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Techno barrier broken for approved digital proofs

Tuesday, 06 March 2001
By Print 21 Online Article

Industry digital standards body, 3dAP, has broken the price barrier for approved digital colour proofing by giving the green light to the ColorTuner, an Epson large format DoD ink-jet engine powered by CGS software.

The proofing sub-committee gave its seal of approval to the relatively low-cost solution, which costs approx $60,000 as opposed to an average of $200,000-plus for the four accepted high-end engines; the DuPont Digital Cromalin, Imation, Iris and the Kodak Approval. Files conforming to such digital proofs are accepted as meeting the standard for accurate printing results. All proofs are measured against a set of files output from a DuPont Cromalin EuroSprint.

The entrance of the new solution is expected to open the floodgates to demands for similar DoD ink-jet solutions to be considered notably the CPI Black Magic software. High-end systems use a continuous flow inkjet system that claims to give a superior level of accuracy.

Fuelled by the decision from major magazine publishers, ACP and PMP to move to filmless CTP production by mid-year, the 3dAP proofing sub-committee launched its new list of approved engines at a GASAA event in Sydney on Wednesday Feb 21. In addition to the inclusion of ColorTuner, the Kodak Approval proofing system received its long overdue recognition.

The acceptance of the more modestly priced ColorTuner will be greeted with relief by smaller advertising agencies and trade shops that would otherwise struggle to justify the expense of a high-end solution. If they were unable to supply an approved proof with digital files they would be barred from supplying artwork to the major magazine printers.

According to committee member Peter O’Hanlon of Seven Sydney, the standard of proof from the Epson came as a surprise. “We looked at the results under the usual 5000 Kelvin light conditions and measured the proofs by spectrophotometer. There was no question about the accuracy of the proof. These systems are getting better all the time,” he said.

3dAP has also approved Adobe PDF as the approved file format for digital transmission.

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