Denver-based Quark announced today the latest version of its QuarkXPress application is now available. Version 10 of the page layout software features a substantial revision of the program code, according to the company, resulting in more performance and better on-screen fidelity on modern computer hardware.

Below are some of the new features of QuarkXPress 10:

Modern Architecture: QuarkXPress 10 is a native Cocoa app that leverages the latest OS X features, offers maximized performance and can rapidly support new OS X releases.

New Quark Xenon Graphics Engine: The state-of-the-art graphics engine renders rich PDFs, Photoshop and TIFF images and uses its Adaptive Resolution feature to deliver designers the most appropriate onscreen resolution in real-time.

HiDPI and Retina Display Support: Every element of QuarkXPress 10 has been optimized to take full advantage of high-resolution Retina displays like those found on the Mac Book Pro.

Advanced Digital Publishing Options: QuarkXPress 10 continues to support ePub and Kindle, as well as out-of-the-box HTML5 authoring for App StudioTM, the leading cloud-based solution for creating iOS, Android, and Web apps.

QR Code Creator: Generate, style, and color vector Quick Response (QR) codes directly within QuarkXPress.

East Asian Typography: Now every edition of QuarkXPress 10 supports East Asian typography, including vertical story text, phonetic text reading (rubi) font sets, character grids and more.

More than Fifty Feature Enhancements: PDF Pass-Through Transparency, Print Preview, Bezier Tool Enhancement, Layers Enhancements and much more.

QuarkXPress 10 is available for immediate download for US$849, or $349 for previous Quark owners.

Look forward to an interview with Quark's Gavin Drake about the latest release in the September issue of PrintAction.

The Harlequin RIP is celebrating 25 years at PRINT 13. Version 1 of the venerable raster image processor (RIP) shipped in 1988; Global Graphics introduced version 10 of its software, known as Software MultiRIP.

Global Graphics will be holding a celebration of this milestone today on the PRINT 13 show floor at 4pm until 6pm. 

Here are other milestones along the way for the Harlequin system:

1997: Native PDF processing with in-RIP trapping
2002: Version 6 features Live PDF transparency
2007: Font Emulation
2009: First RIP to be PDF/VT ready 

The latest version of the Harlequin RIP features more support for multi-threaded parallel processing, which, according to Global Graphics, leads to RIP times up to 1.3 times faster.

"Harlequin MultiRIP 10 brings the speed benefits that we introduced at drupa for high-volume production presses to allow smaller print shops to use personalized work efficiently to drive into higher margin markets," says Martin Bailey, CTO at Global Graphics.

Fujifilm launched its version 5.5 of its XMF workflow software with an emphasis on new variable data features, as well as productivity enhancements. Fujifilm’s new XMF version is the first such software system to be built around Adobe’s new PDF Print Engine, dubbed the Mercury RIP Architecture.

The Mercury RIP Architecture is designed to drive digital (inkjet and toner) presses, focusing on variable data printing in particular. Mercury’s parallel processing architecture features distributed multi-tier caching and dynamic load balancing. This ultimately allows the technology to support continuously streamed PDF and PDF/VT in High Volume workflows. Adobe claims that in its testing, the PDF Print Engine 3 is the fastest rendering technology in the industry today.

Fujifilm notes XMF v5.5 is optimized to drive its recently launched web-fed J Press 540W inkjet press, which inherently requires large amounts of data, potentially often large amounts of variable data, to be processed for high-speed runs.

“Digital web presses put huge demands on workflow systems, so our focus has been to develop an extremely efficient end-to-end print environment that allows companies to increase their productivity and competitiveness,” stated Shigenori Tsuji, Senior VP President, Fujifilm Global Graphic Systems, Workflow Division. “As well as being the first vendor to bring to market a workflow built from the ground up around JDF and the Adobe PDF Print Engine, Fujifilm is leading the way once more with the introduction of Adobe’s new Mercury RIP Architecture.”

Fujifilm describes leveraging the Mercury RIP within XMF v5.5 to create a very wide data path for driving graphically rich personalized content to the J Press 540W. “The J Press 540W powered by XMF v5.5 marks an impressive milestone in the evolution of continuous-feed digital printing,” stated Raman Nagpal, Senior Director of Print at Adobe.

XMF v5.5 also includes improved proofing capabilities through what the company describes as automated distribution of 3D proofs. The 3D proofing module, already embedded in previous versions of XMF, gives printers the ability to create a virtual printed product. XMF v5.5 also features improvements to support XMF ColorPath, Fuji’s cloud-based colour management system.

