In a post by Software Media Blog, an authorized Adobe Reseller for over a decade, physical boxed copies of Adobe’s Creative Suite will no longer be available after April 30th, 2013. The company will instead transition to a digital-only distribution model.

While Adobe has yet to make an official announcement to this effect, Mike Chambers, a Adobe spokesperson, posted the following excerpt from a company FAQ:

Why is Adobe discontinuing boxed copies of Creative Suite?

As Adobe continues to focus on delivering world-class innovation through Creative Cloud and digital fulfillment, we will be phasing out shrink-wrapped, boxed versions of Creative Suite. Electronic downloads for Creative Suite products will continue to be available – as they are today – from both, as well as reseller and retail partners.

Adobe started promoting its Cloud-based subscription model since May of last year and the end of boxed copies can be seen as a move to drive more people to it. In the meantime, users will still have the option to buy the complete set electronically using a one-time payment. According to vendor TechFarm, physical back-up media for Creative Suite packages will be available, but at an additional cost.

Dynagram of Montreal launched what it calls a major version upgrade for its PDF-based inpO2 imposition software. Version 5.0 of inpO2, compatible with Acrobat XI and OS 10.8, includes several Document Manager improvements for easier management of the run list. 

Document Manager within inpO2 v5 now allows users to insert or replace document pages, and move documents or pages inside the run list, with drag-and-drop of single tree nodes. The upgrades allow for quicker access to the run list from the contextual menu of the selected page, allowing users to visually set or adjust documents from the light table.

With inpO2 v5, prepress workflows for single-page PDF files can now handle multiple page adjustments at once, using a range of pages as well as render an unlimited amount of PDF documents in the same job. 
PDF page thumbnails can now be displayed with inpO2 – instead of high-resolution PDFs. These rendering thumbnails are part of a new built-in inpO2 Working Profile and can be selected when creating custom profiles.
The Wizard of inpO2 v5 has been enhanced with an option for single- or double-sided Text Marks. It is also possible to override the spine gutter value (zero by default) for saddle-stitch bindings.

As well, customers who need to manually modify jobs generated with the Layout Manager (.mlay) or the Assembly Manager (.ably) of inpO2 can now do so with the “Export to Layout” function. Text marks and side guides can be placed on one or both sheet sides, and may follow the work style (turning axis of the sheet) for double-side positioning.
Dynagram also added functionality into version 5.0 of inpO2 for the exchange of presets between workstations. The Import or Export can be done for one type of Presets (Sheet, Imported mark) or globally for all user Presets. Imported Presets can either replace existing ones or can be merged. Should a different Preset with the same name exist, the conflict will be detected and a suffix will be appended to the file name.

The PrePress module within Agfa Graphics’ :Apogee v8 workflow suite, first introduced in May 2012, has been awarded the Passed Accreditation in RIP testing for correct rendering of a very broad set of PDF/X-4 features. The series of tests was run by the VIGC, the Flemish Innovation Centre for Graphic Communication in Belgium.

“:Apogee PrePress v8 was introduced at drupa 2012 and has the latest Adobe PDF Print Engine built in,” says Erik Peeters, Marketing Manager at Agfa Graphics. “We have always been amongst the first to implement the most advanced PDF processing and value independent product compliance testing. In an open system environment the compatibility amongst systems is crucial. We were keen to take part and pleased with the result.”

Montreal-based Objectif Lune, maker of VDP/transpromo software, announced it has opened a new office in Sweden to target the Nordic market.

The company has been active in the Nordic territories for several years through its UK subsidiary, but has since seen a steady increase in business for the region. 
"Our business development activities in the Nordics have been very successful for Objectif Lune," said Colin Casey, EMEA Business Development Manager for Objectif Lune. "Our channel network already has an established presence in this region and with the growth of our customer base and steadily increasing opportunities, formalizing our presence with a dedicated office became an imperative for us."
The company's operations will be managed by Peter Chalkley, Objectif Lune's Nordic Business Manager, who is actively seeking for a local account manager. Objectif Lune has undergone significant growth in the last few years, even acquiring New Zealand-based PrintSoft last summer. Earlier this year, it expanded its presence in Europe by opening offices in Italy and Russia. The company was founded in 1993 and today operates 23 sales offices and has partners in 52 countries.
"We know we have the solutions to serve the Nordics market and enable businesses to take the leap to variable data printing, workflow automation, and document-related business processes improvement. The strong partnerships we have developed and the activities surrounding this new office implementation confirms that this is the appropriate time for us to officially position the company in this region and we are confident this strategic move will prove successful," said Casey.

