Computers…we’ve come a long way baby~
I recall the day a designer gave me a disk that held artwork for their newsletter. Some reading this will sigh and recall their first time too. Those simple disks quickly replaced artboards, overlays, strippers cutting ruby material, double burns….what?…back up! strippers? Could there be young people in the industry who have never heard the word stripper associated with printing? Many of the great strippers retrained to become some of the best prepress operators. The conversion from conventional stripping processes to computer prepress processes was difficult for everyone. Not only printers, but artists, illustrators and photographers had to quickly learn a whole new way of handling artwork. Some adapted quicker than others.
Photo scanning was one of the first casualties of the computer. Before the computer, all original photography (the continuous tone photo) required sizing to the exact accuracy prior to scanning. If the sizing was incorrect the image had to be rescanned… Huh? Yes, the sizing had to be exact for the image to fit to the artwork. For assistance, there was a fairly easy-to-use enlargement/reduction wheel that would give you the percentage of the original. I’d almost forgotten. It’s SO much easier with computers, but of course new challenges arise with new technology. Personally, I had a difficult time looking at jobs on press during this transition. The images scanned on desktop scanners and approved for printing didn’t measure up to conventional scanning techniques and the trained professionals who had years and sometimes decades of experience. It was ugly for awhile.
Computers are obviously a great tool. While they seemingly reduce time and effort there remain challenges that still haunt everyone involved in the process. Many people still mistake the computer for talent. Creative talent is still a need for truly great work, whether you’re a graphic artist, illustrator or photographer.