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Sai's Pixel Blaster (is it good??)

Discussion in 'General Software' started by CalamityJay, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. CalamityJay

    CalamityJay Member

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    Does anyone use Sai PixelBlaster?

    Does it handle transparency well? (better then flexi?)

    Is it able to apply contour by just dragging and dropping a file from other software?

    How is the workflow? Proofing? Nesting? Sizing?

    Price?

    :wavingflag:
     
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  2. Gene@mpls

    Gene@mpls Very Active Member

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  3. CS-SignSupply

    CS-SignSupply Very Active Member

    Not available in the US Market to date.

    A few beta users might be out there in the US but no product availability or pricing has been supplied to us yet.
     
  4. CalamityJay

    CalamityJay Member

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    c'mon, someone in the US has got to know about this softaware!
     
  5. chrisphilipps

    chrisphilipps Active Member

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    We have seen a couple of demos on the design end of it and it looked good. I have yet to see the software output. When we were speaking to SAi about it they seemed to want to start slowly and get the software into high production shops or shops with multiple output devices that are having color accuracy issues between them. We have put SAi in contact with some of our customers that meet these requirements but as far as I know no one has purchased it yet. I will check with our contact at SAi and let you know what I find out.
     
  6. FrankW

    FrankW Active Member

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    Flexi should handle transparencies good too since 10.5, since they use the PDF-RIP-Engine ... as long as you just link the PDF to the editor or put PDF's directly into the production manager.

    Pixelblaster: I'm working as a Supporter for a SAi-Dealer and I'm a little bit surprised about the statement that the software is not available in the US because we (in Switzerland) have started selling Pixelblaster a few months ago, and we have sold it until now 3 times bundled with some HP Latex-Printers. Perhaps not all of the SAi-Dealers have adopted it? We start selling it mostly for customers who wants to have a mac-rip.

    Pixelblaster can't be directly compared with Flexi, because Pixelblaster is no Print & Cut-Hybrid (for vinyl cutting jobs), it's just for Printing and Contour Cutting. Pixelblaster is a suite of applications for finishing, RIPping and printing. The Frontend is a really cool PDF-Editor, something like a small Illustrator, but with multi-page-editing possibilities, a very special tiling tool with much more functionality than Flexi, a banner finishing tool with the possibility of placing marks for grommets or mirroring borders and so on, a serialisation-tool with more functionality and more flexible usability than Flexi, a really enhanced template-feature suitable for print-job-processing, a true shape nesting-feature and so on. It proofs files too for things like enbedded profiles or not, special items (Spot Colors etc.), multi-pages and so on. Until now, Pixelblaster is our favourite PDF-Editor because the Editor can handle issues for example with non-embedded fonts Illustrator can't do. Cut Contours are handled by layers which could be set to cut-layers, and in opposite to Flexi Pixelblaster supports not only Summas OPOS, but OPOS XY and OPOS Barcode too.

    The RIP-Application itself is PDF-based and offers Queues for Contone-Proofing (CMYK-Simulation), Photoprint (max. gamut), 1-bit-Proof and Separations for Screen Printing. It sends data as soon as it started ripping, what is really useful with the latex-printers who needs to warm-up.

    An interesting feature is ROOM (Rip once, output many), with which the files will be saved after ripping. An additional tool allows placing numbers of ripped files in multiple copies on a workspace and print then.

    Additional applications are the profiler, a media manager and so on. It comes with a network licence, but without dongle: if the computer on which Pixelblaster is activated is available in the network, Pixelblaster can be used on every PC and Mac in the network. It is scalable because of the possibility to share print queues over multiple RIP-Servers for relatively small upgrade-fees, multiple licences of the editor can be used and so on. It is usable for special colour-printers by the possibility to define every single color channel.

    A little bit disappointing is that they don't deliver profiles for most of the printers, with the argumentation that the philosophy of the software don't allow that (it needs onsite-calibration for contone-proofing over multiple different printers work). I do profiling myself too without problems, but it was hard to do profiling right from the scratch with a completely new software.

    I like the software. There are still a few bugs, and I still sell FlexiPro because it's a different software for different users , but if you have the possibility to have a look if someone who knows the software using it for tiling, nesting and so on, take the chance.
     
  7. CalamityJay

    CalamityJay Member

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    It seems like this software could eliminate flexi? I heard about "transparency fixes" before...there is a lot of workaround in flexi to get transparency just right.
     
  8. FrankW

    FrankW Active Member

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    Pixelblaster will not eliminate Flexi, it's as described a different software for different users. For example vectorization is available but with less quality and functionality.

