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Imposition software, CIM & you, Part 2

Feb 1, 2005 12:00 AM

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Can it drive your RIP?

Exchanging data between MIS, prepress and the pressroom offers many potential benefits, but if the RIP driving your output device is not JDF-compatible, you’ll miss out on them. Fortunately, a wide variety of popular RIPs are now ready to accept the output of your imposition software in the JDF format. Why bother? Because unlike PostScript or EPS files, imposed JDF files can contain detailed instructions for how that particular file should be processed. In the past, most prepress departments were forced to set up a handful of hot folders or logical printers to accommodate different screen rulings, dot shapes or other changes in RIP configuration; now, embedded JDF instructions mean that every job can be processed automatically through the same workflow.

Global Graphics (Cambridge, UK), one of the most popular RIP vendors in the printing industry, recently introduced the JDF Enabler v1.0 upgrade for its Harlequin Eclipse Release RIP. By configuring their Eclipse RIP to take advantage of the JDF Enabler, Harlequin users will be able to process JDF job input via both hot folders and HTTP channels. JDF Enabler supports the relevant process control nodes as defined in the latest version of the JDF specification, including interpretation, imposition, trapping, color management, calibration and screening.

Why don’t we do it on the Web?

JDF’s communication features make it the perfect vehicle for sharing job details, status reports and even soft proofs—so, why not share the burden of the imposition process? Several workflow system vendors offer production portals that enable trusted clients to securely access selected job information. While this might not be appropriate for every print buyer, publishers and other contract-driven partnerships may reap great rewards from such close cooperation.

Dalim Software’s (Kehl, Germany) PRiNTEMPO combines imposition, JDF, preflighting, soft proofing and deadline management into a single Internet-accessible system. Automatic folio numbering, page-level scaling or rotation, and e-mail status alerts are part of this comprehensive JDF-driven application.

The future will see even more efforts to integrate print buyers and content creators into our JDF-enabled workflows. The amazing capabilities of today’s sophisticated imposition products make it easy to imagine a future in which customer-supplied PDFs are verified and imposed before direct imaging on a digital printing press.

Some imposition options
Company Product Description
A Lowly Assistant Productions (ALAP)
Imposer QuarkXPress 6 Xtension for Mac OS X or Windows
InBooklet InDesign plug-in; Mac 9/X or Win 2000/XP
Blue Squirrel
ClickBook ClickBook Consumer-oriented tool for Windows or Mac OS 9
process| aggregation Aimed at digital printers; Windows or Mac OS 9
Pandora Step-and-repeat tool for packaging and labels
Preps Full-featured app. (three versions) also completes UpFront layouts
UpFront Job planning software creates basic layouts
CutePDF Plug-in for Acrobat Reader; Windows only
Dots Intl.
Pilot Windows imposition for digital printers
Dynastrip Versatile imposition program with unique features; Mac or Windos
InPosition QuarkXPress Xtension formerly from DK&A; Windows or Mac 9/X
Imposition Publisher Available in seven versions and multiple languages
Fine Print Software
FinePrint Windows print driver for imposition; bundled with selected copier
Prinect Signa Station Imposes PDF or Delta List files for Heidelberg shops
PressPage Stand-alone app. processes PDF files; Windows only
JoLauterbach Software
JoUp Acrobat Acrobat plug-in for PDF imposition
Krause Imposition Manager (KIM) Imposes PDF and bitmap formats for Krause CTP systems
Metrix Automatic layout calculator does combinations of different sizes
BookLightning Mac OS X droplet creates two-page spreards
Mitsubishi Paper Mills
FACILIS IM Mac or Windows app. for Screen TrueFlow users
Speedflow Impose Imposition component of OneVision’s PDF workflow
Imposing Acrobat plug-in works directly with PDF files
Rennie Glen Software, LLC
PDF Snake Plug-in Acrobat plug-in, can batch process multiple PDFs (Windows)
PDF Snake Server Preserves form fields even through imposition
Ultimate Technographics
Impostrip The original desktop imposition app.; for Mac OS 9/X or Windows
Vision’s Edge
Bookletizer QuarkXPress 6 Xtension for Mac OS X or Windows
Withflair Software
Impos-It Windows app. for general imposition

A raster imposition option
RIPit Computer Corp.’s (Citrus Heights, CA) StripRITE is available for RIPit’s computer-to-plate/film systems or as a standalone option for other digital imaging systems. Users can generate spreads for books; step-and-repeat business cards; and impose PostScript, PDF and EPS together; as well as perform other sophisticated imposition tasks.

Digital files are imposed instantly at the RIP, eliminating hours spent imposing files manually in front-end applications. Because StripRITE is a raster imposition solution, it isn’t limited to a single file format. Users can combine PostScript, EPS, PDF and scanned files in the same imposition template, for greater flexibility with large book binding, combining colors, etc.

StripRITE allows the user to create custom, reusable imposition templates. Templates also can be edited on the fly to suit a variety of presses and production methods. Users can apply templates to a file(s) and quickly see a monitor preview to check the layout, crops, registration marks, page elements and traps. See

What’s the best way to gang jobs?
Aussie Rohan Holt loves a challenge. In the late 1990s, he created "SuperImpose," the product we know today as UpFront. Holt sold his company to ScenicSoft (which was, in turn, acquired by Creo), but he continued his quest for an easy-to-use, automated layout program for custom jobs.

His latest venture, a company called LithoTechnics (Sydney, Australia) offers Metrix, a software program that calculates the best way to gang jobs on a single press sheet. If you do a steady diet of different sized jobs, Metrix can save hours of job planning and press time while minimizing stock waste and plate consumption.

The software can export Preps templates as well as JDF to prepress systems and JDF/CIP3 data to cutters and folders. Metrix also can integrate with compatible MIS systems by importing JDF product intent data.

Key features include:

  • Automatic calculation of layouts for different sized flat and folded products with different required quantities.
  • Industry specific algorithms, which allow for factors such as product bleeds and grain direction; required quantities; as well as press imageable area and postpress requirements.
  • Comprehensive production reports with project data.

For more information see

Ask Professor Hal
Want to know more about using imposition to achive greater automation? We’ve teamed with IPA (Edina, MN) and Hal Hinderliter to offer a webinar based on this feature. It will take place March 2, 2005—see for complete details.

Hal is an expert on digital prepress, workflow management, e-commerce and XML publishing. His books include "Understanding Digital Impostion," "Desktop Publishing Primer" and "GATF Imaging Skills Program" (

Hal is a popular speaker and consultant ( as well as the director of Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication Institute ( in San Luis Obispo, CA.

Contributing editor Hal Hinderliter serves as director of the Graphic Communication Institute at Cal Poly State University (San Luis Obispo, CA). Contact him at

Part 1 | Part 2