Explore Careers - Job Market Report
This unit group includes prepress technicians who operate various computer controlled systems to perform prepress activities and workers who operate graphic arts cameras and scanners, assemble film and negatives and prepare, engrave and etch printing plates or cylinders for various types of printing presses. They are employed in firms that specialize in colour graphics or platemaking and cylinder preparation, commercial publishing and printing companies, newspapers, magazines, and in various establishments in the public and private sectors that have in-house printing departments.
camera operator – graphic arts, cylinder preparer – printing, dot etcher, film stripper-assembler, platemaker, printing plate engraver, proofmaker, scanner operator, screenmaker, studio-image-processing system operator.
- Graphic arts camera operators set up and adjust black and white or colour separation process cameras to convert graphic art and photographs into film for assembly and exposure onto printing plates or cylinders.
- Cylinder preparers grind and polish press cylinders; expose and lay down carbon tissue; and etch or engrave cylinders using hand tools, etching machines, photogravure or laser processes to produce cylinders for gravure presses.
- Film strippers and assemblers assemble and position, either using automated equipment or by hand, pieces of film containing all parts of a printing job to produce flats or composite negatives for preparing printing plates or cylinders.
- Platemakers operate vacuum frames, plate processors and step and repeat machines to produce printing plates for various types of presses.
- Prepress technicians operate various computer-controlled studio systems to perform colour separation, retouching and editing that allow changes to be made to a colour negative for printing purposes, plan page layouts and electronically alter shape, size and positions of illustrations and text.
- Scanner operators operate computerized scanning machines or digital cameras to make colour separations and corrections from colour copy or transparencies for use in preparing film, digital files, printing plates or cylinders.
- Proofmakers operate computerized equipment to prepare film, laser or dylux proofs for quality control purposes or for customers' review.
Education & Job Requirements for Camera, Platemaking and Other Prepress Occupations in Newfoundland and Labrador
Education and job requirements can vary by region. Workers in regulated occupations require a licence to work legally. Workers in non-regulated occupations do not require a licence, but employers may have other certification requirements.
Employment requirements are prerequisites generally needed to enter an occupation.
- Completion of secondary school is required.
- Completion of a college program in graphic arts technology
A four- to five-year apprenticeship program in printing and graphic arts
A combination of on-the-job training and specialized college, industry or other courses is required.
- Trade certification for some occupations in this group is available, but not compulsory, in Ontario, Alberta, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.
Regulation by Province/Territory
Some provinces and territories regulate certain professions and trades while others do not. If you have a licence to work in one province, your licence may not be accepted in other provinces or territories. Consult the table below to determine in which province or territory your occupation/trade is regulated.
|Province and Territory||Regulation|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||
|Prince Edward Island||
Programs in the order in which they are most likely to supply graduates to this occupation (Camera, Platemaking and Other Prepress Occupations):
- Graphic Communications
- Design and Applied Arts
- Fine Arts and Art Studies
- Computer Software and Media Applications
- Precision Metal Working
The essential skills profiles can:
- Help determine, based on skill sets, which career may best suit a particular individual.
- Assist job seekers to write a résumé or prepare for a job interview.
- Help employers to create a job posting.
Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as “building blocks” because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
Camera, Platemaking and Other Pre-Press Occupations
This unit group includes pre-press technicians who operate various computer controlled systems to perform pre-press activities and workers who operate graphic arts cameras and scanners, assemble film and negatives and prepare, engrave and etch printing plates or cylinders for various types of printing presses. They are employed in firms that specialize in colour graphics or platemaking and cylinder preparation, commercial printing companies, newspapers, magazines, and in various establishments in the public and private sectors that have in-house printing departments.
