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Investigating Integrated Imposition

August 1998

ScenicSoft, too, is bolstering its imposition software with PDF power. Preps 3.5 now provides full support for imposition of a PDF document, allowing users to take advantage of the benefits provided by the new all-digital workflows that utilize PDF documents as their source format.

Preps also supports the mixing and matching of both PostScript and PDF documents to facilitate workflow in more complex environments where multiple formats are common. Also, QuarkXPress 4.0-, 4.01- and 4.02-generated documents are beginning to appear in shops and will eventually become more common. ScenicSoft has responded and includes support for imposition files from these new versions of the popular application with its Preps 3.5.

Server Suite is the latest imposition tool from Ultimate Technographics. The suite of Mac and Windows NT products, including UltimateFlow OPI, Trapeze and Impostrip, provides the ability to integrate a mixed hardware/software environment without compatibility issues.

Ultimate also just released IMPress 2.5 for the four-up imagesetter and platesetter market. IMPress has the full functionality of Impostrip, but was created independently with a simplified and user-friendly interface. IMPress supports an automated Hot Folder workflow, with more than 150 application filters, including a PDF workflow.

"The future of a profitable, all-digital CTP workflow is a simple one, two, three approach—combine isolated prepress tasks, simplify the operator interface and automate the process," states Mark Scott, director of marketing at Ultimate Technographics.

Speaking of full automation, on the bundled workflow side of imposition, prepress providers including Agfa Div., Bayer Corp., BARCO Graphics, Heidelberg Prepress, Krause America, Scitex, Screen and others continue to provide imposition tools within comprehensive workflow packages.

New from PrePRESS Solutions is Panther PageImposer software, which assembles individual pages into digital flats after they have been RIPed, solving several problems associated with PostScript-based imposition. Panther Page-

Imposer stores imposition instructions as job files that are completely separate from the content of pages in a publication—watching as each page is individually RIPed—and when all the component pages for a plate are ready, it automatically assembles them for plate production.

Keep an eye on PageImposer and other new imposition tools, as the market evolves and imposition further integrates into digital CTP.

Tech Talk: IRIS on Imposition

A fully digital workflow—from page creation to platemaking—demands a digital imposition proof that doesn't incur the cost or time penalties of exposing analog films to produce traditional bluelines.

Wide-format ink-jet printers are particularly suited to this application. Their image quality is sufficient to verify text and line weight, traps and color breaks. When compared to analog methods, ink-jet offers the added benefits of low-cost consumables, faster throughput and no chemical waste.

An important caveat should be noted: Although the signatures produced on ink-jets are often printed in four colors, they are generally not intended to serve as a final color contract proof. They can, however, be useful in the pressroom as a guide to ink coverage and distribution.

Initially, wide-format ink-jet printers produced only single-sided imposition proofs. Inaccuracies in the feed mechanisms of "off-the-shelf" wide-format printers made them unable to assure proper registration and alignment from the front to the back of the proof.

In order to create a fully imposed flat, users resorted to pasting two sheets back to back. Recently, however, several vendors have refined these mechanisms, making double-sided digital imposition proofing a reality.

Case in point is the IRIS42WIDE imposition proofer, due out this year—watch for it at Graph Expo.

IRIS claims the proofer will produce a double-sided, 16-page signature flat (four colors, 360 dpi) in about 10 minutes. With a front to back alignment accuracy of 0.03˝, the IRIS42WIDE promises to deliver a solid combination of accuracy and image quality.

Will the IRIS42WIDE realize its promise for doubled-sided, 16-page digital signature proofing?

Stay tuned...

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