Digital color proofs and pre-proofs are used by graphic artists and commercial printers throughout the prepress process. However the prepress process has undergone radical changes over the past decade due to the introduction of desk top publishing and desktop prepress. Alongside of the desktop publishing revo lution has come a multitude of new digital proofing technologies for use in this ever changing environment. Technologies including, but not limited to, liquid inkjet, dye sublimation, continuous inkjet, color laser, and thermal wax transfer printers have provided an entire range of color accuracy and price suitability to many of their users. However one needs to be able to understand the practical applications and limitations of these technologies to make a suitable choice for a specific prepress operation or design process. Therefore a handbook for the users of digital proofs has been created for their benefit. The underlying structure of this handbook is based on the following six chap ters. The first chapter, entitled Communicating with Prepress and the Attributes of Digital Proofing, contains multiple parts. Firstly, it contains information for the designer in regards to the advantages and disadvantages of all types of digital output devices. It discusses the advantages which digital output devices may or may not have over conventional proofing systems. Additionally, ideas such as the vantages and drawbacks of preproofers and proofers is elaborated upon. Information for this part of the chapter was obtained through questionnaires completed by, and interviews with print buyers, art directors, and production managers from advertising agencies and prepress providers in the Rochester area. More information for this section of the first chapter was obtained through various manufacturer's literature, printing industry reports and various periodi cals. Chapter One also discusses ideas behind the application of color printers (preproofers) and digital proofers. These ideas address issues which pertain to the application of specific printing and proofing processes to specific phases of the creative and production processes. Additionally, discussions regarding proof ing costs, qualities, and production turnaround time may be found in this part of the first chapter. Information for this section of Chapter One was obtained through information found in printing and publishing related periodicals, as well as in manufacturers' literature. Finally, the first chapter develops a system for the correction of digital preproofs and proofs. Multiple groups of ideas pertaining to the correction of digital output are discussed. Some of these include sections entitled Digital File Tracking and Identification, Evaluation of Design Elements, Evaluating Colors, Element Positioning, and Element Dimension Adjustments. Information for this part of the chapter was obtained through the evaluation of previously corrected digital con tract proofs and preproofs, as well as the interviews and questionnaires men tioned above. The second chapter, entitled Proofing Typography, displays the many different ways that printing and proofing technologies affect text type and display typog raphy. Using the CD-Rom included in the back of the book, one may view on screen how the following technologies affect type ranging from 3 points to 72 points in size: liquid inkjet, large format liquid inkjet, phase-change inkjet, ther mal wax transfer, dye sublimation, continuous inkjet, and dye ablation. Information and samples for this chapter were obtained through printing and proofing system manufacturers and advertising agencies in the Rochester area. The Color Primer and Chapter Three: Proofing for Imagery and Color, contain information for the designer which may be applied to proper evaluation of color on color prints and digital proofs. The Color Primer discusses subjects such as color space, the additive and subtractive color theories, and common color mea surement tools. Chapter Three then applies some of this knowledge in its discus sions of proper lighting conditions for viewing prints and proofs, and different human factors which influence the highly subjective evaluation of all digital color output. Information for this chapter was gathered using graphic arts and printing industry related periodicals and industry-wide books related to color and its reproduction. The fourth chapter, entitled Substrates and Digital Output, educates the design er about the effects on text, imagery, and graphics which occur when creating digital prints and proofs on a variety of papers. Various paper surfaces such as gloss, semi-gloss and matte surfaces are addressed. The affects of colored paper on imagery and graphics are also elaborated upon. Additionally, printing and proofing processes are discussed in regards to the substrates that they accept for output. Information for this chapter was gathered through manufacturers' litera ture and various industry related books and periodical articles. The Proofing Process Supplement was created to familiarize the designer with all currently popular forms of digital output technology. The process supplement discusses the imaging processes used by the following digital output technolo gies: liquid inkjet, phase-change inkjet, thermal wax transfer, dye sublimation, continuous inkjet, and dye ablation. Additionally, the supplement contains brief explanations regarding screening technologies. Information for the process sup plement was gathered through manufacturers' literature, interviews with pre press providers in the Rochester area, and interviews with technical representa tives from the manufacturers of devices which use the above digital, color out put technologies. Chapter Five, entitled Image Fidelity, simply illustrates how all of the current ly popular printing and proofing technologies affect graphics and imagery. Using the CD-Rom included with the guidebook, the reader may view magni fied and normal views of printing and proof sample imagery. Information noted by the reader in the proofing process supplement may then be actively applied when viewing these samples. Information and sample prints for the fifth chapter were gathered from several manufacturers and advertising agencies in the Rochester area. The sixth chapter, entitled The Acceptance of Digital Contract Proofing, discusses a new definition of the contract proof in regards to the evolution of digital proof ing. This chapter provides ideas for the designer, art director, and print buyer to realize when considering the use of digital contract proofing. Several questions are raised concerning what requirements a digital contract proof must fulfill depending upon the areas of its application and any agreements between the designer and prepress provider regarding their specific definition of a digital contract proof. Additionally, specific advantages of digital contract proofs, such as their ability to fingerprint a press and/or press run, are discussed. Finally, a discussion pertaining to the education of all users of digital proofing technolo gies is presented to aid the overall acceptance of digital contract proofing. Information for this chapter was obtained through the extensive interviews of leading technical and product oriented representatives from the manufacturers of currently used digital contract proofing systems. Many conclusions have been reached with the completion of this guidebook. In brief, the first and most prominent conclusion which may be reached states that the acceptance of digital contract proofing lies within the education of all designers, art directors and print buyers about digital printing and proofing technologies. As the use of digital contract proofing grows, education and inter est by all creative professionals will orient them towards their use of digital proofing systems. The next conclusion which has been reached is that the proper application of color printers and digital proofers is of major importance for the designer due to the added flexibility and rewards which result from the use of digital color out put devices throughout the creative and production processes. Another conclu sion which may be reached is that the display of proofing and printing process effects on text, graphics, and imagery serves to directly inform the creative pro fessional how these elements may be distorted by the utilized output device. Knowledge gained by the creative professional in regards to these effects helps to answer many questions regarding print or proof quality and proper output device application. Finally, additional knowledge gained by designers which pertains to proper viewing of all color output, color theories, color measurement, and proofing sub strates helps them to better communicate with those prepress and print professionals involved in the production process.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Color printing--Evaluation--Handbooks, manuals etc; Digital printing--Evaluation--Handbooks, manuals, etc.; Proofs (Printing)--Evaluation--Handbooks, manuals,etc
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Lopatin, Eric, "A Designer's guide to the evaluation of digital proofs" (1996). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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