    As written above, if you put PDF with transparencies directly to production manager 10.5 or link it instead of importing into Flexi 10.5, you will normally not run into problems with transparencies, because of a new PDF RIP-Engine instead of Adobe CPSI is used.
     
  9. neil_se

    neil_se Member

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    We're installing PixelBlaster in our business next week to handle our new HP Scitex and Latex printers also being installed next week, it'll be a whole new learning curve compared to Versaworks! We're the first site our supplier will be installing it at, but they're been trialing it in-house since the release a few months ago.
     
  10. FrankW

    FrankW Active Member

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    Pixelblaster have a lot of additional functionality compared to VersaWorks. But you can do a lot more automatization than with VersaWorks what should lead to less work.
     
  11. SightLine

    SightLine Very Active Member


    Not knocking Pixelblaster or your response. Just pointing out that while it does look to have a lot of nice features it also has many of Flexi's features. I'm guessing they are both using Adobe's current CPSI PDF RIP engine. I'm also guessing some of Pixel Blasters features will probably make it over to wwhatever the next version of Flexi will be and vice versa on some new Flexi features that might come out.

    My take is that is biggest feature is the corss platform profiling being a standard to assure consistent color across all devices. Although much like G7 standardization there is a drawback that I do not personally like with standardizing color gamut across all printers. The lowest common denominator (in other words the printer with the most limited gamut) becomes the standard basically crippiling the gamut of other printers which might have a wider range.
     
  12. neil_se

    neil_se Member

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    I've had Pixelblaster running for a month now and to say I'm disappointed is an understatement. I don't understand how a large company can release such a buggy program onto the market, I'd say it crashes or requires a restart 10 times a day. A few notes:

    - Was installed onto a brand new PC- Intel i5-3570, 16GB RAM, SSD HDD, Win 7 Pro
    - Can't handle any sort of multiple task without crashing
    - Stopping a print file locks up the program and my HP L26500 printer (requires switching on and off which wastes a lot of time)
    - Once a file is corrupt (eg. from stopping it) the program just crashes immediately upon starting (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZSZvaHfSv8)
    - Nesting is useless, you can try to nest within Central (if combined pages), Engine or Q but there's no way to rearrange files, manually nest etc
    - Pixelblaster Q seems utterly useless, and it's confusing to implement into the workflow
    - Central feels more like a basic sign program than a professional pre-flight
    - I can't get it to send multiple pages to my HP FB500, it just gives an error
    - Engine randomly won't accept submissions from Central
    - No standard profiles available for my printers


    At the moment the program is costing me massive amounts of time, I'm too scared to try and use it with my Roland XC540s for fear of all the functionality I'll lose. I'm shopping for something else, I'd love something with the options and ease of use of Versaworks that has served us well for many years.
     
  13. FrankW

    FrankW Active Member

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    @ Sightline:

    Sorry, I have seen your reply too late.

    Flexi have trueshape-nesting too, thats right, but it's not the same. With Pixelblaster, you could nest for example multiple open documents to one document, the results of serialization and so on ... its more functional.

    The ROOM-Feature is not the same like holding Jobs in the PM-Queue to print or reprint them. With ROOM, the Application "Pixelblaster Q" offers to drag and drop ripped jobs to a workspace represent the printers media in any amount or sequence you want for immediate print without ripping anymore. It is better demonstrated than explained. In opposite to Flexi, where a crash or an update can lead to loose jobs out of the queue, ROOM-files where stored independently from the application in a free definable folder.

    I don't know how it is in US, but in Europe they sell Flexi 8 with a soft licence, and have cancelled that with Flexi 8.5 because of security reasons. In opposite to Flexi, where the production manager has to run on the computer with the dongle or licence to let flexi run on every computer on the net (one at a time), all pixelblaster modules works fully independent. Additional Licences can be set to this single licence-computer too to share it over the net too. And: in Flexi, if using multiple RIP-Servers, you need to decide on which PM you want to print ... Pixelblaster collects all queues on all RIP-Servers to show them in the front end.

    Definable colors is not the same like you think: with printers like Gerber Edge Flexi defines what colors are process or spot colors, and you can't define colors of your own (e. g. needs to wait for an upgrade when the producer of the printer offers additional ribbon colors). In Pixelblaster you could define every single color channel of your 4, 6 or 8-Color-Printer, and every of the colors as spot, light or process. On this way you can convert for example a 4-color-process-printer to a 4-Spotcolor-Printer. Is important for some special, mostly industrial applications.

