German software vendor DALIM will be presenting major version updates of its software in Chicago next month at Print 13. This includes the company’s workflow automation software TWIST, customer-facing web software ES, and soft-proofing application DIALOGUE.

The new ES (version 4) features an imposition module that allows for the import of both CFF2 and JDF templates to automate imposition workflows for print service providers (PSP). For both print and marketing service providers (MSP) exploring new opportunities beyond print, the latest version of ES extends its support of images (with layers), video, Flash and animated GIF banner ads along with website content, to bring together all the elements required today to manage and produce cross media campaigns. ES 4, along with its current ability to handle managed content within its own database, will now be able to work with referenced content, particularly useful for those who need to work with very large video files or external storage devices and other file system-based Digital Asset Management systems.

TWIST (version 7), the production automation solution has been completely updated, and provides speed improvements of up to a factor of four, according to the company. It is able to monitor FTP servers and receive files via email, making it easier for printers and MSPs to receive customer files, along with the usual hot folder and WEBLINK support. It extends its metadata handling abilities and provides new tools for the creation and conversion of a multitude of image files including layer support and BigTIFF (>4GB), making it easier to handle large files for point of sale and sign applications. TWIST also has updated visual compare tools for more efficient quality control and greater support for adding printers’ marks on multi-page documents.

DIALOGUE Engine, the soft proofing application of ES is now available in HTML5. This lets user mark up, annotate, compare and approve high-resolution files much easer and faster than before, without the need of any other browser plugin technology — reducing compatibility and security concerns. Additional new features and performance enhancements are also available in the latest version of DIALOGUE Engine.

Quark has announced that its latest version of QuarkXPress will begin shipping in August. The software features numerous improvements, most notably it has had its code revised to run as a native Cocoa application on Mac OSX systems.

“This has been a monumental undertaking by the development team to thoroughly modernize QuarkXPress in terms of the application environment, architecture, user interface, and graphics engine,” said Dave White, Chief Technology Officer for Quark. “We’re excited not only for this release, but also the foundation that has been put in place for future QuarkXPress features.”

The updates have required the addition of 350,000 new lines of code, updating an additional 500,000 lines as well as building, from the ground up, a new Xenon graphics engine that renders both vector and raster graphics with more fidelity. These technologies take advantage of latest generation hardware on the marketplace, including multi-core and multi-threaded processing. On the Mac, the new version is designed to take advantage of those computers which are equipped with the latest-generation Retina displays.

QuarkXPress 10 also includes these new features:

Import Pictures and Hyperlinks from Microsoft Word
PDF Pass-Through Transparency
Layers Enhancements
Print Preview
Key Item Space/Align
Highlight Missing Fonts
Improved IME support
Bezier Tool Enhancement
Layout Tab Reordering
Quark says it expects to ship QuarkXPress 10 by mid or late August. It is offering a 20 percent discount on QuarkXPress 10 pre-orders for users of version 9.

Canon’s operation in the United States has released Version 6.1 of Océ PRISMAprepare, described as all-in-one document preparation software, which also allows users to create and compose Variable Data Printing (VDP) applications.

This device-independent software optimizes the productivity capabilities of Canon’s imagePRESS and imageRUNNER ADVANCE lineups, the Océ VarioPrint DP line and a variety of colour and black-and-white production cut-sheet devices.

“The document preparation process can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of production work,” stated Sam Yoshida, VP and GM, Marketing, Business Imaging Solutions Group, Canon U.S.A. “When this process is not optimized, profitability and customer satisfaction is at risk. The improvements Canon made to the Océ PRISMAprepare software will support print providers and enhance their ability to meet increased and more complex customer needs.”

Océ PRISMAprepare 6.1 provides a simplified interface with a WYSIWYG preparation approach. From the position of staples to the location of fold lines, Canon explains that users can quickly preview the exact look and design of a document before it is sent to the printer.

The latest version of Océ PRISMAprepare now includes Variable Data Printing composition capabilities, such as adding specific content and graphics to each printed piece based on information in a linked database. This new software version is also based on open Adobe PDF standards, and supports multiple PDF plug-ins.

The colour-management features of Océ PRISMAprepare 6.1 allow users to produce consistent spot colour usage and modification of individual image tone and colour reproduction prior to printing. PRISMAprepare 6.1 is currently available for a free upgrade to PRISMAprepare v5 customers with existing software maintenance agreements.

