How are magazines printed?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by BetterSense, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I have no idea how magazines are printed. Or, how they were printed in the past, if the process has changed recently. Could someone explain please?
     
  2. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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  3. Ian Tindale

    Ian Tindale Member

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    First, the ad sales staff will play around all month and then in the last few days realise that they have to sell all the advertising space, and on the last day, actually end up giving most of it away at far below rate-card.

    Meanwhile, the editor is trying to get commissioned articles, photos, etc from freelancers, who will never submit on time, often weeks late, and when they do it requires extensive rewriting and editing.

    Then the subediting process holds everything up until almost the last minute.

    Then the art editor can get the blame each month for making the entire mag late - as they're the one at the end of the production process.

    Then, when it's finally out the door, we all go down the pub.

    That's how a magazine gets printed.
     
  4. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Magazines are printed with the CMYK process. This uses cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink to make up the colours.

    The original is either copied via filters or modified via digital software. The printed colours are semi-transparent allowing them to combine to create more colours.

    e.g. something red will be printed with both magenta and yellow which will combine to create red. A red object will have no (or very little) cyan in it.

    Although it is theoretically possible to create black with the three colours, in practice a black print is added to improve the image.

    EDIT: Actually, this explains it better than me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cmyk



    Steve.
     
  5. Chrisk99

    Chrisk99 Member

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    Ian, sounds like print and broadcast industries have many parallels to me.
    While we're here, I've always wondered exactly how positives where set up to print and why where they the preferred medium.
     
  6. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Positives were set up in copy cameras and four different negs made using color separation masks. One neg each for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. The negs were then used to "burn" offset litho plates for four successive printing runs,with a fifth run to add text. At least thats how I remember the process from college(late 60's). Around 1970, or 71, printing firms started using "computers" to aid in the color separation process, as well as color mixing.BTW my step mothers family owned the largest printing facility in Michigan (Adair Publishing) and I've seen the procedure in practice with monster web presses --WOWWWW -- its a awesome experience!!
    Rick
     
  7. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Wirelessly posted (BBBold: BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.167 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

    Wow, I'm in awe of Ian's life like account. Excepting we don't sell ads and I am the editing team. Hard to point a finger at one's self. Makes the pub interesting, though. ;p
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2009
  8. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Sound like many other industries.

    Steve
     
  9. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Half tone screens were also used to create the dot pattern required to produce a range of tones (look closely at a newspaper picture).

    I didn't know negatives were used for making offset plates. I assumed it was positive like we use for screen printing.

    Extra print runs are also sometimes used - known as 'spot colour'. This is where it is desirable to print something in a solid colour rather than make it up from the CMY colours. Also used for exotic colours like gold, silver and bronze.

    Steve.
     
  10. PhotoBob

    PhotoBob Subscriber

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    Such an apropos topic as I plan to launch a new hard-copy magazine dedicated to pinhole photography.
     
  11. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Nah, printers hallucinate that orange is opposite blue. :wink:
     
  12. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    From my days in the 80's and early 90's...
    Positives were used so that the proof which was either a chromalin (kind of like a dye transfer) or a colour key (four coloured, CMYK tranies registered to create a colour composite ) could be matched and adjusted to the the original positive. The positive could also be used to do a press proof but not for a magazine (unless you bought a whole bunch of pages). Postives were wanted because it was a good 'go by', and was the source of the separations. Positives were also preferred because there is too much scale (the best printed page in a mag is probably 3 or 4 stops and a good neg can have 11 or more), far too much variance in interpreting a neg and separating a neg to match a print is painful (making a separation from a print is easier, but the quality is substantially lower).


    Again this is back in the day, but...
    Web presses intended for full colour printing will have 4 or 5 heads/towers and may have the same on the bottom so that the mag gets printed front and back complete in one pass. Spot colour for a magazine is generally done by mixing CMYk, unless they are having a special on a specific colour like a metalic.
     
  13. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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  14. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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  15. Chrisk99

    Chrisk99 Member

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    Thanks for the replies peeps,interesting stuff
     
  16. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

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    For that, you might look into getting an old mimeograph. :smile: