We get asked all the time whether RIP software should be used for color management. In this episode of #AskBC, we provide answers.
- Using a RIP for color management – practical?
- Types of RIP software available
- Difficulty involved in using a RIP – is it right for your skill level?
Listen in to learn about RIP software and how it should and shouldn’t be used for color management
To learn more about RIP software and how it can be incorporated into your workflow, check out our popular blog post Do I Need a RIP?.
Read the transcribe for this episode
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Announcer: You are listening to the AskBC podcast: your printmaking questions answered by the experts!
Justin: Hey guys, it’s your host Justin! On today’s episode, we’re going to talk a little bit about RIP software and whether or not you can achieve better, more accurate colors using RIP software, versus some other printing software that uses just the printer driver and driver settings such as Photoshop, or Lightroom, or something similar.
I’m really excited about this episode; so let’s jump right in! [00:00:29]
Justin: Bill asks, “We are interested mostly in color accuracy for fine art prints. Since we do them one at a time, speed is really not important. Would a RIP help us get more accurate color rendition than a regular print driver?”
That’s a great question, Bill! And it’s honestly the most common RIP software-related question that I get. People, for whatever reason, seem to think that if they get a piece of RIP software and start printing through that instead, that their prints will somehow magically become better, more vibrant, brighter, and more accurate to what they see on the screen. So let’s talk a little bit about that. [00:01:05]
For those of you that aren’t super-familiar with what a piece of RIP software is, I’m not going to go into too much detail here, because it can get quite complicated. What a RIP allows you to do, amongst many other things, is it allows you to bypass the printer driver that comes with your printer, so you will essentially be custom-creating the media type settings that you normally select within the printer driver, and defining all the variables or all the options that that media type holds. [00:01:31]
These are things like ink density, print feed adjustment, head height, multiple different things. The media type holds a lot of information that you don’t really see in the printer driver. So, you can imagine, that creating this from scratch can get pretty complicated. And that’s one of the first things that I tell people that are interested in just jumping right into a piece of RIP software – you really need to know what you’re doing, and color management can get pretty sticky, so if you’re not familiar with color management, you should really consider continuing to print through Photoshop, in my opinion. [00:02:01]
It’s worth mentioning that there are some programs out there that function like a RIP, but unlike a RIP they don’t completely bypass the printer driver, so they allow you to do things like bypass the normal length maximum that the printer driver enforces. But they also allow you to use the standard printer ICC profile, which is kind of nice. So if you’re not as knowledgeable with color management, looking at a RIP solution like this may be good for you. [00:02:29]
Check out the show notes for this episode, and I’ll make a comprehensive list of different RIP softwares and the knowledge level you need to be at, in my opinion, in order to jump into one these. This could be really helpful, because some of the more novice-level RIPs do give you some great benefit, and like I said, you can still use them with the ICC profiles that your third-party media manufacturer or that your printer manufacturer supplies. So make sure you head over to the show notes and grab that little guide that I’ll put there for you. I’ll give you the link to the show notes at the end of this episode. [00:02:58]
Now that you know a little bit more about RIPs, let’s get back to Bill’s question regarding whether or not you can get more accurate, better color by printing through RIP software.
I’m gonna lay this out bluntly and say that you typically can not get better, more accurate colors simply by switching over to a RIP. That being said, if you’re trying to reach a specific color, say you’re trying to print a “Coca-Cola red,” or a “Home Depot orange,” or something like that, and you can’t get the right color through the printer driver – which is probably a pretty common thing – then I would probably recommend using a RIP for color management. [00:03:30]
Most of the time, color management is the last reason I recommend that you switch to a RIP, and I’m not going to get into the reasons for using a RIP in this episode, but, to answer Bill’s question: no, I do not think that you can get more accurate color by using a RIP.
As I mentioned before, it’s actually a lot more difficult to get to the same good level of color that you could pretty easily reach through the printer driver through a piece of RIP software. Because, as I mentioned, it’s pretty difficult to handle color management in most RIP softwares. [00:03:59]
So again, unless you have a specific reason for using a RIP, and often color management isn’t one of them, I don’t often recommend using a RIP.
Alright guys, that’s it for today’s episode! I want to thank you so much for listening, and I hope you learned a few things about RIP software! Don’t forget to head over to the episode page to grab the show notes that I was mentioning, where I will provide you with that handy little RIP software guide. You can grab those show notes by visiting “ask-bc.com/rip”.
Thanks so much, Bill, for submitting this question, and we have a brand new Breathing Color t-shirt on its way out to you. If you would like to ask a question for the show, you can visit “ask-bc.com”, and if we use your question like we did Bill’s today, a free Breathing Color t-shirt will be coming your way!
[End – 00:04:51]
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