The Snowball Effect
Unlike many of his publishing industry peers, Fayfield is young and forward-thinking. Whereas CTP has been perceived as an obstacle to some of those who have been in the know for years, this more idealistic constituency of 20-somethings was weaned on it. Fine says that a lot of young publishers have never even heard of paste-ups and clip art because they matured in a digital world without wires. During Fine's many years in the industry, he's noticed distinct differences between Generation X publishers and the old school.
"[Younger publishers] don't seem to come with any predetermined expectations," says Fine. "On one hand, they lack traditional manufacturing experience, but on the other, they're open to new technology." They're also not as dedicated to maintaining ties. Fine explains that if a printer talks one of these young entrepreneurs into a selfish business venture that they later find out to be a bad idea, "They'll drop you and move onto someone who they trust and can grow with."
Since American Web, the magazine's printer, already installed Heidelberg and CreoScitex's Prinergy, a system that Fine says resolves digital quality concerns of the past, such as missing fonts, the guys at Freeskier agreed to the conversion.
Rick Urso, prepress manager at American Web, explains, "Three years ago when we looked at the [CreoScitex] system, we liked the equipment, but it was a hybrid work needing to pull together more quality issues. When Prinergy was released, it put PDF workflow together with good output media." Urso also charges that it's most important to remember that no workflow is 100 percent perfect. "I've yet to see a workflow that's flawless," he elaborates.
"The biggest bottleneck of the CTP workflow relates to [ad submission]," reports Fine. "In the future, all jobs will be 100 percent digital. In the short term, portions of the jobs will require copy-dot conversion." During transition, he says supplied film can readily be converted to digital files. For Freeskier, the first 108-page CTP edition with an ad/edit ratio of 40/60 required copy-dot scanning for 18 ads on CreoScitex's Renaissance II scanner, but by the second issue, that number was cut in half. And by the third, only six ads required conversion. All the non-digital ads now require plate-ready, negative film with emulsion-side down at 150 line screen. Proofs for film or digital submissions must also accompany such ads.