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Commentary & Analysis

Free Special - A Cold Day in Miami, GOA 2003

The ocean outside the Seville Beach Hotel was about twice as warm as the air this Friday morning in Miami Beach.

By Noel Ward
Published: January 27, 2003

The ocean outside the Seville Beach Hotel was about twice as warm as the air this Friday morning in Miami Beach. Taut-faced Floridians hurried along the streets, attired like people from frostier climes do for skiing or ice skating. Having just left the Siberian cold sweeping the northern half of the nation, though, the 40-degree air seemed almost balmy and gave all us Northerners visiting Graphics of the Americas something to talk about.

The show kicked off today with light floor traffic but that is picking up even as this is written in mid-afternoon. We’ll get into some of the things out on the floor in a while, but first let’s take a look at a couple of announcements.

Affordable and accurate have long been mutually exclusive terms when it comes to proofing. That appears to be about to change. PerfectProof introduced ProofMaster Adesso!, the first digital proofing RIP for Mac OS X that delivers accurate color proofs on several Epson and HP color ink jet printers. This dramatically reduces proofing costs and makes it possible for graphic designers and small print shops to produce very high quality proofs on inexpensive printers. If the samples of proofs and finished offset prints offered for inspection are anything to go by, you can expect exceptional color accuracy. Best of all, Adesso! doesn’t come with a high price tag. Expect to pay about $400 for the RIP, about half the cost of many popular inkjet printers and providing a great value that should offer a fast return on investment.

The rest of PerfectProof’s line of software RIPs--Folio, Mezzo and Grande--works under both Mac and Windows and also supports some laser printers. Each uses a PDF workflow that distills incoming PostScript files into high-resolution PDFs. To get the colors right, the company’s proprietary Fingerprint Technology eschews the straight-line color interpolation of ICC profiles in favor of a mathematical formula based on press parameters such as dot gain, ink transparency and overprint. The result is smoother blends, more neutral gray balances and more accurate colors. Folio, the entry level version for lower volume needs, is priced at $1,295. For more information go to http://www.proofmaster.net.

Proofing has long been a knotty issue and plenty of solutions have come and gone. Software RIPs have always made a lot of sense, but getting a printer that uses relatively pure ink or toner to consistently and accurately replicate the colors of impure offset inks has been a challenge. And when the colors have been accurate, the cost of the RIP and print engine have often been hard to justify for smaller shops. The ProofMaster family of products offers some real value for designers and print providers alike. If you need to proof before going to press, these tools are worth a look.

A print show wouldn’t be complete without talking to at least some news from Xerox, and GOA is no exception. The Document Company has long relationships in Latin America and these are destined to expand in the years ahead. Xerox announced a unique training and educational relationship with SENAI, a widely recognized professional education institution in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Xerox will be supplying some $1.5 million USD in digital printing technology and services including presses, digital front ends, software, supplies, accessories and training. The Xerox Digital Print Educational center (DPEC), slated to open in March, will be based at the Theobaldi de Nigris School will have classrooms, permanent workshops and auditoriums, all focusing on training students on Xerox digital color and monochrome printing platforms. DPEC expects to train up to 1,800 Latin American graphic arts professionals each year.

For a look at how Xerox sees the opportunity in Latin America, be sure to read the interview with Ray Wier, Vice President of Marketing for Developing Markets Operations in the Xerox Latin Group.

Digital color is getting to be just as an important aspect of printing in Latin America as in the U.S. and Europe. While it will still be awhile before the iGen3 makes its way south, the DocuColor 6060, introduced in the U.S. last spring, is now available to compliment the already successful DocuColor 2060s throughout Latin America. Both the EFI EXP6000 and Creo CXP6000 RIPs are available now, with the Xerox DocuSP6000XC becoming available later this year. For many print shops that already have DocuTech or other DocuColor models, these front ends give customers investment protection and help reduce training requirements.

Xerox also announced a new, $7.7 million USD agreement to supply Office Depot of Mexico with in-store printing, copying and multifunctional equipment at 74 locations throughout Mexico. According to Enrique Cervetti, president of Xerox Mexicana, "Office Depot will be able to offer a higher level of service to its customers, ranging from walk-in consumers to major national business and corporate clients."

That’s it for now



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