Quark Software Inc. in March of 2015 plans to make available QuarkXPress 2015, the next major version of Quark’s design and layout tool, with what the company describes as the 10 most-requested enhancements from its user community.

This is to include new 64-bit architecture and support for PDF/X-4 output. The exported PDF/X-4 files are certified with the same technology used inside Adobe Acrobat. With this latest standard, Quark explains designers can preserve transparency to enable faster output, smaller files and higher quality print output.

QuarkXPress 2015 will also continue to be sold as a perpetual license. Along with PDF/X-4 support, QuarkXPress 2015 will include the following enhancements:

64-bit Performance
4x Larger Page Sizes
Dedicated Orthogonal Line Tool
Fixed Layout Interactive eBooks
Custom Paper Sizes
Relink Any Picture in the Usage Dialogue
Collect for Output for Complete Project
User-definable Shortcut Keys on Mac
New Table Styles
Format Painter
Footnotes and Endnotes
Footnotes from Word
Search in Palettes
Smart Guides
Content Variables
Yosemite OS X Support
Tool Palette, Measurement Palette and Palette Group Docking on Windows

Canon U.S.A. released PRISMAsync Remote Manager, which the company describes as a multi-engine scheduler and remote management console for expanded control on a customer's fleet of PRISMAsync controller-driven digital presses.

This Web-based tool is designed to help shop floor managers and operators handle a high-performing printing operation by providing insight into their production schedules with the ability to upload jobs, edit job properties and manipulate digital press queues from a remote location or workstation.

“One way to ensure deadlines are met is to have idle machines ready to produce work at a moment's notice. Another is to effectively manage your presses to run as continuously as possible with properly prioritized work,” said Greg Cholmondeley from Caslon. “Being able to easily and remotely do this for multiple presses and across multiple sites is essential for many digital printing operations.”

"With installations of PRISMAsync-driven digital presses surpassing 11,000 worldwide, Canon has built upon the success of this technology and introduced the PRISMAsync Remote Manager to meet the needs of the market,” said Junichi Yoshitake, Senior VP and GM, Business Imaging Solutions Group, Canon U.S.A. “By providing a single point of control for multiple presses, the launch of the new PRISMAsync Remote Manager fosters a more efficient workflow, which will help increase the productivity of our customers.”

PRISMAsync Scheduler provides a visual guide of the jobs scheduled for up to five presses, which allows operators to plan production schedules one shift ahead. At a glance, print shop managers and operators can see the 'time to completion' for jobs, based on relevant job settings and process parameters. And, to help achieve non-stop productivity, upcoming interventions are colour coded so operators can load media and toner and unload print output before a press stops.

PRISMAsync Remote Manager allows production staff to submit jobs of print-ready PDF, PostScript and PCL files via file import or drag-and-drop functionality. Remote Manager also allows users to edit job properties remotely. It gives an operator full control over job settings, including page level editing if page programming functionality is enabled.

Operators can actively manage and prioritize the print jobs in the queues or PRISMAsync DocBoxes with the ability to reroute jobs from one digital press to another directly from PRISMAsync Remote Manager. It allows users to remotely changing job priorities, holding, reprinting or rerouting print job.

Operators and shop managers can now check the status of loaded media and other consumables remotely to help ensure the press is prepared to support the projects in its queue. Advanced system, media and workflow settings of each connected press can be directly accessed from PRISMAsync Remote Manager.

The Web-based tool is available on an HTML5 compliant browser on Microsoft Windows and Apple iOS with no additional software installation required on a workstation.

SmartSoft of California, which develops workflow solutions for the printing, postal and data quality markets, announced the Canadian launch of its PressWise print management platform.

PressWise is a cloud-based MIS and print automation platform that includes Web-to-print Storefronts, Estimating, Order Management, Production Automation, Shipping and Fulfillment, and Mail Processing. This is the first time that the service has been launched outside of the United States.

“Expanding your offering into other countries can take a lot of resources, both in planning and execution, whereas our focus has been on developing and refining the core PressWise product itself...,” said Eric Wold, VP of SmartSoft. “We have been following a clear product roadmap over the past few years, building our team and enhancing the service we offer.

