Printing is one of the most crucial and overlooked steps in the photographic workflow. It is the final step of the creative process where a photographer’s idea comes to life. The print is at the pinnacle of the photographic process because it will determine what people think of your work. In other words, printing is really important. In this article I will be reviewing ImagePrint RIP software with real world examples of how it has improved my workflow.
What is RIP Software?
Before we get started you might be asking yourself, what is RIP Software? RIP stands for Raster Image Processor. The RIP software processes multiple content types for a specific print environment and then sends that data to the printer for final output.
What’s the difference between ImagePrint R.E.D. and ImagePrint Black?
ImagePrint software comes in two versions, ImagePrint R.E.D. (Runs every device) and ImagePrint Black. The two pieces of software are packaged into a single interface which makes them almost identical to the user. ImagePrint Red and Black utilize the exact same print layout features which makes it seamless to switch between the two. There are two distinct differences between the two pieces of software however. ImagePrint Red utilizes the printer’s native driver while Image Print Black drives the printer itself. Since ImagePrint RED makes use of the printers native driver, it can be used with any printer. ImagePrint Black however overrides the print driver so it can only be used with specific printers by Epson, Canon and HP. Visit the ImagePrint website to find out if your printer is compatible with ImagePrint Black.
The second difference is ImagePrint Black gives users access to a large array of profiles that have been designed for specific ink sets, paper types and lighting conditions. Not having to waste time and money creating custom profiles is worth the price of ImagePrint Black alone. Additionally, users can import any custom profiles that they have already built directly into ImagePrint Black for seamless use of ImagePrint profiles and their own.
Who will benefit from ImagePrint Red?
ImagePrint R.E.D. is ideal for photographers who only use a few different paper types and are already getting good results with their current print setup. ImagePrint Red is perfect for portrait and wedding photographers who have to create many prints in various sizes for clients and need good layout solutions that are much faster than Photoshop. The interface is very intuitive and since the software utilizes the printer's native driver the print dialog will be the exact same as if printing through Photoshop, Lightroom or any other image viewing software.
Who will benefit from ImagePrint Black?
ImagePrint Black has all of the features of ImagePrint Red but it comes packed with a large library of profiles that are built for a specific printer and paper combo. I own a spectrophotometer but after using ImagePrint Black, it has been rendered just about useless because Black is already loaded with a large profile library that has been built for my printer. With the click of a button you can alter any paper profile for one of five different lighting conditions including daylight, tungsten, mixed warm, mixed cool and florescent. If you've made a custom profile before, you know how time consuming it would be to make five different profiles for each paper that you will be using. ImagePrint Black makes it easy to experiment with different paper types with "What you see is what you get" results.
High-end spectrophotometers and calibration software can cost $3,000 or more. At the time of writing this article, a 24” printer license goes for about half the price of a professional spectrophotometer/software combo.
Since ImagerPrint Black overrides the printer’s native driver, it has full control over the printer. At the surface this might not seem like a big deal, but modern printer manufacturers create a huge array of models, and their print drivers are often riddled with bugs. ImagePrint Black takes the driver out of the equation all together. If you are experiencing issues with your print driver, ImagePrint Black will solve the problem. I had an issue with Epson’s Sure Color P7570 series driver that would not center the image on the page no matter what settings were chosen. ImagePrint Black instantly fixed the problem because the Epson driver was bypassed all together.
Custom Paper Profiles (ImagePrint Black)
As mentioned above, ImagePrint Black has a large range of profiles already loaded into the software. If there is a paper that you want to use that they have not profiled yet, you can simply send them a few sheets of blank paper and they will create a custom profile for that paper and your ink set. I wanted to test this service in this review so I sent in a few sheets of Moab paper that were not already in ImagePrint Black. I will update the article once the service is complete.
