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PosterJet 8 e60 RIP software for Hewlett-Packard DesignJet Z3100 and Canon imagePROGRAF ipf 9100 printers Print E-mail
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Glossary of terms on color management
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Book reviews of publications on color management

Version 8 of PosterJet RIP is now available; it comes in versions priced based on the width of the printer: 24”, 44” or 60”: PosterJet 8 e24, e24 PS, PosterJet e44, e44 PS, PosterJet e60+, e60+ PS.



Do you really need a RIP when you buy a large format inkjet printer? When and why?

You tend to find out that you probably need RIP software only after you already have ordered and paid for the basic printer.

"No RIP needed" is traditional advertising jargon for "you can buy this machine real cheap because you don't need to pay extra for the RIP up front because this way we know you will buy our printer rather than the other printers who are honest enough to admit that you really need a RIP, that is, until you find out the printer takes forever without a RIP and can't handle text very well and that printing from Photoshop takes twice as long as printing from inDesign or QuarkXpress" Some printer ads don't really fully inform you that sooner or later you need a RIP.

FLAAR is offering personalized consulting at each trade show. You can walk-the-floor with the Senior Editor of FLAAR and get his comments on any and all printers, inks, RIP software, color management, substrates, applications, etc.

So if you wish to learn about the difference between combo, hybrid, and dedicated UV printers, how latex ink compares, about textile printers, etc. contact FLAAR to obtain consulting.

You can also get consulting before ISA or FESPA anywhere in the world: Dubai, India, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, China, Korea, London and more.

So when you are budgeting a printer, yes, you can print without a RIP in many cases (by printing directly from the printer drivers you receive automatically) but this is slow and featureless. If your printer comes with its own RIP, most of these are "lite." You need a full-strength RIP sooner or later if you are using your printer for commercial printing. If you are just printing at home, you can often survive with no RIP.

posterjet RIP software for Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 5500ps and  Canon imagePROGRAF W8400 printers

You get a better deal with an independent software RIP such as PosterJet, Wasatch, ErgoSoft, etc. But don't buy a RIP on price alone. Some RIPs are definitely better than others. For example, what if you have a Hewlett-Packard printer today but in a year you decide you also need to add a Canon imagePROGRAF iPF8100 or iPF9100, or another brand. If your initial RIP can't run that other printer, then you are stuck buying an entire new $3000 RIP for your next printer. That's why we liked PosterJet. Our first demo of the speed of PosterJet and saw PosterJet at work during the two weeks of DRUPA trade show 2000. Yes, eight years ago.

It was impressive how in past years earlier versions of the PosterJet RIP software could go inside the HP 1050 or 1055 and turn this CAD printer into a production machine for photo-realistic exhibit-quality images. This is because a RIP is the brains of a printer. The RIP is what tells the printer what to do. For example you need at least eight pass printing on an HP DesignJet 2xxx or 3xxx in order to accomplish photo-realistic quality. Thus you need a RIP that offers the photo mode option.

Considering that a full suite of some RIPs cost about $4,000 and up to $7,000, and what is not counting any hardware, the PosterJet price is certainly reasonable, since first-time users can elect the entry-level PosterJet RIP and save some money. With other RIPs, even an upgrade can cost $2,000! PosterJet works on most Hewlett-Packard Designjet printers and on the new Canon imagePROGRAF printers. In past years, however, PosterJet could run only printers with thermal printheads (Encad, Canon, and HP). In other words, past versions of PosterJet could not run any printer with a piezo system: so no Epson, Mutoh, Mimaki, Roland.

Canon iPF9100, RIPs software, large format printers
Sample by the Canon, PosterJet RIP software

Every day people write us saying, "I have an HP 2500, 3500, HP 5000... it's so slow..." That is because of its lethargic on-board RIP. You can speed up the overall output considerably by adding a PosterJet RIP.

Same with the HP 5000ps and HP 800ps. Their "ps" software is sooo ssllooowww. Its painful to wait. But all you have to do is add PosterJet, and lightening fast, you get a huge file starting to RIP in about 8 seconds. Its called RIP on the fly. It RIPs the image immediately before printing that portion.

Furthermore, if you have only a tiny file, but want to enlarge it, PosterJet does a good job of pumping up the pixels to large format size.

How do we know about PosterJet? Very simple, we have it installed in our office for three years with about three wide format printers. I sent an e-mail to the lab manager telling him to stop using the HP 1055cm and instead to use the newer HP 800ps. But he wrote back, saying, "No, I don't use the HP 800ps since it is too slow with its on-board ps. Instead I get prints so much faster using PosterJet on the HP 1055cm.

This was many years ago. PosterJet also works on the HP 800ps, so we can use the PosterJet on that also (the 800 has higher resolution than the older HP 1055cm). Keep in mind that all Hewlett-Packard DesignJet printers are fast. Only part that is poky is their on-board RIP. You can skip that slowness by going around it. The PosterJet will take over control of the HP DesignJet and start RIPing in seconds. We used to have to wait up to an hour for the machine to RIP a 300 MB file on its own. But no more. Fast, fast fast. Even to do a 100 MB file used to take 20 minutes with the HP before the printer even turned itself on. Now the HP DesignJet is printing before we can get up to look at it.

So now you can see how we learn what RIP is acceptable. Very simple, we used them in our own printing facility at the university.

Today, in 2009, we use Wasatch because it works on Epson as well as HP and Canon. It is much easier to train the students if they only have to utilize a single RIP software.

For grand format solvent printers, both solvent and UV-cured flatbeds, many printshops utilize Caldera RIP, often together with color management from BARBIERI electronic.

Many RIP software solutions are available

If you have one or two printers, and don't do sophisticated color management, an uncomplex RIP is okay. But if you are a large printshop and need an industrial strength RIP (and especially for a large UV printer), many companies are looking at Caldera RIP. I recently spent two days at Caldera's world headquarters in Europe and had the chance to receive training for two days from their head R&D software engineer.

Every RIP has its niche. Some work well with textile printing; others are more for signage. No one RIP is perfect for everything, though Wasatch is considered a good universal RIP software: usable by a 1-man enterprise or at home, or usable by a sophisticated printing company. I have visited the headquarters of Wasatch SoftRIP and can thus document the size and capability of this company. I have also visited the headquarters of AIT Shiraz RIP outside London, and Perfect Proof in Belgium.

There is more to a RIP than just the DVD that comes in a box. You want to see if the company is solvent, if they have a good R&D team, etc. Since it is not realistic for every printshop owner and manager to travel around the world visiting RIP company headquarters, this is one of the things the FLAAR institute does in order to bring information to our readers.


Most recently updated Feb 2, 2009.

Previous updates: Feb. 4, 2003, Sept. 2, 2002, Nov. 23, 2001, June 29, 2005, April 2008.

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