“We have now reached the point where we are looking at other markets that PressWise can serve and Canada is the next logical step for us. We already have a Canadian office, and have been selling and distributing our mailing software and address quality products there for many years, so are familiar with the market.”

The latest version of PressWise includes a new Reporting Engine for designing reports within a browser, in addition to a suite of pre-built standard reports, as well as new drag-and-drop Job Scheduling functionality. Automatic Scheduling provides insight into Resource Constraints that sales teams require.
SmartSoft also recently introduced SmartAddresser version 5 as a list management and postal software solution, first developed in 2008. It includes Address Correction and Postal Presorting, and options like Change-of-Address processing, Geocoding, Mail Tracking and more. Updates for SmartAddresser 5 include the Mail Tracking capabilities in its MailSpotter module.

Agfa Graphics has introduced version 8 of its Fortuna printing design software used to secure and prevent counterfeiting and theft. It is designed for use in the highest security printing applications, such as passports, ID cards, official documents, certificates and tax labeling, as well as design vouchers, lottery or event tickets.

Fortuna 8, which was developed in close cooperation with the security industry, includes numerous improvements that facilitate the creation of fraud-deterrent security designs. By streamlining the PDF file generation in Fortuna 8, its compliancy with prepress workflows is increased. This in turn results in further automation of the production process.
“With this new version Agfa Graphics strengthens its position as a reliable partner to many government institutions and private industries worldwide,” said Andy Grant, head of Software at Agfa Graphics. “We provide innovative security design tools that help them stay ahead of counterfeiters.”

Fortuna software features different levels of verification tools, both for the expert and for non-qualified end users who can determine a true product from a fake one. The software includes a graphical base editor, with integrated security features. The software is based on a modular architecture for upgrading.

Tilia Labs Inc. of Ottawa is targeting new printing markets with launch of Phoenix version 4.0, building on its flagship production software primarily used for imposition and planning in packaging environments.

Phoenix 4.0, according to Tilia Labs, includes new features for signage and greeting card work to expand upon the folding carton and label imposition and ganging tools found in earlier versions of Phoenix. These features include new mark types and increased sheet capacity.

“From the start our goal has been to automate the imposition process as much as possible for all non-commercial work,” said Sagen de Jonge, CEO of Tilia Labs. “Phoenix 4.0 is a huge step in this direction with the addition of nested ganging and wide-format support.”

Phoenix 4.0 features enhanced Nested Ganging functions to work on layouts for irregular shaped products. This includes Auto Impose and Auto Optimize modules for auto ganging folding cartons, as well as non-rectangular labels, cards and signage.  Nested layouts can be exported as CFF2, PDF or PostScript for cutting.

In relation to post-press work, Phoenix 4.0 features new guillotine-based layout generation of rectangular products. The system considers sheet turns versus using lower complexity cuts.

The software’s Auto Impose and Auto Optimize tools can now be run simultaneously across multiple jobs. Results are available in a persistent panel, allowing users to more readily apply ganged layouts. As well, lock-bottom folding carton pairs can be automatically detected and grouped during ganging.

Kodak updated its Prinergy print production workflow software to version 6.1 with what the company describes as an improved Web-based interface and new job management tools, including a scenario builder, job intent window, part and section views and a separation list.

“The release of Kodak Prinergy Workflow 6.0 was about ease of use and automated control for both entry-level and skilled users of Prinergy workflow… Prinergy Workflow 6.1 is the result of customer driven improvement, the most critical component in our development process,” stated Mike Tedesco, Kodak’s Worldwide Product Manager, Unified Workflow Solutions.

Scenario Builder is a new production automation tool designed to facilitate the creation of workflows from intent to output. Job Intent Window is a single location where users define job specifications in one menu that describes the completed product.

Prinergy v6.1 also includes new and updated Part and Section views, where users can change properties quickly. The new Separation List function, as requested by customers, is found in the Production tab. Its simplified view is designed for operators to streamline output for separations.

Quark Software Inc. has introduced QuarkXPress 10.2 to address performance and output issues related to the software’s new Xenon Graphics Engine. The update is available free to QuarkXPress users currently on version 10.

