Focus on Digital Front Ends

With the semantics lessons closed, it should be mentioned that a host of DFE solutions are hitting the prepress market, such as LDR’s relative newcomer to the DFE domain, Fusion. Recently, LDR announced impressive PostScript RIP timing against industry standard benchmark files on LDR’s Fusion DFE running on a Silicon Graphics Origin 2000 server.

The Fusion DFE combines software from Harlequin and Xinet on Silicon Graphics hardware. Fusion DFE is a unified PostScript DFE that provides network services, print spooling, OPI, color management processing, RIP functionality, trapping and screening, as well as direct imaging to digital proofers, imagesetters, platesetters and wide-format color printers, including devices manufactured by Agfa, ECRM, Fujifilm, Krause, Polaroid and Scitex.

Bob Boyce, prepress specialist at Phoenix Color, knows Fusion DFE quite well. Boyce reports the new digital front end has taken Phoenix’s workflow a step forward. “Although we haven’t had Fusion very long, I have a hard time recalling how we got along without it,” Boyce reports. “With competition in the printing marketplace being so intense, sophisticated DFE technologies, like Fusion, which runs right off of our server, is a big advantage.”

What are other moves in DFEs?

Throughout 1999, Scitex will further extend the capacities of its best-selling Brisque DFE by adding support for additional input and output formats. Export PDF will allow users to automate the generation of PDFs from RIPed Scitex CT and LW files. Compact PDFs can be sent electronically to clients as a reliable, remote proofing tool, and full-resolution PDFs can be provided for output in other environments.

“Brisque will also move to Adobe’s PostScript 3 RIP, which supports native consumption of PDF,” reports Howard White, product marketing manager,

Advanced Product Marketing, at Scitex. “Components of Adobe’s Extreme technology will help shape the directions of the Brisque DFE during 1999; the Adobe CPSI PostScript 3 RIP will allow Brisque to consume PDF files natively.”

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