Digital Proofing--Proof Positive
Digital Proofs: Digital proofing has experienced explosive growth in the last 10 years, providing useful and cost-efficient avenues to verify and control color in the digital workflow. Although the list of proofing devices has grown to more than 100, most devices fall into four main technology categories: Dye sublimation; ink-jet; electro photography; and laser-induced film transfer or ablation.
The vast majority of these technologies produce continuous tone color images using dye colorants, which are calibrated to simulate the color and tone reproduction of the press sheet. Depending on their resolution and color calibration software, their ability to predict the printed result varies to a wide extent and usually falls short of their conventional counterparts.
Until recently, most digital proofing devices lacked the quality attributes needed for contract quality color guidance. Factors such as resolution, common RIP, proof size and repeatability played a key role in slowing the otherwise rapid adoption to a completely filmless workflow. Fortunately, there are systems available today that can fulfill this unmet need.
Systems such as the Kodak Polychrome Graphics Approval and Creo Proofsetter Spectrum are becoming widely accepted as digital replacements for press and off-press proofing. The Creo Proofsetter Spectrum and Trendsetter Spectrum devices image color media from Imation, Kodak and DuPont, and provide the image resolution, dot structure and repeatability needed for high quality, contract color proofing. Major publishers, such as Conde Nast and Hearst, have successfully converted to an all-digital workflow using these technologies.