In addition to outputting PDFs, documents may require several other steps such as preflighting, trapping, color conversions, and output of proofs. All of these processes, in addition to many others, can be automated with output workflow systems. One such system is Adobe Extreme, which is used by many print providers as the basis for their PDF workflows. It optimizes the workflow for commercial printers and serves as a bridge between PostScript workflows and PDF workflows.
Originally designed for digital printing, Extreme allows a PDF file to be split up and processed on several “Renderers”, which process files for output. This allows a higher output speed to be achieved. It is difficult to reach the same output speed with PostScript because the files must be processed in sequence and cannot be split up.
Extreme has three main components:
- A set of process modules known as Job Ticket Processors (JTPs)
- Portable Document Format (PDF)
- Portable Job Ticket Format (PJTF)
Job Ticket Processors provide for separate processes to be carried out. Different types of JTPs are used according to the specs in the Job Ticket. JTPs can be sequenced in various configurations to coordinate with different types of applications. Within Extreme is a “Coordinator”, which moves instructions between JTPs and within the Coordinator is a “Sequencer” that reads the job ticket data. A JTP sequence is set up, process selections are made, and the job ticket is updated from the incoming data from the JTPs. This entire process is more efficient and flexible than a process using the same steps that are always completed in the same order.
The PDF is a master file containing the content of a document and the supporting information required for the job. All of the information required for output is contained within PDF documents. Extreme uses the data in the digital master for the creation of an automated workflow.
The Portable Job Ticket Format allows the PDF to be more functional. The information in the file is used by the Coordinator to set up the required Job Ticket Processors. The job ticket is independent of the content of the document in order to keep the content and job instructions separate.
Among the benefits provided by Adobe Extreme are the following:
- Extreme can organize and properly sequence prepress production steps. The job ticket collects information concerning the prepress steps.
- Extreme allows changes to the content and supporting instructions to be made late in the process. There is no need to go back to the original design application to make changes, resave, and then create a new PDF.
- PDFs can be created directly with the use of Extreme.
Extreme comes in two varieties: one variety is suitable for graphic arts and production printing and the second variety is for high volume printing.
Plug-ins are available to increase the production functionality of Adobe Acrobat. One such plug-in is Enfocus Guides by Enfocus Software. It allows the user to create guides that are used to define rectangular areas of a PDF page so that items such as document bleed size and trim can be designated. The guides created for one document can be saved and used with other documents.
PitStop by Enfocus is a plug-in that provides automation for correcting PDF files.
Certify PDF by Enfocus is a plug-in for Adobe Acrobat that is easy to install and automatically preflights PDF documents. It can be customized so that when it checks documents, it will coordinate with preflight profiles that have already been established by a service bureau or print provider. Every time a PDF document is saved, the software automatically preflights the document and embeds a profile that increases the file size only slightly. Then, when the PDF file is opened again, the user will be presented with the preflight status of the document. Certify PDF logs and stores edits performed on an original PDF. This record can then be applied to the file on which the PDF was based, such as an InDesign file. Both the original and the PDF version will then have the same edits.
Prinergy is an output workflow system based on Adobe Extreme, PDF, and PJTF, and was developed by Heidelberg and Creo. The system provides for many of the processing steps to run in the background. The processing steps are defined in the Portable Job Ticket Format and are initiated by Job Ticket Processors within Adobe Extreme.
Different types of print projects require different types of workflows. The types of processing steps and the order in which they are carried out may need to be changed with each job. With Prinergy, users can customize workflows and determine the sequence of the processing steps according to requirements. Several users can process jobs at the same time with the system.
The various steps of the Prinergy workflow include the following:
- Documents are imported into Prinergy using various formats and if necessary, they are converted into PDF files.
- The documents are sent through a refining process so that they will be ready for the final output.
- The refining process checks the documents for accuracy and a digital master is created which contains all of the necessary data required for output.
- The documents are output to a proofer. A color management system is used to simulate the color gamut of the final printing equipment.
- The documents are corrected by the customer.
- The job is assigned an imposition plan.
- The job is sent through a low resolution renderer for resolutions of up to 1000 dpi or a high resolution renderer for resolution over 1000 dpi.
- All of the job information including the job tickets, PDF documents, and imposition plan are archived.
The NetFormation FaceIt! Plug-in allows images in a PDF file to be changed on the fly.
Background Adder by Graeme Dykes Prepress Software allows a background image to be inserted into any PDF page.
Moving different types of documents into a PDF can be accomplished with software programs like DocuLex PDF. It is able to convert large files or large groups of images into PDF.
Ari’s Power Bundle
Ari’s Power Bundle is used for several purposes to enhance Acrobat. It features rulers that are used for measuring areas of a PDF and it has the capability to split a PDF into several smaller PDFs. Also included is a link checker.
It may be necessary to extract certain parts from a PDF document without altering any of the data. An example of software to extract data is WinPDFdata by SANFACE, which creates an HTML document from the extracted information from the PDF file.