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Images Served to Order

(November 2003) posted on Tue Nov 18, 2003

A new kind of asset manager delivers the right image at the right time

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By Jake Widman

The big move has begun to happen over the last 18 months, says Mack. "People have started to ask, 'I have this value proposition for the Web, but can I leverage that image across all my media?'" The move is still led by retailers, he says--still being driven by typical image-intensive businesses. The next release of the Infinite Imaging Server (due out in the third quarter of 2003), according to Mack, will focus heavily on print in general--the number-one customer request for the next version is for the ability to carry ICC profiles through the process.

The Infinite Imaging Platform is already being used for some print purposes, such as recent campaigns by Venus Swimwear, a direct marketer of junior swimwear. For some promotions, the company has repurposed photography from previous years, updating the swimwear with this year's patterns and colors. Venus even produced a 48-ft. billboard with images from the Infinite platform and claims to have saved 75% on photography costs by doing it that way.

The 2.0 release of the Adobe Graphics Server, which started shipping last December, was similarly mainly focused on print workflows because of customer demand. To that end, Adobe enhanced the product's image size and resolution capabilities and also focused on profiles: "We can do RGB to CMYK conversion," says Lundberg, "and apply profiles in either direction." The new version of the Graphics Server can also convert an image from one color space to another.

Lundberg even envisions the Graphics Server being used for document production. He posits a scenario in which the Server would be the basis of an automated advertising solution: a user could log onto the server, select an advertising template, and have the images generated to order and assembled into an ad.

Print from the beginning

All this talk about automatic server-based image generation may sound familiar to those who've used OPI (Open Prepress Interface) systems. OPI systems, which date back to 1989, work by automatically creating a low-resolution FPO version of an image stored on a server. Designers use the low-resolution image in their layouts, and the high-resolution original gets swapped into place at print time.