Offset printing combines ink and water to stamp artwork and text onto a surface of a replicated or pre-recorded CD, DVD, or Blu-ray disc. The concept of offset disc printing is similar to lithography as well as newspaper and magazine presses. Offset printing produces images at a resolution of approximately 175DPI (dots per inch). This process is usually performed by professional printing or duplication/replication services.
The photographic results of an offset disc image are derived from its use of a CMYK ink system. This color spectrum stands for Cyan (C, or blue), Magenta (M, or red), Yellow and Black (which uses K to prevent misidentifying it as blue). There are an infinite number of color possibilities and combinations to choose from with these color combinations.
Before printing, the offset equipment may lacquer the disc with a white flood coat, also known as a white overcoat. This layer functions as a primer base that lays the groundwork for easier and more accurate color application. It also serves as a neutral foundation to prevent any of the silver disc reflection from leaking into the design.
This method of printing uses four machine plates that are each applied with an ink color from the CMYK system, and another plate for spot color. The original image intended for the disc is applied to each of these plates after encountering a chemical procedure that functions similar to the science behind photography. This results in a reverse image that rests on the plates.
After each plate is inked with its unique image, they are blanketed with a rubber layer which is then affixed to cylinders. Subsequently, each cylinder of single colors from the CMYK system are rolled or transferred (offset) onto the disc one at a time. Therefore, the reverse image that was applied to the plate is restored to its proper orientation when printed to the disc. The result is a four-color printed image with a matte finish.
In addition to CMYK ink, water or a water-based film may be applied to the plates. This serves to draw away ink from the disc surface areas that must remain blank or without color because of the nature of the image. When ink and water are used together, it is similar to oil and water.
There are several advantages of choosing offset printing services. Due to its nature of high resolution and countless color variations, it reproduces photographic quality images and intricate color patterns with vibrancy. The matte finish remains smudge proof and virtually scratch-proof. While silkscreen uses a fine mesh screen, this method uses plates. This translates to a more evenly covered, smooth disc surface where fine mesh screen marks cannot be traced.
This printing type is intended for high volume or replication disc orders. It offers quick, highly efficient, and economic costs in bulk quantities. However, like silkscreen printing, professional fees for equipment set up costs do not justify the expense for most of the smaller volume or duplication orders. It generally takes several business days to complete since it is associated with higher volume disc orders.