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PDF Tools for Graphics Professionals

A sourcelist of products for compressing workflow.




PDF offers those in the graphics marketplace an opportunity to
streamline their workflows. Today's PDF files can now not only
deal with different compression algorithms and flatten transparency
effects, but they can also carry fonts and embed ICC
profiles. Further, they can be edited during the prepress cycle,
which carries with it a major workflow benefit.

It's important to keep in mind, however, that PDF-related technologies
are not standing still. More and more advanced tools for
PDF creation, editing, and workflow are constantly being brought
to market, giving print providers and other graphics technicians
even more ways to compress throughout. And although PDF hasn't
yet replaced all other print workflows, the advancing technology
makes this appear to be a likely scenario in the not-so-distant

What follows is a list of just some of the latest PDF workflow
solutions available. Note that we've primarily focused here on
“industrial-strength” tools for the professional graphic arts”?particularly
those oriented toward printed output. We have avoided
tools that are more geared to the general consumer or office-documents


Adobe Acrobat Professional, now in version 7.0, enables users to
assemble electronic or paper files, websites, or e-mails and create
Adobe PDF documents. Version 7 features attachment capabilities
that allow users to attach documents such as spreadsheets,
multimedia files, images, and drawings to PDFs. Also
available is Acrobat Standard, which features tools for sharing
information and commenting on electronic files.



Agfa's :Apogee Power Converter features tools to automate the
conversion of legacy file formats to high-resolution PDF files. Its
automatic file detection and drag-and-drop interface aids in producing
an uninterrupted PDF workflow. Power Converter also has
the ability to generate screened PDF or PostScript files to allow
users to view color-accurate soft proofs of converted files, as
well as enabling user-defined spot colors with ICC-based color
management. Importable file formats include: TIFF, TIFF/IT-P1,
nCT/nLW, CT/LW, and others.

Arts PDF

PDF Crackerjack, Version
5.0, from Arts PDF,
enables users to convert
RGB and CMYK to spot
color, and gives them the
ability to perform impositions,
verify Enfocus-
Cer tified PDFs, print
accurate color separations,
and preview and
control output. A hotfolder
desktop interface
helps users automate their workflow; they can also save and
reuse settings for consistent results. Plus, it can solve problems
related to Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Publisher files.

Other offerings from Arts include: PDF Stratify, for the controlling,
creation, and management of layers of content in layout
applications such as QuarkXPress, Adobe InDesign, or Adobe
PageMaker; and the PDF Print Suite, which includes Crackerjack,
Quite Imposing Plus, and Enfocus PitStop Professional plug-ins.


Artwork Systems

Artwork Systems' Odystar is a hot folder-driven workflow system
based on core technology from Artwork and Enfocus software.
It utilizes PDF as its internal file format and JDF as the jobticket
format. Odystar allows easy integration with RIPs and
workflows from various manufacturers, and offers a complete
range of prepress tools”?from preflight, certification, and automated
document correction, all the way to advanced trapping,
imposition, proofing, printing, and screening to plate.

Odystar runs on Macintosh OS X platform and is a native PDF
1.4/1.5 workflow. In addition to the base Odystar configuration
that handles all typical prepress preparation of files, there are
two other modules: an automated imposition software and a PDF
1.4/1.5 RIP.

Callas Software


Callas Software's newest
PDF software is pdfColorConvert,
a plug-in for
Adobe Acrobat 6 and 7
that converts RGB/Lab
data and spot colors
from within PDFs into
CMYK to color-match
print output. PdfColor-
Convert is designed to
allow color management
without background
knowledge and uses Callas predetermined input and output profiles
to convert and correctly output the PDF document. System
requirements are Adobe Acrobat 6 or 7 and Windows 2000/XP or
Mac OS X.

The company also offers MadeToPrint InDesign/XT, a tool for
Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress users to help streamline the
creation of PDF, EPS, and PostScript files, including single pages.
It can save print settings of repetitive jobs, output layers and
layer combinations, as well as do batch processing with options
for checking images and fonts.

