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DocuSlim is the panacea for all production departments. It checks a QuarkXPress document and automatically processes its images in Photoshop via the dedicated Image Robot plug-in and action set. Excess areas are cropped, images are resized and replaced at 100 per cent, and turned or skewed to be re-imported at zero rotation. It can even convert RGB images to CMYK, flip LZW compression for TIFFs, and resample to a set resolution.
The main processing dialog now offers control over each individual process, including colour-space change to greyscale, the ability to ignore master-page items, and whether to process the current page, spread or full document. Files in a particular folder can be ignored; as can images whose resolutions fall outside a range. Pasteboard items can be deleted automatically.
DocuSlim never overwrites existing files, renaming the optimized images and resulting XPress document. It used to be awkward to pick out optimized versions in a folder full of images, but v.2 lets you save all new images to a specific folder. The settings can be saved as a preset.
The Enhanced version of DocuSlim takes the process a stage further. The file format for all images can be set to TIFF or EPS, though care has to be taken when working with colourized greyscale TIFFs. These lose their colouring when converted to EPS, and yet still appear to be coloured in QuarkXPress.
Another useful Enhanced facility is that of processing each instance of an image. A magazine might use a large version of an image in a feature and a thumbnail of it on the contents pages. Each is handled as though it was a different image, labelling the optimized versions differently.
And with the direct connection into Photoshop, DocuSlim can also make use of other action sets. Call up a Photoshop plug-in and use an effect on all selected images. There’s even a facility to create low-resolution versions of images for use with OPI software or Gluon’s own ArtSwapper application.
DocuSlim is a lifesaver. Projects that would usually have to be burnt to CD and posted can be reduced in size and sent by ISDN or even as an emailed attachment – I’ve seen a 120MB A2 poster reduced to 12MB!
DocuSlim now recognizes non-Photoshop images, and visually shows which file is currently being optimized. It has a few quirks; the estimated disk-image size after optimization is sometimes way out, and it occasionally messes up text runarounds, but all-in-all it’s a superb utility and thoroughly recommended.