"If they want to go to another printer, there's no involvement with us. In the old days, [we] had to pack the film up and transport it. Well, now it's fairly easy. From our point of view, it's quick and efficient."
With the elimination of film, one hurdle print providers struggle with is providing their customers with a good-looking proof that meets all of the desired color-management issues. In fact, some publishers have stopped paying attention to proofs because they know the proofs won't match the finished piece.
"I feel a little more nervous about proofs being accurate, but haven't had any problems despite my nervousness," says Collins. "I hope for the best more than I used to. With film, the proofs that you get are indicative of the final job because they're using the same process."
O'Reilly's Willing says she gives her printers PDF files and has done away with the proofing process because the finished product is so accurate.
"They're getting the registration spot on, and we're getting the [turnarounds] we want, so it's a whole combination of technologies that came into play."
The combination Willing mentions is remote and soft proofing software, referred to by some as the stepchildren, or offspring, of CtP technology. In recent years, companies such as Kodak Polychrome Graphics, RealTimeImage, and Integrated Color Solutions, have developed proofing systems that allow production managers to print a proof off site (remote proofing) or view a proof on a calibrated monitor under controlled, ambient lighting (soft proofing).
"There are software advances that make it possible to RIP with integrity when it comes to proofing," says Brenda Brown, manager of prepress with Malloy Inc., a book manufacturer in Ann Arbor, Mich., that has implemented CtP since it was first available.
"Certainly all the software that's been developed and hit the market recently for color management has made a huge difference in [our ability] to provide color-managed proofs."