Focus on Digital Front Ends
"Full openness not only means being able to import all these files, but also having the ability to mix all these differently formatted pages on to one and the same offset plate," Rommelaere explains.
The BARCO technologist offers one final word of caution and common sense in the hunt for DFE deliverance: In order to respond to any business opportunity, it is important for the commercial printer to be able to accept any of the frequently used data formats in the graphic arts industry.
Don't get caught off guard.
An AGFA Counterpoint: Is DFE What We Need?
Many prepress vendors have announced that they are jumping on the DFE bandwagon in response to demand in the marketplace. Agfa feels quite differently about this, as Michael Jahn, PDF evangelist for Agfa, explains.
"The concept of the DFE is much like the concept of adding a clock to a toaster oven. The industry does not need a bunch of black boxes that consume PDF or PostScript, process them into bitmaps and then drive devices that spit out paper, film or plates," Jahn argues. "The industry needs to invest in systems which preserve the data that the file contains—data that is used for archiving, EDI, links, URLs, validation and CIP3 post-processing."
Today, most graphical elements are not conceived and designed with efficient prepress processing as the main goal. Agfa contends that this fact is being overlooked by many prepress vendors. "The same document might be required to go through several final-output processing requirements. The designer may have selected an approach for an effect because the designer knew that a specific element was needed—you can't dictate how even a single element is constructed or will be processed later on," Jahn explains.