Traditional prepress tasks
In the past, prepress operators They produced artwork with glue and pasted artwork onto pre printed templates before photographing camera-ready artwork using large cameras creating large bromide or film. Prepress operators made color separations from photos, the images were split, by camera into CMYK operations and these were individually spliced into to the film create CMYK printed images, a very time consuming and skilled job.
Today this part of the job along with film is no longer used. That part of the process has pretty much disappeared. Instead the whole process is computerised and the images are transfer directly to metal plates. These plates fit directly onto the press.
Todays prepress qualities and requirements
Prepress operators today must be able to work with the industry-standard graphic software programs including QuarkXPress and Adobe CC 2017 and Acrobat. To a lesser extent an understanding of Corel Draw, Microsoft Word and any other software that a customer may potentially use, including open source programs. Basically if you can understand it you have a chance to find a solution when there is a problem. This as most things is down to experience.
RipSoftware imposition software is very complicated. It not only requires software knowledge but an understanding of how the whole reprographic and print process works. Producing a 300 page plus document to print on the B1 web press is not for the beginner.
Some prepress operators are color specialists and make subtle adjustments to client photos to enhance their appearance when printed on paper. They have a working knowledge of the printing process and binding requirements and how they affect each printing project. This knowledge is vital when producing high quality print. Even in a small digital print company you will require this level of knowledge.