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Printweek Names Reaktor and Kreator as Star Products



Taktiful Reaktor and Kreator re two new products intended to help printers design and visualise embellishments.


What do these products do?

Taktiful is a US specialist in digital embellishment implementation, set up by Kevin Abergel in 2021. He is a member of the Abergel family that founded MGI, the French company that makes the JetVarnish family of inkjet varnish and foil digital embellishment systems. Originally Taktiful offered mainly consultancy through a team of experienced commercial users, but it has now started developing MIS and creative software dedicated to embellishment. Its first three products are Reaktor, which is a 3D proof-previewer for embellishment effects; Kreator, which uses AI techniques to analyse source images and suggest areas that can be embellished; and Taktify, which is an estimator with detailed features for embellishment.


All are SaaS products which can be accessed online from anywhere. Reaktor is available now, while Kreator will go fully live later this year. Taktify is so far only set up for US pricing, though Abergel plans to launch it into Europe next year. We are therefore concentrating on Reaktor and Kreator here.


Taktiful Reaktor

When was it introduced and what are the target markets?

Drupa in May was the official launch venue for all three, although the products were announced in April.

Abergel says: “Reaktor primarily serves the printing and embellishment sectors, focusing on businesses looking to enhance their product presentations and proofing processes, and secondarily will serve agencies and brand designers to get a better visual understanding of how print embellishment will translate from the screen to the sheet.”


How does it work?

Reaktor previews embellishment effects by creating a 3D on-screen version of the design file, where the viewpoint can be moved so the effects catch simulated light in the same way as physical samples would. It is accessible via standard web browsers, allowing remote access from anywhere, with different access privileges (so can be shared with customers). It supports multi-layer PDFs, with spot colours named to designate different embellishment effects (such as spot varnish, textured varnish, different foil colours and effects). Users can create these files with standard design software such as Adobe Illustrator.



Initially Reaktor previews embellishment effects on flat planes (ie sheets) rather than 3D objects (such as cartons, books or bottles). However, it offers true 3D rendering of embellishment effects on those planes, such as raised and textured varnish. Taktiful co-founder Carlo Ruas says that 3D objects are in the pipeline for the future, as will be the ability to render them into 3D environments such as store shelves. Cast-and-cure effects (micro-embossed diffractive varnish) are planned. As this is a SaaS product, new features can be activated without users having to reload or upgrade.


Reaktor can simulate a wide range of digital and non-digital embellishment effects and supports complex layering like foil over raised varnish. Matt, gloss and laminated substrates can be simulated. It offers advanced visualisation options, including adjustable lighting and environment simulations. Live previews are standard.


Most of the Scodix standard effects can be simulated, as well as those of inkjets from MGI, Duplo and Harris & Bruno (though the effects’ names tend to by copyright, so Taktiful doesn’t use them). Liquid and dry digital toner effects (such as metallics) can also be simulated.

There’s a library of standard foil types and colours, with options for customisation. Holofoils will be added soon, with the ability for users to upload their own patterns.


Abergel says that Reaktor will also gain some design functionality of its own soon.


What’s Reaktor’s USP?

According to Abergel, this is the ability to provide “a highly interactive, user-friendly interface for visualising and experimenting with embellishment effects in real-time, significantly reducing the time and cost associated with physical proofs.


“It is affordable, simple and gives a great 3D visual that does not require complicated 3D files to build. It is also built to simulate existing technology renders as accurately as possible, with attention to machine specific limitations and details. We are obsessed with getting it exactly right.”


Implementation and usability

Minimal setup is required so Reaktor fits into existing workflows. Abergel says it is intuitive for learning and use. A client chat mode will allow agencies and printers to have live discussions on the soft proofs during the buying and approval process.


Training and support

Taktiful offers training and ongoing support, including detailed online tutorials and customer support services.


Availability in the UK

Reaktor will be available in the UK, with plans to expand its availability and local support continuously.


Cost and charging model

The initial Reaktor Core is available through a subscription model, priced at $500 (£400) per month, with unlimited projects. A future version of Reaktor, called Reaktor Prime, will be available in 2025 with more features, such as advanced design features.


Taktiful Kreator

How does it work?

