Focus on Digital Front Ends
Agfa's Apogee—don't call it a DFE—foundation supports the fact that service providers are offering other services besides prepress, such as CD-ROM creation, Web site design—tasks that a simple DFE does not support. "So simply having a DFE that converts to some form that can be printed efficiently falls miserably short," Jahn argues.
"In the case of CTP, Agfa indeed preprocesses PostScript into PDF, but again, using the Adobe Normalizer to simplify the approach that was taken to represent a graphical element for faster processing, without quality degradation, so that the PDF files RIP faster than PostScript on our newest PostScript 3 RIPS and, more importantly, process PDFs directly while preserving the important embedded information that was built into the PDF," he continues.
A digital front end, Jahn emphasizes, simply RIPs a PDF into some TIFF-like file format so it will efficiently mark the paper, film or plate it is marking with a laser. "That is one of the reasons Agfa likes PDF. It can retain the art as a 'digital master' and predictably render it for the specific device as that device requires, whether that device is paper, film or plate, as well as a Web site or a CD-ROM."