In addition to performance and quality improvements for the Xenon Graphics Engine, QuarkXPress 10.2 includes new features for collaboration, such as “Redlining”, which allows users to track changes within QuarkXPress documents to be viewed by a range of users. With the Redline feature, Quark explains teams can view the inserted and deleted text content made in a project and decide whether to accept or reject the changes.

QuarkXPress 10.2 also includes “Notes”, allowing users to store comments in a project without affecting its actual content. This feature can involve adding reminders and comments on the text content. Notes, with a “sticky note” look, can also be exported as PDF content.

In version 10.2, Quark explains there are no limitations on nesting anchored boxes, whereas previous versions of QuarkXPress have a limit of two levels. As well, users can export and import hyphenation exceptions created for a document and share the exceptions across projects to maintain uniformity.

QuarkXPress 10.2 output has passed all version 4 Ghent Workgroup Output Tests, which includes PDF/X-4.

Quark is providing a 30-day trial of QuarkXPress 10.2.

Ultimate TechnoGraphics of Montreal released Absolutely Imposing v.2.6, an Adobe Acrobat plug-in, designed for imposition automation with capabilities to determine the best production template for a printing job.

The new software version features compatibility for Windows 8.1 and Mac OS Mavericks, Electronic Software Licensing enhancement, A3 format display, and Automatic PDF Bleed Control. The software also remembers user preferences from job to job.

With Automatic PDF Bleed Control users can calculate bleed using the difference between TrimBox and CropBox when no BleedBox exists in the PDF. Alternatively, users can work through MediaBox if Cropbox does not exist, thereby covering all possibilities to automate production. Version 2.6 of Absolutely Imposing allows users to complete all of their projects from Acrobat.

Absolutely Imposing is designed for work like creating booklets, organizing step-and-repeat jobs, cutting and stacking, creating perfect-bound books, and setting different offset margins for printing.

Ultimate TechnoGraphics, through its website, provides a fully functional 5-day trial of Absolutely Imposing v.2.6.

Esko introduced its new Esko Suite 14 workflow software, built on Adobe’s PDF Print Engine (APPE3) platform, which is scheduled for release in July 2014.

Esko Suite 14 is a collection of new and updated software geared toward packaging preproduction and management, which can also be leveraged by brand owners, premedia houses, converters, sign and display producers and commercial printers. Esko explains Suite 14 development focused on five key trends, including: Workflow automation, the use of smart templates; quality; task-based user interface; and integration of the supply chain via The Cloud.

Used for application interconnectivity, WebCenter 14 is now a 64-bit application supporting HTML 5. A series of new colour tasks are now integrated into the Automation Engine, which also features a new Connect software kit. The updated ArtiosCAD editor provides BOM capability directly from the ArtiosCAD browser.

Esko states Suite 14 also gives ArtiosCAD users more realistic 3D visualization when folding corrugated and paper board. Suite 14 lets users of Studio Designer to go beyond the normal 3D view to add special effects and finishing details when creating packaging graphics in Illustrator. Store Visualizer, created in partnership with VTales Graphics, allows users to place virtual objects in photographed scenes. For the Studio tool, two new and one enhanced flexible bag types are available in Suite 14, including the popular quattro seal bag.

callas software has released what the Germany company describes as an important update for pdfToolbox 7, which was first released a few months ago. The new update, version 7.2, includes the ability to create HTML-based customizable reports for both pdfToolbox Desktop and pdfToolbox Server.

“Releasing a major pdfToolbox version with completely novel concepts always stimulates our customers to come up with creative ways in which they want to use those features," stated Dietrich von Seggern, Business Development Manager at callas software. pdfToolbox 7 introduces a completely new preflight report format.

“It's not just about providing your own colours and company branding,” continued Dietrich von Seggern. “Because this new report is based on HTML and CSS, it's very easy to modify. But more importantly it also allows the use of JavaScript and has access to a lot of preflight information generated by pdfToolbox. So not only can you modify the look and feel of the report, you can really customize the content as well. Reducing complexity of the report if your audience needs that for example, or including specific information missing from the default report.”

