Modern Luxury chooses Claro to streamline Image processing
Modern Luxury encapsulates today’s upscale, urbane metropolitan lifestyle in its 30 magazine titles in 13 of the most influential major cities in America, and also online via its website, modernluxury.com. As the premier luxury lifestyle publisher in the U.S., Modern Luxury offers its readers celebrity profiles, special features on the chicest trends in design, cutting-edge fashion spreads and in-depth reviews of city hot spots. This slice of life presented by Modern Luxury is punctuated by approximately 3000 different photos each month. Keeping track of these thousands of images and ensuring that each are of the highest quality is Douglas Ringwald, digital imaging manager at Modern Luxury.
Challenges & Goals
The Challenge: Time-Consuming & Intensive Image Processing and Correction Process Ringwald is responsible for imaging prepress for all of the photography for the magazine and the website. Each image he receives needs to be reviewed, color corrected, sorted, cropped and in the majority of cases, retouched. Automating this time-consuming and intensive task for Ringwald and his staff of four professionals became a priority. “We needed a way to quickly create multiple versions of photos received for our website. This means a lot of sorting, cropping and renaming images. We have a lot of people photos, large sections of the magazines and website contain themed party pictures. I wanted to get those images to look not only good –but better than they came to us. This requires color correction, fixing saturation, sharpness, sizing and scaling, and more.” Ringwald initially tried to make due by batch processing the photos in Photoshop and using a third party automation scripting interface. While this makeshift solution worked “all right most of the time,” Ringwald was very concerned that his fix wasn’t really a supported solution. He says, “I felt I was in that netherworld of creating a custom solution or finding a product that could do what I needed to do and be a supported product.”
The Solution: Elpical Claro Premedia Server After researching options, Ringwald selected and installed Elpical’s Claro PreMedia server solution. Elpical Claro Premedia is the image processing server that publishing, printing, and online communication companies rely on for fast processing of high volumes of images, while achieving cost reduction and improving quality. As a professional imaging workflow solution, Claro Premedia is based on Claro Individual Image Analysis (CIIA) for image optimization, with extensive image manipulation and workflow capabilities. Claro Premedia first individually analyzes each image for such parameters as sharpness, brightness, contrast, color balance, natural greens, skin tones, Exif information... It then enhances the image for consistently high-quality results based on its particular requirements. It supports full batch operation, as a server based process, and even if the images are inside a PDF. As for image manipulation and workflow capabilities, Claro Premedia allows creation of an unlimited number of hot folder based channels to realize the widest possible range of automatic image manipulation tasks. Claro Premedia takes care of resampling and resizing of images, color conversions using industry standard ICC or DeviceLink profiles, and performs intelligent CMYK-to-CMYK conversions. It manages DeviceLink channels as well as Dynamic Device link profile generation, profile assignment & embedding. Flexibility and Adaptability Ringwald selected Claro Premedia Server for both its capabilities and flexibility to adapt as needed with any changes or upgrades in the company’s workflow. “Down the line it’s very important that we can easily adapt Claro quickly to any workflow changes that may be happening with our company. It’s a solution that can grow with our needs.” Installed since February, currently Ringwald is using Claro primarily for processing photos for the Modern Luxury website. Explaining his new workflow, Ringwald says, “I like to do an initial run of all of the photography using Claro Premedia as the first stage, before a person even looks at any of the images. I have different Claro channels built right now for different processes – grayscale, four-color, different techniques for photos. I have everything set up as hot folders. We simply choose the process, put it in the hot folder and Claro does the work automatically.” Claro then saves the processed layer of each file with the original file underneath. The retouchers can then take a look at the file and decide if the software correctly processed the file, and make any manual adjustments if necessary.
The Benefits: Images Processed in Just 3 Hours Versus 2 days “We chose Claro to increase our productivity in processing images for the Modern Luxury website. We knew Claro could do the job and save us a lot time. Since implementing Claro to process approximately 3000 images a month for the web, we’ve reduced a 2-day process of cropping and resizing images to just 3 hours,” Ringwald estimates. Pleased with this first stage of implementation, Modern Luxury is now moving to stage two, which will include revamping its workflows so that it can incorporate Claro into the production process at the front end of the magazine’s imaging workflow. The production department, which is managed separately from Ringwald’s group, uses an Enfocus Switch workflow, and all magazine pages are PDF based. “The fact that Claro can be integrated into Switch is a big plus and definitely makes the integration process easy for us,” Ringwald states. Ringwald sees a lot of potential for Claro at Modern Luxury. “Currently within production, the retouchers can choose to use Claro when they want to. Other departments that also use a lot of photography, and don’t necessarily send it through the imaging dept also have the option to submit their images through Claro for processing.” Top-notch support In addition to the powerful auto-image processing capabilities that Claro offers to Modern Luxury, Ringwald notes that the support he’s received for the product has been invaluable. “Having a supported product was one of the main reasons we chose to find a solution like Claro and from the start Claro support has been great.” “Working with Frank Loversky of Tools4Media, Claro’s U.S. partner and distributor, has been awesome. I call him and he’s always available or calls back in 5 minutes. When I needed troubleshooting I can talk to Frank instantly. Having someone who really knows the product and could help me quickly really sold me on the product.” Additionally, the executives at Elpical, the developer of Claro, are very accessible. “I could also email and Elpical would get back to me right away. Having access to the main people at the company was really great. They were very interested in how I was implementing Claro and very open to suggestions on how to improve the product.” “I’m really confident that Elpical plans to continue to develop and improve the product and in fact I understand that the next release of Claro will incorporate some of my suggestions. That’s very gratifying.”
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“ Down the line it’s very important that we can easily adapt Claro quickly to any workflow changes that may be happening with our company. It’s a solution that can grow with our needs ”