Soft Proofing — Virtually a Lock

Virtual proofing is an area where the publisher recently has been making a big push, starting with its weekly titles, reports Kin wah Lam, director of digital development. It quickly progressed to 100 percent virtual proofing—including into the pressroom—with seven of its publication printing suppliers.

“Our speed of adoption has been faster than we planned,” he says. “Our printers have embraced it so enthusiastically, we had to curb their enthusiasm. We initially did two test forms and they wanted to spread the (soft proofing) implementation to the whole book.”

Time Inc. not only stopped delivering hard copy proofs to those printers, it also has said it will no longer accept hard copy proofs for advertisements. That directive is now part of the published ad submission instructions on the appropriate Websites, which also specify that PDF/x1a files be submitted as an integral component of the new workflow.

A special Ad Portal Service has been set up, with help from Vio Inc. and Enfocus Software, for uploading ad files via the Internet. To use it, advertisers must download an application which has Enfocus preflight capabilities built into it. Ad files that fail preflight can’t be uploaded, and the submitter instead gets a report with instructions on how to fix the problems.

Time for a Change

By this spring, the portal already had some 300 registered users and had successfully processed around 400 ad files, wah Lam reveals. What resistance the publisher has encountered from advertisers has more to do with the file processing aspect of the system than it does virtual proofing. “The ones who create bad files don’t want to use the system,” he adds.

At the printing plants, two 23˝ monitors have been installed in a stack configuration inside a controlled light booth to enable four pages to be view simultaneously at full size, notes the publisher’s director of digital development. The titles are being “printed to the numbers” using the SWOP specification.

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