Ultimate Technographics of Montreal released version 8 of its Impostrip OnDemand software for imposition and finishing automation. The new version includes PDF/VT imposition, AutoFlow ganging optimization, and stacking automation.

Impostrip OnDemand, according to Ultimate, is the first imposition software capable of imposing PDF/VT-1 files, which allows a user to place PDF/VT files into their Impostrip OnDemand hot folder. Impostrip then takes into account the record boundaries to produce optimized PDF output compatible with any RIP on the market. In other words, the company describes how producing variable-data booklets and books, with all relevant markings and dynamic barcodes for quality control, can be initiated by dropping a file in the Impostrip OnDemand hot folder.

With new ganging algorithms, Impostrip OnDemand version 8 uses AutoFlow to optimize the placement of multiple jobs on a sheet, while also accounting for finishing requirements. “Our AutoFlow engine for ganging is a feature we are proud of because it is more than typical ganging as we further pushed the automation level to meet customer demand,” says Julie Watson, VP of Marketing with Ultimate.

The inclusion of Book Stacker into Impostrip OnDemand v.8 allows users to automatically batch and impose their book orders, cards and statements, based on quantities and page count. Impostrip OnDemand waits for files to logically redistribute and imposes them according to set rules, while applying the marks, barcodes and banner sheet requirements.

Adobe Systems has released what it refers to as the next generation of Acrobat, version XI, with a cloud-computing structure. Products included in this release are: Acrobat XI Pro, Acrobat XI Standard, Adobe Reader XI and newly integrated document services called Adobe FormsCentral and Adobe EchoSign.

More specifically, FormsCentral and EchoSign are part of the cloud services of Adobe’s new PDF software, allowing for Web contracting (EchoSign) and forms creation, data collection and analysis (FormsCentral). Access to both Adobe EchoSign and FormsCentral starts at $14.95 per month, while Acrobat XI Standard is expected to be $299 ($139 upgrade) and Acrobat XI Pro is expected to be $449 ($199 upgrade).

Acrobat XI features what Adobe calls complete PDF editing and export to Microsoft PowerPoint and new GUI support for tablets. The company also points to the following new and improved Acrobat XI features:

- Edit PDF files, modify paragraphs, images, and objects by click-and-drag using the new Edit Text and Images tool. Arrange and visually merge select content and multiple documents into one organized PDF file, while retaining source file integrity;

- Enhanced mobile capabilities include the ability work with PDF files across tablets and smartphones in touch-friendly Adobe Reader to annotate and add comments, as well as fill in, sign and save forms;

- Save PDF documents as PowerPoint, Word or Excel files or reuse parts of or entire PDF files as Microsoft Office documents and Web pages without retyping or need to reformat; and

- Improved protection of all PDF files created from Microsoft PowerPoint, Word, and Excel to help prevent copying, editing, or printing without permission.

Agfa Graphics, yesterday at the WAN-IFRA World Publishing Expo 2012 in Frankfurt, highlighted new technologies for newspaper publishers and printers, including :Arkitex Cloud, :Arkitex PressRegister, and VeriPress for :Arkitex

The :Arkitex Eversify technology can now be aimed at mobile publishing through cloud-based managed services. “We feel a strong concern amongst printers and publishers in the newspaper industry about business models for mobile applications," said Andy Grant, Global Director of Software, Agfa Graphics. “Building on our pre-media solutions for print, we can offer publishers a path to success for the new digital media as well.”

:Arkitex Cloud, according to Agfa, offers a complete prepress software and hardware solution in the cloud (Software as a Service) to minimize operational costs and IT infrastructure. :Arkitex Eversify is applied within this structure to automate the mobile publishing of content.

At the World Publishing Expo 2012, Agfa for the first time demonstrated :Arkitex PressRegister, which automatically corrects imaging data. The technology is designed to improve print quality on older presses suffering from mechanical mis-registration.
Agfa Graphics also highlighted VeriPress for :Arkitex, providing press-room proofing, as well as the recently introduced :Advantage N HS platesetters for high-volume newspaper printers. Both of these technologies were first announced at drupa 2012.

PTI Marketing Technologies, formerly known as Printable Technologies, today released version 8.0 of FusionPro VDP Suite.

The new release includes Mac OS X Lion support, HTML output, and list processing workflows along with a variety of updates and new features. The FusionPro VDP suite is comprised of three recently re-branded products, including: A desktop design and composition tool called FusionPro VDP Creator; a high-speed plug-and-play composition server called FusionPro VDP Producer; and a composition server called FusionPro Producer (API).

