Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Great Command Workstation

In the last 13 years, I have held a variety of positions within our company, from sales to technical analyst, to trainer to now the Marketing Director.  In every one of my jobs, there was always one tool that I would use on a regular basis and that is Command Workstation.

EFI’s Command Workstation is software that can be loaded on any computer, in my case Mac OS10.  It is a direct interface to the Fiery print controller, basically the brain of your production/light production device.  It allows you to do so many things to ease your day, here are a few:

1.)   View the Status of your jobs: There are two areas within the main screen of Command Workstation that show the progress of your job.  Whether it is still processing or it is printing 100 of a 500-page job, all this information is at your fingertips.  In my case, this is especially helpful because I sit about three rooms away from the actual device so instead of having to get up every 5 minutes or better yet, sit and stare at the device, I can just simply open the Command Workstation window to verify my job is running and what copy number it is on.  This is one of the most helpful tools in maintaining a productive working day when I have to print on demand.

2.)   Reprint a Job: With a normal multifunctional device, once your job is printed, it is gone forever unless you specifically chose to save it in a mailbox on the hard drive.  In my job, I frequently proof items to make sure that everything is correct in the document before doing a final print.  With Command Workstation and my Fiery, my jobs are always stored for reprint. Therefore, I can send a job, once again from my desk three rooms away, and when I arrive at the printer, if my proof looks great, I can release 10, 100, 1000 more right there instead of going back to my computer.  This is once again a huge benefit in keeping my day productive and efficient.

3.)   Imposition:  Many of us have had to make booklets and getting those pages in the correct order when it is more then four can be quite confusing. It usually ends in manually taking blanks sheets, making a booklet, writing the number on each page, then deconstructing the booklet to see what page lands where.  Within Command Workstation and the print driver at your desk, you can send a single page document to print and simply choose “booklet layout – left binding” and boom, the 10 manual steps you previously did are gone, just like that!

Although there are so many features to help with workflow, imposition, and composition of documents within Command Workstation, these 3 simple but very important features are what I use on a daily basis.  With these 3 simple improvements in my workflow, the productivity of my day greatly increases so that I can continue to print on demand instead of outsourcing in bulk. This also results in saving a lot of money!

Do you have a fiery on your device and want to have all of this functionality at your fingertips? Visit EFI to download now!

Northwest Group 
Director of Marketing

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

BLACK...It Really is a COLOR!

It may surprise you, but black is one of the hardest colors (shades) to match.

When printing in CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black), different values are needed to give "Black" a certain appearance on the page. For example, a 'Warm Black' would have more Red in it than other colors, or a 'Cool Black' would have more Cyan in the mix.

If you have a large object on a page and only use 100% K (Solid Black), it will appear dark grey rather than a deep black. This is due to the saturation level achievable by the ink or toner on the paper. If you are printing the page in full CMYK color, you can achieve a deeper, richer looking black by leveraging the use of the other CMY colors.

If you blend; C 50, M 30, Y 30 , K 100, you will achieve a 'deeper RICH black' that will be perceived as 'cooler' because it has more cyan in the mix.

If you blend; C 30, M 50, Y 30 , K 100, you will achieve a 'deeper RICH black' that will be perceived as 'warmer' because it has more magenta in the mix.

The term 'RICH' is used to enforce the notion that more colors were used to make black, so it's been enriched.  The term "solid black" refers to the color generated from the used on K "black only" ink or toner.

'Solid Black' is best used for text, lines and thin graphical elements, which help to maintain hard, crisp and clean edges. If you choose to use 'RICH' Black, any minor mis-registration within the printing process will make these objects appear soft edged, lacking clarity.

When using software within Microsoft's Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher) all color is defined in RGB (Red, Green, Blue), not CMYK. Black is defined with a value of R 0, G 0, B 0. The trouble with RGB is that it is a Display (Monitor) Color language, not a Print Color language like CMYK. If you want to print your file in black and white, you must select 'Grayscale' within your print driver for it to generate a black and white service click. If you let your Postscript print driver convert color for you, it will convert RGB Black to CMYK value of C 89, M 83, Y 78, K 100, which generates a color service click when 'Grayscale' is not manually selected.

Adobe Systems, Microsoft's leading software competitor, chooses to define Black within it's software (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop) using the CMYK Color language, setting Black to K 100. So, when printing files which only using Adobe Black, a black and white service click, whether you select 'Grayscale' or not will always be generated.

Today a pinch of Black Pepper is added to almost every type of recipe imaginable. Once used as currency and presented to the gods as a sacred offering, it is fortunate that this most popular of spices is now readily available throughout the world.

Johnny Cash — This country music icon was referred to as “the man in black.”

“Without black, no color has any depth. But if you mix black with everything, suddenly there’s shadow – no, not just shadow, but fullness. You’ve got to be willing to mix black into your palette if you want to create something that’s real.” — Amy Grant

Baby’s in Black by The Beatles

There is no question that the vehicle you drive is an extension of your personality — According to the experts, the message you send by driving a Black vehicle is your empowered, not easily manipulated, love elegance, and appreciate classics.

Is there something you know about black, we’d love to hear from you. Share what you know about the color Black

by Brandon Gary
Director of Production Print  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Xerox Color Press 800 Improves The Way One University Works

As your business grows and your workflow changes Xerox has a product family that grows with you. From business color to light production to full production, we can cover every aspect of your production printing requirements. 
A major University in the Northwest that had been using a Xerox 700 Digital Press for 5 years recently implemented the Color Press 800 and that has in turn changed their entire workflow.  By embracing change, this customer was able to expand their production offering to their customers, thus allowing them to grow their volume from 45,000 per month to 173,000 per month in the first six months.  With the Color Press 800 they were able to:
·       Move 20% of their offset short run press work to the new machine
·       Print on Heavier stocks, up to 350 gsm
·       Print on a variety of textured stocks because of the unique way the machine fuses
Because of these important improvements, they are able to increase their offerings to their customer base.  The University was also able to adjust their pricing structure, allowing their clients to send work previously done in black in white to color at a minimal increase. 
The biggest result of the installation was the production time improvements. Because the speed of the Color Press 800 is 80 Pages-Per-Minute on all media types, They were able to decrease those production times to one-third what they experienced from the Xerox 700 Digital Press. For example, one job that used to take the University 6 hours to setup and print was cut down to 1.5 hours because of the efficiency and the speed they now have with the Color Press 800.  As the customer stated “the Color Press 800 is a different class of machine.  Xerox has a niche between the light production and IGEN/Indigo world and no one else has anything like it.” 
Shana Crook - Northwest Group Production Specialist