ColorGATE is in the process of updating its entire line of RIP software to version 8 for a planned September 2013 launch. The company began taking orders for the new software on July 1, 2013.

The pending version 8 release is highlighted by the fact that ColorGATE is moving all of its RIPs onto the Adobe PDF Print Engine.

ColorGATE’s RIP software is built on a modular architecture that can be extended when needed, based on what the company refers to as Output Management Sets (OMS). The RIP software is fully scalable via the application of OMS, which can contain the following components: A printer driver of the categories Cat.1, Cat.2 or Cat.3 or S, M, L or P, an Adobe PDF Print Engine RIP, and the optional Ink Saver Module.
According to ColorGATE, the Ink Saver Module allows users to reduce their total amount of ink usage by up to 30 percent. The Ink Saver Module is available for CMYK, light-colour halftone printing systems, as well as for multi-colour systems.

Ricoh Production Print Solutions has introduced a new Verification feature to its TotalFlow DocEnhancer, which is an Adobe Acrobat plug-in for editing print-ready PDF files.

“The new verification feature provides a way for our customers to produce regulated and high value work, meeting the integrity requirements at a low cost of entry,” stated Theresa Lang, VP of Solutions and Services, Ricoh. 

The TotalFlow DocEnhancer Verification tool allows users to add a unique bar code to documents to identify each piece within a PDF file. The feature then integrates with camera technology to track and report that each piece was properly produced.

Printers can scan the verification bar code at any point during the production process to track progress, create a visual report showing the percent of job completion, reconcile pieces that are missing, and initiate a reprint job.
More new features added to the TotalFlow DocEnhancer PDF plug-in include: Rules Manager, to more easily build and edit complex statements; Expanded font support; and a new interface with access to a drop-down menu of Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Enfocus of Ghent, Belgium, is introducing its new Connect 11 product line to be made available sometime in the third quarter of 2013. Enfocus Connect 11 combines PDF creation and quality control for press-ready file delivery. 

There are two editions in the product line, including Connect YOU ($99) for designers and Connect ALL ($2,999) for service providers.

“[Connect 11] addresses the most common problems with PDF files at the source – on the designer’s workstation, where they can be easily fixed,” stated Michael Reiher, Connect Product Manager at Enfocus. “By controlling the overall PDF creation process, and tying it to the correction and preflight capabilities of the built-in PitStop technology, common issues such as missing fonts, low-resolution images and other common problems are easily addressed before the PDF files are received for production.”

Enfocus Connect applets called Connectors, which sit on the user’s desktop and contain all necessary settings. Connectors can be created to handle what the company describes as one-click PDF creation through applications like Adobe Creative Suite, using Adobe Normalizer technology built into the Connector.

The Connectors can also allow for automatic PDF correction and enhancement based on Enfocus PitStop Action Lists; PDF verification using Enfocus PitStop Preflight Profiles; custom job ticket generation to help automate downstream processes; and secure delivery of PDF or any other file type to (S)FTP, HTTP, email, or directly into an Enfocus Switch automated flow.

Dynagram of Quebec City released version 7.5 of its DynaStrip imposition software with several new productivity features.

DynaStrip 7.5 includes new tools to manage the colours and ink densities for every imposition mark. Users, according to the company, now have complete control in placing any mark on selected colours and avoiding excess ink coverage by using a different percentage of ink density for each colour layer (CMYK or Pantone). 

A colour selection dialogue menu, with density settings allowing values between zero and 100 percent, is available for all printable marks, including: Linear marks (the density value of each segment is combined with that of the ink), Register, Assembly, Text, Trim and Bleed, and Fold marks, as well as barcodes, distance tags and sheet corners. Dynagram states this new feature is compatible with all output formats like PDF, JDF, PJTF and PS for separation and composite environments.

DynaStrip 7.5 also includes improvements to the import and export of TPL templates, which allows users to minimize the layout differences due to each format’s specific aspects. According to the company, this includes better management of text marks placed on both sides of the sheet; automatic addition of process colours in the colour table to better manage marks; and support for ink densities during import/export of TPL templates.

With version 7.5, it is now possible to manage up to 400 hot-folders simultaneously in the DynaStrip Automation module. In addition, the JT-Flow module allows new algorithms to increment and decrement pagination when copying sheets.