Kreator automatically analyses, identifies and suggests potential embellishments for different elements within a file. It uses “a complex multi-layered structure of algorithms” known as ‘deep learning AI’, with image recognition models that have been fine-tuned by Taktiful’s team of embellishment designers. “The models were trained with over 10 million licensed and privacy-protected images, giving billions of pretrained masks,” says Abergel.

The models can then analyse unfamiliar objects and images, even when they are out of the scope of the model training, says Abergel. “It simplifies the design process for embellishments, making it accessible even to those less familiar with the intricacies of print effects, as well as serving as a tool for experienced designers needing some inspiration.”

Kreator is cloud-based. Users import files, and Kreator’s AI analyses and isolates potential enhancement areas as masks. This is largely automatic, but users can optionally guide the AI in selecting elements. Once the mask elements are chosen by users, Kreator’s AI will offer design ideas and textures and render a 3D version. Previewing is more limited than Reaktor, but it can pass files to Reaktor if available.


Print service providers can customise Kreator to highlight only the embellishments available on their systems. Kreator also integrates smoothly with Reaktor for 3D proofing.


Ease of use and learning

Abergel says that minimal experience is required by the user. “This will be a very powerful tool for print companies who are W2P based, for upselling capabilities,” he says.


Pricing and availability

Kreator will be available at the beginning of 2025, for a monthly subscription which can also include a bundle with Reaktor. It is currently in beta with pricing to be announced in Q4.


SPECIFICATIONS

Taktiful Reaktor

Functions 3D rotatable on-screen previewing of layered PDFs with simulated embellishment effects, with shared online access. Design features are planned for future releases

Effects Flat or raised spot varnish; flat or 3D varnish with foil; spot gloss over matte laminate; variable height embossed /textured with/without foil; flood coating; guilloche patterns; braille, simulated glass/crystal; holofoil (in future); cast-and-cure (in future); substrate simulation; gloss, matt, uncoated, laminated; dry/liquid toner embellishments (eg metallic toner); mix of several digital or conventional processes and effects

Price $500 (£400) per month


Taktiful Kreator

Functions AI-powered analysis of flat designs with suggestions for enhancements by embellishment, with limited 3D previewing, or full previews via Kreator

Price TBA

Platform SaaS/Cloud

Contact Taktiful taktiful.ai or email info@taktiful.com


ALTERNATIVES

We don’t know of anything similar to Kreator, with its ability to analyse images and suggest embellishments. Alternatives to Reaktor are primarily part of packaging design suites.


Esko Studio

Esko’s Studio is desktop packaging graphic design software for cartons, labels and shrink sleeves. It includes photorealistic 3D previewing with rotations. There are libraries of materials, finishes, embellishments and lighting. It can import CAD files from Esko Artios CAD and is integrated with Adobe Illustrator for graphic design. It can export GLV files for web viewing.


Studio Essentials costs £178.33 per month (and requires an Adobe Illustrator subscription)

Studio Advanced This adds support for shrink sleeves and flexible packaging, and costs £432.50 per month


Store Visualizer This takes 3D packaging (boxes, bottles, etc) generated in Studio and places them into photorealistic shelf and store environments that you create yourself. It costs £835.83 per month (on a yearly plan) for a single seat, or £1,086.67 for a group licence

Contact Esko 01702 967146 esko.com


Hybrid Software iC3D Suite

iC3D Suite is very fast rendering software that maps graphic designs onto 3D shapes, including cartons, bottles, shrink wraps, flexible packaging. There is some crossover integration with PackZ packaging software from Hybrid Software, which acquired iC3D’s developer Creative Edge in 2022.


It simulates effects of light on virtual objects in high resolution. Its Light Map Editor simulates studio lighting, with editable highlights and shadows.


Dynamic Backgrounds and Perspective Control allow real-time merging of 2D photo images with 3D designs, to visualise product in any setting, such as store shelves, gondolas, chiller cabinets or freezer displays.


It outputs 2D stills, 3D PDFs and even 3D printable models. There are also separate iC3D products for 3D package modelling, design (within Adobe Illustrator)


Price From $595 (£470) per month for a yearly subscription

There is also iC3D Select, an entry-level version without real-time visualisation and limited support for some pack types, starting at $400 (£315) per month


Contact iCD3 Software ic3dsoftware.com info.ic3d@hybridsoftware.com or Hybrid Software UK 01223 968446 hybridsoftware.com

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