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MLUG: Linux Opportunities - Printing and Pre-Press

Sep 26, 2001, 01:35 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Tatham)

[ Thanks to Alan Truesadle for this link. ]

"Computers are everywhere in the printing and pre-press industry, but this was not always the case. Less than 20 years ago for example, graphic artists worked in studios with drafting tables, pens, airbrushes and other paraphernalia. Their work was sent to a service bureau or trade shop to have its picture taken using graphic arts film on large cameras. These images were converted using chemical means into printing plates or cylinders. Publishers also sent their work out to professional typesetters who were just beginning to use computers for part of their work.

The industry has remade itself over the last 15 years and much of the workflow is done digitally these days. Linux has already found its way onto the scene and there will be more opportunities for adoption of Linux solutions in the future. Before we go any further we need to understand a little of how the industry operates. The workflow chart below, although greatly oversimplified, will give a idea of how the process of taking an idea and producing it on printed media works.

The creators of graphic content are now using such software products as Adobe Photoshop for image editing, Adobe Illustrator for vector image creation and editing and Quark Xpress for page layout and typography. There are other products being used as well, such as Macromedia Freehand for vector graphics and Adobe Pagemaker or In-Design for page layout. But the majority of work is done with Photoshop, Illustrator and Quark; and almost of these tools are to found running on the Mac platform. This situation is not likely to change in the foreseeable future."

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