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FLEXO Magazine : July 2012
PROTECT THE IMAGE Images can be reproduced incorrectly, just because they are received with unacceptable parameters, or if they are not processed correctly. Preflight programs are good at monitoring the size of im- ages. We are all guilty of taking screen shots, reproducing small graphics, or accepting images from digital cameras or phones that are too small. While this is usually not an issue when working with large brand owners who are meticulous about their artwork, it can happen with smaller clients. A line screen must match the anilox rule, and the image resolution must match the line screen. The simple rule is that your image resolution should be 2-2 .5 times the screen value. And, the anilox selection should be 5-6 times the line screen. A lot of people miss this important quality rule. As we progress to high definition flexo with higher screen rulings, it means that we have to be more diligent in monitoring the size of photos, and changing the preflighting parameters to catch images we might have approved in the past. Too often images are supplied from Adobe® Photoshop® at 300 dpi or lower and, with the intent of printing175-200 line screens, operators then try to work with 850 anilox rules. The result? You lose detail and, just as important, you lose tonal range. Also, before you get too far down the reproduction road, make sure you convert your RGB images to CMYK for the intended reproduction. While some companies check for, and reject, RGB files from their preflight applications, it is prefer- able to start with the raw RGB image then convert to CMYK with the intended output profile. Raw RGB images contain valuable color data for both CMYK and extended gamut printing. Unless your customer knows what he/she is doing, it would be better for the prepress department to separate the image into CMYK and keep as much of the gamut as possible for the printing standards. Also, think of the times when you are using an extended gamut ink set. Accepting only CMYK images from the designer limits the color that you will be able to print without the use of additional retouching tools to enhance the chroma of the images. STRUCTURE WORKFLOW Some companies do not do enough to check the geometric properties of the design, and end up with issues down the road. There are a number of plug-ins available that can import structural designs into Adobe® Illustrator® to ensure the proper fit and construction. They allow the prepress depart- ment to visualize the graphic with the structural layer. Before we start, many programs will secure the structural layer so that someone who does not know the impact cannot pur- posely or accidentally manipulate it. It’s pretty common that people would export an EPS file into Illustrator® and, without the proper security in place, files inadvertently get edited. An Preflight programs can help catch a wide range of design transgressions. 52 FLEXO july 2012 www.flexography.org