corresponds to the overlap on a monitor (see the left half of FIG. 19). However, in the actual outputted image a part of the watermark is assimilated into the scan image and has reduced visibility (see the right half of FIG. 19)."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "The present invention provides an image forming apparatus capable of recognizing an object and able to process image data in which a vector object and a raster object coexist while producing an image without non-sharp areas.

"An image forming apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention comprises a reading unit, a drawing data storage unit, a vector gray determination unit, a raster gray determination unit, and an output data creation unit. The reading unit reads image data. The drawing data storage unit stores object data comprising the read image data so as to allow the stored object data to be distinguished between a vector object and a raster object. The vector gray determination unit determines whether or not each of stored vector objects is formed of an achromatic color. The raster gray determination unit determines whether or not each of stored raster objects is formed of an achromatic color. The output data creation unit converts the stored object data into multicolor when the stored object data includes a chromatic color, and converts the stored object data into monochrome when the stored object data is formed only of achromatic colors.

"In another embodiment of the present invention, an image forming apparatus is provided that comprises a data reading unit, a band split unit, an overlap band detection unit, a specified color value acquisition unit, an overlap band representative color detection unit, an output color value calculation unit, and a visibility determination unit. The data reading unit reads image data. The band split unit divides the read image data into a plurality of bands allowing each of object data comprising the image data to be distinguished between a vector object and a raster object. The overlap band detection unit identifies a band having an overlap between the vector object and the raster object. The specified color value acquisition unit determines a color value of a vector object existing in the overlap band. The overlap band representative color detection unit determines a representative color of a raster object existing in the overlap band. The output color value calculation unit calculates an output color value corresponding to the color value of the vector object and an output color value corresponding to the representative color of the raster object. The visibility determination unit determines a visibility of an overlapping portion based on a comparison of output color values.

"Additional features and advantages are described herein, and will be apparent from the following Detailed Description and the figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

"In the accompanying drawings:

"FIG. 1 is a functional block diagram illustrating a configuration of an image forming apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention;

"FIG. 2 is a flowchart illustrating an operation procedure related to a color conversion output performed by an image forming apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention;

"FIG. 3 is a flowchart illustrating a procedure for a vector gray analysis performed by the image forming apparatus according to the embodiment of FIG. 2 of the present invention;

"FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating a procedure for a raster gray analysis performed by the image forming apparatus according to the embodiment of FIG. 2 of the present invention;

"FIG. 5 schematically illustrates the vector objects and raster objects stored in a memory of the image forming apparatus according to the embodiment of FIG. 2 of the present invention;

"FIG. 6 illustrates an example of image data subjected to a color conversion process by the image forming apparatus according to the embodiment of FIG. 2 of the present invention;

"FIG. 7 illustrates an example of the image data subjected to the color conversion process by the image forming apparatus according to the embodiment of FIG. 2 of the present invention;

"FIG. 8 illustrates an example of the image data subjected to the color conversion process by the image forming apparatus according to the embodiment of FIG. 2 of the present invention;

"FIG. 9 illustrates an example of the image data subjected to the color conversion process by the image forming apparatus according to the embodiment of FIG. 2 of the present invention;

"FIG. 10 is a reference diagram illustrating a problem that can occur in a general color conversion process;

"FIG. 11 is a functional block diagram illustrating a configuration of an image forming apparatus according to another embodiment of the present invention;

"FIG. 12 is a flowchart illustrating an operation procedure performed by the image forming apparatus according to the embodiment of FIG. 11 of the present invention;

"FIG. 13 is a flowchart illustrating a procedure for analyzing a representative color of the raster object which is performed by the image forming apparatus according to the embodiment of FIG. 11 of the present invention;

"FIG. 14 is a diagram of band split and band data storage that are performed by the image forming apparatus according to the embodiment of FIG. 11 of the present invention;

"FIG. 15 is a front view of a monitor that is displaying an example of an alert issued by the image forming apparatus according to the embodiment of FIG. 11 of the present invention;

"FIG. 16 is a functional block diagram illustrating a configuration of an image forming apparatus according to a further embodiment of the present invention;

"FIG. 17 is a flowchart illustrating an operation procedure for the image forming apparatus according to the embodiment of FIG. 16 of the present invention;

"FIG. 18 is an example of a raster color table and a vector color table; and

"FIG. 19 is a diagram illustrating a malfunction caused in an output image by the image forming apparatus illustrated in FIG. 8."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: Kawasaki, Tomohiro. Image Forming Apparatus. Filed February 27, 2014 and posted July 3, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=5032&p=101&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140626.PD.&OS=PD/20140626&RS=PD/20140626

Keywords for this news article include: Information Technology, Information and Data Storage, Kyocera Document Solutions Inc.

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2014, NewsRx LLC


For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel



Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


Story Tools






HispanicBusiness.com Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters