FFEI has launched the first major upgrade to its RealPro Toolkit modular suite of design and production plug-ins for Adobe Illustrator.
The upgrade includes 12 new features developed as a result of customer feedback since the product's launch at the start of last year, including a new tool for creating die-cut lines directly from the one-up image file.
FFEI managing director Andy Cook said: "It allows you to create the CAD drawing for the die-cut tool directly from the image rather than having to do it manually.
"Effectively you're picking a colour profile - for instance a round circle which might be the background for your label - and then creating your die-cut tool from that. You have to modify it slightly, because that profile is never going to be exactly where you want to cut, but it's very easy to do and it's all directly within Illustrator."
Another new feature is colour editing using curves for both vector and raster artwork, which Cook said was particularly relevant went printing on foil or other shiny backgrounds.
"The problem when you print CMYK on foil or chrome is that it all looks metallic unless you put a white down and it's difficult to judge what the final image will look like until you print it," said Cook.
"RealPro Toolkit allows you to lighten or darken the image to compensate for the effect of the foil by simply dragging a curve. So you would print a proof on the material and then do the adjustment before you do the print run."
Also new is an FX module for managing the identification and elimination of banding and other artefacts on flat colours. Cook said the overall theme of all the enhancements was "reducing the number of manual interventions in the pre-press file" and making any necessary interactions easier and faster to complete.