The new report starts from a template consisting of an HTML file, CSS and JavaScript and can be adjusted using common HTML tools. That template is converted to a printable PDF file on the fly by callas pdfToolbox whenever a PDF document is preflighted and a preflight report is generated. Starting with this pdfToolbox update, the options of the new report format can now be used in pdfToolbox Desktop.

pdfToolbox 7.2  also introduces performance improvements for Process Plans, the preflight profile variant introduced in pdfToolbox 6 that allows multiple conditional steps to be executed on PDF files. There are also a number of optimization changes related to Mac OS X 10.9.

GMG has updated its breakthrough proofing technology with the release of GMG OpenColor version 1.1, which improves measurement data import and adjustments with profiles and dot gain.

Since its commercial release earlier this year, OpenColor software has received several accolades for its ability to predict print results for spot colours with less data, including an 2013 InterTech Award, the 2013 Flexographic Technical Association Technical Innovation Award and an Innovation Award from the European Rotogravure Association.

A key new feature in GMG OpenColor 1.1 includes the extended import of measurement data and the automatic averaging of data, which the company describes as especially helpful when importing data collected at different pres- run times. As a result, GMG states any possible deviation is included in the final profile calculation.

Version 1.1 of GMG OpenColor also provides tools to adjust colour intensity and dot gain. Users can define a target dot gain from a specific printing process or adjust dot gain measurements to compensate for possible faulty printing conditions, which can occur during reference print runs or colour standard productions.

GMG points out why flexography prepress companies, in particular, will profit from this colour and dot-gain adjustment, as such operations can define target dot gain for a spot colour or for a complete data set. Prepress operations will be able to adjust dot gain and ink density to suit optimal press conditions. Operators can adjust parameters and modify highlight, mid tone or shadows are per channel and colour as needed for production.

GMG continues to explain how OpenColor 1.1 also gives users the ability to correct the substrate white point and add dot correction to the profile – without the need to recalculate the profile – to simulate the correct substrate colours and produce contract-level proofs.

“This has been an exciting year for GMG and GMG OpenColor,” stated Victor Asseiceiro, Director, Business Unit Packaging at GMG. “It has received significant recognition by respected associations and, more importantly, has been adopted by a number of leading companies throughout the world. However, we are not complacent and will continue to build features that will make GMG OpenColor even more powerful and easy to use.”

Version 8 of the ColorGATE RIP software line, primarily applied in large-format printing, is now available with integration of the recently released Adobe PDF Print Engine 3.1. This includes new versions of ColorGATE Productionserver, Filmgate, Plategate and Proofgate.

Additionally, the Container+ function, the Linearization Assistant, the Profiler Module PFM and the CutServer have been updated with new functions, while the selection of the media size is now open to user defined changes.

With the new Container+, ColorGATE has enhanced nesting functions by adding centering containers and margins for containers without being limited to a certain size. Jobs can now be arranged according to preset or user-defined criteria with the ordered nesting option.
The Linearization Assistant and Profiler Module PFM support simultaneous linearization or profiling processes at the same time. The new presets for ink splitting curves are ranging from smoother print results up to the possibility to reduce the amount of ink used.
Improved control options for cut and perforation lines are now available through the added zoom function in the CutServer. It is available in the preview window, which has been enhanced with new illustrated cut and perforation lines. The cut directions are now displayed as vectors. The information overview of the file list, according to ColorGATE, is now more detailed.
In the job setting functions, it is now possible to set user-defined media sizes. The new dialogue saves these user defined sizes in the printer definition (COS file) automatically to be valid for the current printer queue. In addition, the complete list can be exported and re-imported to a different printer queue/RIP installation.

DALIM SOFTWARE GmbH, headquartered in Kehl, Germany, released its ES 4 platform, which is a customer-facing Web-based suite of tools for the creation, production and management of marketing media. The fourth version of ES (Enterprise Solution), according to the company, extends its support of images (with layers), video, Flash and animated GIF banner ads, as well as with Website content, documents and imposed forms for cross-media campaigns.

ES 4, in addition to its current ability to handle managed content within its own database, can now work with referenced content, which DALIM describes as useful for those who need to work with very large video files or external storage devices and other file system-based digital asset management (DAM) systems. ES 4 now also offers DAM features to automatically catalogue, enrich and share images and other assets, such as video or ePub or can be integrated with 3D augmented reality models.

