Make Digital File Exchange Easier
Then came PDF/X, established to address these fundamental mishaps. It promised to make PDF creation fool-proof. We thought it was going to encourage the masses, who were guity of sending out naked documents, to dress them in more protective attire.
Many developers (CSG Publishing, Harlequin, Rorke Data, CreoScitex and Shira, just to name a few) rushed to make products that write PDF/X-1-compliant files. Notice anything in particular about this list? Each developer offers RIPs that rasterize file data, which means that their products are rasterizing the PDF/X-1. In a nutshell, the technologies take the CT and LW and adds a PDF/X-1 wrapper. There's nothing wrong with this solution. In fact, it's a very good one. The process can reduce file size by as much as 50 percent. What these technologies do not address, however, is the conversion to PDF/X-1 from native applications. And so print producers are back in the same old boat. If they couldn't afford to create and process TIFF/IT-P1 files, they won't be able to afford this method for PDF/X-1 either.
The question we're all anxious to have answered is: Is anyone making an inexpensive desktop solution that can write vector/raster PDF/X-1 files? Apago's Piktor is now available with a PDF/X-1 Creator Module that runs on Windows 2000/NT ($1,500), but it leaves Mac fans out in the cold. The developer does promise a Mac-version release of its PDF/X Check-up later this month. For $149, you'll get a program that checks the PDF file, automatically corrects non-compliant elements and applies PDF/X-1 tags. Now we're talking! It's still one step away from being able to generate a PDF/X-1 file directly from your native application, but it's one step closer to where we need to be.
-Linda Manes Goodwin
Linda Manes Goodwin (email@example.com), is a CTP evangelist. As executive director of Manes Goodwin Associates, she specializes in optimizing digital print production workflows.