Digital Proofing--Proof Positive
Color Control Moves Upstream
The following was contributed by Nick Patrissi, manager of market relations and print media at Creo Products.
For many years, the graphic arts industry relied on the skilled hands of the craftsman to manage the color reproduction process. With the introduction of computers and desktop publishing, the control and management of color have spread to many other segments of our industry.
Color control has moved forward in the workflow, and it is now common for creative departments to handle the majority of the design, color separation and color proofing steps of their own jobs. It is estimated that close to 50 percent of color proofing is now done in the creative stage of the print production process—a major change from the workflow of just a few years ago.
Many clients, although happy with the prospect of doing color themselves, are faced with a new responsibility of understanding color reproduction, prepress and related technologies used in this once specialized field. With the vast array of low-cost color proofing devices on the market, clients often feel overwhelmed when faced with a purchasing decision. Choosing the right technology is dependent on knowing the true requirements of the job. A color proof can mean different things to different people. Depending on the stage of production and individual requirements, a proof can serve to accomplish one of the following tasks: Predict the outcome of printing; verify what is in the file or film; or serve as a press guidance.
Not all proofing technologies can accomplish all three functions. Basically, proofs fall into two categories, conventional and digital.
Conventional Proofs: These can be either press proofs (made on-press) or off-press proofs (often referred to as analog proofs). Conventional proofs are made from film and represent the screening, dot shape and other parameters of the job. Products such as the Imation Matchprint, DuPont WaterProof and Fuji Color-Art have become widely used as contract color verification methods for most high-quality graphic arts applications. Press proofs are still used in advertising, where proofing on the printing stock and large quantities are important elements.