Binary Graphics, Inc.

Adobe Supra and You

by John Knapp, Binary Graphics, Inc. Seattle
© 1997 Binary Graphics, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

On February 27th 1996, Adobe announced that it and 26 OEMs will collaborate on creating a new production printing architecture code named Supra. The OEMs include Agfa, Crosfield, DEC, Kodak, Indigo, Lino-Hell, Screen, Scitex, SGI, Sun and Xerox. They intend to change the face of the publishing industry.

"The publishing industry is at a critical turning point as the technologies for traditional commercial printing, digital printing, and distributed printing over the Internet are all melding," said Charles Geschke, president, Adobe Systems. "We plan to drive a new era in printing and publishing with new technologies such as Supra. Supra is expected to meet the requirements of today's transitioning printing and publishing market."

The "transitioning" that Adobe envisions includes a continued move towards demand printing and distribute and print scenarios.

In addition to a new prepress imagesetting architecture, Supra will offer the facility for more potent "post RIP" file manipulation. For instance, Lino-Hell intends to incorporate Supra technology into their PostScript Delta RIP technology to allow such things as imposition after the ripping stage.

So that's one facet of Supra and one that will probably find its way to market sooner than later. Another facet of Supra technology is that it will allow files to include instructions for prepress, personalization with variable data and finishing.

This will be made possible through the strengthening of Adobe's Acrobat technology. Code named Amber, the future version of Acrobat will include high-end capabilities such as high-res images, embedded screening instructions, overprinting, and PostScript level 2 color capabilities. Amber also will facilitate WWW display, downloading and printing of Acrobat pdf files. Recently, the CGATS (Committee for Graphic Arts Technology Standards) embraced Acrobat as an accredited standard for the digital distribution of ads. Acrobat is a main stream document format that will play a role in the future of publishing.

Time for the "SO WHAT" test... I think we can glimpse the future through these announcements. Consider what Xerox might do with the post press finishing capabilities. Consider what Indigo might do with the personalization capabilities. How about 10,000 personalized (product selection based on your demographic) catalogs printed in runs of 100 at 1,000 sites across the nation. I think that's two years out.

These are interesting times and these are interesting topics not so very far from home for any of us. I would welcome conversation on these topics with anyone who would care to contact me.



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