Using FusionPro VDP 8.0, service providers can now produce personalized HTML the same way they produce a variable data print piece, eliminating the need for advanced HTML programming. Designs can originate from programs such as Adobe InDesign or Quark, and the HTML can be used for static or personalized emails and micro-sites. The new list cleansing features offered in 8.0 allows users to execute NCOA and CASS processes online through an integration with Tec Mailing Solutions.

"The new features in FusionPro 8.0 provide such a tremendous value," said Coleman Kane, CEO of PTI. "The industry has changed and so have the needs of our service providers. FusionPro has diversified to include media types outside of print and improve on essential workflows that any provider can appreciate.”

Quark announced this week that its previous customers, going back to version 3, will be eligible for an upgrade to QuarkXPress 9 for US$349. The non-upgrade price is $849.

Likely targeting the recent release of Adobe Creative Suite 6, Gavin Drake, Vice President of Marketing at Quark says: “We release major versions of QuarkXPress about every two years and unlike many other vendors, provide free, feature-rich updates regularly within release cycles. Assuming a user upgrades on the two-year cycle, an upgrade price of $349 brings the cost of owning version 9 to as low as $14.50 per month – and users own the software once they’ve upgraded, which means no long-term financial commitments.”

Users with a valid, registered and activated serial number for any version of QuarkXPress is eligible for the offer. QuarkXPress 3 was first released in 1990.

Adobe Systems has formally announced its CS6 suite of software, which includes a new subscription service. The new version is scheduled to be available within 30 days.

The service, known as Creative Cloud, costs $75 a month (or $50 per month with an annual membership, all prices in US$). Current CS3 to CS5.5 users are eligible for an introductory price of $30 per month. Creative Cloud users also get online storage and sharing capabilities as well as ongoing updates and new products (such as Adobe Edge, a HTML5 development tool) as they are released.

Of course, CS6 applications can be purchased the traditional way, with the Master Collection to retail for $2,599. The CS6 Design & Web Premium will retail for $1,899 while the Design Standard suite will go for $1,299. Upgrade pricing starts at $275 for Design Standard, and goes up to $549 for the Master Collection for current CS5.5 users ($699 to $1,399 for CS3/CS4 users).

New features for CS6 include:

Interface and performance revamps to take advantage of hardware acceleration
Expanded content-aware technologies (including the much-hyped Content Aware Move)
Adaptive Wide-Angle, to straighten distorted images
Skin-tone-aware selections and masking

New image tracing engine
Pattern creation tool
Application of gradients to strokes

Alternate Layout feature for designing the same document for multiple media
Content Collector Tool, which allows users to grab content from existing layouts for repurposing
Linked Content, for syncing content across documents

Premiere Pro
Hover Scrub clip handling
Advance trimming tools
New adjustment layers that can be applied to multiple clips

Adobe Systems is providing a preview of what's to come in its popular Photoshop program with the release of a free beta. The final release is expected this summer.

“Photoshop CS6 will be a milestone release that pushes the boundaries of imaging innovation with incredible speed and performance,” said Winston Hendrickson, Vice President Products, Creative Media Solutions, Adobe. “We couldn’t wait to share this beta of Photoshop CS6 with our customers and are looking forward to hearing from them and seeing the ways they are incorporating the beta into their daily creative workflows.”

Most notable of the new features are Content-Aware Patch, which allows users to select and duplicate an area of the image to fill in another, and Content-Aware Move, which lets users select and move subjects in a photo, with CS6 filling in the missing background.

Photoshop CS6 for Mac requires a 64-bit operating system. This move follows Apple's decision to end 32-bit support in its latest OS X 10.7 Lion operating system. CS6 will also require a mulit-core computer (Core2Duo and above) on Apple machines.

For the PC version, Photoshop CS6 will run on single core CPUs on 32-bit systems, although Adobe has dropped official support for Windows Vista systems.

Ottawa-based Corel has announced it has launched the latest version of its flagship graphics suite. The package includes a completely revamped typography engine, new page layout capabilities and native 64-bit and multi-core processor support.

"Our CorelDRAW community consistently inspires us with their creativity and versatility. Our members play a central role in helping us determine the essential features and enhancements that will help to accelerate the design process while enabling them to showcase their true design style,"” said John Falsetto, Senior Product Manager for CorelDRAW. “"We want to provide our users with all of the tools and options they need to be as creative and productive as possible so that they can share their vision and inspire others through their work.”"

