"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."