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Color Scanners--Scan Masters

August 1999
Whether drum or flatbed, today's high-tech scanning systems are allowing prepress departments to do more, create more—even charge more. Here's a look at some of the new technologies and creative techniques empowering prepress with high-voltage scans.


BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO


The scanning market, like those of its prepress counterparts, is continuing to evolve, especially the flatbed component. Interesting, though, how much hype is concentrated around the kings of digital output, such as the thermal platesetter—arguably the most hyped digital output device ever to hit electronic prepress. But what of the content creator—the device that enables color images to be digitized, manipulated, then output? What of the device that tackles any reflective or transmissive piece of art?

What of the poor, little scanner?

Save the pity for some other prepress device. The high-end scanning market is hotter than ever, with drum and flatbed devices combining automated ease-of-use with dynamic scanning, higher resolution ranges and faster speeds.

Scitex America's EverSmart Pro and EverSmart Supreme are prime flatbed examples of the push for operating speeds of 15 scans per hour and greater, with increased optical resolution and greater scanning range. Ever-Smart scanners can scan transmissive originals, positive and negative, as well as reflective artwork, including printed material, of any thickness. Ever-Smart Pro and EverSmart Supreme scanners can also scan halftone films for both copydot and digital descreening workflows—ideal for CTP or digitally imposed workflows.

Scitex is not alone. High-end, automated scanning systems from Agfa, Creo, Heidelberg Prepress, Fujifilm, Howtek, Optronics, Purup-Eskofot, Screen, UMAX and other vendors are further enabling prepress departments to produce CMYK- and RGB-specific scans at higher volumes.

What's new to the market?

Fujifilm recently boosted productivity for its C-550 large-format flatbed scanner with unattended scanning capabilities. The Fujifilm C-550 can now scan unattended so users may focus their attention to additional design responsibilities.

C-Scan Plus also provides automated cropping, via coded copy mounts and one-touch high-resolution scanning.

C-Scan Plus provides linework scanning, a high-res preview for a more accurate cropping and threshold setting, used together with improved algorithms for interpolation when scanning at high resolutions. This is also necessary for copydot use with C-DotSP. The C-550 features 16-bit image capture at optical resolutions of up to 5,000 dpi, which can be interpolated up to 10,000 dpi.

Heidelberg Prepress started shipping the latest version of LinoColor, version 6.0, recently. Along with the addition of RegisterAssistant for Topaz Copix scanners (already available for Heidelberg's Tango drum scanner), the new version includes major changes in its color management structure, which improves the workflow with applications such as Photoshop 5.0 and Quark 4.0, and supports embedded profiles.
 

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