Big Picture - September 2015 - (Page 30)

Repackaging RiPs Today's RIP suppliers are promising software that is scalable, affordable, and bundled with MIS, ERP, and workflow management functions. BIG PICTURE September 2015 H 30 ave you seen a runner selecting shoes? It's a mystical process, guided by a salesperson/guru, who carefully examines the foot, the stride, wear on previous soles, etc. And it ends with a glowing athlete holding a new pair of treads. Today's software developers are trying to make buying a RIP something like that. They know that RIPs are "fit it and forget it" shoes, and so they're spiffing them up with new features for a perfect fit. When it comes to buying this software, well, it's not quite there yet. "To me a RIP should almost be a transparent thing. I'm working in Photoshop and I should be able to print it and forget it - that's the ideal situation," says print industry consultant Chris Morrison. There are whispers and rumors that perhaps RIPs are not here to stay. Perhaps they'll be replaced by in-printer functions or Photoshop updates that outstrip this software of its usefulness. Manufacturers aren't entertaining the possibility; some are even going on the offensive. A recent Roland press release noted: "Rolandprintstudio also has many design features to help reduce reliance on expensive design software." So, will RIPs replace Photoshop, or will Photoshop replace RIPs? And let's not forget that the idea of embedding some sort of RIP function into printers is hardly new. "I've worked with printers and RIPs for years and years, going all the way back to PostScript Level 1," Morrison says. "This was one of the things we tried to do - embed the processing into the printer." So much for that. by Robin Donovan A more likely possibility is that RIPs could end up on the cloud, but file sizes make this difficult, too. Still, manufacturers we spoke with, including EFI, are leaving this option open. Certainly, RIP providers hope to provide a one-stop product that addresses all the computing needs associated with digital print. And bundling software speaks not only to the still-remote potential for RIPs to fade away, but also to the growing complexity of working in a digital realm. Still, companies like Apple have helped consumers learn that technology can be simple, even fun, to use and still produce complex results, and print consumers now expect to send you files digitally, track job progress digitally, and receive orders on a tight turnaround. Expanding Education First-time RIP buyers (people investing in printers, in other words) face three choices, according to Morrison. The first are slow, limited Windows or Mac print drivers that are virtually useless. Then, there are RIPs bundled with entry-level devices that "aren't half bad," but allow for little flexibility when shop owners are ready to buy new machines. This, of course, is when most printers typically invest in a standalone RIP - the third category. While RIPs tend to remain in the background for skilled users, implementation of new software still creates hurdles for many. Suppliers have addressed this with user conferences, like HP-relative Dscoop's myriad of small-group, how-to sessions on software and machine use (last year, they also had a smaller

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Big Picture - September 2015

Big Picture - September 2015
Wide Angle
Business + Management
Brands to Believe in
Repackaging RIPs
The Writing’s on the Wall...and Paper ...and Acrylic.

Big Picture - September 2015