Living Digitally in a Four-Color World
How CTP catches on
"For us, it was creating and maintaining customer confidence," says Bauer. "How we addressed it was finding out what their reservations were and educating (them) if it was perceived, or, if it was a real problem, fixing it."
Developing good practices with font- and image-management is also a key ingredient in a successful switch to a CTP workflow, he adds. "Another thing we observed was once publishers develop a comfort level with CTP, their acceptance isn't gradual--it's almost immediate," he continues, recalling how some publishers saw potential cost and time savings and, as a result, converted.
For NAOG, learning the technology and learning to communicate with the service bureau (used for scanning) and the printer were the most important aspects in doing color work in a CTP environment, admits Carpenter.
Wills recalls what fears Banta had to face: "Our prep department had enjoyed a very successful conventional workflow for many years which endured the days of letterpress, phototypesetting, opticopy imposition and finally digitally imposed film; CTP was a big leap forward which upset the apple cart substantially."
Uncertainty as to the fidelity of the digital proofs and digital files and plates was a big issue, he admits, along with enduring the high cost of technology. Profit margins have narrowed and the shelf life of technology is turning around every 18 months causing companies to upgrade or scrap equipment, he elaborates.
Learning how to deal with digital proofs was also an issue for the New York City-based Henry Holt & Co., says Ivor Parker, vice president of production and manufacturing services. "Basically, I don't think any conversions happen so that all the issues are solved," but the primary hurdle with CTP is getting on board with digital proofing, he points out, noting that Henry Holt is planning to print children's books CTP at the recently opened Phoenix Color facility in Rockaway, NJ. "The production of children's books is a very traditional culture, so to speak, and it will be very interesting to see how publishers adapt and employ the new technology," Parker comments.