    I know that Flexi have a color profiler too. Interesting is that there is no need to do profiling on the RIP-Server with Pixelblaster, you can start the profiler wherever you want and connect to any RIP-Queue on any RIP-Server on the net. And with the Pixelblaster-Profiler you can create profiles for CMYK-Simulation. And Device Link-Profiles, what could be usable for special applications too.

    Pixelblaster (as Flexi too) do not use the Adobe PDF RIP-Engine, they use Aurelon-Products.
     
  14. FrankW

    FrankW Active Member

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    What build do you use? They permanently work on pixelblaster, but currently they don't post most of the new builds in public for download.

    I do printing on the L26500 sometimes too and don't have this problems. I had this kind of problem generally when driving a L25500 and sending print files, but this was a problem of a corrupted Cache-File. This printer needs completely new setup of the printer and the queues to work reliable.

    My experience is that the Pixelblaster Central opens PDF-Files more reliable than Illustrator (and it opens documents with multiple pages), for example files with non-embedded fonts.

    Pixelblaster Q is useful for some applications, but you don't need to use it.

    I would be very interested which build you use.

    It will be hard to find a software with the ease of use of VersaWorks. And, with VersaWorks you do not have the functionality. Paneling, Serialization and so on is much more sophisticated in Pixelblaster ... of course, it makes only sense to you if you need this additional functionality.
     
  15. neil_se

    neil_se Member

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    Mine is Version 2.0.0 Build 6784. Some more searching turns up that Pixelblaster is just a repackaged Fourpees Printfactory v4, as is Onyx PrepEdge and GMG ProductionSuite. None of which are very easy to find information for.

    Do you run any flatbed printers with yours? Some examples simple processes I haven't been able to get it to do:

    - 20 copies of a 450x600mm (1.5x2') corflute, going on 1200x1800mm (4x6') sheets, and for it to know that it's going need 3 sheets (and send a 3 page file to the FB500). Not have to create 1 file with 8 copies, print that twice, another file with 4 copies, print that once.
    - More complex version of above: 119 corflutes with 40 creatives ranging from 150x300mm up to 900x1200mm and varying quantities of each. It took me longer to get these nested efficiently (mostly requiring me to work it out in my head before adding files) than it did for the FB500 to print a 4x6' sheet
    - A multiple page PDF (or combined files in Central) where I want to print different quantities of each page
    - Nest various stickers and be able to re-arrange them to be easier for trimming in production

    Surely Caldera can perform these functions? I have to say that I do like that I can create a Queue that automatically processes files the same way, I have a contract at the moment that requires processing hundreds of PDFs and each needs to be resized, mirrored and have crop marks. I can just drag and drop the PDFs to the Queue, nest a few (after I've calculated in my head which way to rotate them based on how many I can fit across a sheet and how many I'm going to be printing) and print.
     
  16. FrankW

    FrankW Active Member

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    Pixelblaster is an OEM-Suite created by a company named Aurelon, which itself is part of GMG since 1 year or so. SAi have spent some programming work too for some features, and the next generations of these softwares will be more different to each other.

    6784 for my opinion should be a save release. I currently use 6973, but thats no official release.

    I do not drive any printers on a daily basis. I'm a supporter working for an HP- and SAi-Dealer, and we sell Pixelblaster mostly as a Mac-Solution for the HP Designjets.

    I can't test it now because its weekend and I'm at home. But for my opinion most of the work could be done with ROOM and Pixelblaster Queue.

    For example the following:

    More complex version of above: 119 corflutes with 40 creatives ranging from 150x300mm up to 900x1200mm and varying quantities of each. It took me longer to get these nested efficiently (mostly requiring me to work it out in my head before adding files) than it did for the FB500 to print a 4x6' sheet

    Setting up the printer to ROOM, rip every of the 40 versions one time, and open Pixelblaster Q. When dragging every single RIPped job to the workspace you will asked for the number of copies.
     
  17. neil_se

    neil_se Member

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    I did try to use PB Q for the 119 corflutes but it wouldn't let me fit 4x 300mm corflutes across a 1220mm sheet even though everywhere I could find was set to 0mm margin. And I couldn't rotate items or manually nest them.
     
  18. FrankW

    FrankW Active Member

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    As I learned yesterday you know Eyal too. As far as he mentioned he will get in contact to you to check your issues.
     
  19. neil_se

    neil_se Member

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    We got a few issues sorted today (cleaned out all the stock profiles, reinstalled all the printers) so I'll see how that treats the bugs. I'm just not convinced PB is the right long term option for me.
     
  20. CalamityJay

    CalamityJay Member

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    sounds like it is more hastle right now then it's worth.
     

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