In a move which consolidates a number of recent advances to its popular multi-functional RIPs, Shiraz Software has announced a raft of upgrades in new versions of its key software platforms for large-format output. While RIP Server v6.7 and the single-printer Signature v7.5 now encompass the potent, popular Adobe PDF plug-in as well as other important enhancements, Focus v3 includes innovative productivity features for photographic and fine art production.
Following from the commercial success and positive response to its Adobe PDF plug-in in October 2009, Shiraz has elected to incorporate it as standard in both RIP Server v6.7, for production environments with multiple devices, and Signature v7.5. This will provide users with an impressive level of accuracy and reliability when taking advantage of the software's full PDF handling functionality.
Adding to the fully HP-certified support for its latex printing technologies, Shiraz RIP Server v6.7 includes a throng of drivers for new machines. Users of Epson's Stylus Pro 7700 and 9700 are now fully represented, as well as those using the Stylus Pro 3800 with RGB ICC profiling enabled. Several members of Canon's imagePrograf family—the iPF650, 655, 750, 755, 6300, 6350, 8300 and 8310—feature, as well as Mimaki's solvent-based CJV-30 print-and-cut series, the UV-curable flatbed JFX machines and the hybrid UJV-160.
Version 7.5 of Shiraz Signature is bidding to become the most versatile, efficient and diverse low-cost platform on the market for single-printer users with a multitude of new, productivity-based components. A print mode widget allows a full list of configuration parameters and their values to be adjusted within given tolerances, providing owners the power to fine-tune their device to their specific requirements. Also, a new integrated tool for image browsing and management enables users to place multiple images quickly and automatically within the layout module. The interactive tiling feature has been further enhanced to allow for various production requirements, such as reverse printing and user tile selections.
Powerful graphical enhancements also star in the latest round of upgrades to Shiraz Signature, including refinement of fully ICC aware image previews which show accurate rendering of images as would be printed. Any color correction and changes on images are reflected instantaneously, enabling users to print with the confidence that their graphic will be reproduced accurately. Job templates can also be created, saved and modified for future reloading, offering an important time saving on standardized, regular or repeat work.
Focus v3 for the photographic and fine art markets benefits from a bundle of versatile new options, including further inclusion of pre-print image manipulation. While the core usability and layout enjoyed by users of Shiraz Focus has not changed, the main application now allows them to save and recall jobs, edit images in batches and add various frames and crop marks.
Shiraz's developers have counteracted the need to switch between a third-party image editing application and Focus v3 by developing a new image editor element. Basic enhancements—such as brightness/contrast, hue, saturation and lightness, color balance and gamma—can be applied live with a before and after image showing the changes. Sharpen, blur, noise and despeckle filters are available, as are greyscale, colorization and sepia effects, and standard save as, zoom and undo/redo tools also feature. Key to the utility is the ability to save edits as special filters that can then be applied to other images or a batch, a function which promises users a vital reduction in image preparation time. All corrections and enhancements are previewed accurately and simulate the printed output exactly.
The updated Shiraz Focus package also sees an extension of the photo-pack editor to incorporate, amongst other features, variable data printing. A text box can be placed anywhere in the file containing user text or metadata, enabling series numbering or inclusion of EXIF data from the attached images. Operators can add and manipulate frames and borders to ensure precise fitting for the end application; various options for automatic canvas wrapping are also included, such as automatic mirroring of edges.
"The Shiraz suite has always aimed to combine accessibility with advanced image and printer configuration where desired, and these new versions of Focus, Signature and RIP Server offer just that," said Ramin Shahbazi, business development director for Shiraz Software. "Incorporating the Adobe PDF functionality is a prime example confirmed by other key developments across the board. It's clear that Shiraz's reasonably-priced offerings provide not just the top-end engineering but also the comprehensive flexibility for all users to get the most from their RIP."
Shiraz RIP Server v6.7, Shiraz Signature v7.5 and Shiraz Focus v3 are all available for the latest Windows 7 and Mac OSX 10.6 platforms. All products can be used in conjunction with the company's dedicated online support platform, CoverPlus. This web-based facility provides an automated ticketing system whereby users' incidents are logged and tracked by number. Responses are logged in a secure database to allow engineers access to a full history of previous problems, thereby personalizing the support process.
Shiraz Software provides software, workflow management and RIP solutions for all users of wide-format inkjet printers, with products including its Server options for businesses running multiple printers and Signature, which is designed as an entry-level stand-alone solution. All versions are fully upgradable and are available for Windows, Macintosh and Linux platforms. A low-cost image management and printing option, Shiraz Focus, is also available for professional photographers. All current releases are fully compatible with Windows 7 and Macintosh OSX Snow Leopard (10.6).