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In the pre-press production phase, an expert technician will review your files, manually and through preflight software, for any sign of a problem that may cause production errors. An electronic proof is issued once your PDF files pass the preflight inspection. We provide electronic proofing to all of our customers for free, and all projects go through the process, even if you’ve added hard copy proofing as well. When you receive your electronic proof via email, you may have suggestions from your prepress expert for changes that should be made to your files before sending them into production. You’ll also notice that printer’s marks have been added to your files. These are special marks to indicate different elements such as trim, bleed, and center. If requested, hard copy proofs (for books and games) may also be created and sent to you for approval, usually for color purposes.
Once you have approved your proof and sent your files to press, the next phase in pre-press production is that your files are output through a process called the RIP (raster image processing). During this part of the pre-press production process, your images are separated into four colors, and output onto four metal printing plates – one plate for each of the colors of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (CMYK). These thin metal plates are sturdy enough to be used for many thousands of printing impressions, yet also flexible enough to wrap around a rotating cylinder inside the printing press: