A number of third-party RIP (Raster Image Processors) software solutions have been launched recently that extend the capabilities of the desktop Epson Stylus Photo R2880 inkjet printer. As a result, the Stylus Photo R2880 is now the smallest Epson solution using Epson UltraChrome K3 VM inks suitable for professional-level photographic, fine art, proofing or display graphics.
RIP software gives professionals and enthusiasts a higher level of flexibility and control over a variety of functions such as colour management and profiling, calibration, proofing, multiple image handling, job queuing and custom paper formats. RIPs for the Epson Stylus Photo R2880 are available in vering levels of complexity depending on requirements (see list of RIPs available below). Features include the ability to accurately interpret and output PostScript/PDF files plus documents that include EPS or PDF images.
A high level of colour control is particularly important for proofing applications, and some RIPs allow users to simulate the effects of screening and trapping to produce accurate proofs. RIPs can also streamline printing and enable efficient paper use for photographic and signage by supporting automatic tiling and nesting. Users handling multiple jobs can increase efficiency by setting up multiple queues with different output settings, often with separate hot folders for each setting, allowing easy ‘drag and drop’ functionality.
“A variety of specialist RIP solutions have long been available for Epson’s larger format 24in-64in inkjet printers. Now, with a choice of RIPs available for the popular A3+ Epson Stylus Photo R2880, professional functionality and flexibility has been brought to the desktop,” says Martin Johns, Market Development Manager, Pro Graphics, Epson UK.
A brief overview of the different RIP solutions currently available for each application follows:
EFI eXpress for Photo from EFI www.efi.com
delivers high quality colour for photo production. Based on ICC-compliant colour management and cross-platform Windows and MacOSX support, eXpress for Photo provides easy-to-use production tools for nesting, cropping, rotating and crop mark support.
ImageNest RIP from Blue Cubit www.bluecubit.com
has a full-featured layout with batch sizing, automatic nesting and PDF creation. It is fully compliant with PostScript Level 3 and ICC and is a true 64-bit RIP available on the MacOSX platform, including Snow Leopard (OS 10.6).
ImagePrint 8 from ColourByte Software www.colorbytesoftware.com
is full-featured and colour managed out of the box. It is aimed at both professionals and enthusiasts in the photography sector.
Mirage Small Studio Edition for Epson from din.a.x. Digitale Bildbearbeitung www.dinax.de/mirage
enables printing without complex printer drivers. The software is a professional print plug-in for Adobe Photoshop and InDesign. It is not a traditional RIP, but offers most of the benefits of a RIP. It is fast and simple to use and supports all colour modes. There is no length limitation and it supports USB and TCP/IP connection.
Shiraz Focus from Shiraz Software www.shiraz-rip.com
is a low-cost solution that supports only raster file formats (no PostScript or PDF). A specially-designed front-end for the photo market allows for easy and fast professional printing. Included as standard is a powerful photo pack editor that allows users to create their own designs and templates. It is available for Windows and also for Mac OS X platform.
Colour Space Proof from MMS www.mms-heidelberg.de
is a high-end proof and fine art RIP solution. It has an intuitive user interface for both Mac and PC and is perfect for proofs to ISO 12647-7, fine art prints and automated output of contact prints.
EFI Colourproof XF from EFI www.efi.com
offers unprecedented flexibility and control. The XF RIP delivers a complete set of features for professional hard copy proofing, for both validation printing and contract proofing, and serves production and photo needs at the same time. 100% focused on industry standards, cross-platform based with Client/Server architecture and modularly designed, EFI Colourproof XF grows with the business requirements.
EFI eXpress for Proofing from EFI www.efi.com
is a high quality validation and contract proofing solution that is easy to use. It produces optimal spot colour simulations with one-click spot colour customisation based on ICC compliant colour management and cross-platform Windows and MacOSX support. It comes with PANTONE, DIC, HKS and Toyo spot colour libraries.
PowerRIP X from Digital Graphic Imaging Systems / dba iProof Systems www.iproofsystems.com
is a PostScript-compatible Level 3 interpreter for Mac OSX. It is used by graphic artists and printing professionals to produce accurate prepress proofs with tight tolerances for contract-quality proofing. It is pre-profiled for Epson papers and inks, and includes all major industry-standard CMYK and RGB profiles.
EFI Fiery XF from EFI www.efi.com
delivers high quality large-to-super-wide-format print results. Fiery XF’s cross-platform capabilities, client/server architecture and modular concept provide the flexibility to grow with the business. Automated workflows and a complete set of production features enable high volume production with tight turnaround schedules.
Shiraz Signature from Shiraz Software www.shiraz-rip.com
is a state of the art RIP programme with an integrated layout/server module. It supports raster, PostScript and PDF file formats and includes versatile layout, tiling, nesting and full server functionality. Live polling of printer information ensures trouble-free production. It is aimed at start-up signage or print-for-pay operations. It is available for Windows and also for Mac OS X platform.
Shiraz RIP Server from Shiraz Software www.shiraz-rip.com
is a top-of-the-range RIP server with full client/server functionalities and multiple simultaneous printer queues. It is aimed at sites with multiple printers and multiple clients, and includes modules for profiling and a very sophisticated hot queue system for automated workflow. It is available for Windows and also for Mac OS X platform.