Onyx Updates PosterShop and ProductionHouse
Version 6.0 has web-based controls for remote print management
Onyx Graphics has released version 6.0 of its flagship PosterShop and ProductionHouse color-production software. Both packages feature new Web portal controls, PosterColor color-rendering technology for better color of CMYK output, and additional screening patterns that can eliminate the appearance of banding in superwides and enable inkjets to double as prepress devices.
New file formats supported include JPEG 2000 format (already popular in CAD and GIS workflows) and 16-bit TIFFs. Other features include zero-line crop marks for seamless joining of printed tiles and the ability to name and save customized color-management selections.
ProductionHouse 6.0, for busy multi-printer environments, also has tools for generating contract proofs for superwide graphics and support for contour cutters. Support for MGE's i-cut digital die-cutting software is available as an option. For producers of digitally printed textiles, Onyx makes it possible to flip alternate images in the Step & Repeat application.
According to Onyx product manager Dean Derhak, most of the improvements in PosterShop and ProductionHouse 6.0 were suggested by customers.
Web Portal Controls: With the new Web-based portal controls in version 6.0, users can submit jobs and manage print queues remotely. In mixed-platform office environments in which several employees might be sending jobs to one or two wide-format inkjets, the Web-portal controls provide an easy-to-learn, common user-interface. In small shops, these features can relieve busy employees from having to return to the print area every few minutes to check on the status of the RIP. "Some of these shops even print jobs overnight, and managers can monitor the status of the RIP remotely from home," explains Derhak.
PosterColor Color Rendering: Companies using CMYK for fast throughput of outdoor advantage want every competitive advantage they can get. Onyx's new PosterColor feature can boost the color appearance of CMYK images when using ICC profiles: "Applying ICC profiles traditionally has dulled down the output," says Derhak. "But with our new PosterColor rendering, the full capabilities of a solvent ink can be achieved on CMYK prints without compromising on hue accuracy." The technology maintains gray balance and delivers colors that pop, even on matte media. Onyx PosterColor can work with spot-color matching tables for correct color matches on corporate identity graphics.
Smooth Screen: Version 6.0 also includes several new screening patterns, including a new Smooth Screen technology that reduces the visible banding that can appear on 10 ft. and 16-ft. wide inkjet printers. Banding isn't such a big deal when the superwides are being used as billboard printers, but if superwides are used for museum-quality murals and wallcoverings, clients deserve not to see glitches in the prints. With the Smooth Screen pattern, the image itself may appear a little less sharp, but superwide owners are likely to consider that a worthwhile tradeoff for the reduction of visible banding.
Additional default screening patterns for silk screening, newsprint, and Standard Web Offset Printing enable PosterShop and ProductionHouse 6.0 to be used in proofing and prepress workflows.
Support for Contour-Cutting: Some print businesses have established profitable niches by using their print-and-cut inkjets to output short runs of small stickers and labels. With the contour-cutting feature in Onyx software, shops can output the labels on adhesive-backed vinyls on their wide-format inkjet printer, then finish the job on contour cutters from Graphtec, Mutoh, Roland, Summagraphics, and other companies. Sign shops can also produce contour-cut adhesive-vinyl signs instead of combining multiple layers of cut vinyl. Support for contour-cutting is included in ProductionHouse and available as an option in PosterShop.
Contract Proofing Workflow Tools: Companies equipped with high-resolution, 6- and 8-color superwides are selling the output with the promise that they can deliver prints that more closely match many of the spot colors used in brand-marketing. Interrupting other jobs to output a proof on the superwide isn't very efficient. But the brightness and whiteness of the proofing media developed for commercial offset workflows often don't match the vinyls output from superwides. For contract-proofing purposes, Onyx ProductionHouse 6.0 makes it possible for smaller inkjet printers to accurately simulate on a smaller version how colors will look when the big graphics are output on vinyl.
Onyx's new proofing tools also include a Media Analyzer tool with which users can qualify media and measure gamuts before calibration or profiling.
Support for New Printers: Onyx is a leader in large-format graphics production because they support as many makes and models of professional-grade inkjets as possible. Prior to announcing the release of 6.0, Onyx announced support for Mimaki's new 98-in., JV3-250SP solvent system inkjet, Encad's 36-in. VinylJet, and HP's 24-in. multiformat Designjet 120. Users of Onyx Proof Prepress Color Workflow Solution Software will be able to generate color-accurate press proofs on the HP Designjet 120.
Pricing and Upgrade Policies: Onyx PosterShop sells for $2995 for the base product. Registered users of PosterShop 5.6 can upgrade for $995. Onyx Production House lists for $4995 for the base product. The price to upgrade from 5.6 is $1495. Version 6.0 of each the Onyx products will automatically import the settings, printers, media profiles, quicksets, and jobs from the 5.6 version. Customers who bought Version 5.6 after June 1, 2003 can receive an upgrade at no additional cost, with proof of purchase and registration. (Onyx Graphics: www.onyxgfx.com)