As printers integrate digital and computer-to-plate technologies into their workflows, the role of electronic imposition is increasingly in the spotlight.
Imposition tools are getting more mature—Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) is making its impact on imposition solutions that stand both within and without bundled workflow packages, and new software solutions are launching with more frequency and fervor.
At the same time, prepress managers are looking for integrated imposition solutions—tools that can allow the adoption of an all-digital CTP environment.
Why? The technological enhancement of digital imposition software, large-format computer-to-film devices and new launches in the CTP market have put greater emphasis on the role electronic imposition plays in moving to an all-digital domain.
Factors encouraging new launches of imposition software encompass movements from in-RIP trapping, to the utilization of PDF and Adobe PostScript 3, to full scale automation the likes of CIP3.
In more detail, catalysts for imposition software tools include the following trends.
• The move to a client server solution, requiring a more integrated prepress workflow, with imposition tools incorporating in-RIP trapping.
• A rise in the need for more downstream automation, allowing imposition tools to assist in tasks such as color management—as in registering ink key settings in CIP3 workflows—as well as aiding in the automation of folding, cutting and binding tasks at the postpress stage. As Imation's marketing manager Michael Reiher puts it: "Imposition is looking to simplify life at the press, not just at the prepress, stage. Imposition software is looking to pass information along the entire digital workflow, allowing for more automated steps at the press and postpress."
• The need for customized imposition solutions allows for greater output flexibility and control of imposition on digital presses, on-demand printers, imagesetters and digital proofers.
• The rise of PDF, which brings a nice, consistent file format for imposition, encourages further integration of trapping functions and OPI. Also, the integration of Adobe's PostScript 3 RIP technology ensures a consistent level of quality and stability.