Linerize or not to Linerize plates... that is the question

Jbarrie5

Member
OK, I have been getting some mixed results lately. My company has always linerized our plates before applying a press compensation curve. Now, I'm hearing that many printers are forgoing this process and just applying the compensation curve directly to wild plates, what's your thoughts about this practice?

Thanks,
Jeff
 

cementary

Well-known member
My 5 cents — if you have 2 or more CTPs with process plates and you want the output to be exactly the same then you should go 2 curves way.
If you have one CTP i would suggest 1 curve way if you take good care of your plate processor.
In our printshop for example we have 2 magnus vlf with quantum heads and sonora xp/sonora news/sonora x plates and we use 1 curve worflow.
 

RickS

Well-known member
Food for thought. Years ago we had a laser die in our CTP. We were down a couple days to replace. Because we were using a linear curve and a press curve, I was able to linearize and start making plates to get the presses running without having to do any press tests. Granted Lasers do not die often, but I like the linear curve method.
 

arossetti

Well-known member
This topic keeps popping up and always sparks such amusement.

I'm in the camp of you do not need to linearize the plates; just create one curve.
 

Slammer

Well-known member
This topic keeps popping up and always sparks such amusement.

I'm in the camp of you do not need to linearize the plates; just create one curve.
Agree, for most part the plates out of a modern CTP´s are linear, however having said that you would still need to keep a platereading eye on them to be sure that they stay that way, if there is deviation then there could be something dicky with the CTP.
 

gordo

Well-known member
The answer, along with the rational, is here: http://the-print-guide.blogspot.ca/2010/10/to-linearize-your-ctp-plates-or-not.html

The short - in the vast majority of cases a curve to linearize the plate before applying a second, dot gain compensation curve, is redundant and adds compexity without benefit. That being said, in a few cases, typically multi- site operations, a two curve workflow can be appropriate. In a CtP workflow there is no special value to linearizing plates - to do so is a film workflow mentality.
 

Joe

Well-known member
We have two CTP units. Making an uncalibrated plate on each does not match each other. Making them both linear up front allows us to use the same dot gain curves.
 

gordo

Well-known member
We have two CTP units. Making an uncalibrated plate on each does not match each other. Making them both linear up front allows us to use the same dot gain curves.
1 - your CtP units are not “uncalibrated” (read the article)
2 - making then both linear first means a 3 curve workflow - 2 different ones to make the plates linear and one to apply dot gain compensation. If you didn’t linearize first you’d you’d have a 2 curve workflow instead of 3 thus removing one variable and reducing the chance of error. (read the article)
 

gordo

Well-known member
I'd rather have 2 different plate curves and one press curve than two different press curves.
So, you prefer managing 3 curves rather than two? And applying curves on top of curves rather than just a curve to get the results you need? Preference is a subjective opinion. Since it’s a technical issue there should be objective reasoning as to your choice. I’m not suggesting you’re wrong - however it would be helpful to understand the reasoning behind your choice.
 
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Slammer

Well-known member
We have two CTP units. Making an uncalibrated plate on each does not match each other. Making them both linear up front allows us to use the same dot gain curves.
Just going out on a limb here. I am assuming that both CTP´s are the same model with the same specs, one thing I would check is the focus.
 

Joe

Well-known member
Just going out on a limb here. I am assuming that both CTP´s are the same model with the same specs, one thing I would check is the focus.
Yes both are the same. I do not work on platesetter settings (not that I refuse but I do not know how). Just work with what they give me.
 

gordo

Well-known member
"Joe" ? Any clarification on the reasoning behind your choice of managing 3 curves rather than two?
 

Joe

Well-known member
"Joe" ? Any clarification on the reasoning behind your choice of managing 3 curves rather than two?
Probably not a good one but the plate curves are very easy to make and almost never need to be modified while they are always tweaking the press curves and it is just easier to tweak the one press curve.
 

gordo

Well-known member
Probably not a good one but the plate curves are very easy to make and almost never need to be modified while they are always tweaking the press curves and it is just easier to tweak the one press curve.
You’re right - not a good reason. In my experience, when I’ve seen done what you’re doing, it indicates that there are issues in the print manufacturing process that someone has decided not to deal with and instead apply a band-aid solution that seems easier. They might be too far away from the business of the company to see the loss in profits, efficiency, and effectiveness of their “solution”. Or they’re just ignorant.
It is not a good reason to recommend it to others as a production proess they should adopt. It is not normal or best practices.
 
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Erik Nikkanen

Well-known member
In my view, which is that the optimum method of dealing with the imaging of a plate for reproducing an image on press would not deal with dot gain compensation. Mapping the print output relative to the screen values input would encompass all the information of dot gain. In that condition, I would say that a linear plate is the ideal. Linearity would then be a process control metric for plate imaging.

But since we don't have such a method, it seems it does not matter as long as the condition of the plate can be repeatable.

Just my 2 cents.
 

Joe

Well-known member
You’re right - not a good reason. In my experience, when I’ve seen done what you’re doing, it indicates that there are issues in the print manufacturing process that someone has decided not to deal with and instead apply a band-aid solution that seems easier. They might be too far away from the business of the company to see the loss in profits, efficiency, and effectiveness of their “solution”. Or they’re just ignorant.
It is not a good reason to recommend it to others as a production proess they should adopt. It is not normal or best practices.
Yeah well that is a whole other can of worms.
 

tomcatinc

Well-known member
I know two cases when separate plate and press curves are better:

1. There is web offset company here with three CtP and 6 printing machines. It would take 18 curves to do it without linearization (1 curve per CtP per printing machine) and only 9 curves (1 per CtP = 3 curves; 1 per printing machine = 6 curves - these curves are same on all CtP drives).

2. One CtP working for real many printing machines like in a case where printing house does not have prepress so they use CtP studio or similar solution. In this case printing house supplies changes to press curves whenever they need to and CtP company needs plate linearization to make proper plates. In this case, it could actually run without linearization but it is more practical to have two independent curves: plate curve can be adjusted as needed without impact on press curve. The case I know is about 26 low volume printing houses rely on one CtP studio.

In vast majority of cases, a single CtP is used for low number of printing machines, 1 curve is easier way to go.
 

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