Living Digitally in a Four-Color World
In addition to proofing, quality of files received and managing the whole infrastructure were the issues Quebecor addressed by using improved hardware and software and improving the internal workflow, says Charlton.
The biggest obstacle in the process of conversion for Time Inc. was proofing integrity, reveals Calvano. "It was technically addressed by calibration testing," he comments. "It was aesthetically addressed by negating some established paradigms of our clients and vendors."
Waiting to be fixed
Some elements of a CTP workflow are still problematic. File-preparation issues, like missing fonts and generally "poorly prepared pages" aren't limited to a CTP workflow, says Bauer, but need to be addressed nevertheless. Designers' files aren't always accurate, says Calvano, naming overprint, knockouts and CMYK separation as occasional trouble areas, adding that consistency of the final file formats submitted to the printer and printer calibration of plates are important.
For NAOG, too, says Carpenter, training of designers is important. "By this I mean teaching them to be consistent and proper in the way they construct the files, so that our printer is getting consistent packages to work with. We utilize a fair amount of outside design services," he explains.
Trapping software still needs improvement, adds Charlton. "Quality is still not as predictable as we would like it to be," he says.
Wills sums it up: "Those of us producing high-volume, multi-colored, long and short-run (work) CTP know it's got a way to go," he says. "It's not here yet, despite what you may hear, (and) it can't come fast enough!"
Perhaps for that reason, says Andersen, conventional platemaking today still outnumbers CTP three to one. "Prepress houses which have the capabilities to deliver projects from conception to design, art, text, file-building and even long-term storage and file management," he stresses, "and still be able to deliver digital information on a disk that is ripped and proofed per printer's specifications, are the prepress houses of the future."