Shift Happens… Know Your Workflow

By Mary Schilling / Published:

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.

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About the Author

Mary Schilling

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Mary Schilling is the co-owner of InkjetInsight.com, she writes technical inkjet industry articles, provides RIP and workflow training, manages print quality analysis evaluation, ink management and color management for OEM’s and end users for pre and post machine installs. Mary Schilling consults with paper mills, fluid and inkjet machinery suppliers on how to improve color and print quality for high speed and industrial inkjet involving paper, plastics, metal, fabric and glass with UV and aqueous inkjet fluids. This experience led her to receive Innovator of the Year awards from the Flexographic Technical Association and from Xplor International for her efforts in closing the gap between inkjet printing for document, and digital corrugated packaging. She is the owner of Schilling Inkjet Consulting, Published Author and Certified ColorGate Color Trainer and Distributor. Her latest published works can be found www.thinkforum.com/bookstore

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