VDP Recommendation

openletter

Active member
I'm currently using Publisher for VDP for postcard jobs. The issue is that Publisher is crazy slow and usually crashes when I send more than 1,000 records to my printer. The goal is to have a good VDP solution for my postcard jobs (printing 8 to a page) and other VDP jobs. I'm looking for a <$1,000 option if that's available.

Second question - will VDP software allow you to do flyer and other collateral material design in the program? If not, what are some good softwares? I'm just getting into more custom stuff and am looking for solutions.
 

MailGuru

Well-known member
Hey, openletter. Since you are just starting out, FusionPro would probably be you're best bet. It's very reasonable ($600 - $800, I think). When you're volume increases, you'll probably need to go with something a little more robust, but, FusionPro should do what you need for now.
 

Digital Press Guy

Well-known member
PSL Page Builder VDP can certainly handle your postcard needs as well as multi-page collateral documents. It has the ability to impose your jobs internally eliminating the need to rely on the RIP. The software is now available On Demand. Turn it on when you need it. Turn it off when you don't.

Thomas Bougher
Jet Letter Corporation
 

openletter

Active member
MailGuru what would be the next step after Fusion Pro. Although I'm just starting out, my orders may quickly get up to 10k-50k postcards. I want to make sure I'm planning appropriately for the future and reduce the amount of time I need to learn a new software.

Digital Press Guy thank you. I'll look into this.

PricelineNegotiator oh, yea. I completely get why. It's been terrible.
 

PricelineNegotiator

Well-known member
I think a lot of people here use InDesign and Fusion Pro as a combo, and I think it's actually pretty high end software. I would recommend investing in a computer with an m.2 drive and a solid i7 with 16 or 32 gb of ram to be honest. A decent graphics card always helps too.
 

jrsc

Well-known member
If you are just addressing postcards fusion pro is perfect for almost any quantity. We use it for all our mailings. Usually a couple hundred thousand pieces a week ranging from jobs of a few hundred to jobs of 100,000. If you are starting with PDF files and overlaying addresses there isn't really a better way to go. If you get to large quantities you might just have to wait to let it process the output for a little while. 50k might take 15 minutes. If you open a second instance of acrobat you process another job at the same time. I think they have a trial available.

Now if you want to get into really complicated variable designs it can be easier to set up with other more expensive software but that doesn't sound like what you are doing.
 

draco66

Member
I have been using InDesign and Fusion Pro for years. It's affordable and I haven't found a job it couldn't handle yet. We do some very complex variable data jobs with floating tables, inline graphics, 100's of variable images, etc. I am comfortable with writing code for the more complex jobs so it works well for me. For what you are doing with postcards, you will have it running in no time with the easy to use variable text editor.
 

cec-prepress

Active member
I've been using Fusion Pro for about a decade now probably, almost exclusively as an Acrobat Professional plugin (working directly on the PDFs, no InDesign). You'll certainly see many improvements using that over Publisher (using Acrobat or in InDesign). Fusion Pro itself has different levels as well. We used just the base version for years, but upgraded a year or so ago to 'Producer' which greatly improves processing speed for larger lists or if you process many lists through the day (example: a list that took 53 minutes in base takes < 3 minutes). There's another level above that as well that I think helps with automation. Those upgrades are pricey, but I do think you'd notice immediate benefits moving from Publisher just with the base version of Fusion Pro and then you can decide down the road if the faster processing is worth the price.
 

MailGuru

Well-known member
MailGuru what would be the next step after Fusion Pro. Although I'm just starting out, my orders may quickly get up to 10k-50k postcards. I want to make sure I'm planning appropriately for the future and reduce the amount of time I need to learn a new software.
We use XMPie. It's a Xerox-owned company. We started years ago with the base (desk-top) version. As our volume and variable data/image became more complex, we upgraded to the server version. The base is relatively affordable and, it's a plugin to InDesign (you use it while in InDesign via a drop-down menu). The server versions can get quite pricey, but, the speed is awesome.
 
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wonderings

Well-known member
You can use indesign for VDP, though if it gets heavy obviously a dedicated program would be better. Generally the only VDP we do is text (titles, names, addresses, etc). All graphic elements are static. Indesign handles it well and will let you do design as well. You do have to pay a monthly subscription for Adobe CC, but you get everything for that monthly fee... indesign, illustrator, photoshop and much more. I would try a demo of indesign and see how it works for you and if it will meet your VDP needs.
 

methogod

Active member
Fusion Pro --- output PPML most production fierys will rip and print fast... best solutions out there for small to mid volume. Also can do just about anything in FP if you can <CODE> a bit of JS.
 

MIBSWE

Member
FusionPro VDP Creator (MAC/Windows) is a good VDP application to start with. It can process up to 350 records per minute, but can be less depending on the number of rules, variable elements etc in the VDP document. If speed is a prerequisite, then the next level up is FusionPro Producer. It's a windows only server based solution, which includes up to 5 FusionPro Designer client licences (MAC/Windows). They can only output 1 record locally, but are designed to be used with the FusionPro server version. This means that the local computer isn't locked up processing hundreds/thousands of records and allows you to work on the next document or something else. If you're looking to have more than two FusionPro licences, then FusionPro Producer becomes an interesting option in terms of price.

