Adobe is drawing the ire of some of its users by only offering upgrade pricing for its CS5 and CS5.5 users for the upcoming Creative Suite 6. Up until now, upgrade pricing applied for several previous versions, for example, the current Creative Suite 5.5 upgrade pricing is extended as far as users of Creative Suite 2.

The move, announced by Adobe Senior Vice President David Wadhwani on a blog post, is seen to push individual users toward the company's new subscription model, and to drive a more stable revenue stream. The company recently fired 750 employees and discontinued development of the mobile Flash platform. The company will be introducing, in 2012, Adobe Creative Cloud, which will allow users to access its tools for US$49.99 for individuals ($69.99 per seat for workgroups) per month, paid annually, or $US600 a year. A non-Cloud subscription model was introduced with CS5.5 (currently priced between US$65 to US$129 per month, depending on the particular package).

Scott Kelby, President of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals, wrote an open letter protesting the move.

"Those users who didn’t upgrade to CS5 or 5.5, either couldn’t afford the upgrade, or couldn’t justify the upgrade, or they would already be on CS5 or 5.5," wrote Kelby. "But now you’re kind of holding us hostage — you’re making us buy something we don’t need now, just so we will still have the option to get something that we may want (CS6) when it is released without buying it all over again from scratch. You’re playing hardball with your customers—either upgrade twice or you’re out. That’s not the Adobe we know."

Kelby also offered a compromise: "If you really want to be fair to your customers, at the very least don’t start this policy yet. Start it with Photoshop CS7. Make CS6 your new upgrade pricing transition version, and tell everybody now, up front at — the start of the product’s life cycle, that everybody will need to upgrade to CS6 at some point because the next version (CS7) won’t support older users."

Australia-based Lithotechnics has announced it has sold the 1,000th license for its Metrix job ganging software through Fujifilm North America. 

"We are extremely proud to reach this significant milestone," said Rohan Hold, Founder of Lithotechnics. "It's very gratifying to think that at any one moment, up to 1,000 people worldwide are using Metrix to do their work."

Version 1.0 of Metrix was released in 2004 and has since been sold across 22 countries in five languages. 

"[...]Printers are seeking strategies that allow them to grow their business and maximize their manufacturing potential without increasing direct labor costs," said Bryan Hughes, Product Marketing Manager at Fujifilm North America. "Metrix is a product that dramatically improves efficiency and provides a repository of manufacturing knowledge, enabling less-skilled workers to be extremely productive. Metrix can be a key component in this strategy."

Agfa Graphics has developed cloud-based production software specifically for newspaper companies, called :Arkitex Eversify, which will be available to publishers by mid-2012 in Europe, followed later by North America and the rest of the world.

:Arkitex Eversify allows publishers to deliver newspapers to a range of tablet and smart mobile devices, based on the use of HTML5, which handles advanced image handling, audio and video animation. As well, embedded Javascript allows search, bookmarks, and access to online tools like Facebook and Twitter.

“Publishers are in the content business. Just as Agfa Graphics has helped them get their content on plates and finally on paper, with :Arkitex Eversify we can convert their content to a mobile platform. E-media and print will coexist,” stated Jeff Cord of the newspaper software group at Agfa Graphics. “Our solution will allow newspapers to make money from e-media without having to make a large investment in technology and personnel.

“The beauty of :Arkitex Eversify is that there is no interruption to the everyday production process. It uses the newspaper’s existing methods for print production.”

Michigan-based Xitron announced the latest release of its Navigator Workflow 5 software, which is based on the Harlequin RIP version 9. 

"Xitron is committed to ongoing development to meet the demands of our prepress workflow customers," stated Mark Eisenschenk, Xitron's President and Chief Executive Officer. "The Navigator Workflow for Harlequin RIP users has become one of the most popular workflows, with thousands of installations worldwide."

