Hamilton--How Far Away Is Remote Proofing?
To be able to serve as a contract proof, the remote proofing system must satisfy several conditions:
- a reliable and stable source file: no shifting type or missing images;
- both color and content must render accurately;
- cost-effective and easy to use; and
- an efficient and economical transmission system.
These are not simple requirements. Take the file format issue. Despite the efforts of Adobe—then Agfa, Enfocus and Lantana and, more recently, Creo, Heidelberg and Scitex—PDF has yet to displace either PostScript or Quark/Illustrator/Photoshop/TIFF as the primary format for file delivery. To be sure, PDF still suffers from problems, but by and large, it satisfies the requirement for a reliable and stable file. For proof of this (sorry), the AP Adsend program has been working for some time now and ships approximately 75,000 ads every week using PDF. I'm not sure what it will take, but Adobe's InDesign is not going to be the answer to this one.
Then there's the remote proofing device itself. Clearly, content can be soft proofed using PDF and, possibly, some types of "pleasing color" jobs such as newspaper circulars. And with tools such as GroupLogic's ImageExpo white board tool, you can even mark up and discuss the file in real time. For militant "rasterfarians" who can't handle a vectorian approach, there's a new solution from RealTimeImage, which uses the same technology as RenderView—well-known in the Scitex world—that enables remote viewers to check out every last pixel if they want to.
However, the vast majority of four-color jobs will require a physical proof. Here again, the solutions are now at hand, led by Epson with its 3000 and 5000 series piezo-electric ink-jet systems, with companies such as Canon, Hewlett-Packard and Minolta now in hot pursuit. With the cost of these devices already low—as compared with "traditional" digital proofers—and continuing to decline, cost is going to fade as an impediment.