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It's inevitable just when you think your job is ready to go, there are changes. Your client may change her mind or you may find an error that must be fixed. Yes I know it's close to the deadline, but you have to make a change. There are two kinds of alterations, Artists Alterations, you'll see a markup AA often on a proof, and Printers Alterations and of course that's PA. The acronyms might very from plant to plant, but the concepts are constant. So what constitutes an artist alteration? Well, your decision to substitute a new photo, for example, or your request to change the size or crop on a graphic, copy changes are AA's. Now does this mean that you submit a new corrected file, maybe not, because as part of setting the job up for print and proofing prepress may have already modified your submitted file.
For example, creating rich blacks and they probably don't want to start over. So they may prefer to perform the corrections themselves based on your request rather than having you do it. Now, if you want the final corrected file, after all those changes returned to you when the job is finished, that's a generally accepted procedure that way you have everything that's been done to the file, both by you and by prepress to correct problems, and you have a good file in case, you want to use that as a starting point for a future project and what constitutes a printer's alteration.
Keep in mind this doesn't mean that you've messed up, it's something that printer wants to do to ensure that the job prints in a satisfactory manner. For example, the rich black that I mentioned, when the large areas must be covered in black ink or an offset press simple 100% black coverage is often insufficient, it'll look a little bit anemic. So, certain amount of other process colors may be added to give a richer coverage. Now you're not charged for printer alterations there for the convenience of the printer and for the success of the job. I realize that the prospect of making any change to a job in progress whether it's a small change or a big one, you can seem it kind of daunting.
The more complicated the alteration of course the more possibility it may have an impact on the deadline. But remember, if the job isn't on press, it's not too late, you might have to change your deadline, but its better that you do it before ink starts hitting paper.
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