The Snowball Effect
Behind the scenes of the high-gloss, high-energy magazine, Art Director Paul Marais warns that while CTP has saved time and made money, it's also added more internal steps during the production process. "Now, I have to
preflight and sometimes fix ads. It takes more time per ad, but in the long run," he admits, "the turnaround is much faster. I think we work in a slightly different way to a lot of magazines because we are so graphic intensive." The bulkier file sizes, as a result, are all preflighted in-house using Markware's FlightCheck software.
Marais says all edit pages are also readied in-house using a full slate of Mac-friendly products, including QuarkXPress for page layout. "Because we were already used to dealing with high-res issues up to 6 GBs," Marais explains, "when the ads came in for the first time [after CTP], we were used to it."
"It's a trade-off to be creative and fast," quips Marais. "You have to be both." To ensure that production stays on top of the workload, the staff developed standards and practices for the CTP workflow. "We try to accept a variety of image files, such as EPS, Bitmap and TIF," says Marais, some of which are loaded onto disks and CD-ROMs rather than directly onto the FTP site used to transmit to the printer. "We don't actually send the entire magazine via the Internet," he continues, because many high-res photo spreads and full-page graphics would take hours to load via a 640k DSL line. Marais says that the crew is considering upgrades to bandwidth and from Apple G3s to G4s, but no formal investments have yet been made.
In the future, Marais would like to produce the magazine in PDF format, but at this point he believes the undertaking would create more work than less.