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 user 2009-08-14 at 3:57:03 pm Views: 72
  • #22416,the-theory-of-digital-relativity.aspx
    The theory of digital relativity
    The printing industry can take a lead from Albert Einstein, says Frank Romano.
    Einstein conceptualised a unified field theory to unify the general
    theory of relativity with electromagnetism. Until the day he died he
    sought a Theory of Everything that could explain all the physical
    constants of nature.I think there is a Theory of Digital Relativity
    that can explain the future of digital printing. There are five forces
    at work:

        1. Digital origination

        2. Digital integration

        3. Digital communication

        4. Digital storage and retrieval

        5. Digital metamorphosis

    Digital origination
    begins with the fact that almost all content is created and stored in
    digital form. For text, there are very few typewriter manuscripts to
    re-keyboard or photo prints or slides to scan. Hard copy is hard to
    find. This article is being typed in Microsoft Word on a Mac. It will
    be sent to the publisher as an email attachment. It will be edited
    on-screen, formatted into a publication, and placed on a website.Word
    processing and electronic editing changed the authoring and editorial
    processes. Digital cameras reduced reality to pixels. Most new digital
    cameras are over 8 megapixels, more information than many reproduction
    devices can reproduce.


    Digital integration

    a while (40 years) there was a typesetting industry. It is gone because
    we all set type no matter what computer programme we use today.
    Typesetting is integrated into every programme that deals with words or
    images. As processes were integrated, industries were reinvented,
    creatives were empowered, and skill sets shifted from craft to
    science.A colour make-up system once sold for $1 million; now you get
    more power from Photoshop (no, Adobe, you cannot price it at $1
    million). Almost all artwork and illustration is electronically
    created. Art supply markets changed as the need for transfer type,
    rubber cement, X-actos, and paste-up tables more or less disappeared.
    The digital camera integrates photography and processing to provide
    instant feedback. The cell phone frees us from the limits of the wired
    telephone. The PDA integrates the phone, camera, and computer.

    Digital communication
    information became electronic, the world changed. The file could be
    sent over phone modems and then over the internet. Files could be sent
    to multiple plants for print produced closer to the postal entry
    facility or distribution location. At the same time, ads and content
    could be pinpointed to readers in that geography. Cities were once
    clogged with messenger services that moved documents and camera-ready
    art from place to place. Most of them have driven their bicycles and
    scooters into the sunset.No longer did print buyer and print producer
    have to be proximate to one another. As buyer and seller moved apart,
    new tools allowed on-screen proofing and collaboration. New approaches
    let us buy print over the internet. Bits know no borders and file
    transfers could be to another state or another country. Most of us no
    longer needed to work in offices as such. I contend that our work space
    is no longer the office or the cubicle — it is the computer screen and
    PDA screen. And those screens can be anywhere. Teleconferencing and
    telecommuting are becoming routine. We learn from webinars and online
    courses. Most of our day is spent basking in the glow of an LCD or LED
    display.In a pure digital economy, some products and the commerce that
    supports them, never become corporeality. Music, software and
    publications are found, ordered, downloaded, and paid for

    Digital storage and retrieval
    a while we continued to output film as an intermediate medium, but the
    ability to store and retrieve files was so compact and convenient that
    we eschewed the hard copy. Think of all the files, images, documents
    and more stored on your hard drives, removable drives, thumb drives,
    CDs or DVDs — to say nothing about those floppies, Syquests, and Zips
    you have packed away (as though you will ever be able to read them). In
    a few decades we have evolved from kilo-, to mega-, to giga- bytes,
    with terabyte drives now in the pipeline. The effect of such digital
    filing affected the makers of file cabinets and physical storage
    systems.The downside to all this is that media change and over time
    become vestigial, like 8-track tapes, Beta cassettes, and 8mm and 35mm
    film. Punch cards lasted for 50 years but no digital medium has
    prevailed for even a decade.

    Digital metamorphosis
    metamorphosis is mostly printout — we convert the digital information
    into spots of litho ink, flexo ink, gravure ink, toner, or inkjet ink
    in all its forms. It used to be that the input to copy centres
    (commercial or inhouse) was a stack of pages. Those pages began life on
    the computer and underwent one level of digital metamorphosis, only to
    undergo another level to produce the final document. As time went by,
    we got smarter and the input to the copy centre became the digital file
    – the input to the printing company also became the digital file.All
    print is already digital in whole or in part. Digital platemakers bring
    us closer to paper than ever before. Eventually, we will be plateless
    for offset litho, as pure digital processes like toner and inkjet get
    us right to the substrate. Flatbed inkjet printers print directly to
    foamcore so printing to sheets and mounting are eliminated, and inline
    digital diecutting eliminates manual processes.The future of print is
    the ability to define the digital metamorphoses. Those suppliers who
    make it easy to change bits into spots will be the winners. Those users
    who find and apply new technology to develop new opportunities will be
    the winners. Those marketers and print and media buyers who procure the
    right blend of print and electronic media will be the winners.

    Digital disruption

    can be digitally originated, integrated, communicated, stored,
    retrieved and metamorphosed, will be. The Theory of Digital Relativity
    is not based on evolution; it is based on revolution.