Generally speaking, a reversed photographic image produced on acetate-based film (a film negative) or photosenstive, resin-coated paper (a paper negative). On a black-and-white negative, white images become black and black images become white; on color negatives, each tone value is reversed. In most prepress operations, film negatives need to be prepared from mechanicals (either pasted-up artwork or digitally-generated pages), and it is from film negatives (in particular, from final negatives) that plates are exposed. The process camera that makes the negatives from mechanicals is the "camera" in camera-ready art. On most negatives, black areas commonly correspond to non-printing areas. During prepress, prior to platemaking, film negatives need to be stripped into flats. (See Stripping and Prepress: Graphic Arts Photography and Flat Assembly.)

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