Xerox Corporation today announced software that cuts several steps out of the production of photo specialty products, such as greeting cards, photo books and calendars.
Designed for retailers, photo labs and commercial printers, Xerox’s FreeFlow Photo Automation Tool includes more than 50 templates for common photo specialty jobs. It readies them for printing by automatically applying color management and paper types such as pages in a photo album or a sheet of trading cards. It offers an affordable and simple workflow for print providers entering the photo market or looking to increase production capacity.
InfoTrends projects that the U.S. photo merchandise market – a category that encompasses photo cards, photo books, photo calendars and specialty photo prints – will achieve a compound annual growth rate of 22 percent from 2008 through 2013, with revenues surpassing $2.5 billion.1
“A real challenge for our customers in the photo market is the amount of manual steps involved with producing the applications,” said Philippe Laude, vice president of photo and packaging within Xerox’s Global Business and Strategic Marketing Group. “Print providers can charge a premium for photo jobs, but it can cost a lot in terms of set-up time. This tool automates many time-consuming steps while ensuring optimal print quality.”
Printing photo applications has traditionally been a manual process that required significant time and expertise. Print providers number and lay out pages, apply color settings, choose a paper type and size, then submit the job for print. The FreeFlow Photo Automation Tool virtually eliminates these steps, making the job submission easy and almost instantaneous.
The FreeFlow Photo Automation Tool is designed to work in conjunction with Xerox partners’ photo authoring software. It takes the customer’s order, created online or at a kiosk, from the point of submission through print – by automatically creating a print-ready file tailored for the digital press and finishing available in their shop. Additionally, the tool provides a native JPEG hot folder submission process when images need to be printed quickly or when an index print is required without any other processing.
Livingston Camera, a New Jersey-based photo retailer with two stores, uses the Xerox DocuColor® 242 to digitally produce greeting cards, calendars and photo books. The FreeFlow Photo Automation Tool saves settings for Livingston Camera’s most popular photo specialty products. Walk-up photo kiosk customers simply select what they want printed and the solution completes the job processing steps automatically.
FreeFlow Photo Automation Tool will be available in the U.S. starting on May 1 on the Xerox iGen3® and iGen4™ Presses; other color production print systems to follow in June and July.