Take (pre)flight with FlightCheck Pro 6.8
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Take (pre)flight with FlightCheck Pro 6.8


By David Creamer

Most printers are familiar with FlightCheck from Markzware (www.markzware.com), an US$99 standalone preflight application; however, with less-experienced users doing more work in-house, the need for proper preflight -- a checklist of inspection points that must meet certain criteria -- increases every day.

Designers and production artists have always used checklists to make sure something important wasn’t overlooked, but FlightCheck was the first software to automate the process.

FlightCheck Professional 6.8 has a large array of customizable settings, and supports many native applications, including QuarkXPress 9, InDesign CS5.5, Illustrator CS5.5, Photoshop CS5.5, and PDF files (up to Acrobat X). Plus, if you have the software installed (not always a requirement), FlightCheck can run you through the native files to fix the problem(s), and then it collects the job with all linked graphics and fonts -- even fonts activated with most font managers.

Settings (Ground Controls) for native files and PDFs can be customized and shared with other users and you could probably ask the printer for a copy of the settings (password-protected to prevent unwanted modifications). The list of available options for inspection is too extensive to cover here, but a 30-day demo and documentation is available online.

Although Photoshop InDesign CS4 (and later) has a decent built-in preflight, it doesn’t include such features as advanced inspection of linked graphics; separate settings for small text and rules as black-only or color; and there’s no in-between flag -- InDesign check items are either OK or Error. Acrobat Pro has built-in preflight to fix minor issues with PDFs, but most printers have to deal with native files once in a while. And Acrobat only catches problems late in the production cycle. Granted, the combination of InDesign and Acrobat can catch most problems, if set up properly.

If you’re using QuarkXPress, Illustrator, or Photoshop, you have fewer options for preflight, although QuarkXPress has Job Jackets. lllustrator doesn’t have built-in font and linked-graphic collection, and Photoshop can’t collect fonts, although Illustrator and Photoshop can Save As a PDF to embed the fonts/graphics.

One major problem I have with FlightCheck Professional 6.8 is that it’s Mac only. When FlightCheck first appeared, Macintosh computers dominated the print industry, but many corporations today are doing in-house marketing and advertising, and I’d guess it’s a 50/50 split between Mac and Windows. The older FlightCheck Windows version is nowhere to be found on Markzware’s website -- although they did say that updating the Windows version was being looked into this year.

The only other problem I found with FlightCheck Professional 6.8 is that the floating windows are not enlargeable. They can be hard to read on a high-resolution monitor.

Why do you need to spend $400 to check your files after you just spent a grand for design software? Well, as stated above, InDesign’s preflight isn’t comprehensive, QuarkXPress -- Job Jackets are hard to set up, and other programs don’t have built-in preflight or collection. Perhaps the real questions should be: How much time is lost fixing problems found at the printer?; or, How much money (and time) is wasted from jobs being reprinted?

Printers dealing strictly with PDF files could stay with Acrobat to preflight files but customers would have to fix the errors, causing delays in schedules or they could just run the jobs as GIGO (garbage-in-garbage-out); neither of which makes for repeat business. FlightCheck Professional 6.8, used early and often during the production cycle, could pay for itself by catching one major problem in a reasonably sized print job.

(Note: I should disclose that I’m an authorized trainer for Markzware FlightCheck but that just means I think it’s a good product!)

Rating: 8 out of 10

(This review is brought to you courtesy of "Layers Magazine": http://layersmagazine.com/ .)

 
AAPL
$112.70
Apple Inc.
+0.92
GOOG
$524.21
Google Inc.
+7.86
MSFT
$47.84
Microsoft Corpora
+0.18
MacNews Search:
Community Search:

Latest Forum Discussions

See All
view counter

view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter

DICETINY is coming to iOS in 2015
DICETINY is coming to iOS in 2015 Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] Fakedice has announced that they’re bringing their digital board game DICETINY to iOS. | Read more »
Living Room 3D for IKEA Makes All In-App...
Living Room 3D for IKEA Makes All In-App Purchases Free Until 2015 Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Crossbow Warrior – The Legend of William...
Crossbow Warrior – The Legend of William Tell Review By Lee Hamlet on December 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: MISSES THE MARKUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Crossbow Warrior details the entertaining adventures of legendary bowman William Tell. Unfortunately, the gameplay can’t live up to the legend. | Read more »
Workflow: Powerful Automation Made Simpl...
Workflow: Powerful Automation Made Simple Review By Campbell Bird on December 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: GO WITH THE FLOWUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad This powerful app lets users accomplish multiple tasks at touch of a button in a way that is more visual than some of the competition. | Read more »
My Little Monster Review
My Little Monster Review By Jordan Minor on December 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: IT'S ALIVE!Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad What’s it worth to make your own monster?   | Read more »
Galaxy Trucker Pocket (Games)
Galaxy Trucker Pocket 1.0.8 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.8 (iTunes) Description: Galaxy Truckers Wanted!=================================================================(5/5) "Galaxy Trucker isn’t merely the best board game on iPad this year, it’s the best board game on iPad ever." - Pocket Tactics | Read more »
Make your own Tribez Figures (and More)...
Make your own Tribez Figures (and More) with Toyze Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
So Many Holiday iOS Sales Oh My Goodness...
The holiday season is in full-swing, which means a whole lot of iOS apps and games are going on sale. A bunch already have, in fact. Naturally this means we’re putting together a hand-picked list of the best discounts and sales we can find in order to make your own App Store holiday shopping easier. Things are already kicking off with an... | Read more »
It’s Bird vs. Bird in the New PvP Mode f...
It’s Bird vs. Bird in the New PvP Mode for Angry Birds Epic Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Telltale Games and Mojang Announce Minec...
Telltale Games and Mojang Announce Minecraft: Story Mode – A Telltale Games Series Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
All contents are Copyright 1984-2010 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.