Agfa Graphics announced today that the latest version of its workflow suite is now shipping to customers. Apogee 7 Workflow Suite’s updates include Apogee Impose, rules-based imposition, extended print buyer online interaction, and a wide-format inkjet printing hub.
The core of the upgrade lies in the improved Apogee Impose tool, which instead of using traditional pre-defined templates, employs job information and available equipment to calculate and propose the most-effective imposition scheme.
Apogee’s browser-based WebApproval function has also been upgraded to invite buyers to view and create new jobs in the prepress stage. They can create jobs based on a series of pre-define job plans. Once approved, Apogee generates the imposition scheme and starts processing the job. This gives printers the ability to develop greater involvement with preferred customers and further automating the prepress process.
The wide-format inkjet printing hub pre-processes incoming files to ensure compatibility and also directs files to be printed on idle machines.
Quark has released a free update to its venerable page layout software which adds .docx support, PANTONE PLUS colour libraries, an automatic software updater and resolves a number of user-reported issues.
Among the issues addressed will be Snow Leopard compatibility, PDF export, and Quark Publishing System integration with Job Jackets.
.docx is the XML-based file format for Microsoft Word that was introduced by Microsoft with Microsoft Office 12 and replaced .doc files. QuarkXPress 8.5 now allows users to import and export DOCX (.docx) formats, allowing for greater flexibility when working with the latest file format.
Quark released QuarkXPress 8 in July 2008, two years after QuarkXPress 7 was released. Prior to the 8.5 update, the latest version was 184.108.40.206
Until November 30, 2010, Quark is offering "magic software bundle" which includes MarkzTools and ID2Q from Markzware as well as 1,000 OpenType fonts as well as a "magic maintenance bundle" which includes a year’s worth of unlimited telephone technical support, the ability to upgrade from any previous version of QuarkXPress, free upgrades to any new versions of QuarkXPress released during the 12 months, and the 1,000 OpenType fonts.
Microsoft has released a new version of its Office suite for Mac, a version which has more of the same features as in the Windows version. Office for Mac 2011 will feature the return of Outlook and Visual Basic capabilities, which were missing from the 2008 version.
The main focus for the new release of Office for Mac is collaboration, both between other Mac users and even with Windows users. The whole system also takes advantage of Apple's Cocoa development framework, making operation smoother on Macs and more consistent with other Mac applications.
Outlook returns, replacing the unsuccessful Entourage, including support for Enterprise environments, which was previously unavailable for Mac users.
Sold in two versions, Home & Student ($130), and Home & Business ($250), the software is also available in multi-user pack.
Quebec-based Dynagram released a version 6.5 upgrade to its flagship product, DynaStrip, designed for imposition creation and editing. The upgrade includes updates of DynaStrip's document list, mark sets, and the addition of dynamic page sizes to the Layout Reflow feature, which the company claims will reduce the number of imposition templates needed by our users.
Layout Reflow was introduced in DynaStrip 6.0. With a new feature in dynamic page trim, changes in marks, layout or run length to multi-sheet layouts can now be performed via a single click or the "Reflow" button. This reflow makes adjustments for the entire job.
DynaStrip 6.5's update to the Document List allows customers to more easily replace pages, or reorder documents and pages in the document manager, as well as faster access to layout tools and marks through the revised Object Drop Menu. The new Document List feature also enables adjustments for all gutters in a job and the ability to apply multiple mark sets to a job.
According to the company, in addition to the above features, there are over 20 other enhancements in DynaStrip version 6.5. This includes an update to the Automation version, as well as enhancements to controls on various marks including fold marks, collation marks and trim marks. In addition, DynaStrip 6.5 has been enhanced for running on Mac OSX.
Ottawa-based Corel Corporation has released the latest iteration of its graphic design suite. Called CorelDRAW Premium Suite X5, the package contains programs for many facets of graphic design.
The X5 suite introduces new features such as Flash and video authoring applications, as well as a new Website creation application. Clearly aimed at Adobe's Creative Suite offerings, the company has priced the package substantially lower than it's San Jose-based competition: $699 (US and Canadian) for the full version and $299 for the upgrade.
CorelDRAW Premium Suite X5 also includes new colour management tools and improved performance on multi-core computers. CorelDRAW is compatible with files generated from Adobe Illustrator CS5 and Corel Photo-Paint is able to read Photoshop files.
The CorelDRAW saga began in 1989 with the first release, running on Windows 2.x. CorelDRAW Premium Suite X5 is the 15th release of the line. The suite of programs are PC only, with OSX support ceasing in 2001 with version 11.
