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Scitex Unveils Sophisticated Tool for Total Prepress


Scitex Corporation Ltd. today announced Brisque, a new line of advanced digital front ends for the company's wide selection of output devices.

Unlike any product now on the market, the Brisque integrates and automates virtually all prepress production output operations.

Seamlessly coordinated in this one system are the essential prepress production tools and processes: preflight checking, automated job tickets, automatic picture replacement, soft proofing, trapping, queuing and job management, imposition, screening, and RIPping. According to Shimon Alon, Scitex senior executive vice president and president of its Graphic Arts Group, "it reflects an unprecedented level of production automation. With the Brisque, Scitex has, in effect, reengineered the prepress production workflow."

At the heart of the Scitex Brisque is a newly designed Scitex/Adobe PostScript(tm) RIP (Raster Image Processor). The Brisque has been in operation for several months at numerous Beta sites around the globe. According to feedback from these sites, this high performance RIP is substantially more productive than RIPs currently used in the industry, including Scitex's previous models.

Of special importance in today's increasingly open workplace is the fact that the Brisque is a non-proprietary system that runs standard AIX operating system, on an IBM PowerPC PCI RISC-based platform. It is capable of high-level multitasking, connects with all Macintosh, PC, and UNIX computers, and accepts PostScript and other popular DTP formats.

A Manufacturing Perspective

Dr. Michael Nagler, vice president Scitex Israel in charge of the Output Imaging Systems Division, explains that the Brisque "brings a manufacturing perspective to the prepress arena. Ahead of any other systems, it answers the growing demand for a workflow in which routine jobs are expedited by 'smart' programs."

Nagler continues: "By automating production operations in assembly-line fashion, the Brisque eases demands on system operators, increasing job predictability while minimizing the likelihood of human error. Jobs will run more smoothly yielding a higher throughput for our customers. The bottom line is that commercial printers, service bureaus, and digital trade services gain speed, efficiency, and profitability as they output to film and plate setters, digital proofers, or on-demand digital color printing systems."

Automation Through Templates

Production processes are automated with "Job Ticket" templates based on hot-folder technology. Each job ticket describes a workflow consisting of operations to be accomplished in a particular order and according to specific parameters. Templates for an unlimited number of different jobs may be created; each need be defined only once and can then be applied to all reruns or, with minor tuning, to jobs of similar specifications.

Further, hot folders can be assigned to watch for a specific file type. When such a file arrives, pre-specified operations will be performed. For example, the file could be automatically RIPped from PostScript to editable continuous-tone and linework files, trapped, previewed, sent to a proofer, held in a queue until approved, then exposed with on-the-fly screening on a designated imagesetter.

Automation and ease of use is further enhanced by the Brisque's user-friendly user interface. Operators simply drag-and-drop icons to create templates and process jobs. The learning curve is extremely short allowing operators to begin using the Brisque's advanced functionality within hours.

Full Process Control

Automation does not preclude manual overrides; the operator can have full process control. Template parameters may be altered permanently or temporarily to fit any dynamically changed production needs. This may be done before a job begins or at any point in the process without affecting other jobs that are using the same template.

Multitasking and Workflow Management

"Boosting throughput is the Brisque's AIX operating system, which can perform multiple processes simultaneously," notes Dan Doron, product marketing manager for Digital Front Ends, "and it can handle multiple operations without performance or quality degradation. Further streamlining workflow management is a queue manager with an override to handle rush jobs and a message viewer that can appear on both the Brisque and its Macintosh clients that shows job status. Automatically the Brisque monitors job progress, alerting the operator if a problem occurs.

The Scitex Advantage

According to Dan Doron, "This new level of automation further widens the Scitex lead in prepress production technology. As the first vendor to develop a true Adobe PostScript software RIP, we have been offering post-RIP editing since the early 90's. This ability has enabled users to make job corrections at any point in the production cycle without having to discard good data and restart from scratch as occurs in conventional workflows, thus reducing the cost of error. This advantage has been one of the Scitex shop differentiators and a reason for their success."

Continues Doron, "With the Brisque we've 'raised the bar' once again and intend to lead the way in prepress production automation and integration."

Availability and Configurations

The Brisque is available immediately. Four configurations are being offered:

Brisque -- Entry level with all basic functionality.

Brisque Pro -- Mid-range with additional Macintosh client applications, including Scitex Full Auto Frame for interactive trapping on a Macintosh Computer and Scitex Remake for Post-Rip linework editing.

Brisque Impose -- Top-of-the line model with Brisque pro features plus enhanced imposition and other press-related features.

Brisque Proof -- Dedicating proofing station including Scitex Precision Color and Super Combine.

Scitex will offer upgrade paths to the Brisque from all existing RIPs including IBM PS/2 and Apple Macintosh.


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