PDQ North America Inc., the North American subsidiary of UK-based Haybrooke Associates, has launched its self-branded desktop estimating product for printing in both the United States And Canada.

The PDQ (Predictive Dynamic Quoting) Estimating System has been available in Europe for several years. One of the first Canadian installations of PDQ is with Capital Colour Press in Edmonton, Alberta.

“We couldn’t be happier with the way business has started in North America,” said Lee Short, PDQ North America’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “My first exposure to the PDQ product line in the UK left a big impact on me… My new role with PDQ North America will allow me to offer a product that I am confident will become a genuine contributing factor to the profitability and success of printers in the United States and Canada.”

Agfa Graphics has launched Version 1.3 of :Apogee StoreFront, which is a cloud-based application enabling print service providers to set up Web stores. The new version features additional creative control over the look of online shops and includes the ability to create what Agfa describes as microstores.

“Many of our :Apogee StoreFront users sell printed products to a multitude of businesses that order a fairly limited set of products on a regular basis,” explained Andy Grant, Global Director of Software, Agfa Graphics. “Microstores help to easily target that market. A microstore inherits most of its settings from a template store. But each microstore has its own unique URL and a well-defined product range for specific print buyers.”

New features of :Apogee StoreFront 1.3 also include support for real-time UPS shipping cost quotes, alarm levels for stock products (near end of stock, for example), and an image library that can be shared across all the customizable documents in the store.

:Apogee StoreFront integrates with the :Apogee 8 workflow, while :Apogee Prepress downloads orders from the Web-to-print system and processes those automatically. For jobs that will be printed on a toner press or wide format device, :Apogee now has the ability to generate a press operator job summary.

PTI Marketing Technologies launched version 9.0 of its FusionPro VDP Suite, which, according to the company, provides more functionality for tailoring brochures and newsletters, creating targeted direct mail campaigns and print pieces, and customizing billing transactions with promotional messaging.

The newest version of PTI’s flagship VDP product includes support for both Microsoft Windows 8 and Adobe Acrobat 11, in addition to its earlier support of Acrobat 8, 9 and 10. With Windows 8 support, users may have to be logged in as administrator for some functions, but most operations can be performed with standard user accounts.

FusionPro 9.0 now handles more alpha channel graphics, such as TIFF and PNG graphics. Because of limitations in the output formats, according to PTI, these alpha channels work best in PDF-based output formats, including straight PDF, VDX, and PDF/VT. File formats tested by PTI include CMYK TIFFs with Alpha channel, RGB TIFFs with Alpha, and RGB PNG with Alpha.

The newly added GS1 Stacked barcode rule in FusionPro 9.0 can be accessed via an XML rule template, to simplify rule creation. The new version also adds enhancements to presorted cleansed data zip files for United States-based mailing.

FusionPro 9.0 also includes improvements to auto-detection if fonts are missing. According to PTI, when opening a template that uses fonts not installed or loaded into FusionPro, the user will now be prompted that there are missing fonts. The user will then be given the option to ignore or replace these fonts with others that are loaded onto their computer. (This feature, released in 8.2, has improvements to adjust more quickly and reliably.)

At its MAX conference this week, Adobe announced it will no longer provide standalone licenses for its Creative Suite software. Starting with the next version, all licenses will go through its Creative Cloud licensing.

“We launched Creative Cloud a year ago and it has been a runaway success,” said David Wadhwani, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Digital Media, Adobe. “By focusing our energy -- and our talented engineers -- on Creative Cloud, we’re able to put innovation in our members’ hands at a much faster pace.”

The next version of Adobe’s software will be denoted with a CC suffix, indicating Creative Cloud. Licensing starts at US$19.99 per month for a single application, the complete suite for $49.99 (with a one year commitment). Users upgrading from Creative Suite 6 can license the new CC suite for $19.99 a month while CS3, CS4, or CS5 users can license for US$29.99 per month. Team licenses start at US$39.99 per user for previous CS3 to CS6 users; US$69.99 per user otherwise.

For the time being, licenses for CS6 will continue to be sold online for electronic distribution. Adobe announced it would discontinue physical boxed copies of Creative Suite in March.

Agfa Graphics released version 7 of its :Fortuna software for security printing applications. The technology is specifically designed to help provide high-level security for printing jobs like banknotes, ID-cards, brand protection, documents, tax labeling and packaging.

