View Full Version : Postscript and RIPs
The more I read about the relationship of RIPing to photo digi printing the "confusder" I get. When computer page layout programs, ie. Quark XPress were introduced, Adobe invented the Postscript language which described Postscript type fonts and page layouts to Postscript RIPs, creating an extremely accurate "dot-for-dot" page. Graphic designers and pre-press people did not dare use any font, software or harware that was not completely Postscript compatible.
Today's digital repo world seems to hardly ever mention Postscript. My question is: what role (if any) does Postscript play in the current photo RIPing process? Are current RIPs in fact still Postscript? If I only want to print great color photi and don't care about page layout and type accuracy, why do I need a RIP-- Or do I?
In fact pdfs are Postcript are they not? Is there any advantage to making a photo into a pdf and print that? Will the color be better or even different that printing directly from Photoshop? Yeah, I'd try it myself but I don't have the printer yet.
Most of the current RIP's used for color photographic printing are not Postscript, nor do they need to be because there is no scaling and rasterizing of fonts and vector graphics going on in photographic printing. No advantage to making a PDF; for printer-driver purposes the pixels stay the same so it's a wasted step, and you might have color problems also. The best quality printing is from a Photoshop file that is scaled to the final print size at native dpi resolution of the printer (which for the Epsons is 360 dpi).
RIP's are good for a few things, primarily managing big files and high output. You can queue up lots of files, lay them out on big canvasses, flip and rotate, scale, prioritize, make banners, etc. more easily than in Photoshop. The better RIP's also have settings that allow you to use more of the grey ink and less of the colors for B&W prints, so with Ultrachrome inks you get less metamerism and cleaner neutrals.
Some people say that the quality of color prints is better with a RIP than with the Epson drivers, but as far as I can tell the people who say that are all RIP salespeople. The best digital printers that I know of in the photo world are all using the Epson drivers without RIP's, and the results are amazing.
So Al I'd say don't bother with a RIP-- it'd just be one more expensive think to buy and learn and troubleshoot, that wouldn't affect the quality of your prints.
"The best quality printing is from a Photoshop file that is scaled to the final print size at native dpi resolution of the printer (which for Epsons is 360.)"
I thought the native dpi of the better Epson photo printers made in recent years (e.g. the 1280, 2200, 4000, etc.) was 720. No?
A RIP can be either postscript, or not - either should be just fine for photo work, as both will allow significant control over color space, but the postscript language is really more useful in translating vector objects into press data, than for photographic control.
I don't see any gains at all in converting an image to PDF, for instance...especially if you don't know how to control it's compression and color variables.
Maybe an EPS or a DCS2 would be useful, but only if you were embedding custom color channels, alpha masks, and spot colors.
Postscript is still useful for page layout - most programs (Quark, InDesign, Illustrator) and most all typefaces still use it as the core of their markup. It isn't mentioned because it both, isn't new, and is roughly invisible to the end user nowadays. New font formats have the required data built in, so a designer no longer has to worry as much about compatibility.
RIPs will be more useful (depending on the printer model) if you want to do multiple images on a sheet, or for b&w printing without a custom inkset. Some printers, operating systems an image combinations work just fine without ones... other workflows are greatly enhanced by using a RIP.
I would say, start with what you want to print, and what printer you wish to use, then look to see if a RIP is recommended to achieve it. There are too many variables for a blanket recommendation.
Can anybody translate this thread into English and possibly explain what it has to do with my 11 x 14?
"I thought the native dpi of the better Epson photo printers made in recent years (e.g. the 1280, 2200, 4000, etc.) was 720. No?"
I don't know the original source, but someone who printed for a living told me that the native res. of the desktop printers is 720, while the large format printers are 360.
"Can anybody translate this thread into English and possibly explain what it has to do with my 11 x 14?"
basically, if your 11 x14 camera isn't postscript compatible, you're going to have to upgrade.
This thread really belongs on the digital mouseturbation forum.
the other thing a rip will do is allow you to linearise your ink heads i.e. measure and set the output of each head to be exactly equal to the rest. You can also set this for different papers, so you can nail the amount of ink laydown for each paper used. The new HPprinters allow this without a rip, the epsons don't (although I've not got my hands on the new x700 series yet). It also allows you to layout smaller prints over the whole width of the paper. Epson drivers traditionally compresses shadow detail, although most folk build in a compensation into the softproof. The downside is it needs a pc all to itself, profiles need to be custom made, and you need to buy a colour mgt package that will allow you to linesarise etc
Pete, the storry here is about "raster-iamge-processor" and computer language needed to describe some page. RIP is computer tool (software or software and hardware) which have to take values from computed (digitalized) image and to convert them to dots on ink printer or points on light printer. I.e. - RIP have to create rasterized image, those can be conventional 4 color rasters, modern "high-definition" hexachromes or even rasters from 8-12... colors. On the other hand, postscript (PS) is complicated page-layout-language needed for fast procesing of more than just image - draws, types, lines... Basicaly, PS have nothing to do with your 11x14 camera, on "the first hand", RIP can help you if you want, from some unknown and wired reason, to print your picture in some other dimension if you don't have some classic analoge tool.
I read that Epson will individually linearize each of their new series of printers (4800, 7800, etc.) and burn the linearization into memory as part of the manufacturing process.
I just purchased the ColorBurst RIP with the intent of trying it out and judging for myself. Plus, I want to see how a traditional RIP works. I recently attended a four-day color management and ProfileMaker 5.0 workshop given by a well-known printer support and consulting company. They also provide training for Onyx, which is a high-end RIP used in the printing industry.
As part of the class, we did a lot of testing on a 7600. Looking at the results of test printouts, the instructor commented that the Epson driver (and OEM drivers in general) just wasn't up to the standards that fine-art and printing industry applications require. For example, except possibly for the new Epson printers (and others?), one can't use a custom linearization when one uses an OEM driver. After linearizing and reprinting the tests, we got improved results using the Onyx RIP.
So, this is kind of hearsay, although the test results were improved. But, does this translate to noticeably improved results in printed photographs? That's why I purchased my RIP, to try it out and judge for myself.
As to the Epson RIP that they sell with a pro version of their 4000 printer, I wouldn't want it. It does not permit use of non-Epson profiles. So if you have non-Epson media, you're stuck without being able to use a custom profile. That's a show-stopper.
Janko, many thanks for that explanation. How the heck do you understand all this stuff and still cope with L.F. I'm impressed, thanks.
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