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The File Won't RIP!

(May 2007) posted on Tue May 22, 2007

The interaction between image files and your RIP system can leave your clients impressed or your prepress staff distressed. Mandel explains how you can improve the relations between these two critical elements of digital imaging.

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It’s also important to realize that being an expert on all programs just isn’t possible. A prepress department should segment expertise by operator. Each operator should have a general knowledge of all the programs, but it’s beneficial for individual operators to be specialized in particular ones.

Preflighting has become quite the buzzword, but knowl-edge and experience are more valuable when making pre-print evaluations. Preflighting software is handy for checking resolution, fonts, and other file components and properties, but it’s not really effective when we need to determine how a file is built. For example, if the file is a PDF, thousands of individual descriptions may be embedded in it. In that case, the PDF can choke the RIP. Experienced prepress staff can step in, examine the problem, and solve it elegantly by converting the file to another format.

Current Technology

RIP manufacturers focus on current applications when they develop updates for their software. Without the most recent software release, a RIP may not be as efficient as possible. And if hard­ware is outdated, it may not be able to handle a RIP upgrade. RIP manufactures always catch up with new releases of graphic-design software, often by issu­ing a patch or plug-in that can be down­loaded from their Websites.


It’s important to question the RIP and/or printer manufacturer about updates and changing software. How often is the RIP software updated? How does the manufacturer deal with constant updates in desktop publishing software or software for graphic design? At what cost? The answers may sway a shop’s decision to purchase one RIP over another. Technology is a moving target. Maintaining a relationship with those who keep up is invaluable.


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