September 5, 2008 Xerox has been responsible for some of the most important innovations of our time and graphic artists the world over will almost certainly count this one as equal to any that have come before. Preparing detailed brochures and flyers with special folds can be an incredibly exacting, time-consuming and costly process. The company’s latest is a new technology that uses 3-D software to view the entire layout of a piece before it goes to print. Aimed at eliminating one of the most costly bottlenecks in printing, the new technology will speed document preparation and approval – a process that costs six dollars for every one dollar spent on the print job itself, according to InfoTrends. With Xerox’s 3-D visualization software, users can see what prints will look like – texture, gloss, folds, binding and all – before any ink or toner is put to paper.

“3-D visualization helps prevent costly mistakes and re-work,” said Rob Rolleston, a research manager at Xerox’s Research Center Webster. “Seeing the finished piece before it is printed can cut out many possible errors – orientation, cutting, or even how a certain image sits on the page – and result in a great print the first time.”

The vision for this collaborative project across Xerox research centers in New York and California is to help customers understand all the options available to them whether they are walking into a print shop or submitting print jobs via the Web. 3-D document visualization delivers a virtual tour of each customer’s desired print job. Customers watch as the program flips through a color flip book, or opens and folds their greeting card, demonstrating exactly what it will look like upon completion. Rolleston says, “The software allows users to produce new and interesting documents without having to learn the technology and vocabulary of the printing industry.”

According to Rolleston, the technology is still being refined. “As we prototype this idea, like all others, we’ll engage with the customers to test concepts and determine the most valuable options,” Rolleston said.

Xerox Corporation is the world's leading document management, technology and services enterprise, providing the industry's broadest portfolio of color and black-and-white document processing systems and related supplies, as well as document management consulting and outsourcing services. Xerox’s products, solutions and services help companies and individuals manage their information. Last year Xerox was awarded the National Medal of Technology, the highest technology award in the United States.

Xerox scientist Rob Rolleston looks over a finished document as Xerox's new 3D Document visualization software displays the document on the screen in the background. The technology, developed at Xerox Research Center Webster in New York, is designed to deliver "no surprises" printing by allowing users to see what their publications will look like before they hit the print button. (Photo by John Griebsch)

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