Just note that the FusionPro VDP Creator plugin works mainly in Acrobat Professional to build your rules and elements. It's only used in InDesign to mark elements in the design, which you want to be variable. Then you export the layout/design from InDesign via the FusionPro plugin out to Acrobat where you start building the VDP document. From my own experience with customers, they don't always have access to the original InDesign file, just the PDF. So, that for me is an advantage.

You can link it to Fusionpro Expressions, which is a cost add on, where you can design personalised pictures (there are prebuilt designs within Expressions and prebuilt templates that you can buy) ie. have someone's name in the sand or on a bottle of wine etc.

The FusionPro forum is excellent in my experience. If you have a question, you can normally find someone else who has asked a similar question. If not, create an account and post your question. There are a couple of FusionPro developers on there and hundreds more who have been using FusionPro for years.

FYI. My company sells FusionPro in Europe. The other VDP application that we sell, is PrintShop Mail, which is a dedicated VDP application (not a plugin). The main differences are that you can use XML directly as data input and you have an option to create variable email. It's more expensive, but then you don't have to own/buy Adobe Acrobat/InDesign. It can be upgraded with Power Packs to handle more data for performance and you have the option to upgrade to PlanetPress, which is a workflow solution ie. create variable output to web, email, print and automate processes ie. the web output has a link, which uses PlanetPress to initiate an action, like personalised invoice, invitation etc. It's a swiss army knife, but usually requires consultancy to build a workflow.

Hope that helps!
 

JorisJ

Member
We have been using FusionPro Desktop (now VDP Creator) for over 12 years. Using it for easy addressing to doing full personalization of brochures with multiple switching layers of graphics. I like how easy it is with Javascript programming to change data, the methods to assign different stocks to different pages which works with our NexPress when outputting VDX, etc. For some jobs we so now and then use the datamerge in Adobe Indesign to create a new document with the data merged. We can then manually go in to adjust word breaks where needed on really long titles, etc.

For all Fusion pro users. I did get the tip about 4 years ago from Printable/Marcom to run it on Apple as it actually renders more quickly than on a PC. This has to do with Acrobat plugins on the PC not being able to access all processor cores or something like that. On the Mac it can access them. We did a speed test and saw quite a difference (don't remember how much exactly but it was significant for us to decide to run it on Mac only). Not sure if this still is true for the latest and greatest version on Fusion Pro as we are still using a slightly older version. Will see if I can find my test results still.
 

kdw75

Well-known member
Fusion Pro --- output PPML most production fierys will rip and print fast... best solutions out there for small to mid volume. Also can do just about anything in FP if you can <CODE> a bit of JS.
We love PPML, but it sometimes has problems with transparencies and complex art. We have had more reliable, but slower output with PDF/VT
 

MIBSWE

Member
We have been using FusionPro Desktop (now VDP Creator) for over 12 years. Using it for easy addressing to doing full personalization of brochures with multiple switching layers of graphics. I like how easy it is with Javascript programming to change data, the methods to assign different stocks to different pages which works with our NexPress when outputting VDX, etc. For some jobs we so now and then use the datamerge in Adobe Indesign to create a new document with the data merged. We can then manually go in to adjust word breaks where needed on really long titles, etc.

For all Fusion pro users. I did get the tip about 4 years ago from Printable/Marcom to run it on Apple as it actually renders more quickly than on a PC. This has to do with Acrobat plugins on the PC not being able to access all processor cores or something like that. On the Mac it can access them. We did a speed test and saw quite a difference (don't remember how much exactly but it was significant for us to decide to run it on Mac only). Not sure if this still is true for the latest and greatest version on Fusion Pro as we are still using a slightly older version. Will see if I can find my test results still.
You are correct. It composes documents a lot quicker when running FusionPro VDP Creator on a MAC, than on a Windows computer. The nice thing is that the same licence can be used to install FusionPro on Windows or MAC. You don't need to have a different licence to install on a MAC. So, you can move the licence form Windows to MAC if you wanted to or vice versa.
 

wonderings

Well-known member
What is the general price range for FusionPro?
I find that frustrating getting prices for some of this software. Tried to look at pricing and the only thing I see under pricing is $1500 a month and I know that is certainly not for a VDP program for a small print shop. Not sure why these companies get all secretive about their pricing, I know it turns me off even researching it as I do not always want to talk to a rep as they can be annoying. When I am serious and ready I will talk to one. When it comes to software though in most cases I can do my own research, find peoples thoughts and reviews and then buy without ever needing to talk to anyone from the company. The whole hide the price and let someone get in touch with you feels so antiquated.
 

Color Optimized?

Ink
by Noel Ward, Editor@Large
Color is in demand in all types of documents, making color management a critical part of Digital Printing 5.0. Managing color on one device/press can be an easy task with the correct tools and processes. But managing color to ensure printed pages are consistent and repeatable across the different substrates and color gamuts of toner and inkjet can be a much bigger challenge. Properly implemented color management workflows can help achieve consistent color results across multiple devices. Although many end-customers are claiming satisfaction with “pleasing color,” two challenges are still in play. Link to Article

 
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