Australia-based LithoTechnics has announced the release of Metrix 2010.0, what it describes to be "even more attractive to printers who are looking for an economical way to migrate towards automated, integrated workflow."
Rohan Holt, President of LithoTechnics, said: "We are proud to introduce another automation milestone with the release of Metrix 2010.0. It is really exciting to invent technology that substantially improves the productivity and efficiency of our customers, and very gratifying to get their feedback on how well it works."
According to LithoTechnics, important features of Metrix 2010.0 include:
- Auto Production, which takes into account available equipment on the shop floor and automatically lists the most cost-effective printing method based on method, press, and sheet size and ranks the results by production cost.
- Security, which ensures data integrity through logins and permissions.
- Click Dimensions, which simplifies and speeds the addition of layout dimensions – a critical part of the Metrix job report that customers use as a production roadmap.
- Enhanced data filtering and sorting in Metrix's database.
- Enhanced marks, including fold marks, barcodes, and collation marks.
- Enhanced workflow integration with Rampage and Xenith Sierra
Hewlett Packard has launched new capabilities for its printers which will allow its customers to print documents from anywhere in the world using their mobile devices. Dubbed ePrint, the new system will be bundled within a range of HP's consumer printers.
"From a mom and son printing drawings from an iPad, to an executive on a train sending a presentation from a Palm Pre or Blackberry smartphone to print and pick up at a FedEx Office store, HP ePrint allows people to print anytime, anywhere," said the company in a press release.
Users will be able to access Google Docs, Photos and Calendar directly from their printers, without the use of a connected PC. Every HP ePrint printer will have a unique simple email address that allows the sender to deliver a print the same way they would send an email message. Customers also can send documents to print through an HP ePrint mobile app on their smartphone device to a home, office or public print location such as a hotel or FedEx Office store. Customers will be able to send Microsoft Office documents, PDFs and JPEG image files, among others.
“We are once again revolutionizing printing to make web-empowered, cloud-enabled printing the new industry standard,” said Vyomesh Joshi, Executive Vice President, Imaging and Printing Group, HP. “We know that our customers want an easy way to print their content, anywhere, anytime. We’re making that a reality today by giving people the power to print from any web-connected device – smartphones, iPads, netbooks and more – to any printer in our portfolio above $99. The world has changed.”
Adobe Systems has announced its latest iteration of the Creative Suite series of design and production software. Adobe CS5 will be shipped within 30 days.
“While Creative Suite 5 continues Adobe’s storied history of delivering astonishing new creative features, this release first and foremost addresses the challenges facing publishers and creatives worldwide—how to build profitable businesses around digital content,” said Shantanu Narayen, President and Chief Executive Officer at Adobe. “By coupling sophisticated online business analytics with dazzling creative tools, we’re ensuring that publishers, designers and marketers can create, deliver and optimize beautiful, high-impact digital experiences across media and devices.”
The core focus of the release is online publishing and publishing to mobile platforms, including tools which take advantage of Adobe's latest acquisition of Omniture to track information generated by website activities. Another new product aimed at online publishing is Adobe Flash Catalyst, which aims to provide a set of tools to translate print documents into interactive online sites, all without requiring the designer to program code.
Other applications within the suite have all received updates, which according to Adobe, add up to 250 new features. Programs such as Premiere and After Effects, now require a 64-bit environment to operate. Photoshop CS5 is also 64-bit native (but will work on older 32-bit systems), giving the software much more performance when processing the larger files prevalent in today's design environment.
Absent in Creative Suite 5 are updates to Acrobat, which is included in all editions saved for the Production Premium package, but remains at version 9.
Pricing for Creative Suite 5 is US$2599 for Master Collection CS5, US$1899 for CS5 Design Premium, US$1799 for CS5 Web Premium, US$1699 for CS5 Production Premium and US$1299 for CS5 Design Standard. The upgrade price for CS5 Design Premium will be US$599 and US$899 for the Master Collection.
HP today commercial released HP SmartStream Designer 4.0, designed for variable data printing (VDP) with both small- and large-format applications. The software application, a plug-in for Adobe InDesign, is available as part of the HP SmartStream Solutions portfolio.
Using different media designed from the same SmartStream Designer files, HP explains that printing companies can use HP SmartStream Designer to create multi-application campaigns ranging from large-format posters for point-of-sale to flyers and postcards for loyalty and special-offer campaigns.
Beyond merging variable data, the software application can also be used for imposition with HP large-format printers and image manipulation based on Adobe Photoshop, as well as barcodes, collation and packing, and 3D text.
SmartStream Designer 4.0 works on both Macintosh and Windows platforms, while also allowing for connectivity to third-party VDP tools.
