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Difference Between Direct-to-Plate and Digital Printing
The advent of computers has brought the process of direct to plate (also known as Computer-To-Plate (CTP)). This is the same as printing the traditionally old process of making a negative or positive film and using the film to image a photographic plate that is utilized in the printing of a paper. The only change through the application of technology here is the removal of the use of the negative or positive film to image the plate, and instead the image is directly sent to the plate. The removal of the one step increased the speed, reduced the errors, and elevated the quality of the image as a the imperfections of one less process reduced the dot gain on the image through the manufacturing of the printing plate.
The advent of the image being directly imaged to the plate has caused the industry to re-think the proofing processes, and some proofing material manufacturers have come up with imaging color proofing methods digitally, most of the proofing is done on ink-jet printers for content, position and imposition, and random proofs are made either photographically, digitally or a mix of direct imaging, rasterizing and chemical processing of the proofs.
Technology has enhanced the photocopying to digital printing and the processes are very alike in that they both use a electrically charged image drum to form the toner image that is transferred to the paper that is being printed. The main difference here is that the electrical charge to the image drum is supplied by a computer in the digital printing, whereas in photocopying the image is photographically generated to the image drum. The color photocopiers and the digital printing units are therefore very alike, except with the digital printing the avalibility of a varying image, length variation, content variation and the possibility of personalization of each piece is possible that no other processes allow.
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