How far did we go on the road to computer proofing?

Not only is the development of proofing technology very important, but more importantly, customers have increased their confidence in digital proofing equipment. CARYL HOLLAND

One question, "What is the case with a color proof that cannot be counted as color proofing?" is often answered by "digital proofing." Is this statement right? The owner of the digital proofing system is certainly negative. They believe that no matter what kind of proofing process is used, it is impossible to get perfect proofs. The so-called perfect proof refers to the proof that exactly matches the printing result. However, there is always some concession or compromise between proofing and printing.

Traditional proofers will say: "Using the simulation proofing system, you can get a closer proof of the code." "It's not right" to say yes to digital proofers, "This is because you need to explain an analog proofing. There are many occasions where your proofing is to check the printed content, layout or page composition. Simulation proofing is only When signing a color proofing contract, proofing that is closer to the printed matter is very important, it has to be done. However, the digital proofing system has also made great progress in this regard."

In fact, the recent development of digital proofing equipment is indeed surprising. Many of the shortcomings of digital profiling that traditional witnesses have criticized are no longer established, including the problem that the price of digital proofing equipment with copying capabilities cannot be accepted by most companies. Next year, there are many options for such equipment. For example, the Approval XP model produced by Kodak Polychrome Graphics has been introduced in 1999. Its format is four pages and can be double output. It has the function of spectrum correction and density correction of ink pigments, and it can perform double-sided proofing. The maximum output speed is 16 Pages/hours (four-fold) with a resolution of 2400 and 25400 dpi. The film can be pressed on a 0.35mm to 8mm thick material with three gloss level surfaces.

Other new digital proofing devices with similar functions are: Polaroid's Polaproof type, which can output in quadruple and can directly proof on paper. Fujifilm halftone dot proofer is also four open format.

Also not forget Imation's Matchprint laser proofing material using the European CMYK model, which will be launched next year. This material can be exposed on Creo's Proofsetter Spectrum model and Presstek's Pearlhdp direct computer proofer. There are also Heidelberg/Creo Trendsetter four pages and eight pages, and the Spectrum model thermal computer direct plate making equipment. One of the major advantages of these devices is that the same RIP can be used for both plate image output and proofing, thus maintaining data integrity. The wide range of promotion and application of the halftone digital proofing system is expected to increase people's acceptance of digital proofing. Undoubtedly, with the improvement of the predictability of color, continuous adjustment of digital proofing will continue to increase. People have come to realize that digital proofing is just like what happened with Cromalin and Matchprint simulation proofing. It requires users to learn to interpret them.

One of the pioneers in the field of digital proofing is Scitex. In February of next year, Iris2print and Inis4Print devices can replace Realist 5015 and 5030 devices (inkjet proofing type). The new device has a new IrisPen printhead based on a replaceable cartridge for each CMYK color, making the printhead easier to replace and maintain, and at a lower cost, with resolutions from 300dpi to 600dpi. It is said to be comparable to the output of 2400dpi resolution.

Other new inkjet proofers include: AgfaJet Everest type (8 colors, multiple density, 600dpi resolution, CMYK mode, output A1 format sheets every 15 minutes), Screen FP-540J type and A2/A3 Kimotok Jet type.

The biggest advantage of the inkjet proofing system is that it can be directly proofed with printing paper, not only coated paper and coated paper, but it can also be used for proofing on newsprint, paper foil and paperboard packaging materials. The devices in this area include the PolarJet model from Polaroid and Rainbow 4700 from Imation. When combined with the new Inkjet Transfer system, the latter can also be proofed with a flexible plastic material. DuPont will launch the A3 Digital Cromalin AX2-GE type proofing device in an attempt to expand the packaging market.

However, the most exciting development of inkjet proofing is the introduction of 8-color piezo-electric models, which can be improved by the combination of light blue and light-colored inks. The same effect can be achieved with the HexaChrome models with additional orange and green colors. MAN Roland's large-format Hi-Fi Jet models are also in this list.

Until recently, low-cost desktop color proofers could really be used as design tools for producing color vision samples and reviewing graphic designs for overall imposition and color effects. At present, they are used as the main proofing tools due to the improvement of the color matching ability and the enlargement of the format (up to A3 format). For example, the Color Proofer 5000 proofer developed by companies such as Epson/EFI/DuPonT, with a resolution of 1440*720 dpi, uses micro-piezoelectric inkjet technology, and its proofing quality is said to reach the level of dye sublimation proofing, but at a great cost. reduce.

In theory, in a digital workflow, the number of parametric variables is reduced and the probability of error is reduced because the production process is shortened, thus reducing dependence on proofing. In fact, the situation is exactly the opposite.

John Charnock, pre-press manager at St Ives Group, explained: "This is a complete sense of trust. Postscript was once very unstable and people were not ready to use it for platemaking when it was used for film processing, despite There are always problems in the process of imposition, plate making and printing, but no one is worried about.The traditional craft is not perfect in any case, but generally speaking, customers have trust in it and are willing to test us.Digital Workflow The same situation will also occur."

For the CTP process, it is important to divide the proof into two parts, color and text. Color proofing should be done as soon as possible, preferably at the scanning separation stage. Because the color proofing detection mainly focuses on the image part, it is not necessary to wet proof the image area only accounting for 20% of the prints, and the rest are black and white texts. This price is too high.

The time for text proofing may be later, but the speed is as fast as possible. It can use low-cost, high-speed plotters and even low-resolution rip documents sent by e-mail.

In other words, the method of producing the proofs is not important. What is important is that the end result that people expect can be passed on to the next recipient in the production process.

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