Global Graphics Releases PDF/X Workflow Validation Tool Free of Charge
Press release from the issuing company
Cambridge, UK; August 21, 2002: A simple to use overprint control strip for checking that proofs and prints made from files transmitted as PDF/X have rendered correctly – and therefore whether a proof and final press sheet are likely to match -- has been released by Global Graphics Software, a subsidiary of Global Graphics S A (Nasdaq Europe: GLGR, Euronext: GLOG) and a leading worldwide supplier of printing, electronic document and workflow software. The control strip is available free of charge from a number of leading web sites, including Time Inc., the DDAP (Digital Distribution of Advertising for Publications) and Global Graphics own web site (www.globalgraphics.com) and is supplied as an EPS file that can be placed outside the trim or bleed area of every job created in a design application.
Interest in PDF/X – international standards designed specifically for reliable prepress data exchange – has increased over the past year because a file prepared in accordance with the standards is likely to be processed through a prepress workflow with no errors and with a more predictable result than a general PDF file. PDF/X is not just a carefully focused subset of PDF, but also specifies how applications creating and reading PDF/X files should behave. One aspect of this is a definition of how RIPs and color proofers should render those files – it is this aspect of the standards that ensures a good match between a proof made before sending the file and the final printed piece.
The two most common areas of error in printing PDF/X files are overprints and font handling. While incorrect fonts are often quite obvious on a proof, until now it has been far harder to identify incorrect overprinting.
Erik Cullins, associate director, Digital Development at Time Inc. says, "When Time Inc. helped
push forward the industry movement toward PDF/X, it was not without some careful planning and testing. It is critical that a single magazine, printed at multiple locations through different workflow systems, prints the same. Through our testing and validation process, we discovered that the file reliability was good, even through different systems, but only if the process was carefully managed.
"The main difference noted through testing was how each workflow system handled overprinting objects. During our validation process, we tested various overprint conditions at each of our printing locations. When differences were found, we examined the workflow settings, and asked for changes to be made to conform to our specifications.
"As more file preparers start sending PDF/X files to their output partners, we encourage the use of an overprint test tool to ensure that the overprints are output as expected. Unfortunately for us, the PDF/X overprint control strip wasn't available for our testing and validation process. Global Graphics' Overprint Control Strip is an easy to use tool to verify PDF/X compliant workflows from creation to output. Armed with it, you can be confident that your PDF/X documents will print as planned."
The Global Graphics control strip can be easily placed on the edge of a file being sent, alongside any existing color bars and informational text. When printed, the test patches in the control strip show at a glance whether overprinting has been performed correctly or not, and therefore help to significantly reduce the risk of the final printed piece differing from the proof. The patch can be used with any PostScript or PDF RIP.
Stephan Jaeggi of PrePress-Consulting in Switzerland, co-author of the PDF/X-3 specification, said: "This overprint test strip will help all users to cope with one of the most worrying issues in modern composite prepress workflows. Unfortunately there is no standard for how RIPs of output systems (image setters, plate setters, proofers) should deal with overprint information in composite PDF and PostScript files. Some of these RIPs offer several (sometimes incomprehensible) settings. This test strip will immediately reveal if overprinting elements are treated conforming to the PDF/X specification. This will tell the user if the configuration of his output system is correct or not."
Chair of the two groups developing the PDF/X standards (the Committee for Graphics Arts Technologies Standards SC6 and the International Standards Organization TC130/WG2/TF2), is Martin Bailey, Global Graphics Software’s senior technical consultant. He comments, "When they’re applied correctly, open standards can help form the best foundation for the future of the graphic arts industry, but it’s not always obvious to the people on the front line of this industry how to do that. Global Graphics has been backing the PDF/X standards work for many years and releasing this control strip to help people to get the best from their equipment with PDF/X is a logical next step."
The test file can be used alongside the more complete PDF/X workflow conformance test suite being developed under the code name of the "Kensington Suite" by a group including representatives from DDAP and from leading software vendors, prepress and print companies such as Apago, Callas Software, Creo, Enfocus, Global Graphics, RR Donnelley, Quality House of Graphics, Quebecor World and Vertis.
The Kensington Suite will be a complete physical for your prepress system, testing almost everything for compliance with the PDF/X standard – but it will take some time to run and to analyze results, and is expected to be used by prepress companies themselves. In contrast, the Global Graphics PDF/X overprint test file can be simply added to your normal job template and included on every proof you make. It does not require any technical knowledge to interpret and is expected to be used by both designers and prepress companies.
Alan Darling, Chairman of the DDAP Association, and COO & CTO, Quality House of Graphics, says, "In all workflows there is inevitably some level of variability, so process control tools must be built to allow early detection of possible anomalies. In PDF and PDF/X workflows, one such variable is overprinting. The DDAP has raised this issue with several vendors through our co-operative work on the Kensington Suite PDF/X workflow validation tests. We applaud the initiative taken by Global Graphics to develop this process control patch as it benefits the industry as a whole and PDF/X print production workflows specifically."
The control strip will be made available from the following web sites over the next few days:
www.ddap.org - The DDAP Association
www.pdf-x.com - DDAP’s PDF/X web site
direct2.time.com - Time, Inc’s digital advertising specifications
www.pdfx.info - PDF/X information site
www.globalgraphics.com - Global Graphics
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