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Perfecting Your Digital Proofs

(August/September 2018) posted on Wed Oct 03, 2018

With the right techniques, you can produce digital proofs that even your most demanding customers will accept – and you can even automate the procedure.

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By Thomas Trimingham

Save your prepared file, then make a copy of it, and label it “test” in the file name. Save this second version but keep it open. This way, you will not accidentally record over your original file. Open up the action script dialog box and make sure you are not in “button mode” so you can see each command as it is recorded. (Just click this option off if necessary.) Next, click on New Set to make a new folder for your collection of scripts. Label this “halftone proof” or something similar. (See Figure 3.) Once you have created a new folder, make sure the Channel menu is open and then select the New Action command from the action dialog. This will be the file that will ultimately contain your recorded steps. Name it something like “halftone proof test 1” and then click the Record button. You will now be recording every step you do to your file until you stop the recording, so it’s important to follow commands that will work for multiple files. 

Figure 3

These are the steps that I took to create the action script on my practice file. (Note that Mac users can generally substitute the Command key for the PC’s Ctrl key.)

1. I duplicated the file (Image/Duplicate). This ensures that if you forget and run this script on an original file, you won’t overwrite or damage it.

2. With the Channel menu open, I selected the Underbase channel.

3. I selected all of the channels using the Ctrl-A command.

4. I copied the selection using Ctrl-C.

5. I created a new document from the copy using the Ctrl-N command. Since a channel is a grayscale image, this will create a new grayscale document the exact size of the selection.

6. I pasted the copy into the new document using the Ctrl-V command.

7. I merged the layers in the new file using the command Ctrl-Shift-E.

8. I converted the image to a bitmap (Image/Mode/Bitmap). For the practice file, I used a bigger than normal halftone to be visible. I set the output at 300 pixels per inch and selected “halftone screen” as the method. After clicking the OK button, I set the halftone screen at 15 lines per inch, 22 degrees, and a round shape. Then I clicked OK to finalize. (Obviously, for normal printing, I’d use a higher halftone such as 42-55 lines per inch.)


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