Adobe today unveiled the latest version of its PDF Print Engine, now on version 3. The new version features performance improvements through a new scalable architecture called the Mercury RIP Architecture.

The Mercury RIP Architecture is designed to drive modern digital presses, focusing on variable data printing in particular. It can support continuously streamed PDF and PDF/VT in High Volume workflows, (such as HVTO and Transpromo). Adobe claims that in its testing, the PDF Print Engine 3 is the fastest rendering technology in the industry today.

“With PDF Print Engine 3, Adobe continues to demonstrate our leadership in print – 30 years after launching PostScript and igniting the Desktop Publishing revolution. Faster processing and greater predictability translate directly into higher profits for our partners’ customers: the printers of the world,” says Naresh Gupta, senior vice president of Adobe’s Print and Publishing Business Unit.

Adobe says that in the coming weeks and months vendors such as Canon Production Systems, EFI, Kodak NexPress, Screen and Xeikon will be announcing products that support the new PDF Print Engine. Fujifilm has already announced support in its XMF 5.5 for the JetPress 540W.

Adobe highlights the following features as the top three new things about PDF Engine 3:

  • The Mercury RIP Architecture for the Adobe PDF Print Engine 3, manages multiple concurrent instances of the Print Engine for maximum throughput within a single system, or several systems on a network. It is able to dynamically load balance available work across multiple presses concurrently, ensuring full resource utilization.

  • Adobe PDF Print Engine 3 can support continuously streamed PDF and PDF/VT in High Volume workflows, (such as HVTO and Transpromo), fast-growing segments of the print industry.

  • Adobe PDF Print Engine 3 renders content which matches the display in Reader and Acrobat XI. Using the same core Adobe PDF technology at every stage of the print workflow ensures predictability and eliminates unwelcome surprises.

The first Adobe PDF Print Engine SDK launched in 2006 and the company says that there are currently 90,000 units in live production of it worldwide. The new version replaces PDF Print Engine versions 2.5 and 2.6.

Metrix Software, formerly LithoTechnics, has announced it will be demonstrating a new version of its imposition software, Metrix, at PRINT 13 next week.

"We look forward to heading out to Chicago again to meet with our customers, partners, and printers who are looking for solutions to the inefficiency and low profitability plaguing our industry,” says Rohan Holt, President of Metrix Software. “Engineering priorities at Metrix Software have always been determined by the needs of our users, reflecting the needs of our industry, and the feature set of Metrix 2013.0 is no exception. We are very proud of the partnership we have with our users, who process thousands and thousands of orders with Metrix every day - more efficiently and more profitably than they ever could before. Metrix 2013.0 will again move the bar higher, knocking down yet more barriers to efficient, sensible, and eventually, automated production.”

According to the company, Metrix 2013.0 includes the following enhancements:
    •    Improved Layout tools, including the ability to copy and paste marks between Layouts.
    •    Instant assignment and reassignment of Products to Layouts.
    •    Ability to select multiple Products/Layouts/Components and alter multiple properties at once.
    •    Addition of Product Tags, for sorting and selective submission to Auto Plan.    
    •    Enhanced intelligence built in to the Prepress Export functionality when error conditions are detected by Metrix.
    •    Project Reports can now be exported to PDF or a Printer. This works with Metrix Automation as well.
    •    A new PDF page re-ordering tool to fix improperly ordered content.
    •    Support for Windows 8 and Server 2012.

Kodak has launched the latest version of its Prinergy Workflow software worldwide, which brings “a new level of automation, accuracy and efficiency to print creation, while reducing costs.”

“Prinergy Workflow 6 focuses on integrating the production planning process and reducing the time spent by customer service representatives, production planners and prepress operators preparing optimized production plans,” says Jon Bracken, General Manager of Kodak Unified Workflow Solutions. “The result is tighter quality control, fewer manual touchpoints and lower production costs for both digitally and conventionally printed jobs.”

The core development in Prinergy Workflow 6 is its new interface, dubbed Workspace, which offers an at-a-glace overview of prepress. Plan, Manage and Track modules organize Prinergy’s information and tasks while also offering new automation capabilities: upstream to customer’s order and downstream to digital presses.

The software will serve as the hub of Kodak’s prepress workflow, which includes Preps, Colorflow, and Insite Prepress Portal.

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.

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