CGS Publishing Technologies

ORIS PDF Tuner (formerly Oris Page), from CGS Publishing Technologies
is a “full editing environment” for PDF and PostScript
files, says the company.
It allows customers to
open, make corrections
to, and output printready
pages in all major
file formats. PDF Tuner
features tools for control
over text, fonts, color,
overprinting, and complex
image retouching
and transparency
effects. Output printready
file options
include: PDF, PDF/X-1a,
PDF/X-3, PostScript, DCS, TIFF/IT-P1, or Scitex files. The software
is available for Windows (2000, XP, and 2003) and for Mac OS X.


Creo's Synapse Prepare allows designers to create PDFs with an
automated process that matches the technical specifications
from a particular print provider. Users can print directly from
QuarkXPress; print to the Synapse Prepare desktop printer from
any Mac application; or drag-and-drop a PostScript or PDF file
onto a hot folder or Synapse Prepare applet. Prepare's preflight
technology examines a file and notifies users of its status; if a
file fails preflight, a warning report is generated so errors can be
identified and fixed.

Creo also offers Synapse Prepare Pro, which enables printers
and trade shops to set their printing instructions and distribute
custom vendor profiles to designers through a directive.
Directives can be customized to control settings for Quark-
XPress, InDesign, Acrobat Distiller, and Enfocus PitStop. The
directives can then be imported into the designer's version of
Synapse Prepare, allowing for the creation of error-free PDFs.


DALiM TWiST is a workflow tool that can be configured to automate
file conversions”?such as PostScript to PDF”?or to apply
ICC color profiles for print production. It supports a variety of
native and proprietary file formats, such as CT/LLW, PDF, and
TIFF/IT-P1, and integrates with legacy file formats.

Twist's Workflow Manager manages work in progress, either
locally or remotely, and can intervene at any time by initiating a
pause in the workflow, or allowing users to view job status or job
logs. Twist also is able to take information from a database and
incorporate it into a print-production workflow, as well as place
information back into the database for easy integration with MIS


OneFlow, from EFI, uses an icon-based graphic interface to allow
users to convert files to PDF, as well as preflight, trap, impose,
RIP, and soft proof. Jobs can be managed and tracked in real time
from anywhere using the browser-based OneFlow Job Tracker
application. OneFlow incorporates an Adobe-based RIP as well as
EFI ColorWise, the company's color-management system, and
ROOM (“RIP Once Output Many”) proofing architecture.


Instant PDF 3.0, from
Enfocus, creates Certified
PDFs using Enfocus PDF
Queues established on by printers,
publishers, industry
associations, and Enfocus.
Users can impor t
PDF queues as a built-in
synchronization feature
to ensure ongoing specification
consistency. Once
imported, the queues are
accessible through the
“Save as Certified PDF” file menu within tools such as Adobe
InDesign and QuarkXPress, and the PDF Services feature in the
Mac OS X print panel.

PitStop Professional is a PDF preflight, auto-correction,
and editing Adobe Acrobat plug-in that enables users to check
critical PDF attributes and automatically correct common
errors. Certified PDF technology embeds the PDF profile and
preflight report into a file, so users can gain immediate visual
feedback as well as track all edits made to a PDF. The Enfocus
PDF Workflow Suite includes Instant PDF, PitStop Server, and
PitStop Professional.


Esko-Graphics' Scope is a workflow solution that integrates a
wide range of print-production functions”?job management, preproduction
and process management, collaborative workflow,
and remote and distributed operations. Scope uses an open
environment to incorporate standard formats for file input and
output such as PostScript and PDF, and is JDF-enabled. It can
send any type of output information to proofing devices.

The BackStage workflow server allows users to specify output
parameters in advance, fixing all parameters for imposition,
control strips, color information, screening, etc.”?reducing risk
of human error downstream.

Global Graphics

Jaws PDF Creator, from
Global Graphics, offers
users the ability to predefine
PDF configuration
settings that can be
selected at the point of
PDF generation. PDF Creator
appears as a desktop
icon allowing drag-anddrop
conversion of Post-
Script and EPS files to PDF.

Jaws PDF Editor, a
companion to PDF Creator, allows users to insert, extract, delete
and rotate, and re-order pages from multiple PDF files to produce a
single PDF file. PDF Creator or PDF Editor can be purchased standalone,
or they can be purchased together as Jaws PDF Partner.


