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Digital Remote Soft Proofing: The Key to Effective Color Communication

(June 2008) posted on Thu Jun 19, 2008

Digital remote soft proofing offers screen and digital printers a way to improve color control, speed up time to press, and greatly reduce rejects. Read on to find out more about this technology and some of the other benefits you can reap when you implement a remote soft proofing system.

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By Mark A. Coudray

Remote Director incorporates both hardware and software in a very flexible environment to effectively de-liver managed virtual color. ICS takes the position that color management has moved beyond the early adopter phase and is now mature enough to appeal to the mainstream graphics community. To make this assertion, they have addressed many of the issues outlined above to provide a workable system that speeds up the approval process and saves time and money overall.

Remote Director is much more than just a color-management tool for consistent viewing of digital files. The goal of the system is threefold: collaboration, brand integrity, and project management.

Beginning with the collaboration element, the software is able to manage digital assets from server-based asset-management systems like those from Xinet. The intent is to effectively manage today’s virtual-workgroup environment. The trend toward outsourcing key components of the creative process continues as more and more companies consolidate and downsize, which has led to the creation of virtual workgroups. The formation of a virtual workgroup requires some method by which all parties can effectively collaborate. Enter ICS.

Communication is the backbone of remote soft proofing. The old-school way was to hover over chromalins or press proofs, mark them up, and send them back for another round of corrections. In a Web-based collaborative environment, all parties do the same, but digitally. Color-managed images are displayed and each party can use a mouse or digital tablet to highlight and mark up the file on the screen. All actions are logged and annotated with a traceable version-control scheme. Anyone who makes a correction or revision becomes part of the history of the project.

The software supports automatic e-mail notification when changes are made. The e-mail, which is sent to key people, includes a summary of corrections, changes, etc., as well as the version history, description of the job, and instructions for the next step. A unique URL is generated so that clients and collaborators can find the password-protected page or pages. The data can even be pushed out to a Blackberry or other Web-enabled mobile device.


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