Why do you need SilverFast PrinTao?
The Studio versions of SilverFast have this new feature, called PrinTao, which is an extended print dialogue. There are differences between Print Dialogues in SilverFast Studio versions as compared to DC and HDR versions, but PrinTao offers the same flexibility and power regardless of the SilverFast version. LaserSoft Imaging is determined to get every drop of life out of a scanner or a digital camera, without the user having to buy additional software. The company's goal seems to be that you must be able to use a scanner as an appliance first, with the additional capabilities to further edit the scanned image in other applications. PrinTao is one of the modules in SilverFast that reflect this concept.
The basic functions of PrinTao are almost identical to the extended print dialogue of the Virtual Light Table in SilverFast DC and HDR. Some differences are due to the nature of SilverFast Ai being scanning software - it cannot handle previously saved image files.
Why would you use PrinTao? In our first review of PrinTao, we explained the benefits of a PrinTao workflow. In this article, we will discuss what PrinTao can be used for. Especially when having to print many images on medium to large format printers PrinTao shows its strenghts.
PrinTao is a component of all scanner independent SilverFast versions. In these versions (SilverFast DC Pro, HDR, etc) it is implemented into the Virtual Light Table. PrinTao is also a part of every SilverFast Ai Studio version and may be launched by clicking the respective button located in the vertical toolbar.
The Studio versions of SilverFast DC Pro and SilverFast HDR contain additional functions in PrinTao that are not available in the Ai version. In the DC Pro and HDR versions, there are sets of default templates for automatic alignment of the images on the printing pages, and auto-configured templates for page layouts can be saved. Furthermore, users can define and position picture text and selectable EXIF/IPTC-data can be embedded into this text. Users with the optional SilverFast Photo Proof function enabled, will find the additional Photo Proof settings in PrinTao, for embedding a Fogra media wedge and the according reference pro-files.
PrinTao allows users to print contact sheets in the HDR and DC Pro versions, or use the feature as a virtual copier machine with the scanning version. As PrinTao offers all the features you expect from a simple layout program - PrinTao's functionality level can be compared to that of Apple Pages' or a stripped down PageMaker's - it is possible to achieve quite complex layouts on the page.
Contact Sheet, Single Photo or Page Layout
PrinTao is not a page layout module or component to SilverFast's imaging capabilities, but it does a good job of extending the SilverFast workflow into a printed end result. For photographers, the PrinTao feature enables them to quickly set up and print a contact sheet, but also a single photograph. For single images, you can even crop, scale and change orientation of an image on the page.
Page layouts that are composed mainly of images, either scanned or managed through the DC Pro or HDR versions, can be quickly set up with PrinTao, by using the simple page layout controls that include text controls and multi-page setups. PrinTao is also an efficient tool for people who must be able to quickly print pages with annotated images. For example, an architect or engineer can set up a page with photos of a building site, include some text in the form of callouts, and print the page within seconds, and all without ever leaving the SilverFast environment.
So, while PrinTao obviously is no match for QuarkXPress or InDesign CS2, it does offer a level of flexibility that these applications can't offer.