Saving Print Jobs for future use (RED/Black)
One of the big benefits of using ImagePrint Red/Black is the ability to reprint a job that you have already completed. For example, if you have a client that would like to reorder a series of prints, all you have to do is recall the job and drag it to the “Active Jobs” section of the print spooler (Queue). The job will then reprint with the exact same settings that you used the first time around. Since you know the settings will be the exact same, you do not need to worry about mismatched prints that can waste paper or even go unnoticed until they are in your client’s hands.
"Cut it Out" automated paper cutting application (RED/Black)
DISCLOSURE: I did not have access to a vinyl cutter at the time of this writing, so I was not able to test the "Cut it Out" feature of ImagePrint.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing features of ImagePrint Red and Black is a feature called “Cut It Out”. Cut It Out allows photographers and print makers to accurately cut their prints by controlling a vinyl cutter such as the Graphtec CE700. Cutting prints manually used to be tedious and time consuming but this technology has revolutionized what photographers are capable of in an in-home environment. Cut It Out allows photographers to create a full-service print lab in just about any room in their home. While there is a little bit of an investment cost to purchase the vinyl cutter and additional license, the software eliminates the need to outsource large print jobs, effectively paying for itself.
ImagePrint makes creating print layouts simple (RED/Black)
While ImagePrint offers incredible paper cutting technology in "Cut It Out", purchasing a vinyl cutter might not be practical for everyone. For this reason, Image Print has an "Easy Print Shuffle" feature that will align all of the images in a project for easy manual cutting by hand. Creating a layout in this manner would be very time consuming in Photoshop, but with ImagePrint it only take the click of a button. Another thing I love about ImagePrint is the interface makes it very easy to see the print size of any selected photo. This simple feature allows users to be confident that they're images will be printed at the right size preventing wasted ink and paper.
Automated workflows made easy. (RED/Black)
ImagePrint allows users to save their favorite layout and print settings as a preset for an accurate and streamlined workflow. The preset can then then be automated by a feature called "Listen". Listen allows users to create a "hot folder" or "droplet". Images can then be added to the hot folder and once a specified criteria is met such as percentage of page covered or number of images on a page, ImagePrint will send the job to the printer. This feature is very useful for folks who have to print a lot of different images and do not want to waste precious time dealing with layouts and print settings.
Price vs other RIP Software (RED/Black)
ImagePrint Black is priced according to the size of printer that you own. The larger the printer, the more ImagePrint will cost you. Even so, It is still more affordable than the competition at any printer size, making it an attractive choice for photographers who are not running a massive print warehouse. Image Print is backed by a 30-day money back guarantee that allows users to take it for a test drive without any risks.
Customer Service & Software Training (RED/Black)
Good customer service is essential for any piece of software. I was pleasantly surprised with how helpful the folks at ColorByte software were. They are quick to respond and are very helpful resolving any issues that you might come across. While many RIP software companies will charge an arm and a leg just to teach you how to use their software, ColorByte has a large library of how-to videos on their YouTube Chanel which makes learning the software a breeze. Should you get stuck at any point, simply send them an email.
Image Print for Screen Printers (RED/Black)
In addition to all the traditional printing features mentioned above, ImagePrint makes printing multiple PDF channels on transparencies for screen printing applications simple. Once an image is loaded into ImagePrint it can be separated into channels. The user gets to choose what channels they want to keep and what ones they’d like to discard. After setting the mesh count the user can apply the settings and the image is automatically separated into individual channels that are ready to print on transparencies.
ImagePrint is a great piece of software for photographers looking to do any amount of professional printing. It instantly creates easy to cut layouts without having waste hours in Photoshop. This inexpensive RIP allows users to archive print jobs and recall them at a letter date ensuring that each reproduction is the same as the original job. No more wasted ink and paper because you forgot to change a print setting! Additionally, ImagePrint Black's profile library will allow users to focus on their craft instead of wasting time and money creating profiles for each type of paper that they want to use. There's really nothing else like ImagePrint on the market. It has made printing enjoyable by removing the the headaches that are often associated with it. Click the image below to find out more about ImagePrint and to purchase a license.