The Next Wave - Digital Directions
"Heidelberg expects that in 1999 we will bear witness to the continuing adoption of technologies, which will make streamlined publishing workflows a reality for the wider marketplace. Five key areas stand out as being especially dynamic this year: thermal platesetting, digital color proofing, digital asset management, workflow management and scanning technologies.
"In the past year, thermal CTP technology gained recognition as a superior solution for the eight-up market sector. Key drivers of this trend were gains in output quality, faster makeready, increased stability and added conven-ience. As a result, thermal CTP is seen today as the dominant direction in CTP implementation.
"The next frontier for thermal platesetting is the swiftly emerging four-up market. Confidence is inspired by the aforementioned gains, and the four-up market is particularly ripe considering its strong moves to streamline the workflow for cost-effectiveness.
"On the scanning front, our indications are that both high-quality drum scanners and professional-level flatbeds will enjoy growth in conventional, as well as expanded, markets. Sophisticated CMYK software tools, previously the province of very high-end scanners, will offer easy-to-use LAB interfaces for broader market adoption."
Betty LaBaugh, communications and marketing manager at Polaroid, on the strides digital color proofing will make in 1999—in both continuous tone and halftone directions, as well as remote moves.
"This year will show increased growth for digital proofing, both continuous tone and halftone systems. The population growth of high-quality digital proofing solutions will improve communications between the client and service provider (as examples, creator to printing provider; prepress provider to the press operators).
"The new generation of digital proofing devices will bring the industry back to the original need for a non-press proof—a cost-effective, accurate indicator of what will come off the printing press.
"I predict two things will come to light for digital halftone proofing in 1999: Direct digital halftone proofs will be recognized to offer quality that surpasses analog (or digitized-analog) solutions, and remote proofing will make strides.