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Goodbye to Esko

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  • Goodbye to Esko

    After 8 years of working with Esko, starting with the VMS operating system we are changing our workflow.
    Alot of time and money to get to where we are now. But time to face new a new challenge....Apogee X 4.0.
    More automation, web portal for clients, JDF, equals reduced manpower for prepress. Prepress will be a thing of the past. We are a mid size Commercial shop with 6 prepress personnel over 2 shifts, there is already talk of reducing our dept. even more.

    Looking forward to learning a new system...but not starting over.

  • #2
    Re: Goodbye to Esko

    Prepress has shrunk and changed indeed, but it isn't going anywhere.

    Unless, of course, designers and customers become skilled at creating files correctly.

    Flying pigs come to mind.



    • #3
      Re: Goodbye to Esko

      Blinded by the technological storm that has hit this industry in the last decade, we must never forget the essential: this trade is still called graphic ARTS! Prepress is just starting to bloom. I will never see the day when we will blindly “batch” process files, especially in our domain which is flexible packaging. Esko represents a set of powerfull tools and of course there are some other good workflows around. We shall look at the new workflow systems as more efficient tool in our toolbox and give our best shot at doing the best usage of these tools.
      Good luck with your new toolbox.


      • #4
        Re: Goodbye to Esko

        As Luc says, it's still called Graphic ARTS.

        I've got 35 years in this business, and for at least the last 30, there has been a move afoot to make this a 'manufacturing process'.

        Every attempt to 'modernize' the trade has revolved around, "Tell this younger/cheaper/less skilled/less headcount which button to push", as if that was the end game. It has now come to the point where there is no one left who knows how to make that magic button 'happen'.
        If you can see thru your (negative) film, no one knows that maybe the developer solution has run dry.
        If you only get half the image on a print, no one knows that maybe they should have changed the page set-up to tabloid, not the default letter.
        If you launch an automation ticket and it fails, no one knows the other department went home already and turned off the device you were pointing at.
        We hired a pre-press manager for BIG money, and after 18 months here, still doesn't 'understand what's going on in flexo' or know what applications are on which computers, or understand what dot gain is, and he came in with 10 years of experience!
        We just were asked to submit detailed workflows to HQ so they can determine what work can be sent off-shore.

        This used to be a great career.


        • #5
          Re: Goodbye to Esko

          I have seen a few young idiots come through here over the years.
          Monkey can push button for banana but that's about it.
          I have seen a few good PDFs but not enough to worry that I'll be replaced by R2D2.


          • #6
            Re: Goodbye to Esko

            I must be the youngest idiot here.... 27 & implementing automation all around.


            • #7
              Re: Goodbye to Esko

              So the file comes in to your company and automatically is preflighted, trapped, proofed, imposed, plated and hung on the plate rack without any human intervention?

              Dude you gotta hook me up!

              Seriously though there are levels of automation that can drastically speed up turn around times but depending on the type of work you do it can be very limited in the amount of automation you can achieve.

              Maybe you can tell us what you are automating?

              Edited by: G_Town on Sep 26, 2007 1:21 PM


              • #8
                Re: Goodbye to Esko

                Admittedly we do have a rather limited scope of the prepress operation here... files in, 1-bit-tiffs out, mostly flexo work. (No platemaking in house) If I could setup the system you describe I'd be in pretty good shape, though!

                What we do automate here is proofing, stepping, RIP selection, 3-D rendering, and delivery to platemakers, among other things. Most of this is database driven via JDF and ODBC calls through Esko Smartnames/Smartmarks or custom software. Proofing setup is selected based on database parameters (press, plate-type, lpi, etc..) -- includes job information and color bars to scan & verify spot color accuracy. Stepping & RIP selection, same thing -- JDF driven. Each item produced is automatically 3-D rendered and builds a website for customer viewing. Files heading out are delivered to platemaking operations across the country via our database as well.

                Of course I realize the need for skilled people to make the decisions about trapping, separations, etc... I always try to focus my automation efforts on the things that do not add value, could cause errors, and would allow our prepress people more time to concentrate on the stuff that matters.

                Edited by: Bobby Congdon on Sep 27, 2007 8:38 AM


                • #9
                  Re: Goodbye to Esko

                  +"So the file comes in to your company and automatically is preflighted, trapped, proofed, imposed, plated and hung on the plate rack without any human intervention?"+

                  We are a commercial printer and we have doing some of the automation described above for years with our Scope/Backstage workflow. Some of our magazine and catalogs start with PDFx files, preflighted with Pitstop server, trapped, imposed and Pdf proofs uploaded to a FTP site.

