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Frank Jonen

Professional Pre-Press Persona please

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Today I went through Affinity Designer scouring for pre-press tools, there were none. No separations, no channel view. Only the workaround to freeze all layers in Affinity Photo and export each CMYK+ channel separately. Bit of a surprise. But since there's nothing there, here's what I wished were there. That and a decent printing dialogue. For the print simulation, I used to recommend Substance Designer (setup) + Marmoset Toolbag (presentation) for a while now. Not anymore though because I always end up doing the work.  -_-
 
 
Scope: A new persona for all apps to address basic pre-press that are currently unaddressed.
 
Views: Toggle between several views for dedicated control options on each task. Some views can be combined to get a better idea about the end result. Noted with [separate] when one stands alone.

  • Overprint Check View
    Show realistic rendering of how the overprint will look based on selected profiles for ink, printer (optional, based on PPD) and paper.
    • Tools:
      • Range Selector: Like a mix of UPoint + drag and move, for fixing and optimising ink trapping (live dilate/erode on vector and bitmaps).
      • Coverage meter: Show where the ink coverage exceeds or meets 100% with a heat map overlay. A range selector then can be used to lower the ink as: lower total, lower c/m/y/k/+. Buttons could  be used to control that: e.g.: [c] [m] [y] [k] for working on magenta and yellow at the same time.
      • Output Image: Render the simulation output of a whole document to an image (or PDF for multi-page)
      • Font Trapper: Local overrides on font trappings that didn't turn out as planned in the style and colour settings.
         
  • Print Simulation
    A simple simulation for base paper types and the ability to create custom ones (folder with absorption values, reflectance and a texture image for example) would be great to give clients a feel for it before someone has to spend money.
    • Tools:
      • Moveable light source: (useful for checking special inks, embossing/debossing, foil stamping and UV coats)
      • Review light: Choose between a set of standard review lights (e.g. Just Normlicht LED proofstation) to judge the print under various lighting conditions and help avoid ambiguous colour situations (like that dress).
      • Output Image: Render the simulation output of a whole document to an image (or PDF for multi-page)
         
  • Separation View [separate]
    View all separations in a gallery view with an option to overlay them to check whether they can be optimised further or whether they work as planned (how is the yellow faring with the black? Did the overprints turn out as desired in the OC view? Are all special ink channels present correctly?)
    • Tools:
      • Drag overlay: Drag a sheet onto another to see their interaction in the printing context.
      • Print separations: Print dialog allowing output of separations on a standard laser printer. This allows for a final manual check and also is of sufficient quality for a lot of silk screen printers out there.
      • Export to PDF: Save all/active/selected artboards/pages in separations to a multipage PDF ready for lightjet ripping

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Hmm. I think that the brief is far wide of the scope of the applications in general. Might make for a great new application, though.

 

With at least one exception: True Overprint Preview as a toggle (and not a layer like the so called proofing layer), but that is different than the scope of the overprint attributes you describe.

 

Some of this functionality exists in Acrobat already. And despite having part or all of the request inside Affinity applications (as a persona or a separate application), I am still going to use Acrobat for the PDFs I generate before sending them off for printing.

 

Mike

 

(PS., did you ever make public that font from the Illy book years ago?)

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New application would work too, like a central hub all other apps can send their data to for proofing. I once had a neat tool from Creo-Scitex ages ago that did just that. Load in PS separations or full CMYK .ps files and combine them to print an offset simulation on a regular inkjet printer (and on screen with PDF output). Was bloody expensive too.

 

If the output is right and the print shop is fine with a PDF that doesn't say Acrobat in the creator line, I don't see a reason to stick with Acrobat. I had Ghostscript generated PDFs printed before (PDFTeX) without issues as well (without ICC profiles even, just raw CMYK+Coat+Deboss). Having Acrobat isn't as important to print shops as many people think.

 

As for the font, thanks for remembering :). An updated version of 'Book of Days' was briefly in use by a greeting card company, gained a layered colour (SVG) version because of it too in 2011 and that was it. Now that we can have multi coloured SVG fonts in OpenType I might release that version at some point, time permitting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hmm. I think that the brief is far wide of the scope of the applications in general. Might make for a great new application, though.

 

With at least one exception: True Overprint Preview as a toggle (and not a layer like the so called proofing layer), but that is different than the scope of the overprint attributes you describe.

