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Offline Trish

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Variable Data Programs
« on: December 09, 2021, 03:05:41 PM »
Whats everyone using to do their Variable? For letters and minor or small jobs I just use InDesign...when it comes to a lot of postcards, I use Fusion pro, that way I can automatically break it into reasonable stacks to help with the cutting so it stays in order.
I ask, because I just looked at Fusion Pro and it is now $1,500.00 annually.

My computer is from 2015 and is currently only running OS10.14.6. I am being forced to upgrade due to Adobe feeling the need to constantly update their programs.
Always hate to open a new can of worms...then my XMF won't work...we have enough to deal with working with people with no clue. So is there a better program out there?


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Offline pspdfppdfxhd

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Re: Variable Data Programs
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2021, 04:17:03 PM »
We use Accurio Pro by Konica Minolta, also named Designmerge made by Meadows publishing. It works straight out of InDesign, similar to the very expensive Xmpie. It’s not cheap… about 900 US yearly and a purchase price around 4 grand. You can do alot with it including exporting PDF/VT files that really speed up the rip times if your digital understands it. It has taken me awhile to get the hang of it but i really am liking it. I like the feature that you can setup master pages as a variable and nest variables within them. It also has a great imposition feature with cut and stack and such. The support is great, if you are stuck they will get back to you quickly. I did not like fusion pro much as you are working within pdfs and not Indesign. My 2 cents worth.

Offline Slappy

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Re: Variable Data Programs
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2021, 10:47:38 PM »
XMPie, only because we took on a job (bi-weekly invoices) for a customer a few years ago & that was the only InDesign plugin that could handle the complexity of the data. 2 Separate data sets that have to work together & combine into the InDesign template for billing.

Since we've started doing more direct mail, I've some to appreciate some of the features in XMPie so I'm glad we have a standing license. Downside is, it's SO expensive it's only on my workstation so I'm stuck doing all of those jobs.
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Offline DCurry

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Re: Variable Data Programs
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2021, 11:27:44 AM »
I guess FusionPro must have changed their pricing model to a subscription? They used to be the best bang for your buck and if you know JavaScript you could make it do almost anything.

We use HP SmartStream. It's a lot like XMPie (I think) and works directly in InDesign. It's not cheap and the desktop version can be a little slow once you get into the more complex jobs, but we also have a server version ($$$) that really flies.

FusionPro is more flexible than SmartStream, though, just tougher to use. SmartStream has some features that just plain don't work right.
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Offline Slappy

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Re: Variable Data Programs
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2021, 09:29:35 PM »
SmartStream has some features that just plain don't work right.
Like? We're moving towards HP with a new install in January. I haven't used SmartStream in almost 10 years and I know we'll keep XMPie for that special project, but love to hear anything about SS that could hang things up.
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Offline DCurry

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Re: Variable Data Programs
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2021, 09:45:31 AM »
The biggest issue off the top of my head is it says it can handle variable jobs that consist of varying page counts - for example maybe the letter you receive is 6 pages but the one I get is 10 and the next guy gets 2 and so on. The manual tells you how to do it and it looks fine, right up until you go to actually create the job and find out it doesn't work at all. If I recall correctly, it might work as non-imposed but as soon as you try to impose it, it can't handle it. It's been so long since I gave up on that feature that the specifics are a little fuzzy.

The desktop version can be very slow if you have any variable images or if you are using layer swaps (using the data to turn different layers on or off). The layer swap technique is VERY useful, though, so we use it a lot.

I only used XMPie once at a VDP workshop hosted by PGAMA about 10 years ago. I know it's pretty popular so you might end up sticking with it rather than paying additional money for SmartStream. I'd be real surprised if SS can do anything that XMPie can't do.
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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night. But set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life!

Offline Slappy

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Re: Variable Data Programs
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2021, 12:42:46 PM »
Good info, I'll be sure to take some sample files that would set up like that & ask during training.
That's end of January, so I have time to gather some files.
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Offline seratne

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Re: Variable Data Programs
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2022, 03:30:01 PM »
Let me know how your experience goes with SmartStream. I demoed it a while back and ran into constant lockups trying to do custom javascript.

Still on FusionPro since it does literally everything, even if I have to reformat stuff since not all styling comes across from InDesign. We're still on an old version too, and might have to switch to their subscription service soon.