Process in which data from the computer is imaged directly onto the printing plate, without using film as a transference medium. This reduces costs, but the printing foils used in this process wear out faster than conventional printing plates and may need to be replaced on a periodic basis. Depending on the process, the foils cannot always be stored once they have been printed. Recently, new materials, which use thermal energy instead of visible light for imaging purposes, have made it possible to process film in daylight conditions and to develop film without using chemicals.

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