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Separations

The fundamental concept behind PDF-based graphic arts workflows is that the files are composite—that is, all of the color-channel data resides in one file, and what you see onscreen represents the color and content of the printed document. For the greatest flexibility (smallest file sizes, greatest editability, and most accurate color previews), PDF files should remain composite until as late as possible in the production process—usually until after trapping, imposition, and OPI swaps have occurred and just before the pages are rasterized to film or plate. In other words, until you perform color separations—the point of no return.

Whatever your digital file contains at this point will be imaged and printed—which means color, fonts, and traps must all be properly applied. In Extreme workflows (as well as in some other digital prepress workflows), trapping and separations are performed in the RIP; however, in our homegrown workflow, you perform these tasks before final rasterization. Even if the RIP performs the separations, a prepress operator must still specify how to handle them (for example, what screening, dot gain, and other parameters to apply) in a third-party application.


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