Adobe has announced version 5 of its Adobe PDF Print Engine, or APPE, which is the RIP engine that underpins many of the most common prepress workflows. This has been updated to keep up with the latest inkjet printing technology.
The new version is designed to cope with new applications such as textile and industrial printing, as well as digital label and packaging presses. Thus APPE 5 can cope with expanded colour gamut printing, which is becoming more common in packaging. It can render graphically rich jobs for printing on flat and contoured surfaces including paper, plastic, fabric, metal, ceramic, glass, and food products.
It supports several features associated with PDF 2.0, including Black Point Compensation (BPC) to preserve details in image shadow areas during colour conversions, as well as spot colours defined in the CxF Color eXchange Format to enable spectral-based colour management. It also allows HTO (Half-Tone Origin) to align pre-imposed objects to the device pixel-grid, ensuring identical line-screens. In addition, colour conversions for multi-page PDF 2.0 jobs can be managed on a page-by-page basis, enabling greater flexibility and automation in prepress workflows.
There are a number of other new features, including the use of anti-aliasing to give visually smoother edges on graphic objects, even at lower resolutions, which should reduce processing times compared to alternative and post-rendering methods. It also has better support for Unicode, including for multi-byte characters from non-Roman character sets such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
Adil Munshi, vice president and general manager of Adobe’s Print and Publishing Business Unit, commented: “Print jobs that are authored in Adobe Creative Cloud, reviewed in Adobe Acrobat DC, and proofed and output by Adobe PDF Print Engine 5 will now deliver the fastest rendering, best-of-breed colour imaging and predictable results every step of the way.”
Adobe has released APPE 5 to its partners, which means that we should soon start to see new versions of workflow software appearing from the likes of EFI, Kodak and so on. However, Agfa will be first, having already announced its Apogee 11 workflow. Agfa has a long standing relationship with Adobe, having championed the PDF 1.3 format for print production back in the mid-90s. Apogee was the first workflow to use PDF as its native format.