In this month’s blog, we are going to continue looking under the hood of Prinect Production Manager by reviewing one of the most important Sequences – the Prepare Sequence.

Read the Qualify and Prepare – Part 1 blog post

If you remember from last month, I talked about the importance of Sequences in Prinect as they provide the commands to tell the workflow what it needs to do – everything from trapping a PDF, generating preset ink key data for the press to archiving a job. We focused on the Qualify Sequence and some of the highlights of what it is used for. Today we’re going to look at the next page processing step, the Prepare Sequence, and some of the interesting things that can be achieved when submitting a PDF to it.

The Prepare Sequence can be accessed by going to Administration – Templates – Sequence Templates – Prepare.

The first thing you might notice in my system by looking at the screenshots is there are Prepare sequences named with _CMYK and _BW and _Spot. One of the main things the Prepare Sequence is used for is to change the color make-up of the PDF and then trap accordingly.

The Prinect operator can easily drag and drop PDF pages or 1ups onto the Prepare_CMYK Sequence to convert the PDF pages to CMYK on the fly in their job.

Drag and drop on Prepare_BW and everything is converted into black and white.

If the operator opens the Colors window inside their job, they can be more specific about how a color is modified and choose whether it should map to another color or to a completely new one or, for example, if certain colors need to be converted into CMYK.

Submitting 1ups or Pages to Prepare_Multicolor will convert the job to 6 or 7 color process allowing the printer to reduce the number of spot inks they run, reducing washups and ink changes on the press.

Heidelberg has very experienced technicians who can help you implement this with you. It can save a lot of money and time in your shop.

Let’s dive into the setting of the Prepare Sequence itself. Before that though let me give you a pro tip -you can make as many Prepare Sequences as you like. This ensures that all the operators are doing things exactly the same way. Many times, there are just subtle differences in settings between sequences. For example, the only difference between my Prepare_CMYK and my Prepare_Spot is one setting on whether to honor spot colors or convert them to CMYK.

We would still want trapping and preflighting to be the same for both. I recommend that you never create a Prepare Sequence from “new.” Always open an existing one and set the differences and then “Save As.” With an established workflow there should be almost no need to create anything from scratch. It saves time and guarantees consistency in the workflow.

Conversion is a remnant of a time when companies were transitioning from film output to platesetters and needed a way to use jobs in a CtP workflow that may have previously only existed on film. I am sorry if I have made some of my readers feel a bit old after reading that.

Conversion is a very powerful function that leverages Heidelberg’s advanced knowledge in color. This is where you can convert RGB to CMYK or convert jobs to black and white. Plus, it gives you options that can save you money. For example, this step can perform ink reductions with UCR and GCR to decrease the use of CMY inks in a job or if the artwork has a higher ink coverage than can be handled by the press or output device. This is also where spot colors can be converted into 6 or 7 multicolor. As I mentioned earlier, for a customer printing a lot of spot inks, this can provide a huge cost savings.

I can also control Overprinting in the Prepare Sequence. If I choose, this can override whatever is already set in the PDF. This can be very convenient, for example, when you want a die to stay overprinting but other colors to knockout.

In Advanced, I can control, as I mentioned earlier, whether a jobs spots are converted to CMYK or not.

For more detail on Coating, please take a look at my blog that looks at this feature specifically.

PDF Optimization lets me clean up messy PDFs. I find that removing invisible objects and those outside of the media box creates a very clean PDF to work with for production.

You can also downsample images that are at a higher resolution than is necessary.

Transparency Handling allows me to flatten transparencies when needed. There are other places where this could be done, like in Acrobat, but doing it here means everybody is doing it the same.

Object Screening lets me apply different screening systems to different elements on a page. It can also be done more specifically with the Object Screening Acrobat plugin.

Processing allows Prinect Production Manager to hand the production PDF over to a third-party system and for that system to hand it back.

Versioning is a subject all by itself. It is a very sophisticated step for doing multiple language changes on a product.

Preflight occurs both in the Qualify and Prepare Sequence based on when you would like that Preflight to occur. I cover some preflighting setting in Part 1. The Prepare Sequence can fix more of the issues that might be caught in Preflight but both have their purposes. It could be that you want the Color Conversion step to automatically fix Overprint and things such as RGB images before you run the Preflight. It creates less touch points when the system fixes problems for you.

I highlighted a few things that Preflight could do in Part 1. In this part I want to show a little trick. If you open your production pages from the Pages step in the workflow and open Heidelberg’s PDF Toolbox and choose PDF Report…

The toolbox will access the preflight report generated by the workflow and will walk you through the issues in the job highlighting the problem object in the customer artwork. This is a great example of the little touches that make this software great to work with.

I have covered trapping extensively in two blog posts that cover basics and advanced settings.

These steps are the most important in this Sequence Template. It can be used to change and fix a lot of issues in the customer supplied artwork. Plus, it ensures that these fixes and checks are done consistently the same by all the operators in a shop. Variances can be made to suit specific situations and again assuring that that touch points are reduced and consistency reigns where it should.

Joe Banich
Prinect Product Specialist
Heidelberg Canada