Navigator Workflow 5 incorporates new productivity-enhancing features, including:

- Ripped content proofs to any Windows print driver
- Integrated media savings
- ROOM Proof PDF Export
- Automated database backup

The Navigator v9 Harlequin RIP provides:

- Support for Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems
- Increased optimization for PDFs with transparencies
- Extended PDF/X support
- Support for the Pantone Plus library
- Enhanced resolution support for the HXM hybrid screening option
- 64-bit Windows drivers for Xitron USB interfaces
- Simple out-of-the-box colour accuracy for GRACoL, SWOP, and Fogra printing conditions with Epson and Canon proofers and graphic arts printers
- Interfaces for more than 250 output devices, including proofers, CtP systems, inkjet, direct imaging presses, and production printers

Navigator Elite Workflow includes extensive user-requested capabilities, including:

- User-controllable job management and ticketing capabilities
- Integrated soft proofing
- Output device control and feedback at operator workstations
- PDF creation and preflighting
- Ink remapping
- Imposition integration with Dynagram inpO2
- Scriptable hot folders
- TIFF job grouping
- Press ink key Calculation with KeySetter option

Shipments of the latest Navigator workflow will begin later in the fourth quarter this year.

Ricoh Americas has announced it will be demonstrating two new software products aimed at the production printing segment at Graph Expo next week.

Named TotalFlow MR and TotalFlow PM (for Make-Ready and Print Manager respectively), the software will help owners of Ricoh Pro printers increase productivity. Capabilities include print preparation, editing, numbering, watermarking, clean-up, finishing, job management, load balancing, archiving, search and reprinting.

"We are aggressively leveraging our product knowledge to develop software that takes full advantage of the industry's most advanced printing engine," said Tim Vellek, Vice President, Production Printing Business Group, Ricoh Americas Corporation. "The software automates the processes that directly enhance the speed, ease, flexibility, accuracy and quality of the Ricoh production printing experience."

TotalFlow MR and TotalFlow PM will be available in late November.

EFI’s Fiery print servers now natively support Pantone LLC’s PANTONE PLUS colour specifications. EFI was the first vendor to implement PANTONE Calibration for colour devices and has now expanded its built-in colour libraries to include PANTONE PLUS colours.
Fiery servers come preloaded with PANTONE Color Libraries, including all colours found in the PANTONE PLUS SERIES. “Eliminating guesswork and costs associated with reworking printing projects is a key component to running a successful printing business,” said Andy Hatkoff, VP of Technology Licensing for Pantone. “By incorporating PANTONE PLUS on Fiery servers, customers are guaranteed to get spot colours that are accurate and consistent for all jobs.”
With Fiery Spot-On for Fiery servers, users can match colour accurately and modify corresponding CMYK values to produce desired “in gamut” colours. Spot-On also allows users to print entire spot-colour libraries, which are delivered as industry-standard named colour ICC profiles.

Quark has released the latest version of its publishing platform which services to automate the production of content to various form of media.

"Quark Publishing System has evolved to be a flexible and powerful publishing platform for all types of organizations who need to streamline their publishing processes while delivering engaging information to multiple types of media including print, Web, and digital. Our customers in financial services, manufacturing, and many other industries are choosing Quark Publishing System to create marketing collateral, technical documentation, white papers, investment research reports, and other communications," said PG Bartlett, Senior VP of Product Management for Quark.

One of the new features is advanced remote access through Quark's Web Hub module, which allows external content creators and editors to work remotely from a Web browser in a WYSIWYG format. According to Quark, Version 9 also offers improved flexibility with its Collections tool, which includes features like grouping related assets, sharing workflows, routing rules, and the JDF-based Job Jackets protocol.

The system also contains expanded digital publishing capabilities, including the XML-based ePUB format.

After launching its Fiery services portfolio in 2010, EFI is now introducing a Fiery Consulting Service to offer one-on-one sessions with company experts on nine Fiery topics. Currently, the new consulting service, starting at US$750, is only available in the United States.

