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Mark Rugen’s New FlexiSIGN Book

Scanvec Amiable’s Flexi-Pro color-management system explained

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In the summer of 2005, I attended a workshop in which instructor Mark Rugen taught Scanvec Amiable s Flexi-Pro s color-management systems. Since then, Philadelphia-based Scanvec Amiable has changed its name to SA International. The workshop was presented by the Graphics Intelligence Agency (GIA), a company that specializes in color training and support, with offices in Akron, OH; San Diego and Regensdorf, Switzerland. GIA is a part of GretagMacbeth Global Services (New Windsor, NY), which is the services division of X-Rite Inc. (Grandville, MI).

Mark is an independent contractor and founder of givemehelp.com, a web-based, software-services company. He travels nationally, teaching seminars on software and color printing. He also writes books that provide excellent advice on software use. His website lists his company s full services.

Because he presented the software s applications in a clear and logical manner, I clearly remember highlights from Mark s workshop. He emphasized, for example, that you should calibrate your monitor, scanner and printer because even limited color management is better than none.

He also said color prints may not need as much resolution as one might first think and advised print producers to reduce the file size, RAM, processing, print time and ink costs by selling customers on less resolution. Hes right, of course, even though his advice bucks present, high-resolution trends. During the workshop, Mark displayed 25-, 50- and 100-dpi images and, from 15 ft. away, the students couldn t tell the difference.

Mark s new, 118-page book, Flexi: The Power is in Your Hands!, addresses SA Intl. s FlexiSIGN 8, from its fundamental uses to large-format, color printing. (The book includes an appendix for Gerber printer owners. It suggests swatch information and color setups for the Gerber EDGE series machines.)

On page 11, Mark explains that FlexiSIGN offers Workspace choices similar to Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, Inspire, Omega and SignWizard. This eases the learning curve for new users because the selection changes the screen interface to look and behave like their once favorite software. On subsequent pages, Mark details DesignCentral, a box that contains such necessary tools as Conversion (it converts units of measurement).

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DesignCentral also assists you with text, fonts and signmaking tools. By selecting the Text icon, you can instantly modify the text with Horizontal, Bounding Box, Arcing, Path, Vertical and Vertical on Path features.

As an aside — and he has many — Mark advises you to enter your font and size before clicking on the Text icon, because it activates the changes.

On page 46, he covers FlexiSIGN Grouping and Compounding tools; the latter freezes items together and drops out the overlap. This feature is very helpful when designing logos. On page 47, he writes of the software s Guidelines and Dimension tools — both critical for completing shop and engineering drawings.

With practice, you can use the Convert to Outlines (page 49) feature to draw neon patterns, especially those you want to place inside channel letters. Draw at full scale and negatively offset the first line at the desired distance from the channel letterÕs return. From this, negatively offset a second line that s equal to the neon-tube width.

On page 53, using the Resize tool, Mark tells how to make your design fit onto a scanned photo of your customer s truck or van. His website offers a book on using FlexiSIGN to make vehicle wraps.

On page 96, he begins his review on large-format, digital printing, emphasizing, not surprisingly, successful color via calibration methods.

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