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RIP Printing

Guidelines for using 3rd party Raster Image Processing software

RIPs are third party software packages that are purchased separately from the printer.  RIP software bypasses the printer's driver and takes control of the printer directly.  RIPs usually do a better job of color management and printing.  They also often come with additional features, such as batch printing and layout control.

Since there are a number of RIPs on the market, this topic can only cover guidelines for using a RIP with Photoshop.  The basic thing to remember is Photoshop will be used to create both the master file and the print file, but it is the RIP that will be used to print the image.


So what is a raster image?  A raster image is the technical term for bitmap images.  Raster images are composed of pixels.  While vector graphic files store images via means of mathematically defined curves and lines, known as vectors.


General Steps


  1. Within Photoshop, create the print file as detailed in this web site's workflow page.  The print file should be in the final size and orientation (portrait or landscape) needed for printing.
  2. Also within Photoshop, set the print file's resolution (ppi).  This is not the same as the printing resolution (dpi), which will be set in the RIP.  This is an important concept to understand.  To learn more about the difference between file and printing resolution, read the Resolution page.
  3. If the RIP software cannot handle alpha channels, click on the Channels tab to open the Channels panel and delete all alpha channels from the print file.  It is not necessary to delete the alpha channels from the master file.
  4. At this point, the file to be printed should already be in the size, orientation and resolution needed for actual printing.



  1. Open your RIP software.
  2. Select the target printer.
  3. Select the page size (letter, A4, A3/B, etc.).
  4. If needed, specify the ink set being used.
  5. Access the RIP's color management options.
  6. Select the appropriate printer profile for the paper/ink combination being used.
  7. In the rendering intent options, select Relative Colorimetric unless you have a valid reason for using another type of intent.
  8. Open the file to be printed.
  9. If necessary, rotate the image to the desired orientation.
  10. Position the image to achieve the desired top and left margins.
  11. Select the appropriate paper type (sheet, roll, etc.)
  12. If using sheet paper, select the correct paper source/tray (sheet feeder, manual feed slot, etc.)
  13. If available, select the media type.  If present, media type is usually a specific paper, such as Epson Ultra Premium Luster Photo Paper.
  14. Select the desired printing dpi.
  15. Print the image.