Sign-making systems

The three modules together made a complete package for creating and printing signs on ink-jet printers, screen printing systems, vinyl cutters and plotters. The main news was an effort to expand its business by restructuring it into two products. One has the complete facilities for creating signs and printing them. The other, called a “RIP and print” system, does just that.

It rasterizes and outputs jobs already composed. Those two products are:

* PhotoPrint, which includes software for importing, rasterizing and printing jobs, as well as setting them up and managing the job.

* PhotoPrint Designer, which includes all of those capabilities plus software for creating signs.  A Windows version was scheduled to be available early in September and Mac version 30 days later.

Functions. PhotoPrint Designer has a lot of the functionality of other graphics packages on the market: autotracing like Corel Draw, Color Fill like Scitex and a variety of features from Photoshop. It will support importing or scanning images, creating text and special effects, performing image manipulation, gradation changes, layout of the elements of the sign, and rasterizing and printing. While we didn’t get a good demonstration, we did read the manuals, where we found some interesting features that may make it worth looking at as a dedicated sign maker. Some other examples:

* Text is always editable, even after effects have been applied. It is very easy to create outline text of user-specified widths. It is very easy to create and manipulate text on an arc, to employ other distortion features and to create perspective shadows.

* Gradients are easy to create and can be saved for future use.

* After creating a design that suits one need, the user can convert that design into a format to be used later to create another, similar object – the old “compose from model” feature that dominated the display ad market years ago.

* It supports some non-Roman languages that aren’t easy to compose, including Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and Korean.

* Patterns can be made into fill elements and the substrate color can be adjusted.

None of these features is unique, but they do offer a single package with a single user interface to learn. And if you want special effects for the sign market, you can look at vinyl sign supplies from

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