The publishing and advertising services we offer can be grouped into two fairly large classes: prepress and printing. Since, however, the list of materials, which are produced and distributed as electronic documents (e-materials), without ever being printed, constantly grows, we need to encompass two new classes of services, which are specific for the e-products, and represent e-varations of the prepress and printing. We refer to the section of the workflow which precedes the publishing and the publishing itself. Since e-publishing is not printing anymore, we cannot refer to prepress or printing. Therefore, we will call these new services presitong and siting, respectively. If we want to use more general terms, encompassing both the traditional and new activities, we can call them prepublishing and publishing.
Prepress is the term used in the printing and publishing industries for the processes and procedures taking place between the written manuscript and original artwork, and the manufacture of a printing plate, ready for mounting on a printing press.
In today's prepress shop, the form of delivery from the customer is usually electronic, either a PDF or application files created from such programs as InDesign or QuarkXPress.
Today, in the age of desktop publishing, the prepress services include:
- Typesetting has become almost equivalent to typing text to computer-readable files. Today this service is used rarely, since the source materials are usually computer files. It is still used only by pre-computer age authors.
- Copyediting – improves the formatting, style, and accuracy of the source manuscript. These days with the purpose to reduce expenses, it is often the author, who does that, and not an editor with the publisher, which, however, almost invariably leads to lower quality of the text.
- Markup/page layout – a combination of activities brought by the widespread use of desktop publishing. Today the activity is part of the graphic design and handles the arrangement and style treatment of elements (content) on a page.
- Proofreading is the reading of proof (i.e., intermediate) copies in order to detect and correct any errors. These days it is often performed by the author, and consequently quality suffers.
- Scanning of source photos and illustrations. Includes also retouching of scanned images to eliminate possible defects.
- Separation – film-/plate-making applying individual printing media (inks, varnishes, etc.) to a common print.
With tiday's publishing activities computer prepress services encompass graphic design and traditional prepress.
In the not so distant past prepress handed the baton to the printer in the form of exposed (and separated, as necessary) films, and the printer produced from these the required printing plates. Increasingly often prepress ends in a PDF-file, conforming to all aestetic and technical requirements for precise replication by printing. The printer takes care to print these to films and/or printing plates, with CTP (or Computer to plate) technology gaining in popularity.
Digital printing emerges as a viable competitor to classical press. It bridges the gap between the outcome of prepress and the printing by eliminating all intermediate processes. Digital printing operates on the PDF-files directly without the need for separations and registration of the separate colours.
Almost all activities and processes are replicas of the prepress ones. However, there are certain differences, mentioned below. These are the difference in colour models employed, in the required resolutions of graphical objects, and, naturally the use of the new (missing in the classical worlflow) options, namely, hyperlinks, multimedia, and animations.
Traditional colour printing employs the CMYK model (i,e., colour images are produced by consecutively printing of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK separations). E-products, on the other hand, are intended to be used on screen, and employ the RGB colour model (Red-Green-Blue), typical of electronic display and TV. A respective change in the workflow is the lack of the concept and activity of separation.
For good print quality the resolution of photos and images usually must be between 200 and 300 dpi (dots per inch), which is due to the very high resolution of the replication devices like printers and presses. With the e-products, on the other hand, the target is the resolution of the screen image, which typically is 72 dpi or 96 dpi. A simple rule of thumb follows, on the use of Internet-originating photos and images. Internet images need to be as small (regarding file size) as possible, in order to load quickly and reduce the load on the user's Internet connection. Since these objects are viewed on screen, their resolution as a rules is 72 or 96 dpi. The rule is, that direct use of Internet images leads to poor printing quality, but is entirely acceptable with the e-products.
The new possibilites for inclusion of hyperlinks, multimedia, and animations into the e-products, expand immensely the horizons of the authors and designers, but also increase the requirements for their skills, and expand the presiting workflow to include activities and processes, which have no analogues in prepress.
By siting here we mean the placement of an e-publication onto an Internet site. The simplest form of siting is to produce an archive (e.g., a ZIP-file), containing an entire e-publication onto an Internet site for download and subsequent off-line viewing (i.e., active Internet connection is not required).
The more popular form of siting refers to an e-publication which is in fact an Internet site. This e-publication is uploaded onto an Internet server and can be accessed and viewed by the users by means of ordinary Internet browsers like MS Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, etc.