I spent 6 years working in Art Finishing and Prepress for Mr. Pinball Australia. My job was essentially to make spare artwork for pinball machines with the worldwide licence for Bally/Williams spare parts. This work required me to gain an in-depth knowledge of several printing processes including Offset Press, Screen Print, Digital Solvent and UV. I operated two wide-format digital presses, a thermal transfer press and a laminator in-house.
The original printing and prepress techniques used on the Bally/Williams machines were creative and innovative. Recreating this artwork lead me to learn a lot about unusual substrates, complex spot-colour jobs, creative overprinting, trapping, complex knock-outs and other specialised print techniques.
Weighing in at 12 spot colors with special overprints and trapping, this playfield was a good challenge and required quite a bit of investigative work to make sure we were nailing the original color mixes. Like many other projects we undertook, this piece was re-drawn from scratch using scans reconciled with the original technical drawings. This was a highly detailed process which two of us worked on for weeks.
The art had to be exact, but also the ink choices, halftone angles, percentages and dot shape – all exact to the original. Substrates and laminates all had to be as close as possible to the original in appearance, weight and durability. These fine details were checked using a custom workflow I developed which composites ripped separations and outputs an accurate full-sized preview – with overprint simulations – on a wide-format digital printer.
Through research and development I also created workflows that enabled us to make faithful recreations of many products in-house using just a digital printer and a laminator. By creative use of substrates and by pushing the limits of UV and solvent ink, we were able to make accurate copies of artworks that were originally printed on a screen or offset press.
This short-run capability was necessary as the world-wide demand for pinball parts does not always mandate the large-runs necessary in screen or offset processes. A licence to the printing processes and artwork was sold to a company in the USA for US $1mil.
I am very interested in tackling creative printing projects for the world wide market. Get in touch to discuss your unique project.