Agfa Graphics announced today that more than 6,000 :Apogee systems are being used worldwide. The Belgium-based technology company released Version 6.0 of :Apogee Suite in early 2009. Today, 30 percent of existing :Apogee users have switched over to the newest version.
"We are very pleased with 6,000 :Apogee systems in the market... :Apogee has pioneered back then when PDF started, and when JDF was introduced in our industry," stated Erik Peeters, Product Manager for :Apogee, in a press release. "Recent business decisions like :Apogees' own preflight technology and the automation of ink-saving drive the development to specific market and customers needs."
:Apogee Suite 6.0 includes a series of applications, such as :Apogee PrePress, :Apogee Color, :Apogee Portal for building online applications, and :Apogee Media for editorial and content management.
Focused on the office-printing market, EFI unveiled its new Fiery VUE controller, which the company describes as a 3D desktop application.
Fiery VUE is suited for environments requiring managed enterprise printing services across a group of connected machines. Before printing, any office user can interact with the document on-screen in 3D to sculpt and then preview how the finished document will look.
“Fiery VUE is an easy to use application that fills a gap in the tools available today for an office worker to create and produce professional-looking finished documents, with no special training,” stated Alex Sumarta in a press release. Sumarta is Director of Production Software at InfoTrends, a consultancy and research group focused on the printing industry.
“At a time when some in our industry are moving away from print, Quark is aggressively maintaining its investment in this community,” said Cyndie Shaffstall, director of QuarkAlliance. “There is a significant opportunity for printers to take advantage of the booming Web-to-print industry, as well as traditional revenue streams. I invite output providers to join one of our programs right now at no cost.”
Adobe Service Network members can join QuarkAlliance for one year at no cost and existing QuarkAlliance members also get a complimentary one year membership renewal.
Additionally, U.S. output providers are eligible for a free enrollment in Quark's "Promote Output Provider Program." The program extends benefits such as a listing in Quark Promote printer search feature, inclusion on Bing map locator, rights to use Quark Promote authorized partner logo and inclusion in appropriate Quark marketing activities.
More information can be obtained at the QuarkAlliance site.
Adobe Systems has announced it will discontinue its Adobe Partner Connection Print Service Provider program. The program was established to connect the users of Adobe products to local print providers as well as providing printers with technical support and discounts on Adobe products.
The company claims a declining membership to the program (which has two tiers at US$595 and $995) is the reason for its discontinuation. Existing agreements will be honoured but Adobe will not be taking on any new members.
"The print segment continues to be important to Adobe and the company will retain its ongoing relationship with regional print industry associations," the company stated in a press release.
LithoTechnics Inc., which develops software for automated job planning and imposition, has released version 3.7 of its Metrix application with more support for Fujifilm and Muller Martini technologies.
The Metrix product line includes Metrix Commercial, Metrix Max, Metrix X-8 and Metrix X-80. The line also includes Metrix Server, which is designed to automate planning, imposition, and finishing machine setup. All products are available on Mac OS X and Windows.
The company, founded in 2003 by Australian Rohan Holt, lists the following nine new (or improved) key features of Metrix 3.7:
1. Improved support for Fujifilm XMF workflows;
2. New barcode marks and special Muller Martini barcodes (Max Edition);
3. New component-related text mark variables that automatically report information about the products or signatures they are positioned over;
4. Split exports for PDF and Fujifilm XMF workflows;
5. At multi-user sites, clients can now see who else is logged-in;
6. JDF and MXML import have been expanded and improved;
7. New project properties (“Type” and “Needs Attention”);
8. Optionally place collation marks over or under content; and
9. Import and export stock data, including costs, via comma separated (CSV) files.
Pageflex, a division of Bitstream Inc., released Pageflex 7.5 with what the company refers to as more than two-dozen product enhancements. Most of the new features have been added to Pageflex’ Campaign Manager, Storefront, and Studio applications. Additionally, version 7.5 includes a new Pageflex Server module for users to employ the Adobe InDesign CS4 Server for composition needs.
New v7.5 features of the Pageflex Campaign Manager application, designed for the creation, execution, and result tracking of multi-channel – print and email – marketing campaigns, include “add-a-friend/self opt-in capabilities,” the ability to track undeliverable emails via integration with an SMTP server, and the availability of a Campaign Manager API (for email/job scheduling, database updating for synchronizing with CRM systems, and custom report generation).
New features of Pageflex Storefront allow users to “ship items in an order to multiple addresses,” create and manage shipping address books, multi-level approval, document preview within a data list, HTML email notifications, reorder form fields (drag-and-drop), and the ability to customize online shopping carts.
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