“This new offering, along with our existing Fiery Service programs, helps Fiery users gain an in-depth understanding of feature functionality and new ways to improve their productivity,” said Vicki Sam, VP of Customer Advocacy at EFI.
The new Fiery Consulting Service provides a remote 5-hour consultation session with a Fiery expert geared to expanding user knowledge, and can include such topics as:
- Workflow automation using hot folders and virtual printers,

- Getting started with Variable Data Printing workflow,

- Impose and compose techniques with Fiery SeeQuence Suite,

- Creating media profiles and consistent, predictable colour with Fiery Color Profiler Suite,

- How to maintain a Fiery server,

- Optimizing Fiery colour by managing spot-colour output and ICC profiles

- Paper Catalog workflow,

- Using Fiery Graphic Arts Package features to optimize printing, and

- Using Fiery Command WorkStation job management tools.

LithoTechnics Inc. has released Metrix 2011.0, a new version of the venerable software for automated job planning and imposition creation.

“We are always looking for ways to make Metrix better – faster, smarter, and more automated,” said Rohan Holt, President of LithoTechnics. “Metrix 2011.0 has some great new features that will put even more planning and imposition tasks into the no-brainer category, eliminate more chances for error, and enhance the ease of use for which Metrix has become known.”

In a press release about the new version of Metrix, LithoTechnics shared the following comments from beta testers, which includes Edmonton’s McCallum Print Group:

Leah Graham, Workflow Supervisor, McCallum Print Group (Edmonton):

“The automatic collation marks will save significant time during the imposition of book work and improve accuracy in our final layouts. All of the keyboard command updates will make Metrix more user-friendly and make our operators more efficient.”

Piet Scheepstra, Koninklijke Van Gorcum (Netherlands):

“The most important new features for us are the automated collation marks, which allow considerable improvements in the bindery for sewn products with wrap-arounds/outserts, and the expanded clone functionality. We are also moving to implement more facets of existing Metrix automation, including JDF to the cutter and closer integration with the MultiPress MIS system.”

Venerable page-layout giant Quark is shipping its latest version of QuarkXPress 9. The new version focuses on publishing to electronic formats such as ePUB, the new Blio eReader format and iPad.

For designers both print and electronic, QuarkXPress 9 offers:

  • Conditional Styles: Allows multiple style attributes to be set based on the text content rather than “tagging”; allows designers to automate specific style elements that occur throughout a project
  • Bullets, Numbers, and Outlines: Create dynamic ordered and un-ordered lists that are preserved and editable in QuarkXPress
  • Callouts: Boxes and groups move automatically with text as determined by the designer; callouts can be positioned relative to the page, spread, text box, paragraph, or character
  • Story Editor: Provides a word-processor-like view within QuarkXPress, which is most helpful when text within a layout is difficult to read and when reviewing stories that span multiple pages
  • Cloner: The smartest and most efficient way to clone design elements, Cloner allows designers to copy items or pages to other pages or layouts and can be used to combine layouts or split them apart
  • Linkster: Enables designers to unlink and relink text boxes that already contain text, to unlink stories spanning multiple pages, and to link or unlink boxes without disrupting existing text
  • ShapeMaker: A wizard for easily creating or modifying hard-to-draw shapes such as waves, polygons, stars, and spirals, ShapeMaker also allows designers to create unique corner effects
  • ImageGrid: Allows designers to import and automatically build grids of images with a variety of layout options; also supports image captioning

  • QuarkXPress 9 is available to purchase now for US$799 (US$299 upgrade) from Quark directly or through one of its authorized resellers. The Mac version  of the software requires a user to have Mac OS 10.5.8 (Leopard) or later on an Intel processor. The PC version requires Windows XP (Service Pack 2 or 3) or later.

    A 30-day test drive is also from the Quark website.

    Belgium-based Enfocus has announced latest version of its PitStop Connect system. The new version further streamlines the file transfer between printers and clients through the use of "Connectors" to make sure both parties are using the same settings.

    "All too often file delivery causes problems on both the production and creative sides of printing and publishing workflows," said Elli Cloots, Director of Product Management at Enfocus. "What is needed is efficient communication between all parties, and that is precisely what PitStop Connect 10 delivers. It ensures that files print exactly as designed, which improves turnaround times, increases productivity and ultimately improves customer satisfaction."

