Expo Preview: Graphics and Publishing

In 2000, the print graphics and publishing market saw some predictable upgrades and a few intriguing new directions. With Macworld Expo almost upon us, it's a good time to look back before we look forward.

Upgrades

Adobe upgraded almost all of its applications. One of the most highly praised was Photoshop 6.0. The vector graphics and improved type handling and color management should please many a designer and production artist. Other notable Adobe upgrades were InDesign 1.5 and Illustrator 9.

Macromedia revved its product line as well, though FreeHand 9 is its only remaining program used primarily by print designers. While FreeHand and the Adobe upgrades did offer some tweaks aimed at the print crowd, the companies seem to have put more effort in adding Web features. This Web emphasis is perhaps understandable, given the maturity of the print market. But print innovations are still around -- just check out third-party add-ons from companies such as a lowly apprentice production, Badia Software, Extensis, and Gluon, all of whom will be at this month's Macworld Expo.

New Applications

Adobe debuted InProduction and InScope in 2000. InProduction is a preflight tool for PDF files. Although you could combine a couple of third-party applications and get many of the same features, InProduction brings them together in one package with the familiar Adobe interface. InScope, a workflow management program, was years in the making. Its price is high, but large companies may find it worth the entrance fee.

Font Reserve also hopes to help large companies manage assets -- typefaces -- with its Font Reserve Server, which was released in late October. In 2001, look for changes in competitors such as Extensis' Suitcase and Suitcase Server.

Quark did not release QuarkXPress 5 in 2000 and probably won't until a big chunk of 2001 is gone. However, there was one company development that may concern XPress users: Cofounder Tim Gill left the company. Without his benevolent presence, will Quark's already maligned customer service slip? Quark did release QuarkWrapture, a program that may help package designers envision their artwork in three dimensions.

Newcomer Pixologic entered the scene in 2000 with Zbrush, a unique painting program that quickly produces artwork that looks three-dimensional.

Last year also saw an influx of inexpensive graphics editing programs aimed at the consumer market. Canon released Canon Photo Advanced and Home software suites. Arcsoft recently offered a Mac version of their image editor Photo Studio. Even big leaguers got into the spirit of things by releasing inexpensive, scaled-back versions of their professional image editors. Deneba offered Canvas 7 SE. Corel Draw 8 LE can be downloaded from Corel's Web site for free. Even Adobe released Photoshop LE just over a year ago.

Whither MetaCreations?

One big question in 2001 is the fate of the applications once owned by MetaCreations. The company dumped KPT (formerly known as Kai's Power Tools), KPT Vector Effects, Painter, Bryce, Carrara, Canoma, Poser, and Headline Studio.

Corel bought the first four applications in that list, and its financial troubles cast a shadow on the programs' future. Corel did release small updates to both Bryce and Painter, which aimed at reassuring nervous customers that the company doesn't plan to abandon its newest Mac customers. In the meantime, however, it released an updated Windows version of its own graphics program Corel Draw 10 -- the Mac version remains at version 8. (However, Corel is working on an OS X version that it will release when Apple finalizes the new system.)

Adobe has not yet announced new versions of Carrara or Canoma. Poser is in the hands of Curious Labs, a child of Poser's original authors. Painter creators Mark Zimmer, Tom Hedges, and John Derry formed a new company called fractal.com and reacquired rights to Headline Studio.

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