Frank Woltering is a specialist and product manager for a set of software products in the area of graphic editing. His background is packaging prepress and he was a long-time user of the products he’s managing today. His mission is to create interactive and automated solutions to help prepress professionals to cope with the ever increasing complexity in packaging production.

Esko Trapper

Frank Woltering, Esko (InterTech Award Recipient)

Trapping carried out manually can be a very complex task, requiring skilled operators. A recent user survey estimates around 15% of prepress time goes into trapping, representing a significant number of man hours.

As a leading developer of integrated software solutions, Esko has been investing in not just R&D but also customer research to further innovate trapping technology, looking to deliver to the industry better trapping tools to achieve the goal of 100 per cent right first time trapping.

Esko has developed a new aesthetic trapping algorithm that closes misregister gaps and accommodates individual exceptions – making trapping jobs up to 70 per cent faster. The Esko Trapper is a new trapping product that will help get the job done not only in less time but more importantly also in a much safer way, delivering a right first time trap file to press.

Achieving a consistent, aesthetic, right first-time trapping result, with the correct distance, direction or color you give to a trap, and to make it as least visible as possible is difficult with interactive tools. If a job is trapped by 10 different people, then there will be 10 different results. But with the Esko Trapper, all colleagues in a team can and do achieve exactly the same trap result.

While existing instant trapper tools can work on strokes, images and anything within the design, it is still a manual process. Not only does this mean the process can take some time, but it also involves risk of operator error, nor can it be used in a workflow, making it difficult to change a global trap setting.

Conversely the power trapper is automatic, working with color edges and removing the need for the operator to determine the line between colors. The biggest advantage of the power trapper concept is that it can apply standards, rules that can be configured to achieve the same trapping result using a workflow. But it is not very flexible on the aesthetic, meaning operators still have to go in and make exceptions. Using interactive tools, users can select individual trapped color pairs, change their direction, their distance or their color to improve the result of the automatic trapping, but this also makes it nearly impossible to introduce a change to the design. Just moving one object by a millimeter in a trapped file will require the entire file to be retrapped.

Which is why Esko has developed its brand-new trapper – using an object-based approach combined with a color-based approach. Esko created a new algorithm that can not only judge a trap based on the color situation, but also based on objects.