For Web-based projects, print-ready PDFs are automatically or interactively enriched with active URLs, picture slide shows, videos, tables of content, and action buttons. These PDFs can be exported to HTML5 or ePUB3 content to be embedded in a Website or mobile e-readers, including customized iPad Apps, through Apple's iBookstore or Amazon Kindle Store. For print workflows, ES 4 features an imposition module that can import both CFF2 and JDF templates to automate step-and-repeats, as well as complex print and packaging impositions for PSPs.

DIALOGUE Engine 4 – a soft-proofing application – includes new HTML5 viewing, mark-up and validation. It relies solely on HTML5 for the most-common operations. New annotation management features allow users to comment and reply to notes someone else has written. Also, annotations can be turned into a checklist for participants to check as “done”, for better tracking of to-do items. When working in a colour-controlled environment, DIALOGUE Engine 4 now reads a spot colour’s spectral value in addition to Lab equivalents.

“DIALOGUE Engine 4 now with its important HTML5 implementation-and ES 4 are stronger and more versatile than ever,” stated Dr. Carol Werlé, CEO of DALIM SOFTWARE. “Individually or integrated through a powerful API, these products are capable of fulfilling the needs, equally, of printers, publishers, brands, corporations and retailers. With the help of intuitive Web services, finding, accessing, sharing, transforming or repurposing media assets becomes seamless and automatic; Whether for print, packaging or non-print content.”

Berlin-based callas software has launched a new version of its pdfToolbox software, a version which promises more accuracy in quality control and a more refined workflow.

pdfToolbox 7 uses updated Adobe libraries when dealing with transparency flattening which leads to better overall performance. The same engine can also flatten overprint throughout a PDF file, avoiding overprint problems on RIPs that have that issue. The software also includes an entirely new font engine that is better at embedding and sub setting fonts and handling broken fonts.

pdfToolbox has also revised its preflight reports so that they are more visually attractive for clients, as well as improving how problems are conveyed to users. The report is also completely customizable and can be branded with a printing company’s logo and brand colours. On the preflight front, the system also includes a number of new advanced preflight checks: now the software has the ability to calculate (and report in an automated workflow) the total area coverage for each separation in a file, the exact number of separations in a file and whether given separations are identical or different between two versions of a PDF file.

Other PDF cleanup features include:

- Cropping pages to what is visible on the page, disregarding invisible objects or objects that are partially masked out. This provides much better performance as only the actual visible page content is being used.

- Hard cropping of images. The non-visible parts of images are removed to make the overall file smaller (and avoid problems with content that is not visible but could be retrieved using PDF editing software). Images can be cropped to their mask and additionally to one of the page boxes.

- Removing arbitrary page elements. This for example allows easily removing a die line or all elements using a particular spot colour.

- Removing all metadata from PDF documents – the new fix up even allows removing object level metadata, which can bloat PDF files considerably.

pdfToolbox 7 is available immediately from calls software in two versions, one which is a manual processing plug-in for Adobe Acrobat, which starts at EUR 499; and a server system that has hands-off automated processing starting at EUR 3999.

Designers and photographers are adopting Adobe’s Creative Cloud at a brisker pace than anticipated, according to Adobe. The company announced, that as of the end of its third financial quarter, there are more than 1,031,000 paid Creative Cloud subscriptions.

Adobe grew Creative Cloud subscriptions by 331,000 in the quarter, some through aggressive pricing promotions. The latest version of its Creative Suite (now dubbed Creative Cloud) software is available via a subscription model only. Lightroom, its software offering aimed at photographers, is still available with a traditional perpetual license as an option.

“Our customers are overwhelmingly choosing subscriptions instead of perpetual model licenses which is accelerating our business model transition,” said Mark Garrett, EVP and CFO, Adobe. “During Q3, 41 percent of our revenue was recurring and we exited the quarter with record deferred revenue on our balance sheet. These results are building a stronger, more predictable revenue model for Adobe which will drive higher long-term growth.”

The company also reported its third quarter financials, which saw revenues fall within expectations at $995.1 million, with a net income of $83 million. Compared from the same quarter a year ago, however, revenues fell slightly, from $1.08 billion. Gross profit is also down from $961 million to $848 million.

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