As far as Goggin is concerned, though, the best aspect of Contex's RIP system is that it doesn't require "a rocket scientist" to work it. "If you need to hire someone who'd cost 60 or 70 grand a year for an operator, you can't justify it," he says. "So because of the return on investment on something like that being so out of balance, the beauty of Contex is that I can pick someone with average computer experience who knows how to work a mouse, and they can get the full benefits out of the scanner with minimal training." The system also includes a CD fully explaining the scanner and wide-image software, making it quite user-friendly from a training and operation standpoint.
Robert Meyers Studio: Accommodating Heavy Workloads
User-friendliness and cost are also important to Robert Meyers, owner of Robert Meyers Studio in Pasadena, CA.
Meyers and his wife offer their customers a combination of photography and design, as well as a commercial service bureau specializing in large-format printing. To accommodate the heavy workload, Meyers utilizes Production House, a RIP software package from Onyx Graphics (Midvale, UT).
"I have their software hooked up to four separate large-format printers, all specialized in different kinds of niche markets," Meyers reports. "I do a lot of display work, for example. We have photos that we resell and I print, and I have a printer set up just for giclée printing, for art galleries, that sort of thing. I use another printer for outdoors."
One appeal of Production House, Meyers explains, is that it can drive several printers simultaneously: "Since I can drive multiple printers at a time, if I get a large job of 2,000 or 3,000 prints, I can get two printers of like nature running together and save time." It was for this reason, in fact, that he made the switch earlier this year. "The current version, 6.0, we've been using probably just six months," he says. "I converted over from the Fiery RIP because this allows me to print quicker, have more color control, and all the rest."
Another aspect he finds appealing is the level of color management provided. "You can create custom profiles, and it gives you a lot more flexibility than the software I had before. This software does everything I need it to do, because the color comes out consistent, and because of the way you're able to set up profiles. I can actually send down the file, for example, through Photoshop, or I can place the file in Quark and download it to the RIP, and both come out identical."
BWC Utilizes StudioPrint
ErgoSoft recently announced the release of StudioPrint 11, its highly intuitive professional-level software solution for fine art and photographic image production. Building on their previous RIP, the new StudioPrint includes improved image fidelity capabilities, increased productivity and profitability features while reinforcing ErgoSoft's dedication to developing its RIPs to be choice workflow solution for those who require the utmost control over the printing process.
StudioPrint 11 builds on ErgoSoft's strong, time-proven interface design with enhancements made to further optimize media usage and make-ready time. StudioPrint 11 has improved upon its already superior image fidelity and color accuracy. Adding a new screening mode, users should see additional improvement in smoothness in the 60-80% coverage areas on variable-droplette printers. Support for up to six levels of black for monochromatic printing opens up new opportunities to users of legacy six color printers looking for effective ways to continue to produce outstanding work from their older equipment. "Using ErgoSoft's StudioPrint RIP allowed us to produce quality Canvas prints for the first time," comments Dan Foster of BWC Imaging in Dallas, TX. "Prior to installing StudioPrint, we truly struggled producing quality canvas prints on the Epson 9600. It almost looked like we were splashing paint."
"StudioPrint was very easy to use. We installed it and we were immediately up and running. BWC immediately saw the difference and we were producing impressive prints first-run, saving us considerable time and money. Also, for the first time we were finally able to achieve a neutral image without endless tweaking," Foster concludes.
For those seeking simple digital-output solutions for their customers, RIP and color management systems can enhance and expand their workflow capabilities. The above selections represent some of the best on the market, but there are many others available as well. Whatever package you choose, RIPs may be just what the digital imager ordered.
Rich Handley is a freelance writer for a number of trade and consumer publications, as well as the associate editor of Quick Printing magazine. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.