|Onyx PosterShop PostScript RIP|
Postershop is a highly regarded software Postscript RIP for l arge format inkjet printers such as Hewlett-Packard, Encad, etc., from Onyx. When I started evaluating RIP software a decade ago, Onyx was on its own, then a division of GretagImaging, then part of Oce. The last several years Onyx has been more independent of Oce, for example, has its own booth at major trade shows.
Onyx Postershop is not only in the Top 10 software RIPs for large format printers, it is in the upper tier. But a comment you hear frequently is that the dithering pattern is not as good on an Epson printer as Epson's own driver. Plus the ProductionHouse level of Onyx Postershop is more for larger printshops. For use at home, as a second-business, a retirement business you might prefer a RIP that is not as complex. PosterJet or Shiraz would be two options here.
But, if you are a large printshop, sign shop, screen printing company, these size companies are tending to also look at Wasatch or increasingly at Caldera Visual RIP+ or Caldera GrandRip+.
Past History of Onyx Graphics PosterShop
Since there are probably thousands of old RIP licenses available used on e-Bay, we also keep our comments from past years on our web pages.
Based on discussions at trade shows in Germany and the USA and product analysis at the Center for Advanced Imaging (St. Louis) nine years ago, my favorite software RIPs for large format plotters in those years were: Wasatch, BEST, PosterJet, and 3M Cactus. In the subsequent three years 3M Cactus languished, and is therefore fallen from our list of recommended RIPs. We don't have an update on Onyx PosterShop, so know the other RIPs better of which we have the year 2002 updates.
At a PMA trade show in Las Vegas it was possible to get an even better picture of the capabilities of Onyx PosterShop directly from the president of Onyx. Earlier, in Germany, I had a brief opportunity to see RIPstar in action. RIPstar is the Ilford variant of Onyx PosterShop. This experience demonstrated convincingly that software RIP was more flexible than hardware RIP (such as EFI Fiery RIP).
Next step is to get Onyx PosterShop installed on a Windows NT Pentium PC print server in the FLAAR test center and learn the features of Onyx PosterShop inside out. That way it would be possible to give more space to reporting on the advantages, especially of the newest release. The Ilford version has arrived at the Francisco Marroquin University in Guatemala but the aged Encad NovaJet Pro died before we could use the Ilford RIP. Too bad, because we found out that if you use Ilford media and the impressive Ilford Archival eXtreme pigment based inks you get outstanding longevity. To use Ilford inks and media you might want to be sure to have access to the advantages built into the Ilford RIPstar. What I like about Ilford is that they offer a total solution, everything your office needs, from scanner through printer and rip to laminating machine and cutter.
Your Macintosh is much happier having the PC RIP the files (this means your Macintosh is available do all the preparation of the files in Photoshop, QuarkXpress, PageMaker, or InDesign). If you stick your Mac with the chore of RIPing, since current Mac OS cannot do multitasking, you choke your Macintosh with the RIP process. It is much more effective to opt for the Ilford solution. Yes, it can run three printers simultaneously (remember, PCs can do multitasking, especially with NT server software managing things).
The market potential for software RIP is enormous, in part because so many people had bought the HP DesignJet 2500CP and HP 3500CP without any RIP (they relied on the internal "RIP" substitute). Of course once users actually tried the HP 2500 and 3500 they quickly found out that the HP 2500 and 3500 was slower than molasses if you depended on the internal RIP. But, if you add any software RIP to your system, you turbo-charge the HP and release all its potential. The Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 2500CP and 3500CP are acceptable large format printers but primarily when speeded up with really good software RIP. PosterJet RIP, for example, starts printing after about 8 seconds.
Same with the nice HP 5000ps. People buy it with its on-board ps RIP but within a month or so they realize they need a faster RIP which has more features. We recommend PosterJet or Wasatch. Onyx PhotoShop is popular elsewhere,but we don't have any recent version in-house, but do have PosterJet at both universities.
In the meantime, we have more recent experiences with Shiraz RIP (spent several days at their demo room and test facilities in London circa 2006-2007); with Wasatch (visited their headquarters in Salt Lake City since this is the RIP that FLAAR uses now); and in Spring 2008 spent several days evaluating Caldera RIP in their headquarters in France.
Wide Format Printers