Star product: InClix Creative Media Maker
Monday, April 24, 2017
A low-cost, browser-based web-to-print suite for sign and display professionals.
What does the system do?
Creative Media Maker is a new very easy to use and low cost cloud-based web-to-print system, with plans to extend it into video and audio media in future. The marketing pitch is “It is an elegantly simple, artistic tool that reduces costs, eliminates the need for overpriced software and manages project workflow.”
It has been developed by InClix, a company in San Diego, California. This was set up and is owned by Roland DG, best known for its wide-format inkjet printers, but which also makes digital engraving machines and 3D printers.
The system will work with any printer that can accept PDFs, so it’s not confined to wide-format jobs or Roland printers.
The audiovisual side allows cross-media campaigns to be set up. Digital signage is also supported, though we’re concentrating on the print aspects here.
When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?
Jeff DiToro, chief executive of InClix, describes Creative Media Maker as being “in perpetual beta”. This went live on 20 April and will be continually developed and refined over time, he says. It was shown last year in the US and in March it was demonstrated by DiToro on the Roland DG stand at Sign & Digital UK.
The market is generalised as sign and display professionals, but InClix’s demonstrations envisage it being used by small businesses with no design experience to set up professional looking signage using templates and library images (with printable resolutions), then exporting these as a PDF that is sent to a print shop.
The printer can send its customers a link to Creative Media Manager, and the resulting PDF artwork will automatically come back to that company (ie the PDFs can’t be sent to another printer).
DiToro also envisages print sales staff visiting a customer and creating a design for them on the spot using a tablet computer. This can then be approved before sending for print.
Later this year a ‘white label’ version will be introduced that printers can add their own branding to, with no visible InClix identity. This will also allow printers to set their own prices.
How does it work?
Creative Media Manager is Cloud-based, ie offered as software as a service. For the user-end it is entirely browser based, with no software to install. Projects can be saved and recalled from any browser or platform.
InClix claims that the system combines six main functions in one browser-based workflow: search, design, download, purchase approval
Features include a library of pre-built designer templates, plus a Template Maker so users can create and distribute their own. There is access to stock image libraries with access to “millions of legal, high-resolution photos, graphics, and videos.” Users can also upload their own images.
There are conventional design tools for shapes, text, layers, grids, etc. Built-in messaging allows communication between printer and customer, and this can also be used to create community groups for shared information. Links to popular social media sites will be live by mid-year.
The artwork can include cutting layers that can be used for print-and-cut workflows. Remote printing is possible with PDFs uploaded to Rips from anywhere in the world.
Customers can see proofs on-screen before approving and ordering the job, and paying for it online too.
Does it replace anything?
No, this is Roland DG’s first venture into creative software and InClix is a standalone company set up for the purpose. Roland DG has previous experience with print software however, through its VersaWorks digital front end and Rip for its printers, plus control software for its other products.
What is the USP of the product?
DiToro mainly highlights the low prices. The combination of templates, design tools, links to printable images, messaging and output are not unique, but we don’t know of anything else that does them for such low prices.
How easy is it to use?
“So easy that a novice can use it!” says DiToro. “Do it yourself!” Help files and support are provided online. An ‘academy’ provides online education.
How does pricing work?
There are three pricing levels: ‘free’ (with 500MB of online storage, although there’s then a pay-per-use charge); $19 (£15) per month (which includes 2GB of storage and up to 20 job renderings per month); and $29 (£22.50) per month (with 200GB, unlimited renderings, access to the academy, personal support online chat, messaging, groups etc). An ‘Enterprise’ pricing plan is also in the works.
Printers are invited to pre-register for a free-to-use 90-day trial at www.inclix.com, using the enrolment code INCLIXDGB. The offer goes live for the UK on 1 May and ends on 30 June.
Features list Cloud platform; Search Libraries, links to online image libraries; Design Maker, in-browser graphic design tools; Video Maker, video editing; Templates; Template Maker; Community, share within the user group; Messaging; Remote Print, send a PDF to a RIP remotely with support for Cut Contour; Marketplace, an in-app marketplace for buying and selling; Academy, online education; eCommerce, all buying and selling transactions are electronic in real time
Max image size 4,000x4,000pixels (enough to print at 1.2x1.2m at 300dpi)
Output PDF for print, MP4 for audiovisual
Price options are free, £15, £22.50 per month
Contact InClix www.inclix.com
A UK-developed cloud-based product personalisation and on-demand fulfilment service for printers, retailers and other e-commerce traders. It can be thought of as web-to-print but works with anything that can be personalised by other processes too, such as engraving System requirements web browser
Apps and services Custom Product Platform; Order Management System; eCommerce Websites; Product Creation Services; Artwork Creation Services
Price Custom Product Platform (CPP) & Gateway Sites: Licence £199/month (Supplier); £299/month (Enterprise); Order Manager £99/month (Order Manager Lite is free); Order & Workflow Manager £199/month; Template creation: from £10.95; Personalised artwork generation: typically 10p-30p
Contact Gateway3D 0330 500 1522 www.gateway3d.com