Software


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.



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 8.1.6.2

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.

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