What Is a RIP And Why Do I Need It?

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What is a RIP Software Program?

The abbreviation RIP stands for Raster Image Processing. The RIP Software converts your digital image created in a graphics software (CorelDraw, Illustration, Photoshop) to a ready-to-print file with the most ideal resolution for inkjet printing. The ripped image can now go from your PC to your wide format printer.

rip-software-infographic Desktop printers don’t need RIP programs, because they come with a print driver that has sufficient amount  of control and options for general smaller format printing. Recall when you click “print” and a box comes up and you can select if you want to print in color, black & white or grey scale – this is your print driver. Wide format printers are a bit more advanced and RIP programs are often needed for exact color output, quality resolution, rasterization and maximum control.

Why Do I Need A RIP?

A RIP program offers a professional wide-format print shop multiple benefits beyond the basic printer driver.

  • Save media and ink cost with advanced ink control and nesting features in many common RIP programs
  • Color profile management for a variety of media, ink technologies, and application purposes
  • Multi-printer management with ability to print up to four printers from a single computer
  • Faster image processing, which handles wide variety of file types, including high-resolution vector and raster images
  • Upgrade features available to add-on with such as variable data printing, automatic color separation & halftone screens, and much more!

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What Else Can The RIP Do?

A RIP program also handles the rasterization of images with an enhanced process that preserves the image details to an optimum level. Rasterization is the process of converting a vector file to a raster file (or in other words, a bitmap image). Vector files are graphics made up of paths, not pixels. They don’t have a resolution and can be enlarged indefinitely without losing information. However, when it comes to printing, a vector graphic needs to be converted to a file type that contains pixels (or small dots) so the printer can read it and print it. The RIP software converts that vector file to a raster file at the highest quality possible and preps it for printing.

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Things To Remember

The program you create your graphics design in, the RIP software program and the printer are all separate entities. They will work together to bring you the end product you want. It is important to make sure that they are all compatible. RIP software programs can be purchased separately or in some cases they are paired with the purchase of your printer. If this is the case, be aware that you are getting the basic version of the RIP software program. Upgrades to be purchased will be recommended to you at a later date.

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