A candid and personal examination of the Philippine comics scene from a social, cultural, economic and business point of view.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Cost-efficient comics printing at Print Philippines '05

If you're one of the brave few seriously considering of going into comics publishing, you'll be glad to know that recent advances in print technology have made the process a lot less tedious, less expensive, and less labor-intensive. Definitely good news in today's inflationary times.

The latest in print technology is on exhibit at "Print Philippines '05": A Total Printing and Graphic Arts Show", being held at the Philippine Trade Trading Center at Roxas Boulevard corner Buendia Extension, Pasay City. The exhibit is from September 23 to 25, 2005 only.

Of particular note is the new innovation being introduced by Gakken Philippines, Inc. (www.gakkenphil.com). Traditionally, the content page had to be placed on disc and sent to the printer who would then produce a "plate". The plate would then be attached to the printing press' rollers and after the press starts to run, several copies of the content page come out in volumes. For this printing job, one usually pays the printer for the camera work, film negative (or positive), image setting, plate, and finally the running. However, with the new technology being introduced by Gakken, all prior stages except running, are eliminated thus lessening the cost. Its also ridiculously simple.

All you need is a computer, an HP laser printer, and the polyester based paper products created by Technova: NOVASHARP and NOVADOM.

It works like this: after scanning or creating the comics page itself in the computer, you take out either a Novasharp or Novadom piece of polyester paper, set it on the HP laser printer tray, then print. Now, if Novasharp paper is used, the laser print-out becomes the equivalent of a film negative (or positive) which you give directly to the printer who then proceeds to make a "plate" out of it to be attached later to the offset printing press' roller. The process is faster and the pre-press cost reduced. All you pay for is the paper stock and running of the press. Plate production is usually included in the press' running cost. But if you really want to bring the cost down, that's where the other paper product comes in.

If Novadom is used, the laser print-out itself can be used as the plate to be attached directly to the printing press rollers.

With this system, a small-run comics publisher could just pay for the reams of Novasharp or Novadom paper and running cost of the printer. The only catch here is that so far after a series of tests, Gakken can guarantee that Technova's polyester papers work well with HP laser printers. But laser printers are expensive. Can these polyester papers work on inkjet printers? The answer is yes. Gakken will later introduce another version of polyester paper for inkjet printing.

This new printing technology can be either in black and white or in full color. If say, the comics page is computer colored and then laser printed on either Novasharp or Novadom polyester paper, the print-out will be in black and white. But don't worry. When this is attached to the printing machine, the output will be colored. No more separate color plates to be attached on the printing machine's rollers, just one paper.

Now usually, its possible that when the ink cartridge is about to dry up, the print-out on either Novasharp or Novadom paper will have white streaks or look a bit pale. In answer to this, there's a chemical that is sprayed on the paper to increase its image density i.e., making the image fuller, eliminating streaks or lightness. Another thing, with Novadom, printing mistakes on the print-out can be erased through Technova's special type of liquid. Corrections can also be made using Technova's special pen. This feature unfortunately, is not available on Novasharp paper.

In both Novasharp and Novadom, printing resolution is limited to 150 l.p.i. (dot lines per inch). l.p.i is not the same as computer d.p.i. But if you think this is a drawback, why not visit the exhibit and take a look at the sample. I saw it and it looks real good. Specifically, I was shown a colored copy of "Bantay Balita" a provincial mini-broadsheet newspaper. The color resolution looks pretty good comparable (maybe even better) than the colored "Tanodbayan" tabloid and other major dailies in Metro Manila.

If you want to have a small scale printing press of your own however, mosey on over to the "Copylandia" exhibit where they now have photocopying machines that can print your black and white or colored comics page directly from the image stored in your computer. That's right. From computer, direct to the photocopying machine, and the number of copies is in the heavy duty volume: 50,000 copies of a 32 page comic kaya. For the Black and white or two color comics job, look for the Riso MZ 710 prized at P550,000.00. For the full color job, ask for the Riso HC5000 priced at P2.3 Million. Drawback: both machines can only accomodate bookpaper not glossy or newsprint paper. But if you're really interested in doing comics in white newsprint paper, Copylandia recommends the Hamada Superb 47NP (P2.4Million) and the (unfortunately sold out) Hamada 600 CD. Drawback: can only do two color.

So, you got the comics page printed on those photocopying machines. The next step is to have them stapled and folded. Not to worry. Copylandia has a machine for that too: the Plockmatic P61 (P500,000.00). Just place the printed pages on the Plockmatic's bins, switch on the machine and the magazine or comic comes out folded and stapled in several copies just like a photocopying machine.

There are other companies (and lovely promo girls too :) ) featured in the exhibit with their varying and wondrous innovations. But of them all, I think Gakken and Copylandia was it for me. They even gave demonstrations and seminars. But don't take my word for it. Visit the exhibit. It will truly be worth your while. There's no entrance fee and its free to the public. See for yourself. Tomorrow, September 25, 2005 (Sunday) is the last day. Don't miss out.


Blogger Jon Silpayamanant said...

Wow--that's amazing.

4:06 PM

Blogger Texacola said...

Great looking blog for inkjet recycling, we cover things like inkjet recycling too. Thanks for the great blog!

1:06 PM

Blogger Rod McDonald said...

Hi, I wondered if anyone can give me an idea of a printer who uses the technova plates in the Phillipines?

2:27 PM

Blogger aklas isip said...

Hi ROD. Thanks for posting. From our information, it was found that a lot of publications with printing presses in Manila can't use Technova because they have already invested millions in their old technology printers.

However, there are start-up community newspapers in the provinces who use Technova. Generally, start-up print entreprenuers are considering using Technova. Problem right now is that Gakken can't seem to have adequate supply of their products.

Hope the info helps.

9:48 AM


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