With the onset of the computer age, finding a way to use printers more accurately has become the task of those who want to get clear and perfect, or as near perfect as possible, images in print without colors ‘bleeding’ into each other. Image setters (computer output device) and screen plate setters (raster image processor) are two of those systems that help in this process.
With the computer output device, the purpose is to expose rolls of film onto a bromide paper to get an image. This produces an exceptional quality black and white image to be used in printing. The range of width normally falls in the one foot to 44 inch range but the resolution is of a very high standard.
This machine has been overtaken by the raster image processor of late. The raster image processor produces a lithographic style plate which can then be used on an offset printer.
All these forms of producing lithographic plates are for the purpose of printing multiple copies of the same thing. This occurs in the printing and publishing industry and is how we get newspapers with colored photos etc. Before the plates go off to be put on the printing press, they are checked over for errors or mistakes and this is a much easier method than used to be employed many years ago when each page would literally be stamped out with a last that was made up of hand mounted letters. This is what compositors did but is rarely used these days.
There is a long procedure involved in any kind of printing to make sure that all the copy is accurate and that all photos are printed properly. Below are some of the terms used in the printing industry with explanations of what the different terms stand for.
Copy editing is another way to make sure that all the news stories, or information that is about to be published, is accurate and that all the photos or images being used are correct. This is done well before the proof readers get to work and is just one stage in the process before printing begins.
Proof readers check out a facsimile of the finished product before it is mass produced to stop any errors getting into public view. Proofing, on the other hand means that someone makes up an accurate copy of what the finished product will look like so that the proof reader can take a good look at it.
Of course, there are many other processes that take place just to get out, for example, a newspaper. Colored photos have to have a separate plate for each and every color that is to be used. This is why color leaflets or pamphlets are quite expensive. But by doing this, the image turns out crisper and cleaner than computer generated prints which often look fuzzy around the edges.
For those who want to stay with the older form of printing, there are some companies that still provide the traditional form of printed matter. However, cutting edge technology means that this product is getting cheaper by the day.