New features include:
- Advanced OpenType Support: Create beautiful text with advanced OpenType typography features, such as contextual and stylistic alternates, ligatures, ornaments, swash variants, and more.
- New Custom-built Color Harmonies: Modify colors collectively in a harmony and analyze colors and hues to deliver complementary color schemes.
- New Native 64-bit and Enhanced Multi-Core Support: Quickly process files and images up to 50% faster than before.
- New Creative Vector Shaping tools: Creatively add effects using four new vector shaping tools – Smear, Twirl, Attract and Repel.
- New Styles Engine and Docker: Format with speed and simplify the creation, application, and management of styles for consistent formatting across multiple objects. 
- New Website Creator™ X6: Build and manage websites with ease using the Site Wizard, templates, drag-and-drop functionality and seamless integration with XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, and XML.
- New Smart Carver™: Remove unwanted areas from an image while simultaneously maintaining the photo’s aspect ratio.
- Improved Page Layout Capabilities: Create design layouts with ease using new and improved Master Layer functionality, Alignment Guides, Interactive frames and much more.
- Redesigned Object Properties Docker: Save time, fine-tune designs and get access to the object settings in one centralized location.

In North America, the full version of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X6 is $499 and the upgrade is available for $199.

Adobe has launched the latest version of its Lightroom software, which is aimed at professional and enthusiast photographers. In a surprise move, the software is being offered at half the cost of the previous version. Lightroom 4 is US$149 for the full version, with the upgrade version being only US$79.
“Feedback from our customers is invaluable in developing Lightroom and the real trick to a great release is to combine these insights with Adobe’s unrivalled image processing innovation,” said Winston Hendrickson, vice president products, Creative Media Solutions, Adobe. “Lightroom 4 is a stunning new release that will enhance photography workflows and help photographs stand out from the crowd.” 
The new version contains the ability for photographers to lay out photo books, which can either be exported as PDFs or be sent to San Francisco-based photo book printer Blurb. According to Blurb, during the Lightroom 4 beta, which commenced at the start of the year, more than 1,000 people created photo books using the built-in tool.

“We’re thrilled to see the response from customers, on both the Blurb and the Adobe side,” said Eileen Gittins, Founder and CEO, Blurb. “The Lightroom 4 integration has enabled us to reach a whole new set of professional and enthusiast photographers who are just now discovering Blurb for the first time. The feedback from this discriminating group has been consistent: they are blown away by the quality we offer.”

Lightroom 4 also introduces a new soft proofing feature which allows photographer to anticipate how their images will appear printed on different stocks and different colour gamuts. Different printer profiles can be created and loaded into the system.

Layout giant Quark announced it has launched a new Software as a Service designed for collaboration of sales and marketing teams through templates. It will be powered by Microsoft's Azure cloud technology.

Designers convert QuarkXPress and InDesign documents into Quark Brand Manager templates that can then be approved by marketing and customized by field teams through a simple Web interface. According to Quark, with its Brand Manager service, marketing teams are able to:

- Reduce by up to 50 percent the time it takes to create templates for brand-compliant collateral
- Reduce by up to 90 percent the time it takes field teams to deliver customized collateral to consumers
- Significantly decrease costs by eliminating the need for on-premise infrastructure

“Quark entered the brand management solutions market early with our QuarkXPress Server technology. Now, with Microsoft, we’re taking an early lead to leverage the Cloud so that dispersed marketing and sales teams can maintain their most valuable differentiator – their brand,” said Ray Schiavone, Quark President and CEO. “As marketing departments take control of budget that was once allocated to IT teams, effective and affordable global Cloud-based solutions like Quark Brand Manager will become required resources.”

Adobe Systems released a public beta of its upcoming Lightroom 4 software. Lightroom is software aimed at the professional photography segment and allows its users to process, manage, enhance and showcase their images.

“Giving early customer access to new versions of Lightroom has helped our team deliver an outstanding battle-tested product that really stands up to the demands of photographers worldwide,” said Winston Hendrickson, Vice President of Digital Imaging Products, Adobe. “The much anticipated release of Lightroom 4 beta continues this tradition and shows how much Adobe values customer insights into photography workflows.”

New features for version 4 include:

All new basic tonal adjustment controls
Native video support
New local adjustment controls (Nose reduction, Moire, and white balance)
Templates for quick creation of photo books.
Map module to take advantage of location tagged photos
New soft proofing tools to ensure content looks its best whether in print or online

Lightroom 4 Beta is available immediately for both Windows and Mac platforms. The release date of the final version has not been announced.
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