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en:projects:ats [2011/12/21 21:05]
fsu
en:projects:ats [2012/12/19 12:12] (current)
olafdruemmer entry created
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 +====== A few words about Altona Test Suite 2 – Technical Page 2 ======
 +
 +//Berlin, December 19, 2012: // Almost a decade after version 1 of the Altona Test Suite was developed, the European Color Initiative (ECI) began publishing version 2 of Altona Test Suite by making available Technical Page 2 in December 2011.
 +
 +During the months since December 2011, a number of discussions around Technical Page 2 of the Altona Test Suite 2 have evolved, occasionally reflecting misconceptions regarding evaluation of real world solutions on the background of the Altona Test Suite 2. This article has been written to clarify a few aspects.
 +
 +===== Description =====
 +
 +The main purpose of Technical Page 2 is to exercise features in the PDF language that have become relevant on the background of the publication of ISO 15930-7 (PDF/X-4). Besides the complex area of rendering transparency, other features like OpenType fonts are included in the test page. In addition, a few test elements – for example for smooth shades or gray balance  – are refinements of patches that already existed in version 1 of the Altona Test Suite.
 +
 +===== Goal =====
 +
 +Essentially in line with the philosophy for version 1 of Altona Test Suite, version 2 as well intends to provide a qualitative benchmark that reflects the minimum level of technical capabilities for processing PDF/X-4 files in a sufficiently predictable and repeatable manner. When version 1 of the Altona Test Suite came out about a decade ago, a substantial number of solutions in the market did not process all of the test elements perfectly. Nevertheless within one to two years, almost all professional solutions would readily process all test elements correctly. All in all the first version of the Altona Test Suite contributed substantially to a much higher level of quality in solutions – and interoperability between solutions – across the whole market. The ECI expects a similar pattern around the release of Altona Test Suite 2. 
 +
 +===== Misconceptions =====
 +
 +Despite careful positioning especially of Technical Page 2 some users and organizations used it in a manner that was not intended by the ECI. Most notably, the ECI believes that it is neither possible nor reasonable to carry out an evaluation of output from the Technical Page 2 in a fully automated fashion. Any automated analysis of results can only point to potential problems, the actual analysis and evaluation will have to be carried out on a case by case basis by knowledgeable experts. Only if it can be proven without doubt that a given output result is not in sync what the PDF/X-4 standard mandates, is it acceptable to describe the output as not conforming. For any analysis it is important to understand that while the Technical Page 2 correctly describes output results conforming to PDF/X-4, there might be other slightly different ways to render the test elements correctly and in conformance with the PDF/X-4 standard. An example is rendering of spot colors on a device simulating spot colors through process colors, especially where overprints between spot colors or between spot colors and process colorants occur. From the point of view of the ECI nevertheless the expected output results per Technical Page 2 reflect the more desirable results, amounting to the highest degree of interoperability.
 +
 +===== Further development =====
 +
 +Besides serving as a benchmark for rendering transparency, Technical Page 2 of the Altona Test Suite 2 has also revealed a number of shortcomings regarding the transparency provisions in the PDF specification on which PDF/X-4 is based. The committee in charge of standardizing the PDF language – ISO TC 171 WG 8 – already decided in its September 2012 meeting in Berlin, that transparency related provisions in PDF 2.0 will be improved to be much more precise and clear, and also that a few changes will be introduced. These changes will also be summarized in a separate document, expected to be published as a Technical Report (TR), which could be used in conjunction with ISO 32000-1 (PDF 1.7) to define transparency rendering for PDF 1.7 files that will be in line with transparency rendering in PDF 2.0. None of this impacts PDF/X-4 – last published as ISO 15930-7:2010 – which continues to be based on PDF 1.6. The committee in charge of PDF/X – ISO TC 130 WG 2 TF 2 – is working on a next version of PDF/X that will be based on PDF 2.0.
 +
 +At this moment it is open whether Technical Page 2 of Altona Test Suite 2 would have to be adjusted based on the modifications in PDF 2.0 or a next PDF/X version. On the background of PDF/X-4 though – on which Altona Test Suite 2 is based – no need has been identified so far to modify it in any way. 
 +
 +Whether a version 3 of Altona Test Suite will have to be developed once PDF 2.0 or a next version of PDF/X are finalized and published will have to be seen once these standards become available – which is not expected before 2014.
 +
 +===== Summary =====
 +
 +The printing industry is still in the process of adopting PDF/X-4 to its full extent. As with any change, also the transition from PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3 can occasionally be difficult and painful. The ECI assumes that Altona Test Suite 2 aids in identifying pain points, and that these pain points will be cured within a year or two, leading to a situation in the print and publishing industry where files can be exchanged and output as smoothly as has been true for PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3 files.
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 +All PDF/X stakeholders – users and vendors alike – interested in discussing the Altona Test Suite 2 are invited to subscribe to the ECI mailing lists – available in English and German – and express their concerns, ask questions or share feedback.
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 ====== Technical Page 2 of the Altona Test Suite 2.0 released ====== ====== Technical Page 2 of the Altona Test Suite 2.0 released ======