 

Some of this functionality exists in Acrobat already. And despite having part or all of the request inside Affinity applications (as a persona or a separate application), I am still going to use Acrobat for the PDFs I generate before sending them off for printing.

 

Mike

 

(PS., did you ever make public that font from the Illy book years ago?)

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Oh, I didn't mean Acrobat for a creator (and hence the creator XMP line). I meant it as a preflight check. It shows overprint, it will show ink density limits, etc. It's as installed preflights routines (and one can create their own, which I do) are created by Callas.

 

I think it would be a major undertaking for Serif to create this either as a persona or a separate application. If they could pull it off it would obviate the use of Acrobat for professional preflight, though. And I would rather it be a separate application that can check both Affinity files and PDFs for the simple reason their user-base would be far greater than limited to Affinity software.

 

I come from the days of a typical book job having been created with a separate PostScript file for each chapter all with deviceCMYK and no real color management. All built and assembled without the benefit of a color monitor. I'm personally glad those "good ol' days" are over.

 

I think the Creo software you are mentioning was the Prinergy software they developed just before the Kodak buyout?

 

Mike

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Licensing the Callas code would be a way to do it quick. But really it's a huge job for anyone looking to change things up and make it simpler for the user.

So far the pro level pre-press tools are anything but that. UI design is callous at best.

 

It could be both, a separate app and a mode inside the apps (so it's always accessible). The apps then just all call the same API to invoke the pre-press app. Like a WebView is an instance of Safari for iOS and macOS apps. 

 

For book content I still prefer pure untagged CMYK, it just truly sucks for images. Maybe because I dealt with the goo in person for a bit and know what the mix looks like when I type in the percentages. Fun times, especially when we poured indigo (not the gummy towel printer) into the black ink to get it shinier and richer.

 

I looked the Creo tool up. It was called Seps2Comp and had a plate viewer built-in. Hideously expensive still for a student, often regret it, but I learned a bunch from using it.

 

 

 

Oh, I didn't mean Acrobat for a creator (and hence the creator XMP line). I meant it as a preflight check. It shows overprint, it will show ink density limits, etc. It's as installed preflights routines (and one can create their own, which I do) are created by Callas.

 

I think it would be a major undertaking for Serif to create this either as a persona or a separate application. If they could pull it off it would obviate the use of Acrobat for professional preflight, though. And I would rather it be a separate application that can check both Affinity files and PDFs for the simple reason their user-base would be far greater than limited to Affinity software.

 

I come from the days of a typical book job having been created with a separate PostScript file for each chapter all with deviceCMYK and no real color management. All built and assembled without the benefit of a color monitor. I'm personally glad those "good ol' days" are over.

 

I think the Creo software you are mentioning was the Prinergy software they developed just before the Kodak buyout?

 

Mike

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I agree with Frank.

If it possible to make press pdf from Designer so there can be some "pre output" control mechanism. Basic functions like control DPI and colors of images, TIC (total ink coverage), separations preview, flattener preview, etc. Something like preflight panel in indesign.  :ph34r:

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I do think it would be very useful to be able to view separations or channels in Designer. I don't know if this is still the case but I do believe that someone on the Affinity team has said before that they don't plan on adding it to Designer (sorry I can't remember who).  

 

Hokusai

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I mentioned this in another thread but there is another suggestion for screen printing separations...

 

Having a halftone function that works like Photoshop's to output separated images from AD or AP. Keeping the live preview and split view existing in AP would be stellar as well. I screen print and this is an absolute must have function for me. Being able to set the line frequency and dot size for output is critical to a successful print.

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I see that there is no new news here on the pre-press capabilities. Its been a year and was wondering if at all this has or will be addressed? If this has started on a different thread please accept my apologies in advance.  Thanks

Ifoundsasquatch

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34 minutes ago, ifoundsasquatch said:

I see that there is no new news here on the pre-press capabilities. Its been a year and was wondering if at all this has or will be addressed? If this has started on a different thread please accept my apologies in advance.  Thanks

Ifoundsasquatch

@ifoundsasquatch

Welcome to the Serif Affinity forums.

Well no news for Designer or Photo, but I would say that many of these feature would sit well in Affinity Publisher, where the apps "press" is the raison d'être, so a pre-press persona would fit well. Once established there, some of the functionality could leak into the other apps in the suite if appropriate.


Patrick Connor
Serif Europe Ltd

Latest releases on each platform 

 

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