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PDF 2.0: The Impact on RIPs

As I mentioned last week, the next big thing to hit prepress RIPs and workflows will be PDF 2.0 files. The PDF 2.0 specification was approved and published by the International Standards Organization in August of last year. Since that time, software developers have been working to incorporate the new specification and features in authoring applications (think Creative Suite), and in interpreters/processors such as RIPs.

According to Adobe, there are many new features that pertain to print production. I’ve listed three here:

  • Page-level Output Profiles. PDF 2.0 adds the ability to associate different color profiles to different pages within a job. This means that if a single job has various sections (perhaps covers) that are printed on different presses or stocks the associated profiles will stay with those sections and be interpreted properly by a PDF 2.0 compliant RIP.

  • Black Point Compensation. BPC preserves shadow details when converting an image from a large color space to a smaller one. PDF 2.0 allows a BPC switch to be added to any object, so that BPC conversion can be performed or ignored later in the workflow, such as when it’s being RIPed if the RIP is 2.0 compliant.

  • Spectrally defined colors. PDF 2.0 allows spot colors to be defined by their spectral values, which will be much more accurate. contributor David Zwang recently wrote about PDF 2.0 adoption by print service providers, recommending they upgrade their RIPs sooner rather than later. While this advice will certainly position users to take advantage of the new features, it may also prevent interpretation problems they often experience when new versions of PDFs are processed by older RIP cores.

Navigator version 12 is PDF 2.0 compliant and begins shipping in September.

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