July 14, 2008

QuarkXPress 8 to support native AI files

According to Quark's website, QuarkXPress version 8 will support the ability to place native Illustrator (.ai) files. Does this mean the end for .EPS is near? As someone who moved away from Quark nearly 8 years ago (has it really been that long?), I don't know exactly what "native Illustrator support" really means to the folks at Quark.

As you know, Illustrator files contain PDF content within them (and if you don't know that, read this), so I guess that Quark now has the ability to see that content within AI files. More so however, I assume this statement really means that Quark can now flatten Adobe's transparency model. Although what kind of flattener settings Quark is using is unclear to me. One of the benefits of using Adobe InDesign is that both Illustrator and InDesign share the same print engine code, ensuring that what prints from AI looks exactly the same as what prints from ID.

In any case, if you've had the chance to use native AI files with Quark, I would love to hear about your experiences. I only ask because, as I had mentioned above, I wonder if the use of EPS is no longer necessary for Quark workflows, which will be yet one more step closer to us finally being able to put EPS in a nice lovely trophy case for all to see, right alongside our rapidograph, our Mac Plus, and our Syquest cartridges.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, I had kinda forgot Quark still existed.

As for a MacPlus, my sister's still works, after 20 years -- she uses it to print mail-merge address labels on her LaserWriter II. It sits next to my new aluminum Intel iMac, which I'm sure will be replaced well before it sees its 20th birthday.

khiltd said...

Hey now, my Rotrings are still ten times as useful as Quark ever was.

Mordy Golding said...

Yeah, I have to wonder what happens more -- the Rotrings get clogged or Quark crashes... :)

khiltd said...

I always gave them a quick dunk in an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner between cartridges so the only clogs I ever had were when I left the cap off the super-fine one.

With Quark, no matter how much you scrub, you'll never feel truly clean.

Gary Spedding, Ph.D. said...

Mordy - no direct contact link anymore?

Posting here as no other route?

Where did MOGO GO? As (you are)a contributor over at MOGO I notice nothing happening there these days. Another-flash-in-the pan? Any news at your end on this?

Mordy Golding said...

It's summertime Gary -- I prefer the challenges of sinking a long putt to the challenges of staying awake in front of a computer screen :)

Seriously though, my email link is active on my page -- I'm always "in touch". As for MOGO, oh it's alive and VERY well. True, there hasn't been much content published but that's just because we're working hard on some stuff, including the upcoming shows in Australia next month!

Camp Photoshop said...

Am I missing something here? Hasn't this been possible in Indesign from at leadt Indesign 1.5? (That's when I started using Indesign and abandon Quark).

Anonymous said...

Hate to say it but 50% of all publishing is still done in Quark and with Quark 8, there is very little reason to ever upgrade to a new Adobe bloatware Suite that doesn't even have Job Jackets, multiple layout spaces, composition zones and color-based transparency...bye bye monopoly!

Anonymous said...

50% of all statistics are made up.

Mordy Golding said...

Camp PS - yes, of course, naturally, AI has been able to place native AI content since the turn of the century. I only mention it here now with regard to Quark because the use of EPS today is driven by two major forces -- Quark workflows and those who require global format support. If Quark can finally accept AI files, that's one less reason to use EPS.

The reality though is that in my initial tests, Quark 8 doesn't do well with native AI that contain transparency. So it looks like EPS may still be the best format to use with Quark moving forward for the time being anyway...

And not to get into any deep "discussion" about this, but really, anyone is free to use whatever layout or design software they like. If Quark works for you, great. No need to get all defensive :)

LTD said...

Here's the lowdown on .ai in QXP8. PDF Compatible file must be checked when saving .ai files. FYI the previews of the placed .ai/pdf files in XPress are disgusting. Not a bit of smoothing to be seen anywhere. It's a pity because I use XPress daily and it would have been nice to have decent looking .ai/pdf previews.

Hey, no more nasty Quark talk ; )

Mordy Golding said...

Thanks for the info LTD. Actually, I have some more information, now that Quark 8 is shipping and I had the chance to test a file.

I placed a native .ai file with some transparency in it into a Quark layout. I printed the file and there was some severe discoloration and stitching present in the printout.

I also exported a PDF/X-1a file from Quark, and the file failed the PDF/X-1a preflight profile in Acrobat Pro (for some reason, there was RGB content that was present in the file, which is disallowed in PDF/X-1a).

The same file printed perfectly from both AI and ID and the PDF/X-1a file that I created from both AI and ID passed the preflight profile in Acrobat Pro with no errors.

So at least from my initial tests, it would appear that native AI files are still unreliable to use in Quark layouts -- I would recommend sticking with EPS for now.

Watch Beijing 2008 Olympics Online said...

is quark still exist??? i didn't know that.