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  • Certified Contract Proofing on a budget!

    Ok, so hardcore, certified, contract proofing.

    In which cases am i likely to be asked for a hard proof these days? is it common for editorial or just advertising or perhaps it just depends on how high level the client is? I always soft proof with the destination profile anyway but of course this isn't always accurate enough. I see more and more studios offering proofs so it must give an edge and confidence for the client.

    Can anyone enlighten me on the equipment and cost of a small, budget certified proofing setup?
    Would I need; some proofing software, a supported printer (epson 4900?), supported paper, an i1 publish device, a technician to visit me, test my setup and give me a certificate to hang on my front door? Anything I'm missing?

  • #2
    Re: Certified Contract Proofing on a budget!

    Unless you are the one who will be doing the final printing, whatever form that may be, getting your proofs to match another press, which you have no control over, will not be simple and most likely have issues.
    Last edited by Shoku; 08-20-2013, 05:37 PM.

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    • #3
      Re: Certified Contract Proofing on a budget!

      Thanks Shoku, I was just wondering about others experiences and processes of hard proofing, I don't think its realistic for a freelancer to have a setup for this because of the costs, variables and not to mentioned legal issues of the getting the proofs 'correct'

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      • #4
        Re: Certified Contract Proofing on a budget!

        Anything could in theory be called a contract proof. It's a contract between two parties (the print buyer and the printer). One could use an Epson. As long as the print shop agrees to print on the press the output to match (within reason) the proof, anything goes.

        Anyone that pays for press work without a contract proof could be in a very expensive and dangerous situation if there's a mismatch.

        http://www.ppmag.com/reviews/200703_rodneycm.pdf

        http://www.ppmag.com/reviews/200704_rodneycm.pdf

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        • #5
          Re: Certified Contract Proofing on a budget!

          Well said, Andrew.

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          • #6
            Re: Certified Contract Proofing on a budget!

            I worked on the prepress side for years, and three years of which were actually within a large commercial printing plant in the Northeast USA that printed hundreds of thousands of magazines. Just so you know where I'm coming from.

            Do not even concern yourself with making any sort of "hard proof" or "contract proof" for a client. It's impossible for you to make an accurate proof for their press requirements unless you are constantly on top of profiles needed for the final run, and have almost day to day contact with the prepress department. If anybody somehow asks you for some sort of press proof, kindly refuse and defer to the prepress department that will be the intermediary between client and press. It is not your job at all. Just supply your image in Adobe RGB, not CMYK (repeat, not CMYK), and let them have at it when they convert.

            That said, a smallish commercial printer would be a fun but expensive toy to have in your retouching office for personal work or printmaking for clients. Just a little knowledge about profiles is needed on your side, and a quality monitor calibrated to the printer output. The 4900 is pretty nice, but, the consensus over at Luminous Landscape is that the 3880, http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/j...80/Overview.do , is an incredibly reliable machine. The 4900, like the 7900 and 9900, is a little prone to head clog problems if not used very much. Do not be deceived by what looks like a low cost entry into printing at home. Epson makes money from ink and paper, and sells machines cheap.

            Have fun.

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            • #7
              Re: Certified Contract Proofing on a budget!

              Sorry for the delay, thanks for all your replies. I been very busy since sept, I spent a couple of weeks freelancing in a London studio and have been flat out since. At the studio they seemed to be making proofs for most ad/higher end magazine jobs and posting them out to clients, using a epson 4900 with a spectroproofer.
              As you advise I think ill pass on doing my own proofs, ut will print out for personal use for checking. However I do wonder why so many retouching studio then do offer certified proofs if they're not in direct contact with the printers. (I didnt want to bother them too much asking too many questions)

              On a slight tangent, if you're only submitting work in adobe rgb, how far do you go in correcting colour shifts and ink density if your not doing the conversion yourself?

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              • #8
                Re: Certified Contract Proofing on a budget!

                Originally posted by rl-retouch View Post
                On a slight tangent, if you're only submitting work in adobe rgb, how far do you go in correcting colour shifts and ink density if your not doing the conversion yourself?
                Unless you have the actual output profile and control over the conversions, you can't.

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                • #9
                  Re: Certified Contract Proofing on a budget!

                  Thanks Andrew, so if you knew for example, an image was going into a conde nast magazine, which uses a fairly standard isocoatedv2 300%, would you softproof with that profile just to make sure its not changing too much and make relevant adjustments, rather than completely leaving any shifts in the hands of the magazine prepress/printer Or would you just hand it off without concerning yourself with that aspect.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Certified Contract Proofing on a budget!

