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If you look back over the last 25 years or so, it's obvious that PostScript has played a large part in the world of printing, graphic design and publishing. However, we know that things like PDF and transparency, which allow us to be more creative in new ways, aren't necessarily compatible with PostScript. In fact, that incompatibility alone is the only reason why we need transparency flattening to begin with. Now most of the image setters out there and most of the people who work in Pre Press are familiar with PostScript and those systems already in place. However, Adobe has been working on the next generation of technology to allow future publishing workflows to get even better.
One of those ways is through the Adobe PDF Print Engine. With this technology, the whole context of transparency flattening is no longer necessary. That's because the Adobe PDF Print Engine actually allows a printer to print PDF natively without any need for PostScript at all. Now the important thing to realize is that you can't buy the Adobe PDF Print Engine. The same way that you don't buy PostScript either. When you purchase a printer, that printer already supports a certain technology inside of it already. Adobe licenses PostScript to its partners who then in turn put that into their hardware.
The same thing applies to the Adobe PDF Print Engine. For example, Adobe goes to its partners like Xerox or Agfa and licenses the Adobe PDF Print Engine to their systems. In that way, printers will be able to process PDF files natively without the need for flattening at all. Now if you are a print service provider or a printer yourself, you might want to reach out to your own partners and find out more information about the Adobe PDF Print Engine. If you are a designer or a production artist on your own, you may inquire with the print service providers that you already work with on whether or not they have already integrated such systems, when do they plan to do so in the future? Over all though, the good news is that print is certainly not dead. As we can see, technology moves forward and hopefully with technologies like this in place, we are able to get our jobs printed faster, cheaper and looking just the way we need them to.
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