A Graph Expo Wrap-Up You Won't Want to Miss
The exhibits filled a space larger than seven football fields inside McCormick Place in Chicago, Oct. 10-13. Tens of thousands of Graph Expo and Converting Expo attendees weaved in and out of aisles in search of products and technologies to help them streamline workflow, maximize efficiency and improve quality.
While the show is geared primarily toward printers, a number of exhibitors unveiled products for the printers' customers as well, and some companies announced big news.
Some Pluses for the Publishing and Agency Creative Department
Quark Inc. announced the release of QuarkXPress 6.5 that will enable users to import native Adobe Photoshop documents (PSD files) into QuarkXPress and exploit the power of multilayer Photoshop images without leaving QuarkXPress. Once imported, image layers can be switched on and off, opacities and blend methods can be modified, channels can be assigned as spot colors, and clipping paths can be chosen in the QuarkXPress environment.
QuarkXPress 6.5 also will include an upgrade to QuarkXClusive, an XTensions module that puts variable data publishing capabilities in the hands of QuarkXPress 6 users working with Mac OS X. QuarkXClusive lets users output customized, database-driven documents on HP Indigo digital presses. The upgrade to 6.5 will be available at no charge to registered users of QuarkXPress 6. For new users, Quark and Apple Computer are offering a $300 mail-in rebate on the purchase of QuarkXPress with a Power Mac G5 or PowerBook G4; the regular price for QuarkXPress is $945, with special pricing for multisite licenses, students and educators, and nonprofits.
Markzware touted its new FlightCheck Studio, which could be called a pre-preflighting solution. It allows a designer or project manager to create an initial design specification for a document that "watches over" the document during creation, alerting the designer to potential problems. The user can then resolve problems using automatic corrections. The first in a series of FlightCheck Studio products is a QuarkXPress XTension requiring QuarkXPress v6.x running on Mac OS X 10.2 operating system and above, as well as QuarkXPress v5.x and 4.11 running on Mac OS 9. The MSRP for FlightCheck Studio is $299.
Creo demonstrated two new versions of its Darwin Variable Information (VI) authoring tool. Darwin VI enables Adobe InDesign users to design, author and manage personalized variable information documents. It runs natively on Mac OS X and turns InDesign documents into variable data documents where every element is dynamic—text, graphics, charts, colors, layouts, backgrounds and entire pages. Darwin 6.1.1, also a Mac OS native application, reportedly features faster, more efficient variable information production. Upgrade prices are: from Darwin Desktop 4.5 to Darwin Desktop 6.1: $995 (U.S.); from Darwin Desktop 4.5 to Darwin Pro 6.1: $1,995. New packages: Darwin Desktop 6.1: $2,995; Darwin Pro 6.1: $4,795.
Software provider XMPie launched uDirect for Adobe InDesign CS, designed to enable creative professionals to produce personalized, visually rich variable data print documents within the native InDesign environment. uDirect enables automatic definition of business rules, extraction of field headers from a data source and population of "content objects." Priced at $2,500, it includes support for PDF and one additional VDP output format selected by the user upon installation.
Adobe announced its new online VDP Resource Center (www.Adobe.com/vdp). The Web site enables creative professionals, marketing departments and print service providers to learn about implementing Variable Data Publishing, download free trial software, and purchase VDP plug-in solutions from Adobe ISV (independent software providers) partners, compatible with the Adobe Creative Suite. The VDP Resource Center showcases technologies and products to help in the creation of customized materials.
Human Eyes Technologies made its North American debut with HumanEyes Capture3D, an automated application designed to allow photographers to use any digital camera to generate 3D images for multiple uses—from packaging to backlit displays and wide-format commercial signs—quickly. A photo needs to be taken only once, and can be converted "from stamp to billboard size," according to the company. A free trial version is being offered, as is an introductory purchase price of $199.
New Proofing Options
Kodak Polychrome Graphics announced its new Matchprint Virtual Proofing System-LCD, its second-generation, SWOP-certified monitor proofing solution. The solution combines RealTimeProof with the color accuracy of the KPG Matchprint Virtual Proofing technology. It recently earned SWOP certification based on the use of four approved monitors: the Eizo ColorEdge 21-inch, Apple's Cinema Display 20-inch, a newer model of the Cinema Display
20-inch and Apple's Cinema Display 23-inch. It also comprises a Matchprint Virtual calibrator and the full suite of RealTimeProof Web-based proofing tools. The cost is $1,000 for the Matchprint Virtual LCD Software and Calibrator package, and a usage-based subscription to www.MatchprintVirtual.com.
