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The days of galley proofs and last-minute changes at the printer are gone forever in modern print publishing: the name of the game today is direct-to-press, which requires near perfect preparation of documents to ensure the printer won't have trouble generating output from your electronic files. Serious problems, such as a missing font, can render printed results unusable; even subtle errors, such as trap misregistration, can dramatically reduce final print quality. Adobe's InProduction 1.0 aims to give your prepress files a good once-over before you launch them to the Heidelberg.
InProduction is a set of five Acrobat 4 (included) plug-ins for preflight analysis, trim/bleed specification, color conversion, color separation, and in-RIP trapping. You start with the preflight tool, which analyzes your document using a set of predefined rules for the destination print device and reports problems so you can fix them. Preflighting catches leftover annotations, missing fonts, non-CMYK colors, margin overflow, and overprint density problems. A common problem when producing parallel online and print documents is having residual HTTP links in the print version; InProduction finds and eliminates them. Other problems require rerendering the PDF from original production files, after which you can rerun the preflight as a final check.
Once your document gets a clean bill of health, you're ready for the final touch-ups. InProduction's trim/bleed tool lets you specify trim and bleed boxes to ensure clean edges. The color converter changes any existing color system to CMYK; knobs and dials let you fine-tune colors using ICC color management.
If your page-layout program doesn't generate trapping, you can use InProduction's support for Adobe in-RIP trapping to automatically trap during the RIP process: you specify either pages or regions on a page where trapping is required, and the PostScript 3 destination device automatically computes the necessary trap offsets. InProduction's color separator tool generates CMYK separations and lets you preview them as overlays to check trapping, whether it's pregenerated or in-RIP.
Color Sep Preview InProduction lets you preview color separations as overlays so you can check color combinations to verify proper registration and trapping.
Because the tools are Acrobat plug-ins, they integrate well with an existing PDF production workflow. But although Adobe bills InProduction as a workflow-management tool, the application doesn't really manage workflow in the sense that graphic artists expect: it lacks tools for multiple users working on the same document in a production sequence. For example, there's no way to see at a glance what prepress changes have already been made to a document.
A log of operations performed on a file, and the ability to lock certain attributes to prevent inadvertent changes, would make the program more useful in a multiperson shop. But if you're a single user bringing postlayout files to print-ready condition, InProduction provides everything you need.