- Read company memos containing instructions about orders. (1)
- Read job dockets which provide brief descriptions of particular jobs. (1)
- Read manufacturers' specifications for printing plates and for film. (2)
- Scan texts for errors before typesetting or printing. Texts include business cards, pamphlets, journal articles, books and flyers. (2)
- Read trade journals to stay abreast of recent changes in the industry. (3)
- Refer to and synthesize information from a variety of manuals such as equipment manuals, film manufacturer manuals and operating system manuals for computer hardware and software explaining how to set up and use a computer. These manuals are lengthy, technical and may be heavily annotated. (4)
- Read price lists. (1)
- Complete time sheets outlining the number of hours worked on specific projects. (1)
- Read labels on software packages, film developing chemicals, plates and proofing products. (2)
- Read production schedules. (2)
- Read blueline cover sheets which describe changes to be made to proofs. (2)
- Read charts outlining the characteristics of particular film types. (2)
- Fill in production sheets which include customer names, descriptions of jobs, stock to be used, sheet sizes, quantity, colours, packaging requirements and delivery dates. (2)
- Fill out forms, such as software registration forms and output forms. The latter outline types of errors and what has been done to correct them. (2)
- Fill out order forms for plates and chemicals. (2)
- Read troubleshooting charts and tables in service repair manuals. (3)
- Read assembly drawings in equipment manuals, outlining how to assemble machinery or troubleshoot problems. (3)
- Interpret scale drawings of printing job requirements and refer to sketches of layout plans provided by the customer to determine how they want final products to look. (3)
- Write notes to themselves regarding tasks to perform. (1)
- May write instructions to co-workers on the next shift regarding problems encountered. (1)
- Write special instructions and codes on flats and on the envelopes in which they are enclosed to inform co-workers of how film is to be stripped into place on the flats. (1)
- Fill in reports when new plates, equipment or procedures are being tested. (2)
- Fill in forms to report deviations or problems with production runs and make suggestions to remedy the problems. (2)
- Write instructions to binderies on how a product should be folded. (2)
- Prepare an assessment of a client's file when clients are unsatisfied with their product's quality. (3)
- Write promotional material to generate sales for companies. (4)
- May prepare bills for clients, including calculating taxes. (2)
- May monitor schedules or budgets reporting overruns and surpluses and make entries in financial records. (1)
- May budget materials and time in dollar values when planning projects and giving price estimates. (2)
- May take measurements of original pictures and spaces to be filled and shrink or expand images to fit the spaces. (2)
- May measure the density of ink dots in printed areas on cartons. (2)
- May calculate the thickness that a book will be, taking into account a number of variables such as number of regular pages, colour plates and glue allowance, in order to prepare an appropriate sized cover. (2)
- May use a densitometer to read the density of film in order to determine the percent of screening needed to reproduce the shaded and highlighted portions of photographs. (3)
- May adjust equipment in response to data obtained from test results on new plates. (1)
- May calculate the rate of consumption or rate of wastage of film or chemicals per month. (2)
- May estimate the size of film needed to accommodate the elements of a print job. (1)
- May estimate the time each job will take, considering the number of pieces of film to be stripped into place, how long it will take to create templates for placing film on flats, the time for clients to check proofs and the time needed to burn the plates. (2)
- May estimate quotes for pre-press contracts. They take into account plates, film and other materials along with the time for developing and colour proofing. The quote should be accurate as the result of the estimate is a legally binding contract. (3)
- Contact suppliers to request information on new products or to place orders. (1)
- Receive oral instructions from customer service staff or customers regarding the details of particular print jobs. (2)
- Explain jobs to customers, discuss problems encountered and suggest colour and paper options. (2)
- Give information or instructions to co-workers to co-ordinate their work as a unit. (2)
- Receive instructions from supervisors regarding target times for various jobs and interact with them to solve problems regarding print jobs or to make cost estimates for clients. (2)
- Take orders from customers over the phone. (2)
- Communicate with suppliers to discuss product characteristics. (2)
- Participate in group discussions to co-ordinate activities and to explore better ways to accomplish tasks. (2)
- May find that copies do not fit onto pages properly. They adjust fonts and font sizes, margins and spacing to solve such problems. (1)
- May discover that some job specifications are missing. They contact sales staff to fill in missing information such as the size of type or colour of paper. (1)
