DIGITAL COLOR PROOFING — Right on the Dot

The printer made the move to digital proofing with the simultaneous installation of a FinalProof thermal halftone unit and a continuous-tone PictroProof device, both from Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. Bishop says the shop needs a high-end halftone proof “in order to simulate printing with a dot at the quality we, and our clients, expect. Our customers have actually asked for proofs with dots,” he notes.

Seeing a Pattern

Continuous-tone proofers can come very close to matching the color and quality of thermal halftone technology, but they come up a little short in their representations of pastels, neutral grays and vignettes, Bishop says. The ability to predict moiré also is a big reason to have a dot, and so is showing banding, he adds.

The majority of Color + Graphics’ work requires a halftone proof, the operations manager says, but he has seen clients become more accepting of continuous-tone proofs for type corrections or small moves in solid colors.

“We show clients a FinalProof as the first proof to get color right from the start,” Bishop explains. “There is some work that only gets a PictroProof, including the ads we send out and more cost-sensitive jobs that are just two-color or simple four-color work. And, about 15 to 20 percent stays in the analog world because we do a lot of spot-color jobs.

“Every proof we make is labeled: analog, FinalProof or PictroProof. We do that to let clients—and everybody here—know what level of match to press they can expect,” Bishop says. “We match all of our proofers to the press. We try to fingerprint our presses and calibrate our output devices every six months, starting from the press and working back.”

Quality Graphics Center, in Roselle, NJ, recently changed digital color proofing systems, but elected to stay with a halftone solution.

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