Inkjet is Data Driven
Design files and their elements are truly dependent on the alignment of the input and output color space and rendering assignments of both the design file and the raster image process (RIP). High speed inkjet devices use a raster image processor (RIP) which is internal to the printer where all digital file processing done. This process is internal to the device where graphic files are prepared for the printer by being converted into a dither pattern using FM screening algorithms. This screening is much different than AM screening used in conventional printing.
Internal RIPs have fixed settings configured for high speed processing and imaging when large variable printing is required.
Industrial inkjet though, often keeps the RIP process separate developing dithered files on software independent of the printer, called an off-line RIP. Off-line RIP processes are not fixed settings, but allowing different configurations of processing, printhead and ink combinations convenient for machine developers and operators of non variable printing on varied media.
In both of these instances, all the color management and image conversion sent to your inkjet printer happens through the settings within the RIP either internal or external. This graphic file interpretation and color conversion workflow is the first step to color accuracy. Any misalignment of color space assignments, rendering intents, resolution, image quality, input and output profiles will create unexpected color variables in your data preparation process.
It is important to understand your design to RIP process and document the settings ensuring color alignment throughout your workflow.
Throughout this series, we will break down the different aspects of the workflow process and specific elements which affect color.