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FLEXO Magazine : July 2012
After the proper application of the standards in Section 12, a one-up is produced for customer approval. This file will have also gone through the color management process described in the following section and a contract proof pro- duced for customer sign off. At some point in the workflow this one-up may be stepped, staggered and/or nested to maximize the capabilities of the press and minimize substrate waste. At that point targets, marks and bars are also applied. These standards are refer- enced in Section 12.9 . COLOR MANAGEMENT AND PROOFING Section 14 of FIRST 4.0 deals extensively with the complex and varied methodologies used to manage color and predict- ably proof the job. In this section, the different methods of color management are addressed. While not endorsing one philosophy or technique, Section 14 sets standards and ad- dresses the commonalities. The ultimate goal is of course to ensure that the colors envisioned in the mind’s eye of the brand owner and designer are present on the finished product. To do so requires proper hardware, software and color knowledge. Once the proper tools are in place, calibration of every one and verification through a series of proofing exercises must be conducted to meet the color expectation of the customer. Every step must be known, measured and calibrated start- ing with the various instruments and following with monitors, image-capture devices (cameras, scanners, etc.), proofers, output devices and the printing press. As all of these various capture, proofing and output possi- bilities have different methods of color input and output (RGB, CMYK, CMYKOVG, CMYK + spots, etc.) their color gamuts are different and require the employment of various image retouching and manipulation techniques. The final result is a contract proof that will accurately repre- sent the finished job by tying it together with the platemaking and press characteristics Section 14 is a comprehensive and detailed guide to help assure achievement in a predictable and repeatable fashion to satisfy the customers’ requirements. RIP’ING AND SCREENING The acronym RIP stands for Raster Image Processor. Up to this point in the workflow we have used a RIP to produce the proofs and ensured that the proofing RIP and platemaking RIP are properly matched to produce printing plates that will accurately match the contract proof. Section 15 in FIRST 4.0 refers to this process: the applica- tion of screening and distortion for the platemaking or engrav- ing process. Dot shape, screen line ruling and angle all must be consid- ered and applied properly to avoid conflicts that can result in moiré and other objectionable patterning on the print. Furthermore, the screen line rulings must be selected to be compatible with the anilox rolls and the printing capabilities of the printing press. Here the compromises between quality, ease of printing and consistency are made. Distortion formulae are also addressed in this section to compensate for the fact that we are making flat plates that will be printed in the round. The platemaker may employ a bump curve to compen- sate for the difference between the size of the ablated hole in the LAMS layer and the finished dot. If this technique is used, it will be applied at the RIP and is addressed in Sec- tion 17.2 of FIRST 4.0. Not yet addressed in FIRST 4.0 are the specialty screens used to increase highlight detail, tonal range or solid ink densities. As these evolve I expect them to be added to the standards. PLATEMAKING Assuming we have followed the proper path in assembling the file, managing the color and applying screening the final task of making the finished flexo plate should be simple. Soft Proofing: In order for soft proofing to be successful, the monitor must be color-calibrated. Eye Mark Specifications for size, location, and color vary greatly and depend on the requirements of the converting equipment 48 FLEXO july 2012 www.flexography.org