                    Originally posted by rl-retouch View Post
                    Thanks Andrew, so if you knew for example, an image was going into a conde nast magazine, which uses a fairly standard isocoatedv2 300%, would you softproof with that profile just to make sure its not changing too much and make relevant adjustments, rather than completely leaving any shifts in the hands of the magazine prepress/printer Or would you just hand it off without concerning yourself with that aspect.
                    I'd never assume that any print output is 'standardized' and thus, without absolute guarantee by having the output profile and permission to convert that data, I'd leave the data alone. And unless I knew the other people in the workflow fully understand color management, I'd never hand them Adobe RGB (1998). That's a recipe for disater in the wrong hands.

                    What you could do is this: convert from RGB to this assumed standardized CMYK output, then BACK to sRGB. Hand them the sRGB data. What this would do is place all the RGB data within the gamut of the assumed output gamut while handing them something they can convert to CMYK. Yes it takes time and there's some data loss. But it will work if you know the people getting the RGB data are color management impaired. Let them convert and provide you specific documentation that does not hold you responsible for any color/tone issues on-press.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Certified Contract Proofing on a budget!

                      I haven't made any sort of proof in years. It's all well and good, in theory, to be knocking out proofs but in practice if you aren't totally in control of the process it is nothing more than a pantomime. All my clients like to make their own proofs and then nail the printer down to matching them! Suits me as I avoid any post mortems lol.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Certified Contract Proofing on a budget!

                        It's all well and good, in theory, to be knocking out proofs but in practice if you aren't totally in control of the process it is nothing more than a pantomime.
                        The reason to make a proof, a Contract Proof is so if you end up at the press check and the output from the press isn't matching (within reason) the proof, you're off the hook. You don't pay, you don't do anything but show up when the pressman has that press and the contract proof matching. Unless you want to spend say $5000 an hour mucking around on the press until you get something that is a close match. A contract proof is far more cost and time effective.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Certified Contract Proofing on a budget!

                          Call me a cynic but I've heard a thousand times "make a proof (any type) and we'll match it". Lo and behold the proof cannot be matched and the response is "aww, it's only a proof". I know what proofs are for but I also know what it's like (from my agency days) to stand there with the guy with the ink and the spatula, on a tight time deadline, just hoping to get somewhere within an acceptable commercial standard. I love looking at proofs: I just wouldn't bother producing them unless there was a big financial reward for doing so.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Certified Contract Proofing on a budget!

                            IF it's a contract proof, you've got a contractual agreement for a match. If there's no agreement, the proof probably isn't worth whatever it's printed on. There are proofs and there are proofs. If you deal with a print shop that either will not produce or abide by a contract proof, you may be screwed.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Certified Contract Proofing on a budget!

                              Originally posted by andrewrodney View Post
                              I'd never assume that any print output is 'standardized' and thus, without absolute guarantee by having the output profile and permission to convert that data, I'd leave the data alone. And unless I knew the other people in the workflow fully understand color management, I'd never hand them Adobe RGB (1998). That's a recipe for disater in the wrong hands.

                              What you could do is this: convert from RGB to this assumed standardized CMYK output, then BACK to sRGB. Hand them the sRGB data. What this would do is place all the RGB data within the gamut of the assumed output gamut while handing them something they can convert to CMYK. Yes it takes time and there's some data loss. But it will work if you know the people getting the RGB data are color management impaired. Let them convert and provide you specific documentation that does not hold you responsible for any color/tone issues on-press.

                              Sorry, but that doesn't make sense. You seem to want to be part of a process that you are not in control of in almost any way. Why would you convert to a CMYK and then, of all things, back? You seem to think that it's some sort of pump priming of the image, getting it ready for the final conversion. But, all you've done is eliminated color data in the original. Why not just give them the Adobe RGB and be done with it. I worked for a major publisher, and their workflow was, and probably still is, Adobe RGB until final conversion in page assembly. The original image is never converted, and, in essence, never will be. You're just supplying raw material to them.There is no way you have any idea how to convert and proof an image accurately unless you are sitting side by side with the pre press guys, and you guys like each other enough to collaborate. But, I wouldn't recommend it. Been there, done it. Retouching is much more interesting. Prepress is for dullards these days.

                              It's not a "recipe for disaster". It's how it's done every week and month for thousands and thousands of images.

                              Sorry, but this whole contract proof thing is just urinating in the wind. Unless you're making a ton of money from one. But, then again, it seems to imply that you are then on some sort of hook if there are issues matching that proof. No thanks. I would not want to be responsible for incompetents down the line.

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