Raster image processor

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A raster image processor (RIP) is a component used in a printing system which produces a raster image also known as a bitmap. The bitmap is then sent to a printing device for output. The input may be a page description in a high-level page description language such as PostScript, Portable Document Format, XPS or another bitmap of higher or lower resolution than the output device. In the latter case, the RIP applies either smoothing or interpolation algorithms to the input bitmap to generate the output bitmap.

Raster image processing is the process and the means of turning vector digital information such as a PostScript file into a high-resolution raster image.

Originally RIPs were a rack of electronic hardware which received the page description via some interface (e.g. RS232) and generated a "hardware bitmap output" which was used to enable or disable each pixel on a real-time output device such as an optical film scanner.

A RIP can be implemented either as a software component of an operating system or as a firmware program executed on a microprocessor inside a printer, though for high-end typesetting, standalone hardware RIPs are sometimes used. Ghostscript and GhostPCL are examples of software RIPs. Every PostScript printer contains a RIP in its firmware.

Earlier RIPs retained backward compatibility with photosetters so they supported the older languages. So, for example Linotype RIPs supported CORA (RIP30).


Stages of RIP

A RIP chip is used in laser printers to communicate raster images to a laser.

RIP Providers

  • EG-DocRIP(printer drivers not available) can interpret several printer languages or document formats - HP PCL5, XL, Adobe PostScript Level3, Microsoft XPS, W3C XHTML-MP, and render to raster image.
  • ImageNest RIP (Non windows OS)can layout multiple raster and PostScript files onto a single page. File support includes EPS, PDF, PS (Postscript) Camera RAW, DNG, TIF, JPG, GIF, PNG, HDR (High Dynamic Range), and other formats
  • Harlequin RIP renders from PostScript, PDF, XPS, PCL etc for use in desktop printers, digital production presses and prepress.

See also

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