Optimising your designs with RIP oftware

See how your colours match up once they’re printed by printing onto a transparent sheet first

If you own a heat transfer printer or even if you’re only looking, the chances are that you know what RIP software is. The raster image processor, better known as RIP, optimises the image you see on the screen in preparation for printing. Simple. John-Paul Burton, director of Your Embroidery Services Ltd, explains further.

But what does this actually entail and do you really need it? I’ve broken down a few of the features of RIP software to see the true difference that it can make to your prints.

Colour profiles

I’ll start with one of the most important things, which comes hand-in-hand with printing: colour profiles. While RGB is the popular choice when designing graphics, heat transfer printers operate using CMYK. These colour modes are very different. The colours that you see on the screen won’t look the same once they are printed. They probably won’t even look the same on a different monitor. So, this is where Pantone comes in.

Pantone is widely used in the printing industry as a standard reference point for how your colours should look. This is where colour profiles become important. Their purpose is to get the best possible Pantone match using CMYK. You can use the ones that are already set up or even create your own to meet your desired results.

A great tip to see how these colours match up once they’re printed is to print onto a transparent sheet first. You can even place it over the blank garment to get an idea of the end result. This can reduce wasted transfer papers and save you a lot of money in the long run.

Reliable results

Producing one great print isn’t good enough when it comes to making a profit. What is really important is consistency. You should be creating great prints again and again and again.

There is always a certain margin of human error when it comes to printing directly from your design software using a print driver. Plus, let’s be honest, it’s unnecessarily time-consuming.

Instead, the RIP allows you to save your desired settings. This ensures that you can create consistent, high-quality results in next to no time. This not only saves you time, but it also cuts down the waste and cost of the multiple misprints which could occur.

A high-quality print depends on great quality RIP software

More control over costs and ink levels

Another great function with RIP is the control that you’re given. Many of these processors allow you to find out the ink usage and cost estimates of a print job before you even print. This allows you to easily work out your profit margins on each job and alter your prices to match these figures.

Not only can you check your ink usage, but you can also alter it. RIP software will often give you the ability to control how much ink you’re putting down when you print.

This is great if you’re looking to reduce your overall cost per print.

Save yourself money

Transfer papers can be pricey, so maximising their use and cutting down on waste can be ideal. This is where the nesting feature can make a real difference.

Nesting allows you to combine a number of different files onto one print job. You can then move and rotate them, allowing you to take full advantage of the entire space of your transfer paper.

So, is the RIP worth it? Definitely – a high-quality print depends on great quality RIP software.

The whole point of the software is to give you the best possible results, as efficiently as possible. Just consider the extra time you would need to spend reworking your images without it. Plus, the extra cost of rejected misprints.

The efficiency and quality-control make this piece of a software a no-brainer.

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