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Image Assembly on a Carrier Base

(January 2001) posted on Fri Oct 19, 2001

Coudray points out useful applications for carrier-based positives and tells how to put them together for accurate results in screenmaking.

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By Mark A. Coudray

Even with all of the digital prepress software and equipment at your disposal, you may find it necessary to assemble multiple image elements on a carrier or strip base for imaging onto the screen. Often, this assembly of elements can become very complex, presenting the opportunity for any one of a number of different types of errors.


This month, in a departure from the normal digital emphasis of this column, I'll revisit some of the time-tested techniques that can aid you in creating better-assembled composites on carrier bases, which are typically referred to as <I>flats</I>. The techniques you'll learn about are designed to aid in progressive, accurate registration of design elements and their accurate translation to the stencil.


The need for a carrier base


You can use a carrier or strip base for any of several very good reasons. The most obvious is that the image you need to print is larger than the film you are outputting. In order to save on expensive imagesetter film, small elements are assembled on a carrier sheet. Any number of elements can be handled this way, but as you shall soon see, some limitations apply.


One situation when a carrier base could be useful is when you are using a four-color-process image as part of a poster, and the actual separations are considerably smaller than the overall poster dimensions. To save on costs, you could or-der smaller separations and assemble them on carrier sheets in the appropriate positions. The remaining design elements of the poster would then be assembled around the separations.


A variation on this theme would be if you needed to change information in a selected portion of the image based on where the graphics are going to be used. This changing information is called variable data, and it might be used to customize prints for different store locations or perhaps different pricing in different markets.



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