Every designer knows that while specialist print finishes such as varnishes and metallics may look good, they are the devil’s own job to proof. From the start PrintDevizor promised 3D viewing of these difficult effects, and the latest release, version 2.1, finally delivers a cost effective, highly accurate proofer all done up in Universal binary.
PrintDevizor is now available in two versions – Standard and Pro. The Standard edition is good enough for most flat-sheet designs, while the more expensive Pro version includes the ability to fold it around boxes and cylinders, essential for packaging designs.
Version 2 also ushers in a new plug-in architecture. One of the criticisms of PrintDevizor in the past has been that the simulated effects didn’t always match the actual finish. It now comes with the Pantone Matching System and libraries from MetalFX and Eckart, as well as finishes from Celloglass, which include boards, foils and various lamination effects. The net result is extremely accurate rendering of a whole range of effects, including spot colours and metallic inks.
PrintDevizor is fairly intuitive to use. You can autobuild a 3D image from a PDF, or build up the effects manually, stage by stage. You can import most other graphics file formats, including TIFF, EPS, JPEG and Photoshop files, in either RGB or CMYK.
Build on layers
Typically, you would start by choosing a paper type and defining its texture and colour. Then you pick an effect, such as a spot colour, and the artwork you want to apply this to, which can be different layers within one file or from several. Then it’s simply a matter of applying the different effects to the various layers.
Each action, such as applying a spot colour is called an operation. Clicking on the Add New Operation button throws up the list of materials and effects. You can add spot colours, varnishes, embosses, foils or metal effects.
Each operation appears in a stack in the panel to the left of the main screen. You can select any operation and turn it off or go back and edit it to change colours or effects if you are playing around with different designs. Inevitably you soon build up quite a stack of different operations, and it can be hard to keep track of them.
Files can be viewed in a range of environments to see the effects of different lighting in a fairly accurate real-world environment. The standard version provides just a single office environment, but you can move the design closer to the window or to a shaded area, and rotate it to see how it reflects direct and indirect light. PrintDevizor Pro comes with eight other environments ranging from open air, to a music store.
You can use a coloured background, or add your own background photos, but you can’t test out the lighting effects from these, which would require high-density images. However, Stonecube could put together a bespoke environment for a larger customer.
You can output the final results as a QuickTime VR object movie, complete with the tools to manipulate the design to see the light playing over it. Alternatively, it can be output as a regular movie, with a choice of formats and compressions, or as a high-resolution image.
The first incarnation of PrintDevizor demanded a fairly heavy-duty graphics card, but you can now run it on virtually any Mac from the last couple of years. However, it is noticeably faster to render files on machines with better graphics cards.
If you’re already using version 2 it’s worth upgrading to 2.1, which includes the ability to wrap designs around cylinders, as well as the libraries for Quark and Adobe. It also sorts out a number of annoying bugs and runs natively on Intel Macs.
If you don’t use foils, metallic inks and other specialised finishes then Print Devizor isn’t for you. However, if you do use these effects, there really isn’t any comparable alternative capable of soft-proofing such a wide range of special finishes under different lighting conditions.