Ensure Color Quality in Your Catalogs
Step 2: Prepress
Once the shots are taken, image color correction requires a highly skilled color operator “adjusting the curves” and proofing to a high-end digital proofer.
“Raw color scans, whether from a drum scanner or a digital camera, require color correcting to become great color,” says McIntyre. “Digital captures present different color problems than drum scans of transparencies, but that’s all.”
A complicating factor in catalog prepress work is that a typical catalog page has a mix of logo files, images and text. Kenneth Elsman, color scientist for Global Graphics Software based in the United Kingdom, explains, “Logos must be a specific color and are separated into CMYK. Images may be photographs in standard film or digital format, or they could be flat art that’s been scanned.”
A decision must be made whether to work in an all-CMYK workflow or a combination of RGB and CMYK. RIP (Raster Image Processing) software allows you to get from one to the other.
Elsman notes that if you’re generating digital proofs in-house, it’s helpful to have the same software as your printer.
“As proofing has come down in price, more companies are using in-house digital proofs. You can buy a RIP printer for less than $10,000,” he says.
In deciding which prepress proofing software to use, first determine what kind of proof you need, Elsman advises. This may depend on what types of applications you’re using: Quark, PhotoShop, PDFs, etc. Also be sure the color house or printer can accept the file formats used in your design. “You want to use the same RIP for both,” he explains.
Traditionally, catalogers turned to prepress service companies—or color houses—to handle many of these tasks. Today, all of the larger catalog printers offer prepress, says Scott Stadler, a manager in catalog sales for Quad/Graphics, a full-service printing company. If you’re considering having your printer handle your color prepress work, the following questions should be answered: