Newspaper Production Process Integration
in the JDF Environment
University of Zagreb, Faculty of Graphics Art, Zagreb
Vjesnik d.d., Slavonska avenija 4, Zagrab,
University of Zagreb, Faculty of Graphics Art, Zagreb
Abstract: The digital integration of production flow in newspaper production depends a great deal on the development and the implementation of computer technology. The development of exterior modular units that integrate with the existing production processes is undergoing continuous improvement and tends to become a unique production process. Each production coherency is special in its own way requiring the development of specific integration tools as well as graphic language communication development. Modernization of newspaper publishing houses is most evident in creating automatic computer communication (prepress – press – postpress CIP3) that integrates the distribution, i.e. the personalization of products. The improvement of the up-to-date manual control through the XML language (Extensible Markup Language) creates the ground for linking communication under the CIP4 (#1) consortium within the JDF (Job Definition Format, #2) range. Database development through relation links is made possible by the SOL language (Structured Query Language). Control information has the tendency to create linkage within the production recourses in the form of vertical system integration. Graphic industry integration does not end in the range of production departments only, but a predisposition is made for creating a virtual graphic and publishing media uniting e-publishing and e-sales.
Keywords: CIM, JDF, CIP4, XML, Workflow
Graphic technology development within different production systems correlates with the development of computer science and its exponential growth. Global development is still to be expected thanks to the proposed graphic communication standard – JDF that will enable overall production process integration on different production platforms. The development and integration of graphic production including the publishing business is controlled and monitored by CIP4 (International Consortium for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress) with their headquarters in Switzerland. Systematization of workflows and production technologies of different areas in the graphic industry has added to the overall integration in communication in all publishing and printing activity segments.
Production process organizing makes use of the installed network interconnections providing information exchange in all production directions. Functional applications are created as a basis for production node construction and the initial point for executive function distribution.
Each innovation in digital communication requires certain unknowns in operation and this creates the need for a whole group of new form virtual simulation in information exchange. A large number of conferences and education seminars are held nowadays in this direction because the new manner of operation is an unknown to the majority of traditional graphic workers. Real world systems are pressed with deadlines, limitation of material use, machine exploitation so that printing process research and production improvement is carried out through simulation. There is a need for creating new ways of learning and training because the graphic operator must be able to work in a much wider field of printing business variety than was the case up to date. Computer controlled integrated production alters control structure and communications.
2. Information Flow Inside CIP3/PPF
CIP3 (#4) as a new standard for graphic production is founded on PostScript format and interprets a page that is being printed with all its relevant input attribute information. It is possible to sort out into several subgroups the written defined prerequisites for integration of different production recourse potentials:
· Reproduction material basic data (producer, production date, technical
characteristics of the product, each internal code is given for each palette or
roll in respect to paper) quantity of color used for each printing unit
· Transmission curves digital base. The first one is the transmission of tone
values to the film, and the second curve shows the transmission of tone values
onto the printing form, most often the offset plate and
· Postpress subgroup – the postpress phase, i.e. the position of marks for cutting
on the high-speed cutter and the bending position marks on the paper sheet.
The manner and type of binding is described by the distribution list (Picture 1)
Picture 1 – CIP3/PPF as a concept of input and output information relations
The variety of code records is generated through parameters that are input information carriers and in a certain form they are not unified and do not provide the necessary production process standardization. A solution is provided in the PPF (Print Production Format) implementing transparent exchange of information through production segments including input recourse values. The transfer of information in the form of textual or image form is not successful in most cases when other code records are used (TIFF, for instance), and it was therefore decided that PostScript would be the language of communication due to its open architecture and flexible operability with the possibility of connecting with other operative systems.
Information transfer within different coordinate environment is defined according to the rule of sliding pairs, i.e. the real number on x and y ordinate position is defined within the two-dimensional defined area. The initial location is marked, the position within the x and y axis and the length of each unit positioned in the said space systems. The basic parameters defining the transformation within the imagined ideal x-film and y-film co-ordinates and scanner co-ordinates xd and yd (in raster units) are:
· x-y center (cen) position for the template or the direct raster unit carrier,
· w_c (raster angle between xf and xd), and
· The K scale factor for correction of crystal raster distortion and the c through f
co-ordinate system template
Angle transformation within two co-ordinate systems is given in millimeters and is shown in ideal conditions as follows:
xd = x_cen + K*(xf*cos(w_c) – yf*sin(w_c) ) *mm_rast_x
yd = y_cen + K*(xf*sin(w_c) + yf*cos(w_c) ) *mm_rast_y
The transformation shown requires the use of a matrix record in describing the two-dimensional system P=(x,y) that is later given in the vector record [ x y 1] where figure 1 determines a certain operation such as scaling, rotation or translation.
There is an initiative on behalf of the Committee for the Graphic Industry and Standards (CGATS) and proposal to introduce and to implement a unique code standard within the graphic industry production flows.
