tFLOW Custom Products Specification

What is a tFLOW Product?
Products, which are the core of tFLOW prepress automation, are made up of three components:
    1. Proofing  
    2. Preflighting
    3. Finishing   
The Proof Script automates proof creation based on layout templates and the information to be included in the proof.   The Preflight Script defines which elements will be checked during preflight and which will be fixed automatically.  In addition, the preflight script also assigns the severity of issues which are found in the file and assigns the labels for Errors, Warnings, and Information.  The Finishing Script (tFLOW Enterprise only) applies production specific modifications to the file such as the adding of bleed, fold lines, barcodes, cropping, and many other elements. These three scripts work in conjunction with automation assets such as cut paths, overlays, marks, logos, ICC profiles, etc. 
When creating your product, you may modify the default values of the current product without changing any scripts, replace any script with a new script in combination with the others (for example, add a new proof script but maintain the preflight and finishing scripts), or create all three scripts to form a completely new product.


tFLOW preflight script

1. Basic Information
The preflight script is used to check and correct artwork as soon as it is uploaded to tFLOW. The goal of the preflight script is to check the incoming file to make sure it meets production requirements, as well as to attempt to fix the most common problems.  The preflight script is also the only step that triggers a preflight error in tFLOW, changing the job status to “ON HOLD” and sending an alert.
2. The default preflight
tFLOW is running a powerful preflight script that is already configured to check and fix the most common issues.
The list below demonstrates some of the actions which are performed in this step:
  • Size checking
  • Resize artwork based different logic
  • Remove elements outside the live area such as cropmarks, control strips, registration marks, annotations.
  • Convert RGB and LAB colors to CMYK using an ICC based color management system.
  • Optionally convert spot colors to CMYK with the possibility to exclude channels used for finishing purposes like cut controur, dielines, etc..
  • Convert all fonts to outlines
  • Check and adjust the bleed using different methods
  • Add crop marks where needed
  • Check the safety distance of both text and images
  • Check for missing fonts
  • Check for minimum font size
  • Check for minimum line width
  • Check the maximum ink coverage
  • Flatten transparencies
  • Add a barcode outside the live (trim) area
  • Manage overprints and white knockout
All of these fixes and checks are managed through variables, so you do not need multiple scripts for different parameters.  As an example, for size you can pass along height and width information, which will auto-configure tFLOW to use the correct dimensions to check and resize the file as needed.
In the event you need a special check or fix not present in the above list you can request a custom preflight script.
3. Material to provide
For all custom preflight script requests, please provide the following when filling out the product request form:
  1. A complete description of the requested element. Describe as precisely as possible the requirements and the expected behavior
  2. Provide a sample. For fixup implementation please also provide "before" and "after" examples. 

tFLOW proof script
The Artwork and the Template
To create the proof tFLOW uses 2 elements: the artwork and the template. Both are PDF files stored in tFLOW.
The template is a PDF document that contains the following elements:
  • header (optional)
  • artwork area - where the artwork will be placed (mandatory)
  • a footer or Slug line (optional)
  • data fields filled by tFLOW at runtime (Job ID, order ID, size, etc.., optional)
Artwork                                                                                          Proof Template
The proof template can be produced using any vectorial (AI) or bitmap application like PS or DTP app like InDesign.
It is important to export the template as a PDF.
The system will rescale the artwork in order to fit it into the defined area of the template, and will add optional elements like crop marks, outlines, etc.. It will then populate the fields defined in the slug line with the data of the current job (note: the information could be placed anywhere in the final document). The result will be a PDF like the following:
Data fields
A proof script may contain optional data fields. If present, these fields will be populated by TFLOW with the data entered via the UI or API, or automatically generated from the order and job properties.

Available values in tFLOW are:
  • File Name
  • File size
  • Title
  • Author
  • Creator
  • Producer
  • Color channels
  • Color 1
  • Color 2
  • Color 3
  • Color 4
  • Color…
  • Color n
  • PDF/X Version
  • Trapped
  • Total pages
  • PDF Preflight Quickset
  • Output intent
  • Page size
  • Final product dimensions
  • orderID
  • JobID
  • Description
  • Company
  • Start Date
  • Ship Date
  • Created by

For more information regarding the user of variables in the script to populate custom fields dynamically, please refer to the following link:

The proof script can be implemented to automatically display a portrait or a landscape orientation.  Another option is to use one proof template for all artwork, independent of their orientation.

The unified layout follows this idea and works well on all displays, including mobile devices.

The proof script could contain some special elements. For example it is possible to display a safe area on top of the artwork or use imposition to create an N-UP layout.

Safe area
Example of safe area overlaid on top of the artwork:

N-Up layout
In the following examples you can see a multipage PDF that has been imposed and then placed in the proof pairing the pages.

Booklet with left and right pages on the same proof page:

Business card with front and back:

Use the links below to download Aleyant custom proof templates in InDesign format.  This ia good starting point if you plan to build your own custom proof templates:
Fonts: Please keep fonts within standard families (Arial, Verdana, Times). The script will run on a server where a commercial font could create license issues with font embedding into the proof PDF.
In the case you want to adopt any other non/standard font please make sure that the license allows that and then include the font file(s) together with the material.
Material to provide
Please provide the following when filling out the custom product form:
  1. The edited templates in Illustrator or InDesign format. Make sure to include all the linked files (if any)
  2. PDF files of both landscape and portrait, or the unified version.

tFLOW Finishing script

Basic Information
Finishing, which is available in tFLOW Enterprise only, is the last step performed on the uploaded artwork.  The finishing step is performed on the previously preflighted artwork in order to make the file ready for production by adding or altering existing page elements.  tFlow has a wide set of tools to perform a variety of finishing options.  For example the imposition engine can be used to make a pole pocket banner - see below for more information.


Name: Pole pocket Banner
Short description: Pole Pocket Banners require a few inches of the top and bottom of the artwork to be duplicated and flipped so that it can be folded over and line up with the artwork on the opposite side.
Here is an example specification document which defines the functionality:

NameBanner with bulletin
Short description: Add bleed variable, add pocket and welding areas, include thumbnails and welding markers and a color bar
Specification document:

Sample artwork without finishing

Sample artwork with finishing

Details of finished artwork

Material to provide
For any custom finishing script request please provide the following:
  1. A document (preferably in PDF format) with a description of each of the steps to implement. Try do describe precisely the requirements and the expected behavior
  2. Provide 2 sample PDFs
    a. A sample artwork without any finishing
    b. A finished file as expected after the processing (final result). This will help our team to understand and evaluate if there are any limitations and to suggest workarounds
Let's get started!
Before rolling up your sleeves and defining your own products, be sure to check out our product library as tFLOW already comes with a library that may meet your needs.  To view the product list, click Here and scroll down to tFLOW >SmartPrep Library.