Stochastic screens and filters for Indesign or Photoshop?
November 23, 2004 3:17 PM   Subscribe

When I was in school, there was all kinds of big talk in the trades about the miracle of stochastic screening and how it would revolutionize output and direct-to-plate. But it hasn't - at least not that I can see. Why don't packages like Indesign or even photoshop allow you to use irregular / stochastic screens when you go to output? Do I have to use special RIPs and if so is it a purely workflow thing? Are there photoshop filters that emulate the effect on a per-channel basis?
posted by luriete to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
It's all about money. The first thing you need is a RIP that supports stochastic screens and that's easily in the tens of thousands of dollars and you need to make sure that it supports your existing imagesetter/direct to plate system. If not, expect to spend somewere in the low to mid six figures. If you're running your own press, get ready to spend some more - lots more than the imagesetter/dtp. That's a lot of money just for the hardware to use a feature that somebody might notice, but lots of people won't.

I agree with you that stochastic screens look much better than traditional halftones, but unless you have more money than you know what to do with, you're probably not gonna go that route.
posted by glyphlet at 3:37 PM on November 23, 2004

Big problem with stochastic screens is that they gain like a mofo in areas of high density and literally fall off the plate in places of low density. Both look nasty nasty.
posted by nathan_teske at 4:44 PM on November 23, 2004

Lots of catalogs (Pottery Barn is one example that comes to mind) use stochastic screening. Yes, it's always the big $$ companies. You let your color house worry about it, in my experience; just set it up as you would for regular screens and let a competent shop take it from there. A lot of the early problems with stochastic have been fixed, and they're especially useful in cases where fine details or repeating patterns (as in striped fabric) could cause a moiré effect with traditional screens. Check out the higher-end catalogs and annual reports coming out now and over the next few months and you'll see a lot of stochastic work. I'm working on one myself this month.
posted by icetaco at 7:42 PM on November 23, 2004

Apopros of nothing, I believe that Creo are giving their stochastic screening a big push right about now. Check them out, they always have lots of downloadable info...
posted by ninthart at 6:14 AM on November 24, 2004

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