3. CIM System Integration in the JDF Environment
Automated production with different variables was inaccessible to the graphic industry until recently, and this made quality control as well as production process control more difficult. Through computer science integration certain possibilities have come up for control processes remote control as well as for creating input parameter databases. Computer science technologies enable the control of each production segment beginning from the input parameters where there is no longer exchange of documents from the digital record into the analogue and vice versa. Automated production in the graphic industry does not only depend on CIM integration, but also on the communication within prepress-press-postpress production systems and also of their environment connecting Business operations control, Production control and Production Recourses. The basic prerequisite of information exchange is the digitalization of all information into the XML (Extensible Markup Language) located on the Internet or Intranet browser.
The new standard of graphic communication recommended by the CIP4 Consortium is implemented into workflows with the help of the JDF protocol described in the native language in XML codes with a control mechanism. Only the proposed manner of communication providing two-side information exchange and based on XML technology provides full integration of disunited graphic departments. Further progress in the direction of integration does not leave room for the type of communication used till now and formulated in the CIP3/PPF record, but finds its initial source in the JDF workflow description and the basis is the XML language installed by web technology and controlled by World- Wide-Web Consortium (W3C).
The basic difference in communication between JDF and other options is in its universal qualities, i.e. the way it provides information flow on various platforms and various existing applicative systems that do not require additional investments. Internet connections provide more operative functions in the operation process and this requires an additional number of control levels in the development process, and marketing and commercial logistics are also provided. JDF is the only format that provides bridging of machines produced by different producers and also provides integration with MIS (Managing Information Systems) giving the possibility for production process supervision. The JMF (Job Messaging Format) takes over the effective control of time standards in the completed work phases throughout all operation processes as a computer science support in dynamic information exchange.
Contemporary proposed solutions in the form of completed workflow solutions do not require certain steps forward as to quality because such systems are not generally modified for different graphic industry profiles. Each publishing and printing company should build its own workflow implementing operation processes with recourse moduls based on XML interconnections with workflow descriptions in the JDF record.
4. JDF nodes as basic information carriers in respect to production structure
Information exchange within production departments is carried out with the help of logic node points forming a hierarchic control pyramid. Node points have the function of describing production processes implementing and terminating the overall executive process with executive technical characteristics for creating the wished product. JDF nodes contain the attributes and elements, whereas elements contain their own attributes and sub-elements that contain their own different elements too.
The basic node point division is based on dividing the information characteristic for a product, i.e. executive control decisions. Product nodes describe basic information in respect to the product as well as the job goal, including commercial information, and they create the production pyramid top. Process nodes as the carriers of executive production phases describe the product in its fundamental executive functions whereas fundamental individual nodes describe a narrow field of targeted job goals. The basic elements describe the XML syntax construction where JDF nodes sub-groups are created within specific job phases. The relationship within the nodes is divided into two categories, hierarchic or lateral.
The JDF job information is the XML document with tagging characteristics where its conceptual system is shown integrating job nodes. Resource information flows towards the production nodes with their input-output parameters. In most situations the output information of individual nodes is the input information of the nodes following after them where process and resource information is exchanged. Besides unified workflows of certain production phases, by controlling process phases a commercial manager makes the necessary extensions of the existing nodes in accordance with market requirements. Production priorities are created ranging from 1 (the lowest) to 100 (the highest) and with each job order a priority level attribute is given, i.e. the execution order.
As an XML element the JDF node represents a production goal in the sense of a production process such as the individual work units performing sheet cutting, bending, clamming, trimming or the combination of the listed. Production orders for carrying out work operations are defined with the possibility of executive process combinations within different jobs.
5. XML technology in the integration of production applications
Structured information in the XML standard integrates the image and text as well as the characteristic marks distributing certain structured text segments in accordance with the added importance. A certain structure within the information is built, i.e. the interconnection through servers and text contents, tables, vector graphics, e- shopping, and other applications that are part of mechanism identification.
The basic reason for shifting over to the new XML markup language is its simplicity in operation, as well as the individual creativity in connection with relative databases used in production process elaboration. With the help of XML, the software approach to variable information from the printing industry area, especially newspaper production, is printed out in a more simplified manner in such a way that a certain corresponding structure is added to each segment. By installing an open architecture on the existing CIP3/PPF and Adobe PJTF standards, a predisposition is created for JDF that resolves the question of production means and direction control transparency in the role of a printing industry language.
XML enables creating one’s own record for different graphic presentation formats, and this simplifies information flow for different applications and enables the creating of one’s own XML language.
A graphic industry workflow describes internal production process automation and joining of job tasks with production recourses. JDF communication realized with the help of the XML language integrates software solutions on various production levels for the Internet or Intranet use. Protocols exchanging information are modified and are adapted in a specific way for individual job environments and do not render unified software solutions. By integrating information that describe job orders (metadata), the full aim and significance of XML automation is provided, and its application through the Web server. By investing into the development and application of a many-channel hypertextual document prerequisites for an industrial development aspect of the graphic industry are created.
By adapting the existing designer software solutions for page break (InDesign, QuarkXPress, PageMaker) according to web applications, automated graphic prepress is heading in its development towards the XML-ization of the whole production process. Different digital outputs are provided with greater flexibility such as Internet display, CD-ROMs, DVDs, e-books, FTP for the other publisher and other possibilities.
A more effective newspaper production yield is possible to achieve by connecting automated production systems into a unique workflow comprising the newspaper product construction, analysis of production flows, production process and a subsequent product analysis with corrective elements included.
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