Adobe Systems' new printing and proofing tool, Adobe PressReady ($469), is a software add-on module that enhances the print properties of supported ink jet printers, allowing you to create precise colour comps at a low cost.
In addition to enabling the production of high-quality PostScript 3 output, PressReady can generate press- or print-optimised PDF files that can be shared with service bureaus and clients to ensure accurate representation of your designs for final printing.
When printing from any application - including design packages such as Adobe Illustrator and QuarkXPress, and presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint - you have access to the PressReady print properties, which together represent a powerful set of printing tools that can help you achieve proper colour output. The Adobe Gamma feature lets you calibrate your system's monitor and create a profile for a better monitor-to-print match. (The gamma utility calibrates contrast and brightness, midtones, colour balance, and the monitor's white point.) To adjust colours, you can control RGB and CMYK settings; to get the correct CMYK output from your ink jet printer, you can specify RGB colour schemes based on the design application you're using. You can also specify crop marks, adjust bleed, set registration marks (used by the print shop to align colour separations), adjust borders, and control transfer functions (for adjusting quarter-tones, half-tones and 3/4-tones).
Once you've perfected your colour scheme, you can specify the type of press you will use for the final output. To ensure your output matches the press's colour scheme, PressReady integrates industry-standard International Color Consor-tium printing profiles, which represent common press standards such as Euroscale, US Sheetfeed, Japan Standard, and Specifications for Web Offset Printing. The software installs the most common standards by default, but PressReady also allows you to add custom ICC profiles on the fly to accommodate non-standard presses.
We tested PressReady in conjunction with an Epson Stylus Color 900 printer and Adobe Photoshop 4.0, printing a colour document with and without PressReady's help. The colour reproduction of the PressReady-optimised output was superior to that of the printout made prior to PressReady's installation. And when we printed scanned photos in 1440x720dpi resolution using photo-quality paper, we got prints that to our eyes approached the quality of the original.
PressReady also offers full PostScript 3 support for your ink jet printer, essentially boosting the capabilities of a cheap printer to those of a higher-end machine. For example, when we printed EPS graphics within Microsoft Word 97, the quality of the ink jet's output surpassed that of the printout from our Xerox Docuprint C55 colour laser printer. The colour was also rendered more accurately on the ink jet printer due to the precision of the ICC profile.
One significant drawback is that PressReady currently supports only 11 ink jet printers. Users can nominate additional printers via Adobe's Web site, but there's no time line or guarantee that your printer driver will be among the chosen. Two more drawbacks: to share a PressReady-created PDF file with accurate colour reproduction intact, the person receiving the file must also have PressReady installed; and to print the document with the correct colour output, the recipient must have a printer setup identical to yours.
Adobe PressReady is well worth its $469 price tag - assuming you use one of the supported printers. Over the long haul, this application could save graphics professionals a lot on the production of print-ready colour comps.
Distributor: Adobe Systems
Phone: 1300 550 305