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Lessening the Hype of JDF

(June 2005) posted on Fri Jun 03, 2005

Orlando VUE/Point Conference stresses workflow, variable data, and more.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Gregory Sharpless, Stephen Beals

Meanwhile, the surprise of the "Holistic
Workflow" session was that the chief complaint
is no longer the bad files that come
in. Although it's still true that a majority of
incoming files are still not "plug-and-play,"
prepress technicians have become adept
at using work-arounds and a host of tools
such as Enfocus PitStop, Callas PDFColor-
Convert, and tools within the RIPs to get
the files to image.

But what seems not yet to have been
solved is the proofing conundrum. People
are still not comfortable with color matching
across the workflow. Panelist Jimmy
Proulx, technical services director for
Impressions Inc., believes there is a tendency
to "over-proof," and said that hardcopy
proofs are not needed in many
cases. This theme was carried over to the
aforementioned proofing session, where
two of the panelists use monitor proofs in
the pressroom, displayed on a 30-in.
Apple Cinema Display in both cases. Two
of the panelists also said they use soft
proofs for 75% of their color-critical proofs.

There are definite downsides to soft
proofing, panelists indicated, including:
Customers must obtain a high-end monitor;
the eyes get tired faster; giving up the
hard-copy proof and the half-tone dot;
bandwidth problems for customers; a lot
of customer hand-holding, at least initially;
and, the cannibalization of hardproofing
revenue, which some shops
depend upon.

Managing and marketing
Variable data

In the "Variable-Data Printing Workflows"
session, the basic point was that the
tools are there, but knowing how to wield
the tools is a very different matter. One
suggestion was to nurture partnerships.

If you do decide to take VDP on in-house,
keep in mind that what you'll be doing will
likely be driven by customer requests. Dave
Minnick, CTO of Consolidated Graphics
Group, reported that his company's VDP
work has been driven in just that way: "It
becomes a 'Can you do this, can you do
that?' kind of thing," he said.