The Soft Side of Proofing
The need for digital proofing is growing, as in-plants move to CTP. Does monitor-based proofing have a place in your shop?
By Mark Smith and Bob Neubauer
ith film disappearing from many in-plants' workflows due to the rise of computer-to-plate technology, the need for digital proofing has never been greater.
Many new CTP users, like Ball State University Printing Services, are sticking with hard copy proofs. Now that it has a new Screen (U.S.A.) PlateRite 4100 platesetter, the Muncie, Ind., in-plant is using ink-jet proofs from Kodak Polychrome Graphics' Matchprint ProofPro 2610 driven by a ProofPro RIP to proof jobs.
"The color is as accurate as our old analog proofs," remarks Director Ken Johnson.
On the other end of the scale, a rare few printers are debating whether proofs need to be used at all. (See story elsewhere on this site.) In between are fans of digital soft proofing systems. Though many are wary of virtual (monitor-based) proofing, citing concerns of color consistency from monitor to monitor, the decision of whether or not to use use soft proofing really depends on the purpose of the proof itself.
In a session on soft proofing at the recent IPG Conference in New York, Miriam O. Frawley, president of e-Diner Design & Marketing, reminded attendees that no proof is perfect; they are all just very good technological guesses. Even traditional contract proofs can't truly be matched on press, she said. What's more, some monitor-based proofers feature on-screen densitometers and SWOP certification so they're just as good of a "technological guess" as traditional proofs.
At the same session, Chuck Konkol, a professor at Rock Valley College, in Rockford, Ill., pointed out that digital soft proofing can let you maximize client interaction at the workflow's front end, saving time and money.
Is Printing Going Soft?