Adobe Suite Offers Second Take on Integration
SAN JOSE, CA—The new version of Adobe Systems' Creative Suite (called CS2) is one of the most rich and featured-packed upgrades in recent memory. This is due to a move the company made about 18 months ago to dramatically change its approach to upgrading its key creative products—Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and GoLive.
Instead of rolling out a hodge-podge of individual product updates, Adobe decided to align the product development schedules and release all application updates simultaneously. The reason for this new approach was not to simplify management of upgrades—neither for Adobe, nor its customers (although that has been a welcome bonus). What drove the new strategy was making the interoperability of the four applications deeper and more functional.
Adobe realized two things. The first was that many Photoshop users also use Illustrator, nearly all InDesign buyers use Photoshop and Illustrator, and so on. Why not make it easier for these applications to work together?
At the same time, it was clear that Adobe had discovered Quark's Achilles Heel. If it could make Photoshop and Illustrator more powerful when used in combination with InDesign—as compared to QuarkXPress—for page layout, the company would have an advantage that Quark could not hope to beat.
The first version of Creative Suite featured relatively modest product integration modules, but they signaled a clear direction for future developments. CS2 takes the concept of integration very seriously, offering an architectural infrastructure with enormous potential.
It's a challenge to evoke all of the functionality of CS2 in this short review. The key features fit into three broad areas of functionality.
The first is the greater integration of each application's features into other applications within the suite. For example, InDesign CS2 can access the individual layers created in Photoshop files, greatly facilitating approvals and production of multiple editions.
Second is the integration of a barebones (yet very functional) asset management system, called Adobe Bridge, which in itself makes the sharing of files between applications much more accessible and powerful.
A third group of improvements falls loosely into the category of metadata, both in the conventional sense (i.e., information about a digital file attached directly to the file) and also a broader sense—the flexibility of attaching nested style information into any part of the various digital file types supported by the CS2 system.
There are lots of bonuses in this upgrade, as well. One is called Adobe Stock Photos service, which provides a direct interface to hundreds of thousands of stock photos from the leading online agencies. Another is expanded support for JDF, a feature of increasing importance to printers.
The feature upgrades in Adobe CS2 are deep and powerful, and afford enormous potential for developers, integrators and publishers with strong IT resources to create dynamic, semi-automated publishing workflows. Unfortunately, the degree of difficulty this entails is such that few will be up to the challenge.
Too many will want to wait for CS3, which is likely to arrive about 18 months from now. Its certain to offer a deeper still integration of features across applications, while equally sure to provide simpler tools for the average user to take advantage of the creativity inherent in the Adobe Creative Suite. (www.adobe.com)
—Thad McIlroy, Contributing Editor
NexPress Goes Off to the Races
ROCHESTER, NY—NexPress Solutions, part of Kodak's Graphic Communications Group, certainly found the right venue to drop the start flag on a 23-city road tour highlighting its digital printing solutions. Its "No Limits Express" mobile demonstration facility was rolled out at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida during the season-opening races for NASCAR's Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck series.
The specially configured truck houses a Kodak NexPress 2100 digital production color press, NexGlosser glossing unit and DSF-2000 finishing system provided by Duplo USA. Its production capabilities were used during the races to provide value-added services for VIP suite guests. Among the documents produced were customized race booklets and calendars with up-to-the-minute race photos, as well as live race posters.
During its regular stops on the tour, the mobile facility will demonstrate the use of digital printing in print-on-demand, variable data and Web-to-print applications. (www.nexpress.com)
HP Expands Presence in Graphic Arts Marketplace
ATLANTA—In conjunction with the opening of the new HP Graphic Arts Solutions Center, Hewlett-Packard (HP) announced the availability of new solutions and services for the graphic arts market during the HP Graphic Arts Analyst & Media Summit, held here in February.
News highlighting the event included the availability of the HP Indigo press 5000 and HP Vivera inks for large-format printers.
Introduced at Drupa, the HP Indigo press 5000 is a four-color digital press with seven-color capability geared for mid-size to large-scale commercial printers. It has the capacity to produce up to 4,000 full-color pages per hour. Partner companies offering supporting software to the HP Indigo press 5000 include DirectSmile, Printable Technologies and XMPie.
Complementing a similar center in Littleton, MA, the 4,000-square-foot HP Graphic Arts Solutions Center in Atlanta provides real-world scenarios for commercial printing experts looking to make decisions on their individual production needs. The entire printing process is demonstrated—from pre-print to process to print—in one central location.
Visitors receive a personalized experience from four technical experts, a return-on-investment (ROI) specialist and a senior printing architect, who spend an average of three to four hours discussing the customer's business objectives, unique industry challenges, sales and marketing strategies, and promotional ways to increase business and improve process efficiencies.
