A View from Anywhere
Remote proofing developments raise fundamental business questions.
by Terri McConnell, Prepress Editor
REMOTE PROOFING IS a set of evolutionary image-communication technologies with mainstream appeal and very broad applications. There is debate on exact terminology, but we'll say that remote proofing denotes the concept of making digital image data accessible to another person, at another location, for review and commentary. The image data may be rendered on a hard copy output device, or it may be viewed onscreen, a practice known as soft proofing.
In either case, remote proofing facilitates the sharing of printable images throughout the iterative approval process from concept to completion. It's giving us new ways to connect key individuals involved in the printing production cycle and it's nurturing a higher level of digital collaboration.
The first implementations of remote proofing—and many are still in use—are the proprietary, point-to-point infrastructures designed by in-house digital workflow gurus to send say, a series of toothpaste line extensions from a prepress house in Chicago over an ISDN connection to a product manager in Cincinnati. Not possible, and certainly not practical, without brilliant IT support, expensive equipment, and a good deal of education and management.
Today there are a growing number of plug-n-play, subscriber-based programs that anyone with a modem can use. Programs like RealTimeProof, from RealTimeImage (RTI), which came on the scene several years ago offering client/server-based image management solutions through Scitex.
According to Yehuda Messinger, VP/GM of RTI's Graphic Arts Division, the company has repackaged and downstreamed remote proofing technology into an Internet ASP (Application Service Provider) configuration, using a fully scalable server built by RTI and hosted by San Jose e-trade giant Digital Island. "We allow packaging professionals to log onto our Web site and view even the smallest details of full-resolution digital art using a 28.8K modem, including traps, layers, marks, and the ability to accurately measure color," says Messinger, "without the need to send the file back and forth from location to location."