Background and Significance New technologies within the printing industry open new challenges, enable innovative ways of reaching prospective clients and bring ever more stringent demands to both graphic designers and printers. Printers must implement the emerging technologies that best suit their customers and the evolving needs of the marketplace; designers must acquaint themselves with new technologies and learn to design with respect to the output device to make best use of the equipment. A short step beyond desktop technology are digital printing systems, "the culmination of many technologies that have been in various stages of development for over 20 years and have finally caught up with each other."1 Digital printers are capable of printing "directly from digital information residing in an electronic file on a computer,"2 "bypassing the multiple and time-consuming steps of film output, proofing, imposition and plate-making required by traditional methods."3 As of today, digital printing is targeted to the short-run and on-demand segments of the industry. "Eventually, digital approaches will apply to just every facet of graphic communication, whether it has to a run of 1,000,000 or just one."4 Statement of The Problem The all-time myth roaming in pressrooms that designers know nothing about printing is not entirely untrue. Often, a design is finished and approved in a studio without the minimal consideration for printing and finishing. The consolidation of a digital workflow today in the printing industry increases the need for designers to acknowledge printing in their brainstorming sessions to create designs that can be produced through emerging technologies. By doing so, they can reduce problems associated with file transfer and output such as missing images and typefaces. The ease of operation of digital presses that can receive a file and print much as a desktop printer does makes them highly attractive to designers and entrepreneurs, providing these a means for printing without all the makeready procedures associated with traditional printing processes. Statement of The Project Goals The purpose of this thesis project is to evaluate the color reproduction of digital printing systems most common in industry through the creation of a universal test instrument with respect to which all the systems will be compared. The results of the test will be used to assess the capabilities of the equipment and determine their ideal applications within the graphic communications industry. A file preparation and specification guide for each of the devices tested will be compiled. The audience at which this study is targeted is graphic designers, who could benefit by learning about the advantages and disadvantages of the various systems and learning to design with these in mind. As a result, particular attention will be paid to the impact these emerging technologies have in designers' approach to producing their work. This thesis project does not suggest the equipment to be tested is the best in the market place. Its results, however, may be used in determining which system is most suitable for implementation. Methodology This thesis project will provide a color reproduction evaluation and comprehensive guides for designers to prepare and expedite files to the following digital presses: Xeikon DCP-32D Indigo E-Print 1000 Xerox DocuColor 40 Heidelberg Quickmaster-DI The criterium defining the color reproduction evaluation and the elements used in the test instrument is the following: Graphic designers, the audience at which this thesis project is targeted, think in terms of memory colors; red, green, and blue. As a result, the elements comprising the test instrument will be those which designers deal with: text and images. The printed samples will be measured with a X-Rite 938 spectrodensitometer, and the results will be complemented with a visual evaluation done under standard lighting conditions. Test Instrument The test instrument will be comprised of the following: CMYK patches and bars 4-color black patches Images of different sources and resolutions Line art Type Overprinting circles Color bars RIT Neutral Balance Target for SWOP RIT 4-Color Spokes Target Evaluation Tone reproduction Solid ink density Total ink density Gray balance Dot gain Resolution Ghosting The second part to this thesis project will involve the compilation of guides to expedite files to each output device. In addition, specifications will be collected to determine the requirements for preparing variable data printing documents.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Digital printing presses; Color printing; Graphic arts
Department, Program, or Center
School of Print Media (CIAS)
Talhami, Jose, "A File preparation tutorial to digital printing for graphic designers" (1999). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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