Review of Proofmaster RIPs

Deciding what RIP software to utilize can be a difficult decision when you consider there are over 40 RIPs available and within the 40 there are a variety of market segments. Finding one RIP that can do it all can be challenging. For many digital imaging users there is the need to print full gamut RGB images from digital captures and also to be able to print CMYK files, as they would appear on an assortment of press conditions.

Many RIPs suggest they can accomplish all the above but often fail in one of the two areas. I have worked with several RIPs and to date very few are able to print both RGB and CMYK files with a high degree of accuracy.

One of the RIPs I keep coming back to is ProofMaster (www. proof master. net). This RIP is easy to use, produces very accurate results, works on a Mac or a PC and can print to two printers simultaneously. Having a Mac RIP is great for digital photographers and graphic designers; no need to figure out Windows networking and file sharing protocols.

Product Overview

ProofMaster exists in 3 levels: Entry-level, Professional-level and Professional-level including I-bit proofing. Within each level, there are different versions of ProofMaster, which can drive printers of different sizes.

Entry Level: OSX Only
Adesso: Desktop Printers, 13″ x 19″ sheet (A3 ). Drives only one printer.
Adesso Plus: Desktop Printers, 17″ roll. Drives only one printer.
Pro Level: OS X and PC
Folio: Desktop Printers, 17″ roll. Drives two printers. (1) 17″ printer and (1) 13″
Mezzo: Wide Format Printers, 24″ roll. Drives two printers. (1) 24″ printer and (1) < 17″
Grande: Wide Format Printers, >36″ roll. Drives two printers. (1) 36″ printer and (1) < 24″
Pro Level 1-bit: OS X and PC
Dalmatian: Wide Format Printers, >36″ roll. Drives two printers.
Additional options include: PDF export and a Certify Proof option.

Usage Installation and usability is very straightforward, being on a Mac makes the networking and file sharing extremely simple. The one area I found challenging was the naming of the supplied profiles. It was tough to understand how the names applied to various media and resolution options. In most cases, to get the most accurate output it will be necessary to create custom media profiles so the above point may not be an issue with your setup.

The RIP allows for up to 16 different queues per printer. This is usually enough, as most users will have two medias, two resolutions and RGB and CMYK output requirements. When setting up a queue the user is asked if the new queue will be a proofing or a photo queue. The Colour Proofing queue will incorporate a reference profile to reduce the gamut of the inkjet to match the colour capabilities of the press. In a Photo Printing queue the maximum gamut of the media is used in colour reproduction. The Photo option is great for fine art printers and photographers looking to get the maximum colour punch possible.

The rips all offer spot colour matching, nesting (the ability to gang lmages up on a page) and various production tools for rotating and cropping. If your company is sending out for proofs you could consider setting up in-house proofing. The software and printers have matured and the prices have come down in the last few years. It is possible to have extremely accurate proofs for under $5,000.00. The best reasons to bring proofing in-house are: greater control, better turn around times, reduced costs and greater customer satisfaction.

One of the main reasons a company does not want to bring proofing in-house is the extra responsibility. Most do not want to be the one responsible for the proo£ If you’re concerned about quality, be sure the RIP has the ability to quickly and easily verifY the proo£ The verification process is usually accomplished by measuring a colour bar with a device such as an Eye-One or a Pulse. The measurements are then compared to a reference and the results are displayed and printed on a label that can be affixed to the proo£

In today’s digital workflow it is not enough to give your clients a CD and expect their monitors to match yours and for them to approve a layout from your un-calibrated printer. It is essential that a true reference of the digital file accompany the CD. The best option is to supply an accurate inkjet print and the best way to accomplish that is to invest decent RIP and printer.