The rise of the PDF format has been interesting, especially with Adobe InDesign and Illustrator 9 using it as a standard file-format. However, for those of us who work in pre-press and/or publishing, there’s still a problem – namely, how to edit and correct PDF files. PitStop Pro 4.5, an Acrobat 4 plug-in, may be the answer.
To start with, a PDF file’s quirks have to be analysed. PitStop Pro’s Preflight Panel is brilliant for this, coming with seven profiles that include Acrobat’s three standards, plus the likes of CD-ROM publishing and mono-laser printer. No preflighter is easy to use, but this one produces a comprehensible report that can be followed up – unlike Adobe InProduction, which requires a much higher level of understanding.
A file with mixed CMYK and RGB images and colours is a common problem. Previously, PitStop Pro could handle only global colour changes. Now it can also convert pixel images from RGB to CMYK, and also supports ICC profiling of individual images.
With CTP (computer to plate) from a PDF workflow becoming more fashionable, it’s important to keep file sizes down. PitStop Pro can now resample images using one of three techniques: average downsampling, subsampling and bicubic downsampling.
Take the common font problem of an embedded TrueType typeface that simply won’t RIP to an imagesetter. Such a font can now be changed globally with additional adjustment of character and word spacing. In fact, PitStop Pro 4.5 can change numerous objects globally, as well as page-related characteristics, including the various page boxes. Of these, the trim box is probably the most important, as it dictates the final physical size of the document. Objects that fall outside of this box can be removed.
Of all the new features, the most powerful has to be the Action List. Almost any repetitive task can be carried out as a sequence with the default list of 15 actions – including various conversions, resizing and resampling operations. The “grab undo” facility, where a bunch of edits can be reviewed as a list, and the “save as action list” function in global changes, make user macros relatively straightforward to create.
The list of excellent new features in PitStop Pro 4.5 is long. You can even replace an object with one from another PDF and then manipulate it into position by scaling and rotating – although this isn’t compatible with InProduction. If editing – in the production sense – is important to you, then PitStop Pro 4.5 is an essential tool.