The benefits of digital printing and one-to-one marketing are experienced first hand with variable data print marketing campaigns, such as just-in-time collateral, personalized direct mail, short-run packaging and real-time targeted marketing.
HP commercial presses and printers featured at the center include: the new HP Indigo 5000 press; HP Indigo 1050; HP Indigo 3050; HP Indigo 3200; the HP Designjet 5500 and 130nr printers; and HP Color 9850mfp and HP Color 9500mfp.
To demonstrate the full production cycle, the center also features equipment from HP finishing partners such as Hunkeler, Dorn SPE and Duplo. (www.hp.com)
PODi Recognizes Digital Printing Work
LAS VEGAS—PODi, the Digital Printing Initiative, named the winners of its "Best Practices Awards" at the recent 2005 PODi Applications Forum. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, in combination with Royal Impressions of New York City, took top honors in the "Direct Mail" category. Also recognized was the Washington State Department of Printing for its winning entry in the "Collateral Management & Fulfillment" category.
According to PODi, the annual awards recognize innovative digital printing applications with proven ROI that demonstrate the business potential of digital printing.
The Walt Disney World (WDW) Welcome Mailing Letter is the first in a series of customized communications sent to guests in anticipation of their upcoming WDW vacations. It recommends options for dining, entertainment and recreation.
Rather than a single piece, the Washington State Department of Printing's PRTonline is a Web-based application that enables state agencies and political subdivisions (like cities, counties and school districts) to order a variety of printed documents—both static and customizable.
In its first four months of operation, the system reportedly saved users an estimated $10,000 in prepress costs by eliminating preflighting, typesetting and hard-copy proofing. It also is credited with dramatically reducing inventory waste, decreasing turnaround time and increasing print production efficiency.
Winning entrants were chosen from more than 60 submissions for the fifth edition of the annual "PODi Best Practices in Digital Print" report, to be published this spring. The annual publication provides a detailed analysis of best practice principles for conceiving, designing and producing successful digital printing applications.
This year's applications forum reportedly drew more than 400 attendees, a 60 percent increase from 2004. (www.podi.org)
Industry Titans to Speak at On Demand
NEWTON, MA—Top executives from several of the country's largest corporations are scheduled to give keynote addresses at the AIIM On Demand Conference & Exposition, to be held May 17-19 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.
The program includes:
* "The Future of the On-demand Business"—Brian Roberts, chairman & CEO, Comcast Corp.
* "The Future of the Document"—Gary Kusin, president & CEO, FedEx Kinko's.
* "Tradition & Transformation: The Changing World of Graphic Communications"—Daniel Carp, chairman & CEO, Eastman Kodak.
* "The Transformation of the Print Industry"—Charles Pesko Jr., managing director, InfoTrends/CAP Ventures.
* "Capturing the Upside While Avoiding the Downside"—Clayton Christensen, author, "Seeing What's Next," professor, Harvard Business School.
Presented by Advanstar Technology Group, the combined event is expected to attract more than 20,000 attendees. Keynote sessions are free to all conference and exposition attendees. (www.aiimondemand.com)
AdsML Consortium Sets Goals, Elects Officers for 2005
ANTWERP, BELGIUM—AdsML Consortium members met in early February to elect officers and approve AdsML Framework development plans for 2005, among other agenda items. The mission of the group is to develop an open standard for automating advertising business processes for all types of media, all stages of the lifecycle of an advertisement and across all segments of the advertising industry, worldwide.
Members approved the Technical Working Group's 2005 standards deliverables schedule, aiming at an October 2005 release date. Activities will center on adding capabilities to Framework specifications already approved or proposed, including AdsML Envelope, AdsML Bookings, Structured Descriptions, Advertising Component Interactions and Content Delivery.
Other financial e-commerce documents in development include e-statements and e-payments.
The slate of officers elected to serve for the 2005-06 working year includes: chair—Harald Löffler, research manager for Ifra, Darmstadt, Germany; vice chair—John Iobst, vice president of the Newspaper Association of America, Vienna, VA; and treasurer—Jack Knadjian, manager, Strategic Business Development/Newspapers, Agfa-Gevaert, Antwerp. (www.adsml.org)
Creo Donates Scanner to Cal Poly
VANCOUVER—As part of its "partnership" with the university, Creo Inc. has given an iQsmart3 scanner to California Polytechnic State University's Graphic Communication Department. The machine will be used by students in the graphic design, graphic arts and photography departments, as well as by graphic arts industry professionals at the Graphic Communication Institute. Other Creo products already available to students include a Trendsetter thermal platesetter, Preps imposition software and Darwin variable data software. (www.calpoly.edu/www.creo.com)