What advances in digital proofing quality and capabilities can we expect to see in the future?

Answered by Gorden Pritchard, Print Solutions Expert, Creo

What advances in digital proofing quality and capabilities can we expect to see in the future?

Choices, flexibility, and integrity. Only a few years ago, the only proofing option was to actually run the job on a printing press. Then, about twenty years ago, the first off-press proofs made from film became available. More recently, the advent of desktop publishing introduced the option of soft proofing on the designer’s CRT display. All off-press proofs simulate the anticipated presswork, and as a result trade off some degree of absolute accuracy for a less expensive, faster, and more convenient way to produce proof. So, rather than replace existing proofing methods, each of these technologies, added proofing options. The print buyer and printer now have the flexibility, according to the specific project at hand, to balance the degree of proofing accuracy required, relative to the proof’s production cost, time, and convenience. One proofing technology alone does not fit all needs. Therefore, it is likely that in the future we will see a greater degree of acceptance of alternative proofing methods – both hard and soft – by both printers and specifiers.

Technology will also enable more reliable remote proofing – including remote press approvals. Soft proofing, via the internet, will increasingly be integrated into the production workflow resulting in greater control over the production workflow, by allowing 24/7 job access via a web browser for online job submission, proofing, collaboration, approvals, and status tracking. It also improves communication and collaboration among stakeholders of a print job by managing multi-user approval processes; providing e-mail notifications, correction reports, and job histories. Workflow integration of proofing enables the recording of all change requests, approvals, notes, and chats; tracks job activity and status online.

Because there will be so many options available, and consequently increased opportunities or error, we will also see a move to automatically “certifying” the proof creation process as a way to ensure the proof’s integrity and validity.
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