Analog vs. Digital Printing
There’s a significant transformation in the printing process when comparing analogue to digital print processes. In analogue printing the points of control are typically quite flexible:
You choose and modify – enlarge, substrate, distance to the substrate, light source, exposure duration and filtration (globally and locally), chemistry dilution, temperature, duration of immersion, and agitation (again globally and locally). Frequently, prints are further enhanced after printing.
When printing digitally, the points of control are comparatively inflexible. You choose to modify (but typically don’t) a printer, inkjet, substrate, driver profile, rendering intent, ink limit and print speed. Infrequently, prints are further enhanced after printing.
Analogue processes offer a stable original (often tailored for one type of output – colour slide for Ilfochrome and colour negative for c-print) and flexible media. Digital processes offer a flexible original (capable of being derived from and output to any medium) and stable media. Rather than enhancing a static original with media, you enhance a flexible original before medication.
This means that many of the adjustments to an image that used to be made while printing (and there’s less handling of media). This displacement is in part because you have enormous control over the data you send to the printer. Image-editing software (Adobe Photoshop is the premier product of its type) provides that control.