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Prepress Technician

Class Specifications – G.75
Prepress Operations and Production Supervisor – 8812
Principal Prepress Technician (B) – 8813
Principal Prepress Technician (A) – 8814
Senior Prepress Technician – 8815
Prepress Technician (B) – 8816
Prepress Technician (A) – 8817
Assistant Prepress Technician – 8818

November, 1984

Series Concept

Prepress Technicians perform the full range of duties associated with the makeup and assembly of components necessary for making lithographic press plates for commercial quality reproduction. Incumbents may be assigned duties in one or more of the prepress printing operations.

As an imposition pasteup technician, incumbents prepare printed material and imposition layouts using tools of the trade; may correct camera-ready copy; operate wax machine; scale halftone copy; inspect and position art and type matter; rule up; align copy using guides and reference marks on layout sheet using triangles, straightedges, dividers and magnifier; and inspect and approve final page sequence prior to camera operation.

As a camera operator incumbents set up and operate a process camera to produce line and halftone negative film of the camera-ready positioned art; mount camera copy on copy board and focus camera to enlarge or reduce size of subject; select and place screen over negative to produce halftone shadings in photographs; place color filters over lens to produce four-color separation or halftones; set exposure; and develop images on film using either a series of chemical baths or by feeding exposed film into automatic developing processor.

As a stripper, incumbents examine processed film negatives and compare them with original copy to detect imperfections; mount film negatives on light table; examine film to determine reproduceable quality and color gradation using illuminated viewer; register and tape negatives and/or positives with masking sheets; determine image or color correction, silhouetting or opaquing required; prepare and apply dye or chemical solution to defective areas to intensify or reduce unsatisfactory tone values; identify and mark color discrepancies; select, cut and size tinted film strips to produce specific color tones, utilizing knowledge of screen tint percentages or process color, filters and color mixing; produce plate size flats; expose and evaluate proof print of film flats for conformance to work order; and identify stripped flats for platemaker. As a photocomposition technician in the initial prepress operation of the printing plant, incumbents perform a variety of skilled tasks which produce photocomposed type images in galley or page form; utilize multiple application programs with highly specialized system coding to produce a professional typographic end-product; select appropriate designed fonts and typefaces; operate computerized multi-terminal integrated photocomposition system, including peripheral equipment such as OCR scanner, telecommunications system, typesetter and photoprocessor; proof, edit and incorporate corrections; and prepare pasteups and layout changes for final processing before platemaking. Typical commercial quality type products are books, catalogs, journals, publications, brochures, statistical tables and multi-level mathematical compositions.

As a platemaker incumbents transfer film images to produce lithographic metal plates; mix chemicals for the type metal used and prepare platemaking solutions; manually wash plates and spread special counter etching solution over grained surface; or position precoated plate in vacuum frame under light source and expose film to transfer image to plate; and wash and apply lacquers and gum solution and develop final image on plate by manual or automatic operation.

Class Concepts

Prepress Operations and Production Supervisor

Under general direction of a plant manager, incumbents plan, organize, direct, and control all operations and provide supervision and overall production control for a prepress 4ni t in a printing plant.

Incumbents at this level initiate and control overall production and work schedules, establish priorities based upon delivery requirements, and plan and direct the flow of work through assigned plant operations covering all shifts.

Incumbents serve as the operational supervisors for an assigned area of responsibility; plan for and determine work schedule and personnel requirements; determine the training needed to maximize employee productivity and ensure adequate training of personnel; evaluate the performance of employees, in part based on the input of the working leaders; authorize the hiring, promoting, demoting, disciplining or discharging employees ; and serve as the first line administrative supervisor in the hearing and resolution of employee grievances.

Incumbents serve as liaison with outside vendors and department service representatives concerning production requirements for specific jobs and make scheduling commitments for the department; review job planning, galley proofs, blueline proofs, and quality of product at any stage of manufacture to insure accuracy and customer satisfaction; research and recommend equipment or materials for acquisition; and direct the installation and implementation of new equipment and/ or procedures.

