Automating the Process
Transcontinental’s Integrated Solution Center (ISC) team has worked diligently to automate prepress and digital asset management workflows.
PowerSwitch is a server application that enables users to set up rules-based workflows that govern file routing, processing and notifications.
However, by using Switch to drive an application such as Claro on a server platform, this is now a viable service for Transcontinental to offer its clientele. “Using our best operator on Photoshop, we could manually correct six to 10 images per hour; in a semi-automatic environment using scripts or Droplets and Actions in Photoshop, we got up to about 60; and then, using Switch and Claro, we could process upwards of 150 images per hour and gain the benefits of Claro’s intelligent image analysis,” Pugliese observes.
To be sure, Pugliese’s team at ISC had done plenty of configuration work to achieve that kind of throughput. Whereas Switch enables users to configure and execute simple workflows, Transcontinental’s workflows leveraged metadata and/or handled large volumes in complex ways that required more testing and troubleshooting. “There’s a lot of preparation that goes into automated workflows, and you have to troubleshoot carefully,” he says. “But, once you categorize and organize and dial in the flow, it tends to work very well.”
Having achieved success with images, the ISC is now deploying Switch to automate other tasks. One initiative involves using metadata to automatically retrieve files from a digital asset management system and send them to a proofing system. For this application, Transcontinental is positioning Switch within its customers’ ERP systems workflows to obtain comma-separated value (csv) files with the names of the files to be proofed. They are then parsed into XML by Switch, and used to query and “pull” the content files from a digital asset management system.
These are then assembled using scripts and templates, and transferred to the required proofing system (online or otherwise) and delivered to the customer—all without manual intervention.
Tying It All Together
Given the scale of Transcontinental’s operations, Switch’s ability to fit in with a variety of third-party applications and tie together disparate operations is key. “We never look at anything just within four walls,” asserts Pugliese. “We also evaluate how it lends itself to an enterprise, centralized or standardized style deployment.”