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Introducing PDF To CIP3's Format

November 1998

Many of the prepress and press manufacturers within the CIP3 consortium are Adobe OEM customers and, as such, rely heavily on Adobe to share its vision on emerging digital workflows with the CIP3 membership, as well as to participate actively within the consortium to make sure that the strategies and technologies defined by CIP3 are supportive of industry trends. At present, all eyes are on Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) and its impact on the direction of CIP3's Print Production Format (PPF).

Over the past two years, Adobe—the founding force behind the industry's migration to Portable Document Format (PDF) compatibility—led the effort within the technical committee of CIP3 to reconcile the goals of an industry standard for production data with the growing importance of PDF and the Portable Job Ticket Format (PJTF).

PPF Fast Fact
The Print Production Format is the specification developed by CIP3 that defines how an organization passes production data from prepress to press to postpress. Currently, version 3.0 of the PPF is based on Adobe's PostScript language.

PDF Fast Fact
PDF captures all page content in a reliable way, but does not include information on page production or content control. This is where the PJTF comes along, storing all technical information on page production.

PJTF Fast Fact
Adobe's PJTF is the production job ticket format based on PDF. Following a thorough technical analysis, the CIP3 general meeting recently approved a new PJTF encoding for the CIP3 PPF format.

Extreme Fast Fact
Adobe PostScript Extreme incorporates advanced prepress capabilities, using PDF and PJTF, to automate prepress processes including imposition, trapping and preflighting, as well as providing multi-RIP support for high-speed engines. Adobe sees the possibility for future Extreme integration with the CIP3 PPF initiative.
PDF is very familiar to anyone who knows anyone who works in prepress. Adobe's PJTF is the production job ticket format based on PDF. It is used in Adobe Post-Script Extreme and will be the mechanism by which automated digital production becomes a reality.

What do PDF and PJTF mean for CIP3's Print Production Format—and how is the Silicon Valley giant helping the consortium deliver on its promise to provide a fully digital link between prepress, press and postpress functionality?

To answer that, John Felleman, director of engineering at Adobe and the Adobe representative on the CIP3 council, points to the power of Adobe's PJTF—a thorough production job ticket format based on PDF—and PJTF's potential for empowering the CIP3 PPF with the flexibility and functionality of PDF-based workflows.

Felleman reports, at present, the current version of CIP3's PPF is based on storing data in PostScript format and is completely independent of PDF, but that will change as CIP3 opens up to the PJTF and its role in enabling a PDF workflow.

"We have already seen some successful implementations of PPF, and moving to a PJTF-based workflow that incorporates PPF is going to make product implementations that much easier and more powerful," he explains, noting that emerging technologies like Adobe Post-Script Extreme—Adobe's latest architecture for PDF-based prepress workflows—rely on PDF and PJTF to deliver reliable digital workflows.

"The work under way to encode PPF in PJTF provides a robust technical solution to this need," Felleman reports. "Print professionals can be confident in solutions that preserve their investments in digital automation and process control."

As CIP3 moves forward, Adobe, one of the initial CIP3 member companies, continues to support the international consortium's goal of establishing industry standards to bring Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) to the print production process.

If anyone can help build a CIM city, it's Adobe—with PDF, perhaps, serving as the golden key.

As 1998 moves to a close, look for the December issue of Printing Impressions to feature an industry debate on the merit and potential of CIP3's Print Production Format—with top technology providers from prepress, press and postpress markets sharing their views on the CIP3 vision.


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