The Big Picture - April 2014 - (Page 34)

RIPs Weighing in on the RIP Six companies address trends in workflow, scalability, the Cloud, integration with other tools, and much more. As you can clearly see on the preceding pages, when it comes to RIPs and workflow, you have many, many choices. And while it's certainly helpful in considering any shop tool to drill down into its specs and specific features, it's also critical to look at how that tool's use might be changing. We asked several RIP companies - Caldera, GMG, Onyx, SAi, Wasatch, and Xitron - to address a variety of RIP trends we've spotted across the marketplace. Here's what they had to say. Q These days, there's RIP software and then there's workflow software - how do the two differ? Or do they? Xitron: They do. The easiest way to think about this is that a RIP is going to interpret PostScript or PDF and rasterize the data for output. A workflow, on the other hand, may do several different things to the file - either before or after the rasterization process. For example, a workflow may contain modules for preflighting, ink re-mapping, imposition, proofing, or output distribution in a semi- or fully-automated way, carrying the job through the prepress department. Onyx: RIP software is ideal for smaller print service providers new to the printing industry, because it offers the basic tools needed to prepare images for production printing and finishing. As a print shop grows, however, it will begin to encounter challenges that a single-station RIP solution simply cannot address - such as having consistent, predictable output across all of its devices. Workflow software builds upon the strengths of RIP software by adding the ability to scale production as a business grows and providing tools for improving the overall production process. Additionally, workflow software provides greater predictability through a consistent solution across all of a shop's print and finishing equipment. SAi: The biggest difference between the two is scalability. True RIP workflow solutions are like "print factories" that 34 THE BIG PICTURE april 2014 spread the production steps across multiple computers, with central color management and job routing to many printers and cutters. RIP software does everything from job preparation, color management, print, and cutting on a single computer system. Small to medium print providers with fewer than three printers and cutters find this to be the most efficient and cost-effective. Caldera: RIP software is only one defined stage in the print-production workflow. Because the RIP software is directly connected to the production devices, it becomes the key point of the workflow - the only one able to submit jobs to devices and to provide feedback to the workflow. GMG: In a workflow system, everything - preflighting, prepress tasks, RIPing processes, devices, and workstations - is connected within the system. In a RIP-centered system, though, you have to buy separate software pieces for all these different stages of a job and connect the pieces yourself. A RIP-centered system of working will also not allow you to submit jobs from different workstations, so you have to be on the RIP that actually drives the printer when you want to print. While some RIPs do have a wide variety of prepress tasks built within the system, it's not a workflow. Wasatch: RIP and workflow software usually go handand-hand. Utilizing a RIP software's settings and controls means efficient printing and an increase in productivity. Good workflow software removes unnecessary steps and makes the printing process more functional. While a RIP is necessary to achieve a desired and consistent color for every print, an intuitive workflow makes it easy - even in the most complex production environment. Q What are some of the biggest trends in RIPs that print providers need to be aware of? SAi: The biggest trend we see is an increasing demand by print providers for subscription-based RIP software. Many print providers now recognize the business benefits of not

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Big Picture - April 2014

The Big Picture - April 2014
Wide Angle
Up Front
Graphics on the Go
Dynamic Signage
Go Big or Go Home
RIP Chord: Creating a Harmonious Workflow
Weighing in on the RIP
The Ups and Downs of an Escalator Wrap

The Big Picture - April 2014