Computer to film
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Computer to film (CTF) is a print workflow involving the printing from a computer, straight to film. This film is then burned onto a lithographic plate, using a plate burner. The plate is then put on an offset printing press to make a product (usually around 100.000 copies, then you have to make a new plate.). This process requires a clean environment, skilled workers, and a well thought out proofing system / workflow to maximize quality.
With technological advancement in heat stabilization of polyester film, new generation Laser Printer Films provide excellent image registration and sharpness for multi-colour jobs. For multi-coloured jobs the image is broken down using special software for CMYK printing. Each of these four images is printed on a separate laser film. The films are then used to expose pre-sensitized plates using U.V lights.
Compared to C-T-P Plates the cost of maintaining and running a CTF system is much cheaper, although it does require an additional step in the plate making process.
CTF is being replaced with the more advanced CTP (Computer to Plate) technology.
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