                  One of the main reasons we went with Apogee/Delano is to place more responsiblity on the customer and give them more flexability when they do send in jobs. Yes, you will still have customers that you will need to babysit, I am not sure about the packaging/flexo but for companies like us its all about automation.

                  "Prepress starting to bloom" What! Where! I have never heard that. Prepress is dying here at our company. We are not even referred to as prepress.. We are "Preproduction "combined with CSRs.


                  • #10
                    Re: Goodbye to Esko

                    "Prepress starting to bloom"

                    In the flexo industry, it is blooming. For many reasons. The most important reason is probably color! Each press in any given set-up prints in its own color model, on its own linearization. This has made the prepress people in flexo learn the very basics of color, color simulation (press prediction), linearization etc. The offset business has been running with CMYK on stiff standards for years and prepress in this area must be, I agree, pretty dull. I often see more different profiles and gray balances before my first coffee in the morning than the Offset industry have seen in the last 5 decades. The typical shrunken color gamut of a flexo press has opened the door to new color models of 5, 6, 7, 8 or even more basic colors. This is just starting and packaging buyers already want more because of the impact of color on point of sales results. We can see today color images printed on a flexo press with wider gamut than in Offset, something people would never have believed less than 5 years ago. Just as an anecdote, my kid recently prepared a schoolwork before going to visit a museum. He printed art samples on our house inkjet, images he has taken on the net somewhere. When the kids came back from the museum, they were given a brochure with printed art pieces, one of which my kid had on his homework. Guess what? The proofs from home were more “vibrant” than the offset printed brochure.... CMYK will go out of business in packaging design because of its limitations, this is my personal prediction and it will happen in the next couple of years. If you are stimulated by challenges, join the flexo prepress, the fun is just starting.


                    • #11
                      Re: Goodbye to Esko

                      If I'm not mistaken sheetfed presses have been printing more than CMYK "basic" (I assume you mean process) colors for some time this is not a new thing to the industry.

                      Or are you refering to something like CMY and a Dark Blue instead of K??

                      What type of printer do you have at home? Is it not CMYK? Is it calibrated to some standard or is it more vibrant simply because you are splashing more ink on the paper?

                      Anyway people wanting a wider gamut than cmyk have choices available and are being used now such as Hexachrome and opaltone to name a couple, I know of a couple shops who have developed thier own propietary colorspace.

                      I had no idea that flexography had developed into such a cutting edge printing method (remembering back to the monster traps and solid spots from years back I suppose).

                      I'll not stand here and have you bash my stiff standards!

                      btw if CMYK goes "out of business" although I'm not sure how a color space can go out of business. I'll eat your flexo press ;-)


                      • #12
                        Re: Goodbye to Esko

                        I did not want to start any kind of war in here, just thinking out loud...
                        New colorspaces are out there because they support a need for more colors. Opaltone and Hexachrome are some of the systems out there. They sell plug-ins to separate colors in their own protected color systems. Basically they sell you the right to use Red, Green, Blue or Orange . . .. The custom color models have introduced the need to really understand color, how color needs to be seprated and reproduced. A whole industry is relying on Photoshop to separate into CMYK, with Photoshop's sometimes approximate algorythms and poor toolbox to control gay balance, black generation and so on. Every Dick, Tom and Harry out there are basically Photoshop tradeshops when it come to separating colors, who has a clue on how a RGB is mapped into CMYK?
                        Just like black & white TV are still available in some stores (just guessing), I suppose grayscale color model will never go out of business, I shall then also suppose CMYK will never go out of business. But as far as color is concerned, the days of extended gamut are beginning, offset printing is kind of sleeping on it, and the pionneers are actually picking up skills in the flexo industry. That's all is was trying to say.


                        • #13
                          Re: Goodbye to Esko

                          No wars.....just good, fun discussions! That why we all come to these groups...right!


                          • #14
                            Re: Goodbye to Esko

                            *loads bazooka*



                            • #15
                              Re: Goodbye to Esko

                              Everything that you are asking for, Esko has it. I done JDF through the whole plant 2 years ago, Esko has a portal and it is JDF driven.
                              O, and yes we where a Barco custommer and I remember the VMS days.

                              Good luck,



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