Traveling Through Digital Waters
For color conversion from RGB to CMYK, Balint recently began using LinoColor from Heidelberg CPS, the same software application his prepress vendor uses when scanning. “We found that in shooting digital and dropping [the model images] into Photoshop and color separating them, the models were coming out a little red,” Balint explains. “I was pointing a finger at the digital camera technology because we never really had this problem with our conventional shots. But as it turns out, Photoshop has a weakness in color separating fleshtones; they just tend to go pink. We’re still in our infancy period with LinoColor, but so far, we like what we see.”
Blazing a Filmless Trail
Once Balint’s team finalizes the catalog’s layout and Magellan’s has approved the pages, the files are converted to PDFs (Adobe’s Portable Document Format) and sent to Quad/Graphics for printing. The files, however, are not transmitted digitally. Even with the file size reduction inherent in the PDF conversion, each page of the Fall catalog contains up to 20MB of data.
“If we were sending this catalog digitally, it would be cranking all night,” Balint laments. Instead, he has chosen to stick with overnight carriers. But instead of sending removable storage media, Balint removes one of his external G3 hard drives, complete with all PDFs and their native application counterparts, and ships the entire drive to Quad. No bad disks, no compatibility problems, no missing components.
“The PDF files go direct to the printer, and the time has shortened, and the cost has come down on all of that to where I think we will see a bit of a savings even at this stage,” McManus predicts.
For now, the benefits of digital prepublishing technologies and the revised look and feel of Magellan’s catalog can be measured only in terms of manufacturing costs and time to market. Although important benchmarks, they cannot provide the crucial data of customer reception.