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Revolutionary PDF Rips Ė The Field Becomes More Interesting and Part of Whatís Revolutionary is the price.
††††††††††† In this article we will cover two of these new RIPS. Artwork Systemsí Odystar, and EFI Velocity Oneflow. Both are products that create ripped trapped PDF files suitable for printing. Oneflow can create 1 bit tiffs to be used for final output. We wonít be looking at more high end products such as Agfaís Apogee X Commercial, or Creoís Prinergy, but will cover those in a future article. For the purposes of this article we will be covering PDF based RIPs and workflows that come in at approximately $25,000 or less, including trapping.
new EFI Velocity Oneflow RIP placed in the top three
at the PDF Workflow Shootout in
††††††††††† The Velocity Oneflow RIP first converts the files to PDF format. If the file is a PDF already the files are flattened. For printers dealing with Publisher and Word files, the rip can take native Publisher and Word files and convert them into PDFs. The PDF can then be run through a preflight and automated with any desired Enfocus Pitstop actions. The file is then trapped. At any point in time the file can be viewed and edited with Enfocus Pitstop. The traps are vectors to they can be edited in Enfocus Pitstop if needed. Editing a PDF is as simple as opening it in Acrobat and making the edits with either Acrobat and Pitstop. The file can be routed to a proofer, or can be sent straight to generate 1 bit tiffs for imaging. The trapped PDF can also be sent to other locations, or proofers in itís native PDF format if desired. Once ripped, the file is converted to raster data. Oneflow includes an imposition module that can use templates from Dynagram Dynastrip, Creo Preps, or Ultimate Impostrip to impose the individual pages for output to 1 bit tiff files or to the proofer. Onflow runs on Windows 2000 and XP Operating systems.
††††††††††† Velocity Oneflow is revolutionary, in that it is probably the first rip that can perform all these functions for the very low price of $16,000. If you compare that to other rips that offer the same features and similar functionality such as the higher end Agfa Apogee X Commercial or Creo Prinergy these rips often come in at $50,000 or higher to get the same functionality.
††††††††††† One thing about PDF workflows is that they are very simple. You can almost build your own. With a copy of Acrobat, Distiller, and Pitstop you have a robust rip that can create a near final file that any other rip can screen for less than $1,000. Add a copy of a trapping program such as SuperTrap or Creo Trapwise and you can produce fully trapped and certified PDF files for about $6,000. Oneflow fills in the missing pieces. It offers ripping, pdf creation, trapping, editing (with Pitstop and Acrobat), proof creation and screening and one-bit tiff creation. Like many of itís high end competitors, Velocity† Oneflow adds the missing pieces to the PDF workflow, mainly trapping, imposition, and screening and proofing. For $16,000 the features it offers will be hard to beat. It has the potential to change the industry completely.
Systems Odystar is another PDF Rip that is new to the
market. It received the Seybold Editorís Hot Pick Award in 2002. The intent of Odystar is different than that of a traditional rip, and
seems aimed as much at content producers as at printers. The product is built
around the Enfocus Pitstop
technology (Enfocus is owned by Artwork Systems) and
††††††††††† With Odystar, the job enters the system and is distilled into a PDF format. The PDF format used by Odyssey is unflattened PDF 1.4 and can maintain layers and transparency through the workflow, and then can be returned to the customer with layers and transparency intact. (Although the final rip doing the screening would have to be able to support these features. Few rips support transparency at this writing.† Odystar also includes a flattener to remove transparency for RIPs which do not accept PDF 1.4 files.) The job is then sent to the Pitstop gateway where a series of actions or preflight checks can be performed on it. Following the Pitstop module, the job can be trapped, and sent for other functions such as an imposition template. It can then be sent to other devices such as a proofer, rip, or ftp site. The current version of Odystar supports the Dynastrip imposition engine, although Preps templates are supported. Odystar supports the Enfocus Certified PDF workflow and can produce trapped, imposed and certified PDF files. Odystar offers a separation gateway for separated output, and can output separated or composite proofs on any networked printer.† You may have noticed there are several features lacking. Odystar does not offer any drivers to directly drive devices such as platesetters or imagesetters and Odystar cannot create one bit tiff files. What it does create is a clean, certified trapped PDF file ready for screening and output through existing RIPs. Artwork Systems has positioned the product to feed the PDF to an existing rip, such as a Nexus or Harlequin rip for final screening to take place.
††††††††††† Odystar is priced at† $27,500 for a full version with trapping, separation, flattening, etc. It runs on the Macintosh OSX operating system. The automated DynaStrip imposition feature is $7500 extra. There is a lite version available for $15,000 which contains PDF creation features but is missing trapping , OPI, separation, AppleScripting, and imposition features. Both versions contain the full Certified PDF library
††††††††††† These new PDF rips are not just revolutionary in terms of features and price. (If you were willing to pay, this technology has been around for a long time.) One of the best aspects of both of these rips is simplicity. If you are used to having to tip-toe around complicated rips in order to get files to come out, these rips will seem refreshingly simple. Thatís because once you are in a native PDF file format things get much easier. While these rips wonít meet the needs of users requiring complex and intricate workflows, they would probably meet the needs of 80% or more of the commercial printers in the region. If you have a high end rip and high end trapping, but only adjust the traps a few times a year, and rarely change the settings then a rip like this may be for you. On the other end, if you have a Harelquin based rip and want trapping and a workflow, this rip may also be for you.