Expanded color gamuts, strategic digital halftone proofing launches, imposition proofers and multi-setting thermal devices highlighted the digital proofing component of GRAPH EXPO 99. BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO What were the digital proofing flares shot out at GRAPH EXPO 99? One glaring signal: Digital halftone proofing is still riding a high. Equally hot for the contract proofmakers were new devices offering expanded color gamuts, two-sided imposition proofers, new multi-purpose thermal proofsetters and refined remote proofing promises—all of which captured the attention and scrutiny of show attendees, who are looking to purchase the next contract proofer and want to know . . . Who joined
FUJIFILM Graphic Systems Div.
What's the latest technological perks to thermal platesetting? What is the hot news on thermal consumables? What recent thermal purchases are fueling CTP? What's the current talk on thermal? Here are hot bytes on the hottest developments. BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO Thermal innovator Creo Products and Heidelberg Prepress report the installation of the 1,000th CTP system at Holland, MI-based Steketee-Van Huis. SVH recently took delivery of its new Trendsetter Spectrum 3244 digital halftone proofing system. The installation of the thermal Spectrum marks the 1,000th digital CTP system implemented by Creo and Heidelberg. Of the 1,000 installs, roughly 900 have been thermal. At Steketee-Van Huis, the Trendsetter Spectrum
Whether drum or flatbed, today's high-tech scanning systems are allowing prepress departments to do more, create more—even charge more. Here's a look at some of the new technologies and creative techniques empowering prepress with high-voltage scans. BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO The scanning market, like those of its prepress counterparts, is continuing to evolve, especially the flatbed component. Interesting, though, how much hype is concentrated around the kings of digital output, such as the thermal platesetter—arguably the most hyped digital output device ever to hit electronic prepress. But what of the content creator—the device that enables color images to be digitized, manipulated, then output?
Las Vegas is the home of Creel Printing, a heatset web and sheetfed commercial printer that's betting heavily on the payoff of digital prepress. BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO Las Vegas. The most infamous desert oasis. A city that never sleeps. Towering casinos, massive neon billboards, throngs of vacationers, glittering wedding chapels. Decadent, opulent—and a few other descriptive dents. No wonder legends played here: Sinatra, Elvis, Creel. What's that, not familiar with Creel? Creel Printing just happens to be one of the largest commercial printers in Nevada, operating in the shadows of Las Vegas' most famous casinos—Bally's, Harrah's, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Circus Circus,
From Adobe's K2 to Apple's G3, from Markzware's MarkzScout to EPSON's Stylus 9000 and from Agfa's Galileo to Creo's SQUARESpot—Seybold brought the digital movers and shakers back to Boston, where file transfer, asset management, color proofing, thermal platesettind every other degree of digital prepress stood on a welcome, familiar platform. BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO Seybold, Boston. What a familiar and pleasant ring that name carries. With all the hype and hoopla surrounding the return of Seybold to Boston last month, all roads led to the Hynes Center for the latest advancements in digital prepress, digital printing and "repurposing" content for the Internet.
In the rapidly evolving digital prepress and printing markets, technology suppliers are now technology consultants, systems integrators and digital workflow evaluators. Do digital press manufacturers care what happens after the digital press is installed? Do high-tech prepress providers make the commitment to introduce a traditional printer to a digital workflow? Put it this way: They better. BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO The migration from conventional prepress and printing technologies to new, digital prepress and on-demand printing processes calls for a concentrated alliance between technology providers and commercial printers. After all, commercial printers, by and large, don't conceptualize the next digital prepress or printing
As computer-to-plate grows in popularity and application, prepress officials and technology providers trade outlooks on CTP's hottest issues—especially the true commercial availability of thermal plates. What's better—thermal or non-thermal? Warning: They tell it like it is. BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO Is the jury still out on the long-term merits of thermal imaging—and the consumables considerations any reasonable prepress director must labor over when deliberating which output device to recommend, thermal or non-thermal? For one, Maureen Richards, prepress technical director at United Lithograph, now a Mail-Well company, has her thermal reservations. "The current thermal technology is not 'utopia,' but I am perhaps biased by
Adobe's PostScript Level 3 and PDF, plus new technologies from Harlequin, Rampage and others, are forging new frontiers in output functionality. The goal? Maximize total throughput. For the imagesetter, throughput starts at the RIP. BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO Raster image processor (RIP). Ironic that the term used to describe the most complex, multi-tasked, time-sensitive phase of preprinting shares its acronym with a much more tranquil phrase: Rest In Peace. Rest is one task the RIP only performs under the most nightmarish of production circumstances, barring any natural disasters the prepress director can pin RIP degradation on—and get away with it. Without doubt, if a
Digital front ends are growing in flexibility and functionality, allowing for greater output opportunities, especially in areas of digital color proofing. Are DFEs where they need to be—technically speaking? Most are headed in the right direction, thanks to the promise of PDF. BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO The success of any print production process—whether it is direct-to-film, direct-to-plate or imposition proofing—relies fully on the competence of the digital front end in question. Digital front ends, or DFEs—rich in providing controls for color management, PDF support and a host of in-RIP capabilities, including trapping—are taking the front end to higher levels of sophistication. What is a
Technological strides in areas of digital prepress, plus new moves in digital color printing, will push for strong attention this year. Are commercial printers ready for the next wave of techno-hype? Time will tell. BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO Tired of hearing about thermal CTP? Bored with PDF discussions? Less than enthralled with the latest digital color proofing claims? Too bad—the next wave of PDF functionality, digital front-end output flexibility, thermal CTP strides and competitive advancements in digital color proofing devices are poised to make 1999 another hot year for digital developments. Still, hearing the tech talk isn't always easy, as many a prepress director