Grafikhuset's Chameleon CMYK PDF Creator is a “PDF repair kit”
application that integrates with Adobe Acrobat 5.0 or later to
“clean” PostScript files before they reach Acrobat Distiller; the
result is press-ready PDF/X documents with CMYK colors.

Other CMYK PDF Creator capabilities include: impose documents
into print-ready booklets on-the-fly; choosing different
media sizes; output media cropping; trim marks; registration
marks; black generation; color-output mode; image conversion;
spot-color conversion; and automatic overprint. CMYK PDF Creator
requires Windows 2000 or XP as well as Adobe Acrobat 5.0 or later.


Helios PDF Handshake 2.1 offers users the ability to print PDF
separations and composite PDF documents on PostScript-compatible
devices. Graphic designers can create files in Quark-
XPress, Adobe InDesign, or Microsoft Office. PDF Handshake uses
ColorSync and ICC color management, creates proofs of PDF files,
and supports spot colors as well as TrueType and CID fonts. The
software also features the ability to print registration marks and
receive print jobs over the Internet in the new “PDF Internet Printing”
feature. Additional capabilities include OPI and Unix support.


OneVision's Asura software is designed to correct common publishing
workflow problems. It can automatically open native PDF
and TIFF files as well as interpret PostScript and EPS files (separated
as well as composite), and check file contents while automatically
repairing errors. The software provides default check
criteria to provide actions to fix errors, issue warnings, and reject
documents. Once unnecessary data is removed, Asura outputs
files and provides a complete log of every checked file.

Asura Pro offers everything as Asura, and has additional features
including automated correction of column width and
height, conversion of process colors into predefined or customized
spot colors, cropping of pages with existing crop marks,
and conversion of complete documents into HTML.

Solvero is OneVision's editing software for the modification
and post-processing of PDF, EPS, and PostScript files. Users can
select substitution fonts; evaluate OPI comments; process separated
or composite files; change color spaces or blends; handle
spot colors; adopt tonal range, gradations, and resolution; create
duo-tone images; process images; import and export image
data; change text flow and alignment; and make changes to page
formats. Solvero also offers a “search and replace” function for
color, fonts, and graphics.

Polkadots Software

PrePage-it, from Polkadots Software, features a drag-and-drop
interface for PDF, EPS, TIFF, PS, and DCS files to hot folders. The software
preflights files, automatically fixing problems as well as separating
spot colors or RGB images into CMYK and creating error
reports on missing fonts, PS, and RIP errors. PrePage-it sorts jobs
to individual folders based on job-ticket numbers or job names and
generates ROOM-file page numbers automatically. Users can also
soft proof files from 72 to 1200 dpi in PDF or Photoshop format.

Files can be output to a hot-folder device, a local or remote
network calibrated proofer, as well as imagesetters and CTP
devices. Export formats include: 1-bit TIFFs, DCS 2, PDF, EPS, Photoshop,
PS, and TIFF.

Also from Polkadots is Manage-it, a software that enables
users to perform queue, job, error, archive, and file management,
as well as create PDF proofs and PDF paginated booklets, and
output to network devices.

Quite Software

Quite a Box of Tricks, from Quite Software, is an Adobe Acrobat
plug-in that allows users to subsample and/or recompress
images without any need to redistill a PDF. In addition to offering
“extra-strong” JPEG compression, it also will convert any PDF file
to CMYK by converting all RGB and Lab data to CMYK. The software
can scale pages and also mirror them for film or fabric
transfers. Users can search a document for the largest images or
for an RGB image to identify trouble spots. Images are shown in
exact dimensions.

Quite Imposing/Imposing Plus: Both of these products enable
users to create booklets, insert blank pages into a document, shuffle
pages for imposing, reverse page order, and trim from the edges
of pages, among other features. Quite Imposing Plus also allows
users to execute manual imposition, step-and-repeat, and define
bleeds, among other functions. Users must have Adobe Acrobat 4.0,
5.0, or 6.0 (not the free Acrobat Reader) for the plug-ins to work.



Printvinyl Scored Print Media

New Printvinyl Scored wide-format print media features an easy-to-remove scored liner for creating decals, product stickers, packaging labels, and more. The precision-scored liner, with a 1.25” spacing on a 60” roll, guarantees a seamless and hassle-free removal process.

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