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Esko Visualizer marks another leap forward in integrated packaging design

Press release from the issuing company

Gent (Belgium), May 10, 2007 - Esko, the leading global system integrator for packaging pre-production, announces Esko Visualizer, a new component of the Esko Software Suite 7. The product is the first result of Esko's cooperation with Stonecube Ltd, the leading developer of dynamic print visualization software which Esko now has acquired. "For almost 10 years now, Esko has been pioneering integrated packaging design software combining graphic and structural data into a common workflow", says Arjen Maarleveld, Senior Vice President Packaging Solutions. "Recently we have added the capability to directly import solid model information for the product to be packaged (developed for example with SolidWorks software) and design the package and fitments around it. Today, we take another big step forward: Esko Visualizer helps to create more effective packaging designs, by letting designers, brand owners and packaging producers accurately communicate and evaluate the impact of the actual substrates, inks and special finishes used for the final product early on in the design phase." Esko Visualizer combines graphic information in PDF and a variety of other formats with structural information - such as die cut shape and folding lines, angles and sequence - from Esko ArtiosCAD, interprets or adds information about substrates, special inks and finishes, and delivers a variety of realistic moving, interactive 2D and 3D representations of the final product. Esko Visualizer incorporates patented technology to accurately render the resulting effects from various paper grades and other substrates, all kinds of inks including metallics, and finishes such as varnishes, foils, embossing, glitter and flitter. Importing designs prepared using Esko PackEdge or Esko DeskPack (Esko's collection of packaging specific plug-ins for Adobe(r) Illustrator(r)) which combine graphic, structural and other metadata into a single PDF file, automates the workflow even more. As a result, communication and collaboration between all parties involved in the creative and approval process is greatly enhanced. Esko Visualizer further helps to avoid misunderstandings and errors, reduces costs and delays linked to physical proofing and samplemaking, accelerates the introduction into production, and generally promotes the use of special effects and finishes. Esko Visualizer - Closing the loop from concept to final result "Packaging is obviously a key application target for dynamic print visualization", comments Martin Coulthard, founder and CEO of Stonecube and now Director of Esko's Visualization Software Product Group. "We rapidly realized that our unique rendering technology had to be better integrated into the broader packaging design environment, in order to create a seamless collaboration between all involved in the creative, production and approval processes. Joining forces with Esko clearly is the right way to respond to the market's interest, and to open up new business opportunities for Esko's customers. The integration of Esko's CAD and 3D technologies with Stonecube's rendering know-how greatly simplifies the workflow for complex and folded packaging and display materials". Esko Visualizer makes it very easy to experiment with different papers, inks and finishes, and to share realistic visual feedback on complex designs between designer, brand owner, pre-production operator and converter, in the form of static images or interactive animations. A typical workflow may consist of the following steps: * Import the structural information from Esko ArtiosCAD into in Adobe Illustrator CS2 or CS3, using the Esko DeskPack 3-dX plug-in, complete with die-cut and fold information * Create or refine the graphic design using Illustrator and other Esko DeskPack tools * Identify areas with special inks and finishes using a special 'swatch' library installed by Esko Visualizer * Save a production PDF file with all graphic, structural and metadata * Open that file in Esko Visualizer and simulate appearance and color changes when using different paper grades and structures, instantly see the effect of selecting different inks (including spot colors, metallic and high intensity inks), evaluate the effect from applying embossing, varnishes and metallic foils - all by directly interacting with the position of the product within its environment * Choose from numerous interior, exterior and retail viewing environments to view designs under a variety of lighting conditions and backgrounds * Create static or animated representations of the proposed design, for fast and easy electronic communication (using JPG, PSD, PNG with/without transparency, TIFF, TGA, BMP, image sequences, QuickTime movies and VR interactive files). Esko Visualizer is scheduled to start shipping in July 2007, in PC and Mac (Universal Binary) versions.