Signs of the Times - August 2016 - (Page 34)

Sof t w a r e U p d a te By Theresa Jackson Thriving in Change Imagine the day when your digital colors match perfectly on every screen and print output. T oday, we live and work in a world that experiences change at a rate never before witnessed. It accelerates with or without our approval and, like it or not, change is a force that can't be delayed. Some say resisting change prevents success. They say it's not enough to simply accept change and advise you to embrace it. This isn't easy. Biologists say life forms seek equilibrium, homeostasis; therefore, we resist change. I acquired my first graphics job at an offset printer shop in 1983, just before I graduated with a fine-art degree. I have worked in the graphics and printing industry ever since. Over that 33 years, I've witnessed change and additions in the graphics field that were once unimaginable. In '83, we used a phototype-setting machine that created lines of type via a photographic process, i.e., light passing through a font-patterned filmstrip and onto photosensitive paper. We programmed ("set") our text with codes that were typed into a cathode-ray tube (CRT) device. The system produced partially formatted text that we cut and added to other graphic elements, including half-tone images, which were final-formatted - stuck - on a copy sheet. The adhesion method was a hot-wax application that became sticky at room temperature. We photographed these final layouts with a process (stat) camera, and hand-developed the film in a darkroom. Finally, we assembled and press-registered the final page-layout negatives on a light table, then exposed them to a coated print plate. Fortunately, this workflow has been replaced with computer technology - direct-to-plate systems and more - but you'll still find legacy references in our modern software. For example, Photoshop's coloroverlay default is red, which evolved from the Rubylith™ material used to cut masks with X-Acto™ blades. The term "cut a mask" remains in use even 34 SIGNS OF THE TIMES August 2016 Theresa Jackson operates Orchard View Color (Escondido, CA) and has more than 20 years' experience in prepress, graphic design, color management and photography. Email her at theresa@ though we long ago retired our X-Acto knives. The term "leading" precedes most of us. It emerged from typesetters describing the strips of lead used to separate lines of text in the metal-type days. Then, the word "font" described the typebox (font tray) in which each style of metal type was kept. In 1988 - two years before the release of Photoshop version 1.0 - I worked for a firm that specialized in digital scanning and commercial photo composites. We worked with specialized Scitex computers (you can still find a Scitex CT option in Photoshop's save-as dialog) that cost more than my first house. Also, training wasn't available outside of the workplace, so Scitex skills were hard to come by. This created an environment of good job security and relatively high pay. Not so today. Instead, the graphics industry is democratized. We have affordable hardware, software, and free YouTube training videos. Such technology allows us to be more productive; and affordable technology provides opportunities for everyone. It also creates competition, which can weaken job security and result in lower wages. Add to this the multitude of software applications and a steady stream of feature updates. How does one survive, much less thrive in an atmosphere of continual change? Try this: Learn something new everyday. I suggest you embrace change and be excited by possibilities it brings. The old way isn't always the best way, so be open to new ideas and processes. For example, you may not agree with cloud-based memberships, but you can't stop the trend, so don't fight it. Instead, use the membership model to learn a new application. Make friends. Adapting to rapidly evolving technology requires a team approach. Surround yourself with people in your field who have different strengths and skills, allow them to teach, inspire and help you. Provide the same support in return. Pick your passion. What do you love to do? Focus on that. I believe success comes from mastering the thing you love. My career is the commercial print world, but what I love most is creating images with Photoshop. When I finally embraced that passion and shared it with others, new doors opened for me. Changes. What might the industry look like in 30 years? Perhaps some software firm will solve the color-management challenge. Imagine the day when your digital colors match perfectly on every screen and print output - automatically. A fantasy, right? n

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - August 2016

Signs of the Times - August 2016
ST Update
Technology Update
Why You Should Invest in a Color-Management Device
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Electric
LED Update
Software Update
Technology Review - Epson SureColor S80600
Technology Review - The AXYZ Trident
Shop Ops
Sign Museum News
New Products
Digging Deep
Writing on the Wall
Dostoevsky and the Crane Truck
Penn State Study Assesses Font Legibility
A Crossroads Celebration
Advertising Index
Editorially Speaking

Signs of the Times - August 2016