Rampage Systems Inc. showed the latest version (v1.4) of its Rampage Remote, an Internet-based system for proofing and collaboration. Integrated with the Rampage workflow, Rampage Remote is free to those using the company's printing services, and has no varying usage fees based on the number of transactions, concurrent users or file size. It's an ICC-enabled soft proofing method based on calibrated monitors, which converts printer's spreads into reader's spreads and presents reviewers with a virtual book.
Integrated Color Solutions unveiled a software plug-in, Flash Proof, for its Remote Director color proofing system that allows viewers to see the effects of different varnishes in a virtual light environment (by viewing the interaction between substrate, coatings and lighting on screen). Using the Flash Proof plug-in, viewers can see how light reacts or reflects off specialty varnishes on screen, as if the image were being held in the viewer's hands.
Building on its soft proofing solution, Dalim Software demonstrated its new version 3.0 of DALiM DiALOGUE, featuring new job approval features for Mac OS X users. DALiM DiALOGUE provides users with an online facility for remote and collaborative viewing and soft proofing of high-resolution files via the Internet.
Production on Auto Pilot
Enfocus Software announced its new Instant PDF 3.0 solution, which enables content creators to produce "press-ready" PDF files. Enfocus Instant PDF 3.0 automatically creates Certified PDFs that comply with any print or ad supplier's specifications. Instant PDF 3.0 is available as a stand-alone solution ($199 on Enfocus' online store), in distribution packs and as a component of Enfocus' PDF Workflow Suite.
Vio also announced a new partnership with Enfocus, where Vio will integrate the Enfocus PitStop Library with the Vio Certified Delivery (VCD) Agent, a drag-and-drop facility from an advertiser's desktop, incorporating a certified preflighting and delivery process. In general, Vio's automated workflow solutions aim to eliminate file errors, streamline file transfer and job processing both on the publisher's end and the printer's end.
Wam!Net, a division of Savvis Communications Corp., demonstrated its new job definition format-enabling solution, WAM!NET Direct! JDF, which enables its members to automate the exchange of digital content. Using WAM!NET Direct! JDF, customers can automate digital distribution of JDF through the WAM!NET/SAVVIS global network, to fully maximize the efficiencies of end-to-end production workflow between internal organizations and external partners.
ICS showed its Flash Proof plug-in for Remote Director. It simulates how light will react with specialty varnishes, inks and metallic surfaces.
Flint Moves Into Workflow
Eighty-four-year-old ink manufacturer Flint Ink Corporation announced its foray into the color-management/ workflow arena with the creation of a new company called Progressive Color Media. The new company will provide a "full range of workflow color management solutions, integrating hardware, software and services," according to the company's press announcement. The goal is to enable printers, graphic designers, publishers and brand owners to achieve more accurate color reproduction and improve brand integrity, as well as increase efficiencies.
Professional in-house Printers and printing Technology
Epson America Inc. announced the expansion of its most advanced professional-level photographic printer (Stylus Pro 4000) to include a custom-designed RIP from ColorBurst and Epson's fastest Ethernet card for digital proofing, fine art and digital photography. The new Epson Stylus Pro 4000 includes a full Pantone color library and is SWOP certified. Epson announced an estimated street price of $2,195 for the new printer.
Xerox and Creo launched the Spire CXP3535e color server for the Xerox DocuColor 3535 color copier/printer system. The Spire CXP3535e is designed to electronically process and transmit color images to the DocuColor 3535 for increased color management capabilities, color calibration and enhanced productivity. It also has advanced capabilities designed for customized printing with variable information.
Options in Training
The Prepress Training Solution, a division of StaffingTools.com (a provider of online training), announced two new online training courses. Creo Preps 5.0 teaches users imposition basics and how to master the Creo imposition software. FlightCheck Professional 5.0 trains users in Markzware's latest preflight solution. Each course is being offered for $149.95.
— Noelle Skodzinski