Proof and Consequences
It may seem like prepress speaks its own language at times. And as the printing industry grew with CTP over the past ten or more years, digital proofing became an integral part of the process, though the need for proofs still relied on three basic tenants: to avoid mistakes, evaluate the overall product, and to best understand how both printer and publisher will reconcile the final image on-press. Because proofs need to depict the most realistic, color-matched image of the final product, non-calibrated proofs are more of a hindrance than a help. And while CTP, the process, was ironing out it's own kinks based on this ideal, proofing was also undergoing a similar evolution. The big question became: how to match what's on screen in print digitally?
Because proofing and producing digital content from graphic design software is of different quality than using film, the same proofing methods don't suit digital production. A wide range of proofs are used by designers as examples to check graphics and typography. But the explosion in the use of color in desktop publishing also created the need for a digital proof that truly matches end products. For instance, RIPs are often printed on dye-sublimation devices, but with concern that if output is, on average, 300dpi, the image may not clearly be readable as if graphed in higher resolution. Also, because sometimes colors are different from printing inks, values may not match CMYK combinations. If publishers require highly accurate final color proofs, systems must, first, be calibrated to match printer specifications, thus making remote proofing an advantage.
Still most markets have abandoned the contract proof once converted to digital workflows.Terminology and definitions seem to be causing as many problems in the proofing sector as the number of digital proofing devices saturate the market. Among these changes, remote or distributed proofing has gained strong credibility, reducing the need for intermediary proofs and thus decreasing overall production time and cost.