QuickPrep offers the following features that enhance the program’s usability:
|File Management||At a minimum, a QuickPrep job folder consists of two sub-folders, one containing the layout for a single print item, the other containing the n-up plate that specifies the size and position of the layout as repeated in the plate, as well as any printer’s marks. An unlimited number of layouts and n-up plates can be contained in a job.
Rather than copying the layout data into the plate, QuickPrep provides a dynamic link. This means that continuing changes to a print item in a layout are automatically reflected in all occurrences of that item in the plate.
This includes the assignment of spot colors to elements within the layout. For each such assignment, the element is moved to the identical position in the supplemental layout created for that spot color, as well as the corresponding positions in that color’s plate.
Data storage and processing times are minimized by this linkage concept, as well as by the use of 1-bit TIFFs for all of a layout’s single color elements. Plates are also TIFF files of minimum size that can be saved and reused via the Import and Export Plate Layout functions. Job output can be directed to a “spool” folder monitored by the platesetter’s RIP.
|Scanning and Libraries||Print items are scanned into layouts, either directly into a layout linked to a plate, a “pasteboard” layout in the job folder, or a layout in a “library” folder contained in the job folder or anywhere in the network file system. In fact, any folder containing TIFFs can serve as a “library”. When scanned, print items are either centered and cropped to fit the receiving layout, or the layout is sized to the item.|
|Despeckling||Despeckling is based on user-modifiable settings that specify the horizontal and vertical speck size in pixels. This enables the program to avoid including parts of characters and punctuation marks as specks. After specks are detected they are highlighted on screen allowing the user to confirm correct detection before they are erased. Regions on a layout can also be selected to exclude speck detection.|
|Fill and Sand||A "Fill" function is provided to fix broken type or lines in a selected region or the whole layout by adding missing pixels.
The "Sand" function is used to make type or lines thinner. Sanding can also serve as an additional despeckling tool by erasing specks that would require a speck detection tolerance large enough to erase portions of small text data.
|Deskewing||Deskewing utilizes either a baseline pixel analysis or a designated horizontal or vertical reference line rather than side margins for more reliability in straightening layouts. This process can be applied to any portion of a layout specified by the Frame Selection tool.|
|Layout Editing||Layout editing supports Copy, Cut and Paste functions using the Windows Clipboard that permits data exchange with other applications that can generate bitmapped data structures.
A sophisticated Guide Management capability provides the precise measurements needed for the accurate insertion and repositioning of page elements.
User-selectable alignment points facilitate “snap-to” positioning of elements added to or moved within a layout. Such elements can include text entered at the keyboard, which can be formatted by specifying the typeface, size, attributes (bold, italic), rotation and percentage of black.
In addition, layouts or selected areas can be rotated, scaled, reversed, flipped, or tinted. The tonal range for image areas, represented as screened 1-bit data, can also be modified. Boxes and rules can be added to layouts.
|Image Linking, Replacement, and Editing||Frames for additional images can be added to a layout. As with other layout content, the image is automatically repeated in all occurrences of that layout in the plate. This simplifies many types of jobs, including the addition of a photo to a business card.
Subsequent to linking an image to the frame, available editing functions include size, position, scaling, rotation, border width, and gamma. Since these linked images exist as TIFFs in the file system, they can continue to be modified by any compatible image editing program.
For output, any linked images can be flattened to a single TIFF layer or maintained as grayscale (or composite color) in additional layers.
|Job Templates||The processing of repetitive jobs can be automated by using job templates. At a minium, a job template consists of a properly sized blank layout linked to multiple positions in a plate. When a new job is created using that template, the only function required to build the plate is to scan the new print item into the layout and output the finished plate.
If the job represents additional work for a customer based on some amount of repeated content, then that content can be saved in the layout as well. This minimizes the amount of new data to be scanned. In fact, the new or “variable” data can also be entered at the keyboard or pasted from another application.