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1749RE: [PPLetterpress] offset printing a letterpress design

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  • Mats Broberg
    Jul 17, 2003
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      > I have plans to offset print a letterpress design done with wood
      > type. We'll print it it on a vandercook, then scan the art to create
      > films. Does anyone have any cautionary advice for the process? Just
      > wondering...
      > All comments welcome.
      > Thanks!
      > Carey Johnson


      Jim makes good points about the problem involved in reproducing a
      letterpress printed item in offset.

      If you aim for expressing some of the tactile quality of the item, the
      way to go is probably to work with a professional photographer and spend
      a few hours in tweaking studio lighting. I recall a project a few years
      ago when I worked with a photographer to get a good image of a piece of
      watercolor artwork. At first we tried a traditional reprographic setup
      of the lights, merely to get a starting point, and the result was not
      impressive. We had to spend alot of time working with different angles
      and different types of lightsources to capture some of the
      three-dimensional qualities of the watercolor. If the goal is a mere
      facsimile, then it's another matter and a traditional reprographic setup
      of lighting may work.

      Your budget may or may not make it possible to work with a photographer,
      and if it doesn't, you can scan the item on a scanner. However, to get
      as good a result as possible you may prefer to have it scanned on a drum
      scanner at a commercial process engraving / prepress company. In the
      specs, many consumer-grade and semi-professional scanners compare well
      with high-end equipment, but there are more to it than color depth and
      resolution. Many times a skilled operator and an old Crosfield Magnascan
      (which took up half a room) creates results that, still, can be
      absolutely outstanding.

      When the time comes to the offset printing of the scan, you may want to
      contact a printing office who works with waterless offset, or FM screens
      / hybrid screens. Waterless offset makes it possible to reproduce your
      image using a finer screen, and FM screens (frequency modulated) and
      hybrid screens are methods to screen your image that have some
      advantages over traditional AM screens (amplitude modulated).

      Good luck and don't hesitate to drop me a line if you have more

      Best regards,
      Mats Broberg

      Stockholm - Sweden
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