Principal Prepress Technician (B)

Under direction of an operations and production supervisor, incumbents serve as working leaders in designated prepress operations during the entire period of a shift operation, and oversee, coordinate, schedule, and monitor the workflow and the work production of Pre press Technician crews on all shifts.

Incumbents at this level typically examine and approve the final plate quality to insure adherence to standards using professional judgment and precision measuring and testing equipment; research and test new materials, technology, and equipment to determine the efficacy of purchase; plan and implement on-the-job training of new employees in all operations and of current employees in the operation of new material and equipment, an~ the understanding of techniques and technology; purchase and inventory prepress material; verify and forward all daily multi-shift prepress operations time and material costs for billing and cost analysis; and supervise the setup and maintenance of equipment.

Principal Prepress Technician (A)

Under direction, incumbents typically provide technical superv1s1on for a crew of technicians; check and approve impositions, and assume the duties and responsibilities of Principal Prepress Technicians B in their absence. Incumbents typically perform the highest level duties described in the class concepts in assigned areas.

Senior Prepress Technician

Under general supervision incumbents perform combination camera, stripping and plate work. The Senior level is distinguished from the operational level by the production of complex multi-color and fine register process color flats rather than single-color flats and by less need for review of the final product.

Incumbents at this level typically set up and operate a large horizontal camera, photostat camera and subsequent darkroom processing; scale halftone copy; operate densitometer and exposure computer; set up copy board; examine copy for possible reproduction problems; assemble component working film for complex multi-color and close register work; and make blue-line proofs and compare proof with original art to determine if film assembly and print proof meets work order specifications.

Prepress Technician (B)

Under supervision incumbents perform any one of a combination of the duties outlined in the series concept. At this level incumbents assemble component working film for singl_e and multi-color work; opaque film as needed; prepare flats in preparation for platemaking; make aluminum plates for offset printing; and/ or design and write computer formats and parameters for the most specialized typesetting jobs such as books and journals with multi-level mathematical compositions and multiheaded statistical charts; review and code editor/designer manuscripts and job specifications for subsequent computer entry; advise and coordinate application and typographical design with customers and other Printing Department personnel; instruct customers regarding production and technical requirements, format codes for word processing use or material preparation for telemedia transmission and conversion; and may serve as shift leader in the area of photocomposition.

Prepress Technician (A)

Under supervision, incumbents prepare paste-up, rule up and impose typeset pages for camera work; use measuring instruments; and/or develop, setup chapter units, and debug system coding for specialized pagination routines used in typesetting large books and catalogs from original manuscripts or electronic media.

At this level incumbents typically use an advanced level of typographic skill and systems knowledge due to elimination of pasteup in lengthy pagination processing; independently perform all system operations relating to technically difficult preparation of complex graphics, tabular, mathematical, and foreign language material for typesetting; service customer’s requests for telecommunication transmission regarding copy material to be typeset, and program system for telemedia conversion to photocomposition system.

Assistant Prepress Technician

Under close supervision incumbents operate computerized photocomposition system equipment, performing specialized typesetting coding required for the layout design, format and pagination of material to be printed. Incumbents independently proofread, enter and edit on VDT coded materials and act on computer program instructions for processing each job through the computer system; utilize typographic judgment and understand computer system operations for processing formatted jobs with complex typographical requirements; execute, edit and correct paginated jobs; proofread and prepare processed galley copy for distribution; operate computer system hardware and peripheral equipment, including OCR scanner, typesetter, photoprocessor and copier; inspect output quality; maintain accurate time reports of all operations performed on each job; and perform system housekeeping, troubleshooting and other special assigned tasks.

Minimum Qualifications

Applicants for positions in the Prepress Technician series are expected to possess the skills, knowledges, and abilities essential to the successful performance of the duties assigned to the positions.

Note: Specific qualification requirements are approved for positions by the Personnel Manager in accordance with the provisions of Staff Personnel Policies 210.8 and 210.9.