Stochastic printing vs. Conventional offset Printing

Stochastic printing vs. Conventional offset Printing

Computer-To-Plate technology utilizing a different technique for printing halftones known as Frequency Modulation (FM) screening, or stochastic printing. Conventional offset screening, or Amplitude Modulation is certainly better, especially when higher line screens of 175 to 200 are used in halftone and four color CMYK process printing.

The best way to define stochastic printing is to compare it to conventional offset printing.

In conventional offset printing, images are printed using grid-like screens that separate the image into evenly space dots that are larger in size in the darker areas and smaller in size in the light areas. In four color process printing, separate screens are used to reproduce each of the four colors, black, cyan, magenta and yellow.

In stochastic printing, images are printed by dots spread randomly throughout the image area. The dots are not equally spaced and aligned in a row or grid and they vary according to the tonal value to be reproduced. The lighter areas have few dots, the darker areas have more dots.

Printing with stochastic screening offers the advantages of less ink on the sheet, can reproduce too much detail; grain of image’s photographic film can become visible, imperfection in flesh tones are more visible, holding a small dot is a great challenge on press, very unforgiving on press, tighter controls have to be implemented, 20% more dot gain than conventional, proofing is difficult.

Conventional offset screens have the advantages of greater latitude of changing color density on press, more forgiving halftone reproduction, better printing of large amounts of ink on paper and better production of one and two color printing. Metallic or opaque ink halftones have larger impact and works better for skin tones.

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