June 4, 2004 -- (Quad/Graphics) -- Our use of the very latest in proofing technology — "soft" proofs delivered by calibrated monitors — is helping reduce the need to pull multiple rounds of costly, time-consuming hard proofs during the color mark-up stage and allowing us to trim client's turnaround times dramatically. Assuredly, this absence of hard proofs is making for a more efficient workflow.
Using profile-assisted, calibrated monitors, we have access to digital files that accurately represent final (read: press-produced) color. Before any hard proof is pulled, we can internally evaluate these files onscreen, making color judgments and moves, if necessary, over and over until desired color is achieved. Eliminated is the time and waste involved in pulling multiple rounds of hard proofs in the process.
"By eliminating unnecessary hard proofs, we can speed up turnaround times and improve the quality of color," says Tom Frankowski, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing.
With soft proofing, when clients see near-final proofs, they're often the first hard proofs that have been pulled in the process. This is made possible by calibrating our monitors with ICC (International Color Consortium) color profiles according to each type of proofing system we use (e.g., Iris or Kodak). Without fail, the color that is achieved on screen will be accurately reproduced in the final hard proofs, and then later on press.
In some instances, soft proofing is giving clients — particularly art directors — the ability to collaborate with our color specialists, shoulder-to-shoulder, to work their images on the spot. These cases require only one hard proof be pulled for the final press proof.
The benefits of soft proofing are undeniable. And while its possibilities are just now starting to be realized, the technology's potential to completely eliminate hard proofs — from prepress to press-side — is imminent.
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