Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Some Ebook advantages

Here's a few disadvantages of printed comics that happened to occur to me. I noticed many of these as I color the Snart comic collections. Some of these problems are due just to the nature of the printing process, the nature of the format, and typical low-quality comic book printing. I could've gone on and on and included other parts of the process that make printed comics look like doo. None of the following problems would occur with a digital comic.

  • Dust spots: these are spots that appear on the printed piece when there's dust on the printing plate

  • Line screens: when printing, colors less than 100% are broken up into lines or dots which reduces the fidelity of the images

  • Fading of colors: printed inks fade/oxidize with time

  • Discoloration of stock: paper stock discolors/oxidizes with time

  • Misregistration: lining up the four colors perfectly is impossible. This will really show itself on large-quantity, high-speed runs. Especially true for comics which historically have the lowest quality of printing

  • Moires: these are patterns formed by the overlap of the different color screens. More noticeable when there's misregistration (common) or the wrong screen angles were used (rare)

  • Ink oversaturation: usually caused by a low-quality stock, like newsprint, and an oversaturation of black, which is common since a printer will lay more ink because black overprints the other colors.

  • Colors bleeding: this is when colors from one page bleed onto it's adjacent. Usually caused when there's too much ink and then not enough drying time before the books are stacked a mile high.

  • Plate mix-up: when the order of the CMY plates are mixed up, ie: cyan is switched with magenta. This is rare, but I have seen books in circulation that had this.

  • Ink undersaturation: not enough ink(s) can make the colors look washed out

  • Color see-through: most noticeable with the under saturation of the black plate which causes the CMY colors to appear through the black

  • Inaccuracies with stripping in color: however the color was stripped in (depending on when it was done), rarely was it done accurately or with care due to costs.

  • Folding, binding and trimming errors: after printing, the books are folded, bound and then trimmed. Occasionally there will be errors if the press and bindery equipment isn't set up right. Some of these errors make it into circulation. I'm sure every comic reader has seen these - staples not lining up with folds, trim cutting into the artwork, pages not trimmed on one side, etc.

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