Adobe unveils PDF Print Engine 5

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Wednesday 25 July 2018

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Adobe has announced version 5 of its Adobe PDF Print Engine (APPE 5) rendering technology for pre-press workflows.

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APPE 5 provides full support for the print-related features of PDF 2.0

The new version extends PDF Print Engine’s reliable colour reproduction with new capabilities to harness the full potential of today’s digital and conventional presses, Adobe said.

It will also maximise colour impact in upcoming textile presses, industrial print stations and digital presses for label and packaging production.

Improvements have been made to APPE 5 to enable it to keep up with the creativity of designers using Adobe Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC and InDesign CC, who Adobe said are producing graphically rich jobs that are increasingly complex to print.

The print engine is optimised to precisely render these jobs for printing on flat and contoured surfaces including paper, plastic, fabric, metal, ceramic, glass, and food products.

The new colour features strengthen support for expanded colour gamut (ECG) digital presses with inksets that go beyond the four-colour base of cyan, magenta, yellow and black to magnify the visual and tactile effect of brand messaging.

New features include high-speed edge enhancement, with anti-aliasing giving visually smoother edges on graphic objects and reducing processing times to a fraction of the time compared to alternative and post-rendering methods.

APPE 5 also provides full support for the print-related features of the PDF 2.0 specification, published in 2017 by the ISO.

Black Point Compensation (BPC) preserves details in image shadow areas during colour conversions, CxF-defined spot colours enable spectral-based colour management, and Half-Tone Origin (HTO) aligns pre-imposed objects to the device pixel-grid, ensuring identical line-screens.

Page-level output intent ensures that colour conversions for multi-page PDF 2.0 jobs can be managed on a page-by-page basis, enabling greater flexibility and automation in pre-press workflows.

“We put a lot of thought into APPE 5, we were aware of the changes coming in PDF 2.0 for some time,” said Adobe senior product manager Mark Lewiecki.

“I don’t believe PDF 2.0 is a game-changer but there are some features in there that will certainly make for more convenience, more automation and more flexibility in the workflow.”

APPE 5 also features enhanced Unicode support, with control parameters, file paths and passwords now including muilti-byte characters from non-Roman character sets, which increases ease-of-use in languages such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

When deployed in Adobe's Mercury RIP Architecture on multi-core, networked or cloud platforms, PDF Print Engine 5 can be scaled to drive high-volume production on a single press, and across multiple presses.

APPE 5 is available to Adobe’s new and long-standing partners, including the likes of Agfa, Canon, EFI, Fujifilm, Heidelberg, HP, Screen and Onyx, and products built on APPE 5 will become available from later this year.

The first product to be announced is Agfa’s new Apogee v11 workflow software, which will be released on 22 October.

“This is an SDK, so it will take some time for our partners to integrate it into their products. They had pre-releases of this in spring this year, so they’ve had time to begin testing and integrating it and we shipped them the final code about a month ago,” said Lewiecki.

“They have to see how it aligns in their product upgrade roadmap but there are others that are currently working to integrate it into their products.”

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