In the rapidly evolving digital prepress and printing markets, technology suppliers are now technology consultants, systems integrators and digital workflow evaluators. Do digital press manufacturers care what happens after the digital press is installed? Do high-tech prepress providers make the commitment to introduce a traditional printer to a digital workflow? Put it this way: They better. BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO The migration from conventional prepress and printing technologies to new, digital prepress and on-demand printing processes calls for a concentrated alliance between technology providers and commercial printers. After all, commercial printers, by and large, don't conceptualize the next digital prepress or printing
FUJIFILM Graphic Systems Div.
From Adobe's K2 to Apple's G3, from Markzware's MarkzScout to EPSON's Stylus 9000 and from Agfa's Galileo to Creo's SQUARESpot—Seybold brought the digital movers and shakers back to Boston, where file transfer, asset management, color proofing, thermal platesettind every other degree of digital prepress stood on a welcome, familiar platform. BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO Seybold, Boston. What a familiar and pleasant ring that name carries. With all the hype and hoopla surrounding the return of Seybold to Boston last month, all roads led to the Hynes Center for the latest advancements in digital prepress, digital printing and "repurposing" content for the Internet.
As computer-to-plate grows in popularity and application, prepress officials and technology providers trade outlooks on CTP's hottest issues—especially the true commercial availability of thermal plates. What's better—thermal or non-thermal? Warning: They tell it like it is. BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO Is the jury still out on the long-term merits of thermal imaging—and the consumables considerations any reasonable prepress director must labor over when deliberating which output device to recommend, thermal or non-thermal? For one, Maureen Richards, prepress technical director at United Lithograph, now a Mail-Well company, has her thermal reservations. "The current thermal technology is not 'utopia,' but I am perhaps biased by
Adobe's PostScript Level 3 and PDF, plus new technologies from Harlequin, Rampage and others, are forging new frontiers in output functionality. The goal? Maximize total throughput. For the imagesetter, throughput starts at the RIP. BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO Raster image processor (RIP). Ironic that the term used to describe the most complex, multi-tasked, time-sensitive phase of preprinting shares its acronym with a much more tranquil phrase: Rest In Peace. Rest is one task the RIP only performs under the most nightmarish of production circumstances, barring any natural disasters the prepress director can pin RIP degradation on—and get away with it. Without doubt, if a
Digital front ends are growing in flexibility and functionality, allowing for greater output opportunities, especially in areas of digital color proofing. Are DFEs where they need to be—technically speaking? Most are headed in the right direction, thanks to the promise of PDF. BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO The success of any print production process—whether it is direct-to-film, direct-to-plate or imposition proofing—relies fully on the competence of the digital front end in question. Digital front ends, or DFEs—rich in providing controls for color management, PDF support and a host of in-RIP capabilities, including trapping—are taking the front end to higher levels of sophistication. What is a
Technological strides in areas of digital prepress, plus new moves in digital color printing, will push for strong attention this year. Are commercial printers ready for the next wave of techno-hype? Time will tell. BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO Tired of hearing about thermal CTP? Bored with PDF discussions? Less than enthralled with the latest digital color proofing claims? Too bad—the next wave of PDF functionality, digital front-end output flexibility, thermal CTP strides and competitive advancements in digital color proofing devices are poised to make 1999 another hot year for digital developments. Still, hearing the tech talk isn't always easy, as many a prepress director
CHICAGO—What were the odds that GRAPH EXPO 98 would be a Show of Shows—when the international spectacles that are IPEX and PRINT 97 captured the printing industry's collective practically within the same 12 month span, with IPEX in September and PRINT 97 the previous September? How about $108 million to one? If you're talking GRAPH EXPO and CONVERTING EXPO, that's not bad—that's the figure Heidelberg registered during GRAPH EXPO's four-day stay at McCormick Place here. Heidelberg's sales success was not singular. Scores of the show's more than 550 exhibitors reported GRAPH EXPO was a money maker. MAN Roland, for example, reported a
BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO As 1998 moves to a close, CIP3 moves closer to its mission: full digital integration of prepress to postpress production. Will it really fly? It's already soaring. AS 1998 posts its final days, the major technology players motivating the adoption of CIP3's Print Production Format (PPF) are forecasting that the international effort to digitize the print process from prepress to postpress stages is in store for a happy new year. The workflow vision of technology providers the likes of PDF's parent, Adobe, and imposition software developer Ultimate Technographics; prepress providers including Agfa, BARCO Graphics, Creo, Fujifilm, Scitex and Screen; hard
GRAPH EXPO 98 and CONVERTING EXPO 98 was a hot ticket—sales were robust, booth traffic was brisk, technology advancements fierce and cooperative announcements healthy. BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO Question pondered: Could GRAPH EXPO 98 be a "Show of Shows," when the international spectacles that were IPEX 98 and PRINT 97 captured the printing industry's collective practically within the same 12-month span, with IPEX in September and PRINT 97 the previous September? Does $108 million answer that? That's the figure Heidelberg reported it registered during the show's four-day tour of Chicago's McCormick Place recently. Heidelberg's success was not singular. Scores of the show's more than
Existing in a market that's changing almost as rapidly as is the market of its competitive counterpart, today's imagesetter is showing that delivering PDF performance and end-to-end productivity isn't purely the direction of the digital platesetter. BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO With all the talk about the digital platesetter, the imagesetter is often overlooked. Should an investment even be made in an imagesetter when so much enthusiasm and technology are being placed in the conventional and thermal CTP direction? Does the imagesetter still remain a staple, smart investment for prepress environments poised for eventual full-tilt digital workflows? Make no mistake. The answer is YES. Imagesetting