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.”

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.

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