Products are the core of tFLOW prepress automation. Products combine assets such as cut paths, overlays, marks, logos, ICC profiles, etc., together with their respective proof, preflight, and finishing scripts. By just choosing the product type in tFLOW, you define how the file will be preflighted, what the proof will look like, and all of the finishing characteristics which will be added to the file to make it production ready.
To access the Product Manager, click on the settings icon in the upper right of the window and select Products:
You will see a list of the Products currently installed in your tFLOW system listed in alphabetical order. You may edit a Product from the list by double-clicking on its panel or by single-clicking the pencil icon of the product to the right. To create a new product, click the “Add Product” button at the bottom.
For the full list of all officially provided products as well as a description of what each product does, see the Aleyant support page
, and scroll down to tFLOW > SmartPrep Library > Enterprise. New products are added to tFLOW from time to time, and always appear here with their respective descriptions.
Create/Edit New Products
The product creation edit windows are the same, divided into four tabs: Main, Proof, Preflight and Finishing (tFLOW Enterprise only – tFLOW Professional does not have a Finishing tab).
- Product Name – Enter a descriptive name for the product so that you will be able to easily identify it from a drop-down list.
- Limit Product only to – Click the Select button to the right to select a company if you wish to limit this product to just one company. Most products are left open to work with all companies.
- Default – Check this box if you want this product to be the default selection in the product drop-down list during order creation. Defining a product as the default means it will always be used unless another is specified in its place, so it is recommended to use a general purpose product such as “Preflight Only” as Default.
- Proof Automation Script – defines all of the elements which will be available below to set options for. Notice how making different selections here updates the window and changes the list of On/Off buttons, drop-down lists and text boxes.
- Proof Creation – the proof may be created from one of three files: Original Artwork, Preflighted Artwork, or Finished Artwork.
- Create from Original Artwork – this is the least common option, as it will create the proof from the file which was originally uploaded. This means that if there are any issues with overprints, transparencies, unresolved spot colors, etc. they will continue to show incorrectly on the proof. This option is the closest to the “previews” available on most other online approval systems which do not have preflighting and advanced file processing.
- Create from Preflighted Artwork – the most common option. When the artwork is uploaded to tFLOW, it is preflighted and corrected for many common issues such as overprints, fonts, color space, etc. When this option is selected, the proof that is displayed to the customer uses the processed file to create the preview. This is very secure in that what is shown on the proof has a very high probability of printing the same way.
- Create from Finished Artwork – this option is chosen when you want to show the customer production information such a bleeds, cut marks, color bars, etc. Although less common, this option is used in some cases for more technically savvy customers who want to make sure the file is technically correct for production. Proofing with finished artwork means the preview is being created from the preflight AND the finishing steps of the product.
- Additional options. All further options listed on the proof tab depend on the chosen Proof Automation Script and will vary according to your selection. In general, options here will include whether or not you want to outline the artwork on the proof, at what resolution you want the proof created, what logo to place, and any additional information that should be included on the proof such as number of copies, substrate, file name, etc.
- Preflight Automation Script – defines all of the options which will be available below to set options for. Notice how making different selections here updates the window and changes the list of On/Off buttons, drop-down lists and text boxes.
- Options – All options listed on the preflight tab depend on the chosen Preflight Automation Script and will vary according to your selection. In general, options here include: check for size and a place to enter the width and height, if you want to resize in the event that the artwork size is wrong; what scaling factor you are using; minimum resolution you will permit for bitmap images; color conversion parameters; bleed method and amount; crop marks, text safety distance, and others. The list of options available for preflight number in the hundreds, so please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding any particular checks or fixes you are looking for which are not already included in the preflight script.
Finishing (tFLOW Enterprise only)
- Finishing Automation Script – Defines all of the options which will be available below to set options for. Notice how making different selections here updates the window and changes the list of On/Off buttons, drop-down lists and text boxes.
- Options – All options listed on the finishing tab depend on the chosen Finishing Automation Script and will vary according to your selection. In general, options here include: adding bleed, additional material, cut paths, overlays, grommet marks, white ink layer, production information such as barcode, job number, thumbnails, scaling the artwork, and outlining the bleed and trim boxes. The list of options available for finishing number in the hundreds, so please contact email@example.com if you have any questions regarding any particular finishing options you are looking for which are not already included in any of the finishing scripts.
Once you have created or edited a product, it will be available in the Product drop-down list when creating or editing Orders and Jobs. Note that any values you set in the product will be the default for all Orders and Jobs which use that product. If you are continually changing product parameters when creating Orders or Jobs (whether in proofing, preflighting, or finishing), it is recommended that you return to the product and adjust your settings so that they reflect your most common use case. Once the settings are updated in the product, they will be the new default on any newly created Orders and Jobs.
To manage the items available in the drop-down lists such as proof scripts, preflight scripts, finishing scripts, grommets, cut paths, and logos, see the section “Asset Manager
The script selection allows the choice of Variable Values. Sometimes a script needs an update or an addition. In this case it is helpful to have the possibility to retain the product variable values when selecting a new script.
The selection script pop-ups for Proof, Preflight and Finishing provide two options:
- Retain Product Values: this will preserve the variable values. It is required that the new script preserve the internal variable names. This way the system will be able assign the existing custom values to each variable.
- Use Script Values: when selected, the values of the variables will be reset to the script defaults.
In order to speed up the creation of product variants, it is possible to configure a product and then make an exact copy, including the script selection and variable settings. This function helps when we need to define a product group where most of the properties are exactly the same (bleed, grommets, etc.) but we need to manage different sizes.