Digital Proofing–Halftone-hungry Prepress Proofers

“It was so ironic,” Richards states. “Even though we didn’t want it, we were beta-testing a digital halftone proofer. We were hell-bent against it, and there it was, staring us in the face everyday.”

Can you guess the outcome? Let’s just say United Lithograph is now committed to halftone dots.

“Well, maybe there is something to having dots on proofs,” Richards admits, now that PolaProof is an accepted family member at United. “Customers were accepting of it. We noticed we weren’t producing the same volume of film—overall, the process became more streamlined—and the pressmen like it because they have a true representation of what the dot sizes are supposed to be, relative to the job they are printing at any given time.”

What’s more, United Litho found that the digital halftone proofing device fit in nicely with the production cycle of its Agfa Galileo. “We decided the two technologies complemented one another very well in our prepress environment,” Richards reports. “Together, they are doing beautiful work.”

Question: Is United Lithograph’s experience with digital halftone proofing typical?

Betty LaBaugh, marketing and communications manager for Polaroid Graphics Imaging, offers a PolaProof perspective.

“United Lithograph is typical of how commercial printers who realize the need for digital halftone proofing react—they achieve the ‘light bulb’ when they begin planning for the implementation of a CTP workflow in their shops.”

United Lithograph purchased its PolaProof device after beta was complete—and today reports that more than 90 percent of its jobs are proofed on the PolaProof, which replaced two analog proofing systems.

“PolaProof owners, such as United Lithograph, use the digital halftone proofer for a variety of proofing applications, including loose color from the digital photography studio and scanning department, as well as combined proofs of complete jobs,” LaBaugh reports.

Sandy Fuhs, marketing manager at Presstek, makers of the PEARLhdp digital halftone proofer, has a theory on the growth and current status of digital halftone proofing, at least from Presstek’s vantage.

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