Re: Reverse Engineering Seps

Lee Varis

On Friday, October 18, 2002, at 04:17 AM, marshyswamp71 wrote:

...I am having problems understanding the situation (after
reading your post in full numerous times)...
So the prepress houses files can't be found???

Is there film or plates? Without knowing how the final seps look, it
will be hard to second guess things - although sometimes the h/tone
dot proof or press sheet can give you clues when you check things
under a glass.

From what you say, if you use a set-up similar to what they 'say' -
results are not perhaps this place makes minor use of the
separation features and does all the work post sep in CMYK, radically
departing from the separation source to arrive at the final 'great'
final image?
I'll restate my problem, here's the chronology:

I'm hired, from outside the loop entirely, to correct some mediocre
digital camera files so that they print better (these are not my images
but I'm going from the RGB originals). The Ad agency has printed these
before – they came out dark and muddy but they used them anyway. This
time they are going to print them bigger and they want them to look
better. I ask for specs from the prepress house. What I get back sounds
like Photoshop defaults - not particularly helpful - the original job
was probably separated using Photoshop defaults (though I can't track
down anybody who knows and I don't have the original seps) I make new
seps with a higher dot gain setting and a "snappier" black thinking
that I should get lighter and more contrasty proofs back. Instead I get
flat muddy images back on the Fuji proofs. The ad agency freaks, the
prepress house says no problem we'll fix it, agency pays prepress house
big money to fix files (they don't even call me). I finally get a look
at the proofs and I'm suspicious... did they proof my files or did they
muck up my files (inadvertently or otherwise) before they proofed. Now
they can't seem to deliver the corrected proofed files !!!! Now I'm
even more suspicious. I only have my original files, a set of bad Fuji
proofs and a set of good Fuji proofs -- don't have the film that was
used to finally print the "good" files. Is there any way I can tell
from examining the "proofs" if they printed my original file or if they
"doctored" it? I'm still hoping I can get a look at either the film or
the final digital file but so far nobody seems to know what happened to
them... hmm... does that make you suspicious?

I've seen this sort of thing before. A prepress house would prefer that
the client continues to use film for photo jobs so they (prepress) can
continue to make and charge for scans...good money on large catalog
projects. If the client wants to shoot digitally the prepress house
looks for some other method to recover lost profit so they make sure
that none of the "digital" photos print properly and require lots of
"color correcting"


Lee Varis

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