Digital Photography Shortens Production Cycle
While ICC color profiles hold great promise, keep in mind the image that was captured, either digitally or on film, is seldom the image that will be reproduced. Color adjustments, retouching, cloning and color alterations still are requested by art directors and production managers.
While profiles do reduce the complexity of color conversions, even with a tightly calibrated profile for a camera or a scanner, and an equally managed profile for an output device, the transformation from RGB to CMYK may not always produce the expected results. In short, to maintain color quality, high-level color skills must be brought to bear on the process.
Digital Asset Management
In the past, output determined input. That is, if art was destined for offset printing it was separated one way; for gravure, another. If the art was needed again for another process, or at another size, the original transparency was scanned again. Today, assets must be flexible, usable in both printing processes and electronic media.
Digital images—that is, digital assets—must be managed so they’re available where and when required, in the right format, the right color and for the right customer. A digital asset management (DAM) system and someone to run it is a necessity.
In the past the original, physical transparency was the starting point. Today, it’s the original digital capture. Keep it safe; knowing where to find the original version is critical. A DAM provides new opportunities for cost reduction and facilitates reuse in multiple arenas, such as customer service, shipping and receiving, as well as the Web and other print events.
Digital photography is useful; it improves all corners of the basic triangle of cost, schedule and quality. It’s affordable, it shortens the workflow, and the imagery is surpassing film (in terms of color) for many catalog applications.