While many traditional vendors struggle with seismic shifts in the market, CGS has repeated its successful approach to meeting the needs of the graphic arts community. At this year’s booth—2644—the company once again offered both innovative software and a consultative sales approach to show attendees. CGS and its development partners garnered a record number of show-related awards, including two InterTech Technology Awards and a “Must See ’Ems” nod from the show sponsor.
“CGS has always been an active listener at graphic arts industry events,” said CEO Trevor Haworth. “Our software innovation has often sprung from problem-solving conversations that started right here at McCormick Center. Also, we have never become complacent with past successes. Venturing into new markets with brand new technologies has always been our mission.”
The CGS booth, which has remained the same size for over a decade of Graph Expo and PRINT events has enjoyed heavy traffic with its new open design. “For us, the show is well worth the investment,” Haworth added.
Must See ’Ems: IC3D Suite
PRINT 13 was the venue for the worldwide launch of IC3D Suite, from CGS development partner Creative Edge Software. As the industry’s first Real-Time 3D packaging visualization, ideation, and design application, IC3D Suite won the show judges’ Must See ’Ems award. It also received high praise from industry figure Hal Hinderlighter, in his keynote address, “Making Print Come Alive.”
The software is the first to combine multiple packaging disciplines and processes into a single product. The technology, which beautifully simplifies 3D, applies to packaging design for bottles, flexible packages, cartons, bags, plastic containers, cans, and more. It uses a patented Auto Mesh Mapping process allowing labels and artwork to be placed accurately on complex packaging models in Real Time—as opposed to tedious UVW mapping of texture coordinates by a third party specialist.
The product includes a direct link to Adobe Illustrator, allowing 2D artwork to be mapped onto 3D models as base artwork or as labels. The results are output from IC3D Suite as PDF files, hi-resolution images or as a movie for collaboration between stakeholders on computers, phones and tablets. Finished models can also be 3D printed on the latest commercial 3D printers using its STL file export capability for rapid prototyping.
IC3D Suite can import models from all major 3D applications using common file interchange standards used in packaging, including Collada, Modo, 3DS Max, Wavefront, Lightwave, and Milkshape 3D. Where a pre-existing model is not available, the user may use IC3D’s Custom Model Generation Service to create the desired model. It also includes a library of common packaging models and templates, which can be modified and added to a project via simple drag-and-drop. IC3D also provides easy importing and creation of sophisticated packaging materials like refracting glass, metallic effects, holographics, or even lenticular effects.
InterTech Awards: Aproove and ORIS Lynx
Receiving InterTech Awards from the Printing Industries of America is not a new phenomenon for CGS, but this year they were honored with two—for the Aproove online collaboration and collaboration system, and for ORIS Lynx, the world’s first cloud-based color management system generating both device link profiles and standard ICC profiles.
“The InterTech Awards are a significant benchmark for innovation in our industry,” Haworth noted. “Naturally, we are pleased to be recognized for our ongoing role in moving things forward—for every member of the graphic communications supply chain. Ultimately, everyone involved in the process—from the brand owners and designers to the print service providers—must benefit from innovations like these. CGS will never stop seeking new ways to reduce costs and increase revenue potential.”
Aproove has gained acceptance within major brands, including Macy’s and Staples, as well as printers like Metzgers. The online collaboration, soft proofing, and approval system does not depend on a proprietary content management or prepress production system, so it can easily be used by any corporate marketing department, agency, or printer—without either side having to compromise or learn additional skills. Multiple decision makers can use Aproove for complex print projects, greatly reducing design and production cycles, error rates, and delivery charges.
The system also boasts an attractive pricing model, including unlimited free guest accounts. Aproove is being widely used for content approvals as well as soft proofing, using color displays calibrated with systems like CGS’ ORIS.
The Aproove architecture is the result of 10 years of development, with optimized performance on Windows, Linux, and Mac environments, as well as client apps for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry. Its unique architecture allows for extremely high page volumes (up to 6,000 pages per hour, processing on a stock Windows PC server) with no performance degradation in multi-client workflows.
Aproove’s unique “push” technology provides extreme ease of use. Even occasional users are taken directly to the exact location where their input or approval is required. No special knowledge of prepress production is required. The system is also highly secure, sending only streams, and not file downloads. The core asset never leaves the secure production facility; only a contract content view flows to the client, optimized for each user’s display, device, and bandwidth.
Aproove use has resulted in significant time savings—collapsing schedules from days to hours, depending on job complexity and number of team members. In addition to communication and team efficiency, Aproove can result in significantly fewer hard copy proofs (both content and contract color), as well as decreases in delivery charges.
The second InterTech recipient this year was ORIS Lynx, the first truly professional, cloud-based color management system for digital color devices of any kind. ORIS Lynx uses the same color management technology that garnered InterTech Awards in 2003 (for ORIS Color Tuner) and 2005 (for ORIS Press Matcher). The technical challenges for ORIS Lynx were formidable, however. “To apply professional-grade color matching algorithms to a cloud-based service required significant innovation—and the development of a completely new product architecture,” said Jan de Mayer, CGS’ Chief Technical Officer.
ORIS Lynx provides true, iterative color management—generating robust device links and/or ICC profiles that ensure consistent, high quality color output from any device or multiple devices. (Other so-called cloud-based systems only generate ICC profiles.) It does this with a very simple user interface, and without the need to install an on-site system. ORIS Lynx neutralizes gray balance, improving overall color quality. Users significantly increase color print job consistency, repeatability, and productivity.
The InterTech judges were impressed by the SaaS approach offered by of ORIS Lynx, utilizing device link profiles to meet color targets and match specifications, said Dr. Mark Bohan, Printing Industries of America Vice President of Technology and Research. They also appreciated, he said, that the solution makes it easier for small and medium sized printers to achieve effective color control within their processes.
The product is so versatile that even novices can take advantage of ORIS Lynx’s robust color management. “A Press Matcher user will be familiar with the interface items in ORIS Lynx,” said one customer, “but a novice user will be able to successfully use the product without prior experience in Press Matcher.”
The ORIS Line
Besides the three award winners, CGS also demonstrated the latest versions of its ORIS suite of products. These included ORIS Color Tuner //Web, for contract color proofing on inkjet devices, as well as precise color control on a broad array of wide format defives. ORIS Press Matcher also drew an audience, eager to maintain consistent color across their entire ”fleet” of digital presses—often from different manufacturers and in widely scattered locations. ORIS Certified //Web was also on display—not only at the CGS booth but also at development partner Xerox’s booth, where it was an integral part of another Must See ’Ems award: the Xerox IntegratedPLUS Automated Color Management system.
“PRINT and Graph Expo have become annual celebrations for CGS,” Haworth said. “Customers continue to visit our booth in impressive numbers—not only to seek our advice, but to see what has become of our many discussions during past shows. I think everyone comes away satisfied.”