PI's 45th ANNIVERSARY -- From Art To Science
PostScript was driving prepress, but DTP gateways were keeping proprietary CEPS (color electronic prepress systems) in the mix. Trapping was the big sticking point with customer-supplied files, along with the issues of fonts, RGB images and resolution that still dog the industry today.
Printing Impressions still tracked the "Top 50 Color Separators" at that time, but by 1998 it was looking toward the next big thing with the "Top 50 On-demand Printers" ranking. People seeking a "killer app" for the technology had already locked onto variable data printing.
Flatbed scanners had become the standard for capturing hard copy originals, but high-end digital cameras were seen as a practical alternative to film. Digital color proofing was displacing analog systems, giving rise to the halftone dots or no dots debate.
Computer-to-plate technology also was a hot topic, but story headlines were still asking, "To Buy or Not to Buy?" as early adopters often didn't even bother to calculate a traditional ROI for their systems. However, later in the year another article asked, "Why Buy an Imagesetter?" The answer was that direct-to-film was a logical first step toward CTP.
High-speed file transfer was largely seen as coming down to a choice between ISDN and a managed network like Wam!Net, but Internet proponents noted that this option "was far too often overlooked—or ignored." The dotcom bubble had yet to inflate, but cloned sheep did already roam the earth.
CIP3 (now 4) introduced a vision for linking prepress, press and postpress as the industry began to talk of computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM), rather than just prepress workflow.
Which brings us back to today. Future anniversary issues of Printing Impressions will probably note 2003 as a turning point for CIM, thanks to advances in the development and adoption of JDF (Job Definition Format). Actually, it's more likely that DRUPA 2004 will be given that distinction.