- May experience equipment breakdowns. They conduct their own electrical or mechanical checks, or call the machinist or electrician. (2)
- May be given low quality originals to work with. They must figure out how to adjust machines so resulting plates are within quality standards. (2)
- May face clients who are not satisfied with a product. They may get permission from their supervisor to redo the job. (2)
- May run into scheduling difficulties when several clients want work done at the same time. They must determine how to get the job done as quickly as possible without compromising quality. (3)
- Decide whether to correct errors in text provided by customers. They may phone customers and ask if they are willing to pay for extra time to correct errors. (1)
- Decide which suppliers to use for photo developing or stripping materials. (2)
- Decide what colour selection will produce the best resolution for printed products. (2)
- May make decisions on certain details which customers forgot to specify, such as colour or font size. They try to reach customers first but go ahead using their own judgment if the customer is not available. (2)
- Decide whether to send plates down to the press or back to composing departments for further work. (2)
Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.Job Task Planning and Organizing
While workers in camera, platemaking and other pre-press occupations follow schedules set out by print supervisors, they make their own decisions about the sequencing of tasks required to meet the deadlines which have been established. Interruptions are frequent, with rush jobs causing reprioritization of job tasks. In reorganizing their workday, they must co-ordinate their jobs with others. Workers in camera, platemaking and other pre-press occupations may have varied schedules from day to day and must plan to ensure that materials are available for upcoming jobs. (3)Significant Use of Memory
- Memorize exposure settings and carton measurements for jobs being worked on.
- Remember moment to moment actions such as the number of burns they have already performed on given plates. This is important to remember when there are frequent interruptions.
- Remember limitations of particular press machines, such as grip margins, sizes of paper they can handle, speed, image area and screen capability.
- Refer to production sheets or call clients for job specifications. (1)
- Contact external binderies to learn the specifications of their equipment when parts of the order are being contracted out. (1)
- Consult with film strippers to exchange ideas on how to solve problems. (2)
- They may look up order specifications in computerized client files. (1)
- They may also use a digital camera. (1)
- They may type text. (2)
- They may search the Internet for information on software related to the industry and may transfer pre-press jobs electronically. (2)
- They may use scanners. (2)
- They may use graphics software such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw; photo correction software such as Adobe PhotoShop or Corel PhotoPaint; or page layout software such as Quark Express, Ventura Publisher or Adobe PageMaker. (4)
- Use other computer applications. For example, they may decide on configurations to use when setting up networks, reprogram computerized platemaking machines or use computers to determine colour densities. (4)
Working with Others
Workers in camera, platemaking and other pre-press occupations mainly work independently. They may work alone after hours to finish rush jobs. They may work with partners, completing components of jobs which have been divided between them. For example, when dealing with rush orders, one worker might complete the design while the other does the layout. Incumbents of this occupation often work in a team to achieve finished products.Continuous Learning
Workers in camera, platemaking or other pre-press occupations learn about new technologies, computer programs and changing processes by attending workshops and training courses, reading journals and searching the Internet.
Information for Newcomers
Provincial credential assessment services assess academic credentials for a fee. Contact a regulatory body or other organization to determine if you need an assessment before spending money on one that is not required or recognized.
The assessment will tell you how your education compares with educational standards in the province or territory where you are planning to settle can help you in your job search.
- British Columbia - International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES)
- Alberta - International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS)
- Saskatchewan - International Qualifications Assessment Service The Government of Saskatchewan provides this service through an interprovincial agreement with the Government of Alberta.
- Manitoba - Academic Credentials Assessment Service – Manitoba (ACAS)
- Québec - Service des évaluations comparatives d’études (SECE)
- Northwest Territories - International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS). The Government of the Northwest Territories provides this service through an interprovincial agreement with the Government of Alberta.
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