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Digital Printing Versus Direct-To-Plate

For small quantity, full color (CMYK) projects, these two methods would be the best way to go. They have both been around just a short period of time, but never the less are the best way to go.

In the past creating a plate involved creating a film (negative) and that film would be burned positively on to a metal plate, then the plate is then ready to be placed on the printing press. With computer to plate technology the film has been taken out of the plate making process. What this means is that instead of your art work being created to a piece of film, the art work is sent directly from the computer to the plate maker (image setter). The image setter burns the printed image on to the metal plates with laser. When done the plates are then placed on the printing press.

Computer to plate printing has become very popular for low quantity short run printed projects. Because the computer to plate process has eliminated the need to produce film, which has proven to be expensive and time consuming to produce.

There can be a disadvantage to using computer to plate printing. In the past traditional methods of printing allowed you to color correct your proof by checking the film and creating proofs such as chromalins, color keys and blue lines etc. The reason for this is because computer to plate printing subtracts the film from the equation. Therefore making it nearly impossible to create a color correct proof.

Many people would see Digital Printing to be similar to photocopiers. In this process neither film nor plate were created, the file was sent straight from the computer file to the Digital Printing machine.

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