Southeastern Color--Mapping Roads
"Early in our search for CTP information, we stumbled onto an unknown gold mine: Agfa's Digital Roadmaps Web pages," reports Gordon Hutchinson, prepress manager. "We discovered the Website because, basically, we were already an established Agfa shop looking to see what Agfa had to offer in digital prepress, circa 1998." (A two-page imagesetter purchased by Southeastern in 1992 was the company's first move into digital waters, followed by an eight-up Agfa Avantra 44S in late 1996.)
Thanks to the digital highway that is the Internet, Agfa's Digital Roadmaps—www.digitalroadmaps.com—provided the very inquisitive Hutchinson and related top management personnel, including Frank Burroughs, electronic prepress manager, with the right direction on matters of digital prepress. The Digital Roadmaps Website supports the belief that simply knowing about and purchasing new digital technologies does not mean a traditional commercial printing facility will be able to implement those new digital technologies successfully.
Reading the Map
Digital Roadmaps sports a tool called Agfa Custom Roadmap Builder, an interactive tool that uses the World Wide Web, sophisticated database software and variable-data printing, to allow a traditional commercial printer to customize its own roadmap for CTP, digital printing or high-end PDF workflows.
"A 'roadmap' is basically an online audit of the type of work you do, how the work comes in to you, as well as your existing workflow and equipment. The Custom Roadmap Builder then compiles all this information, giving you the option to immediately download a PDF file to print or have Agfa print and mail it to you," Hutchinson explains.
"The printout contains all the information you originally provided and provides an assessment of how far along you are on the road to your desired objective, whether the destination is digital prepress or digital printing," Hutchinson adds.
The customized, digital roadmap that Hutchinson obtained provided Southeastern direction as to what business and production requirements should be met before implementation of a full-blown CTP workflow—which will eventually encompass digital color proofing and digital platesetting technologies.