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Author Topic: RIP for press simulation  (Read 2370 times)
jimrw
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« on: January 20, 2006, 07:27:04 PM »
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I am trying to sort through the details of the best RIP software. I have read many things about how different RIPs perform on Fine Art printing. While I do fine art printing, and would love to make better color and B&W prints, the NEED I have is mainly for my commercial clients. I need a RIP that will mimic a CMYK press well enough to show the client were we are. I would like to get better than "in the ball park" more like "in the infield". However I don't need a "Home run". I  don't need or want to be presenting Contract Proofs to my clients.
   I have been told the inkjet printer needs to be linearized by some sources. The people at Imageprint say that its no longer needed with their system (old technology). The Colorburst people say they are "SWOP certified" and that inkjets do need to be linearized. Does anyone know who's right?
   I shoot with a Phase One H25 and Canon 1Ds MK2 and would like to simply make a print that tells me what the file is likely to print like (on a CMYK printing press). I need the immediacy of having a printer in the studio but don't really want to become an expert in Pre-Press if I don't have too.
   I currently have an Epson 1280 and 2200 but may upgrade to a 4800 if necessary.

Can anyone help?

Jim
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PetterStahre
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2006, 07:16:55 AM »
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Hi Jim,
I question if you really need a RIP for that. If you're planning to print layouts (from InDesign or QuarkXPress) containing your images then a RIP would be of use.

Another way is to buy a profiling package for your printer (and more) like the Gretagmacbeth EyeOne Photo (or the ProfileMaker 5 package).

I'm using that package to profile my Epson 2400 and 7800 for different papers. This week I took a CMYK-file of one of my images that had been printed in a book. That very file had been used (with no other conversion/editing) to make the printing plates.

When I printed that file on my 7800 (from Photoshop CS2, using my custom made profile) and then compared the print with the picture in the book it was near perfect. No differences in colour. Same details in the shadows and highlights. I was actually surprised to see it came that close.

I then printed another CMYK-picture from the book and got the same satisfying result. Only this time I noted a slight different colour in a part of the picture (comparable to + 2-3% magenta). It looked more neutral on my print than in the printed book. I reopened the picture in Photoshop and measured the CMYK (and corresponding RGB) values for that part and could see that the tone was neutral. That meant that my print was perfect, and that the printer should have adjusted their machine while printing that page.

When I say my prints were near perfect I mean there are differences due to different paper types. I used Hahnemuhle PhotoRag Satin for my printouts which is NOT a proofing paper in any concern (but a paper I like the feel of and thought it was fun to see how it coped) - but it mimics somehow the semimatte finish of the actual paper used. Naturally I got deeper blacks on the Hahnemuhle paper than were in the printed book. Still - if there were details in the shadows on my print they were to be seen in the printed product.

The print was that good that I would have no concern using it as a proof even for the printer operating the machine (I've gotten worse printing proofs from the actual printers themselves!). And if my image would have been wrong in colour I would have seen it directly on my own print - and that's the point, no surprises in the printing press.

There are special papers you could buy like the EFI Offset Proof Paper 9200 (and the old 9180) that is specially made to mimic offset paper behavoiur. I haven't tried that paper yet, but I will do since it's both SWOP and FOGRA certified under special circomstances.

So... if you only need to proof your images (not layout) I think you will do better (as in having more fun with your $) with a profiling package and printing from Photoshop. That will also get you a spectrophotometer to more accurately calibrate your screen - and you will have the possibility of doing profiles for all your printer/paper combinations wich is the biggest concern. (And even if you buy a RIP you might need to invest in a spectrophotometer anyway.)

My test was made on my 7800 but I expect the very same results from my 2400 since I've compared them in other situations. The key is of course the individual profiling, more than what printer is used.

Cheers,
Petter
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Schewe
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2006, 03:25:55 PM »
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Quote
I shoot with a Phase One H25 and Canon 1Ds MK2 and would like to simply make a print that tells me what the file is likely to print like (on a CMYK printing press). I need the immediacy of having a printer in the studio but don't really want to become an expert in Pre-Press if I don't have too.
I currently have an Epson 1280 and 2200 but may upgrade to a 4800 if necessary.
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While it's perfectly possible to output a very good cross-rendered output for CMYK on an Epson inkjet from Photoshop, it's not an easy thing to do. And this is just for proofing the CMYK raster (pixel) image, not the final image + design which becomes more difficult (but CAN be done).

If you are considering the 4800, I would seriously look at the 4800 Pro which comes with an ethernet card plus a special Epson version of ColorBurst tuned to doing SWOP proofs. The regular ColorBurst for the 4800 is over $1K-yes it does more than the bundled version but if your primary concern is doing SWOP proofs (as apposed to sheetfed-which is a different animal) the Epson bundled version is perfect.

Yes, ColorBurst DOES reccomend linearizing and is required for matching YOUR 4800 ColorBurst proofs to another 4800 proofer somewhere else. The liearizing requires a UV spectro such as a UV Eye-One or Xrite Pulse.

I've used the ColorBurst/Epson rip for about 3 months and it's a VERY good solution when printing out to the Epson Semi-matte proofing paper. Whether a commercial printer will accept it as a "contract proof" varies depending on the printer's understanding of color management and their ability to look forward rather than backwards...fact is a lot of commercial printers are putting in 4800's with ColorBurst to replace expensive proofers that are due to be replaced-and those ARE being used as contract proofers.

ColorBurst won't do much to help print fine art type work, custom profiles are still better for that...
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