    The latest offering in PitStop Connect 10 features the automatic updating of Connector settings on the client end whenever a setting is changed by the printer. The interface has also been updated to be congruent with Enfocus' recently released Switch 10 package. It also contains support for the latest PDF formats including PDF/X-4 for printing and PDF/A for archiving.

    PitStop Connect 10 will be available in the second quarter of 2011.

    PrintAction's Zac Bolan covered the use of PitStop Connect in a October, 2010 article. Read it here.

    UPDATE: Adobe has officially made the latest version if its Creative Suite package available, starting today May 3rd, 2011.

    The mid-cycle update of Creative Suite will have new features supporting the latest developments in mobile and online development, however, contains little  new content for print-based users. The company is also introducing a new subscription plan for customers who have project-based needs or want to try the software with a relatively low cost for entry.

    “Creative Suite 5.5 will drive the development of new digital experiences across devices, including all major smartphones and tablets,” said Shantanu Narayen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Adobe. “As publishers, media companies, advertisers and enterprises transform the way they develop and distribute their content, Adobe will be there to support them with technology innovations in content creation, management, measurement and distribution.”

    The new subscription plan allows users to gain access to the latest version of Adobe's Creative Suite software for a monthly fee. For example, Adobe Photoshop can be had for as little as US$35 a month while the Creative Suite Master Collection will cost US$129 a month.

    A core focus for this release is development of Mobile Apps, especially for the growing tablet computing market, a market which will grow to 200-million devices by the end of 2011, according to Adobe. Other improvements include new digital publishing features for InDesign where designers can add interactivity to their page layouts targeted to tablet devices. Documents can include video, audio, panoramic views, 360-degree object rotation, pan and zoom of images, integration of HTML and HTML5 content and other interactive overlays.

    Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 products are scheduled to ship within 30 days. Estimated street price for the suites is expected to be US$2599 for CS5.5 Master Collection, US$1899 for CS5.5 Design Premium, US$1799 for CS5.5 Web Premium, US$1699 for CS5.5 Production Premium and US$1299 for CS5.5 Design Standard. Upgrade pricing and volume licensing are available.

    Montreal-based software vendor Dynagram has announced the release of its latest version of inpO2, which the company says is a major upgrade to its PDF imposition software for Adobe Acrobat. The new version features upgrades to its imposition for toner, offset and web press systems.

    “inpO2 adoption has expanded quickly into many segments of the printing industry,” said Michael Reiher, Director of Sales and Marketing at Dynagram. “With the inpO2 4.0 upgrade, we felt it was important to add value across the board, from digital printers looking for quick and easy imposition solutions to customers looking for more advanced functions such as automation or press sheet optimization."

    New to inpO2 for version 4.0 is increased support for Acrobat, including Acrobat X, new optimization settings and constraints, enhancements to the planning module, improvements to the inpO2 Basic Wizard, barcode support and Enfocus Switch Support for automation.

    Quark announced that QuarkXPress version 9 will be available starting in April. QuarkXPress 9 has a distinct focus on digital publishing platforms, aimed at letting designers create content for interactive platforms such as the iPad.

    App Studio for QuarkXPress will allow for development of Apps for the iPad, with little programming required. Designers can then take the developed app and publish it on Apple's App Store for purchase. App Studio would not ship in XPress 9's initial release, but according to Quark, will be a feature that is patched in within 90 days of release.

    Quark will also support the new Blio eReader platform, which is designed to be a free, multi-platform, multi-device application for creation of eBooks which look just like the printed counterpart. Additionally, QuarkXPress 9 will also export to the more popular and established ePub format.

    As for traditional print layout features, XPress 9 has new automation functions which speeds up routine tasks such as creating styles, bullet points and numbering, callouts, and the creation of image grids. A new story editor also helps editing within a layout where it is difficult to read and when reviewing stories that span multiple pages.

    QuarkXPress 9 will ship with a price that matches the current price of QuarkXPress 8: US$799 for a full product license and US$299 for upgrades from QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7.

    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.
    Apogee 7 also includes the latest available Adobe PDF Print Engine (APPE 2.5) guaranteeing compatibility with Adobe’s latest Creative Suite.

    Page 11 of 14

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