Version 7 of :Fortuna includes new design security features and external verification tools. Agfa claims to have discovered new ways to include more complex patterns in printed designs.

“The new design tools in :Fortuna 7 are helping users stay one step ahead, providing more than 26 tools to help keep brands, sensitive documents and packaging safe and secure,” stated Koen Heyndrickx, Agfa Graphics’ Business Manager Security Software Solutions. “Agfa Graphics has been actively participating in security and anti- counterfeiting measures for many years and is a reliable partner to many government institutions and private industry worldwide.”

:Fortuna 7 software features different levels of verification tools that can be utilized by both experts and non-qualified end users.

Seven years after the launch of the first version of Lightroom, Adobe has released a beta package for its upcoming version of the popular photo management software.

Lightroom 5 introduces several new features aimed at amateur and professional photographers, most notably a more advance healing brush tool, which allows users to more easily remove and fix defects without using Photoshop.

Also new to Lightroom 5 is the ability to create and share video slideshows that can be viewed on a variety of devices and an improved ability to create photo-books that uses text technology driven by InDesign.

The software is available for testing until June 30. The software can be downloaded from the Adobe Labs site.

Below are system requirements to run the Lightroom 5 Beta:

Intel® Pentium® 4 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor
DirectX 10–capable or later graphics card
Microsoft® Windows® 7 with Service Pack 1 or Windows 8
2GB of RAM (4GB recommended)
2GB of available hard-disk space
1024x768 display
Internet connection required for Internet-based services

Mac OS
Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support
Mac OS X v10.7 or v10.8
2GB of RAM (4GB recommended)
2GB of available hard-disk space
1024x768 display
Internet connection required for Internet-based services

Agfa Graphics has launched a new version of its :Apogee Suite 8 PDF workflow, which now runs natively on 64-bit Windows Server operating systems. The latest version also features new web printing imposition that, according to Agfa, can account for every parameter of a web press to automatically define the best imposition, including post-press functions like cutting, slitting, folding, binding.

The latest version of :Apogee 8 also includes tighter integration with Agfa’s :Apogee StoreFront, a cloud-based web-to-print module to set up Internet storefronts for both printed and non-printed products. Online orders can be downloaded into and processed by the :Apogee workflow without operator intervention.

“This is great for typical e-commerce environments. :Apogee StoreFront gives printers the opportunity to automate customer communication with jobs of any size, typically the smaller or repeat jobs,” stated Andy Grant, Global Director of Software, Agfa Graphics. “:Apogee 8 also features a Merge Jobs functionality, which merges jobs that have similar characteristics, such as paper type or ink sets, to be imposed on one sheet for cutting later. It’s another convenience tool offered by :Apogee that can help printers become more productive.”

An additional enhancement to :Apogee Suite 8 is :Apogee Preflight, which verifies that colour profiles are attached to all objects and automatically updates incorrect profiles. :Apogee Preflight also makes the necessary adjustments should the output target change.

EFI of California released Version 5.0 of its Fiery XF digital front-end (DFE) designed for wide-format production and proofing. The company states its new DFE seamlessly integrates with VUTEk and EFI wide-format devices, as well as with EFI MIS/ERP systems.
Version 5.0 of Fiery XF includes what EFI refers to as completely new spot colour tools, which can be leveraged through the Fiery Color Profiler Suite. The new version also includes more than 50 new wide-format print drivers. The software also features a customizable user interface so that users can tailor Fiery XF to their specific tasks and skill set to reduce error rates.

“With all of the job data available at our fingertips, there is less time wasted tracking down answers,” stated Greg Priede, GM of Category 5 in Burlington, Ontario, an early user of the new version. “With the integration between the VUTEk printer, Fiery front end and EFI MIS system, we see detailed job costing, and can calculate how long the printer actually ran versus how long the press operator took to complete the job.”

Fiery itself is built on a modular infrastructure, allowing users to upgrade as their needs increase. According to EFI, this modular upgradability translates as than 20 Fiery printer or software options.

“Advancements included in our new Fiery wide format software gives print professionals more power than ever to produce accurate, high-quality work quickly and reliably,” said John Henze, VP of Fiery marketing at EFI. “The new, customizable interface makes the system easier to use, as it can be tailored to meet each customer’s exact production needs.”

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