Category Archives: Prepress

The perfect CTP for small format printers – at an unbeatable price!

CRON CTP Model 26HThe perfect CTP for small format printers

This complete Eco-friendly package includes the perfect 2-page CTP solution: the CRON CTP Model 26H, the compact all-in-one CTP, auto feeder, imager, punch and conveyor. Featuring comprehensive automation options, this system offers fast, highly cost-efficient UV plate production and the most convenient footprint for small format printers available today.

CRON CTP Model 26H 3-In-1 Fully Automated CTP System with Auto-Loading & In-Line Punch

The CTP Model 26H (26”/670mm format) is the first in a line of automatic 3-in-1 integrated imaging systems designed by CRON. The H-series system combines fully automated plate loading with precision imaging, punching and transport, providing a low cost, easy-to-use and compact unit which is easy to maintain. With a total footprint just 60% the size of comparable units, this system offers high performance alongside improved convenience and cost efficiency. The exposing engine, based on CRON’s market-leading magnetic linear drive platform, provides fault-free imaging across a wide choice of resolutions with registration accuracy up to 0.01mm and a tonal range 1-99%, in either conventional or stochastic screening. Consistent drum pressure control, and integrated online punching for up to 3 punching heads, enables precise registration for a wide range of formats.

Click here to learn more!

Watch the CRON CTP MODEL 26H In Action Below

Mid-State Litho, Inc.
5459 Fenton Rd.
Flint, MI 48507

PH: 810.238.7370

Investing in Automated Ink Key Presetting

Xitron KeySetter WorkflowInvesting in Automated Ink Key PresettingPressroom Capital Investment – View the Complete Article Here!

Printers are faced with having to take a look at their businesses today more than ever before and decide how to make improvements to their business while maintaining profitability in a tightening economy. Capital expenditures for printers are a fact of doing business. Today, printers must carefully examine those expenditures to determine if a real return on investment exists or if the investment sets their business apart from the competition, both of which are reasons for investment. While some investments are capitalized over a relatively short period of time, perhaps three to five years, other investment such as in a press, is a much longer investment, often in the 10+ year range and cost hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars.

While printers like to think that a press investment for 10 years would require no incremental investment, the reality is this is not the case. With the rapid changes in technology, printers must find new ways to make their pressroom investments even more profitable.  Finding ways to make improvements can often be very puzzling. View Ink Key Presetting Savings video by clicking here!

Reduce Labor Cost and Material Waste

While the lease cost of a press is a fixed monthly amount, there are also variable costs associated with every job, the largest of which is the cost of the paper. Another variable cost is the press hourly rate especially as it relates to the press operator’s salary and benefits.Paper represents approximately 20% or more of the cost of any printed job. Reducing the cost of paper and the time to print the job can result in real savings to a printer along with the gain in productivity.

Make-ready savings of up to 90% on repeat jobs

The way to reduce the cost of paper in a job is to reduce the amount of waste in a job. Waste is typically generated during the initial setup of the job as a result of the time it takes to bring the color up to the correct level for printing. While the latest presses generally support automatic ink key settings using CIP3 or other data, many older presses did not include ink key presetting as a standard. Ink key presetting was offered by the major press manufacturers however, these solutions were often very expensive additions and cumbersome. Ten years ago technology in the prepress department was not always capable of producing the necessary files or data required for these presetting options on the press, thus most printers opted not to include this option in their purchase.

Using an automated system such as KeySetter Connect can reduce the make-ready time and materials by as much as 90%. Typical savings on new jobs can be between 30-50% making your pressroom more profitable.

KeySetter System Choices

  • KeySetter Lite – Chart-based
  • KeySetter Pro – Proprietary press console file formats
  • KeySetter Connect – Direct connect to press console

Contact us to receive your Free downloadable brochure. If you have any further questions and would like to talk to our sales department, please contact us at 1.800.343.4231.

Mid-State Litho, Inc.
5459 Fenton Rd.
Flint, MI 48507

MSL – Print & Graphic Art Supplies

Mid-State Litho

Print & Graphic Art Supplies

Search our printing and graphic arts supplies and products by visiting our webshop.

MSL offers a wide variety of printshop and graphic art supplies. A number of products are in-stock and available on our webshop, while many more are available for order over the phone.

MSL has made shopping online for your graphic supply needs simple. You can shop by solutions or manufacturer. If you need help with any items you contact us at 1-800-343-4231 or you can email us at



For additional information or ordering assistance, please contact us at 1-800-343-4231 or by email at

Mid-State Litho, Inc.

MSL is now a Xanté dealer

MSL is excited to announce our new partnership with Xanté. Xanté is a leader in printing technologies providing innovative, state-of-the-art tools for the high-end graphics and prepress markets. This new partnership will bring many new opportunities to MSL and all of our customers. Xanté manufactures some of the most popular print solutions in the industry, creating cutting edge technology, products and services which allow you to be more productive and profitable in your business.

Some of the new products you will find include:


Impressia Multi-Media Print Systems

Xanté Impressia Digital Multi-Media Print Systems are the affordable way to go digital and meet the demand for fast full color letterhead, cards, envelopes, forms, brochures, mailers, labels, banners and more.

Ilumnina GSIlumina GS Series

The Ilumina GS Print Systems from Xanté are complete high-production digital color solutions that allow you to meet the demand for fast full color printing. They feature high definition color technology, the iQueue Color Smart workflow and high volume feeders / delivery conveyors.



The Xanté PlateMaker6 CTP System is the affordable solution that allows you to produce high quality, high resolution polyester plates without processing chemicals. The complete CTP solution features the iQueue Ultimate Wokrflow that automates prepress production and streamline the entire platemaking process.

To find out more about Xanté  and their equipment, call MSL toll free at 800.343.4231 or locally at 810.238.7370.

MSL’s Final Digital Freedom Tour Dates

The final Digital Freedom Tour dates will be September 19th and 20th at the Ramada Plaza in Grand Rapids 3333 28th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI, 10am to 5pm. MSL’s Digital Freedom Tour features the MGI Meteor Digital Press. The Meteor’s construction brings a market exclusive ability to print in super format. Use this to your advantage and provide services that no other print manufacturer can. Super format is terrific for quad-fold brochures, banners, calendars, dust-covers and many other unique items. Show your customer your abilities and help them dream of the possibilities. The patented infrared pre-heater, powerful print engine and enhanced toner compositions give you the freedom to print on a wide variety of stocks and substrates. Print on unique materials like PVC, polycarbonates, Teslin, Yupo, canvas, labels and other synthetics. With the Meteor you are:

  • Free from costly clicks and contracts
  • Free of environmental risks and hazards
  • Free to print laser safe digital work
  • Free to print envelopes on a digital press
  • Free to explore new substrates

Meteor DP8700 XL Digital Press

The Meteor is not the only equipment available for demonstration on the tour. Alongside the Meteor MSL will also show:

  • Mitsubishi Thermal DigiPlate: Mitsubishi Imaging makes going green affordable with the eco-friendly Thermal DigiPlate, the 2-up CTP system ideal for small printers who want an environmentally friendly upgrade from analog and electrostatic plates. The Thermal DigiPlate System is eco-friendly because it is a truly processless system that uses thermal fusing technology to create a high-contrast image on the plate without chemical development, wash-off or ablation.

Mitsubishi Thermal DigiPlate

  • MBM Aerocut Programmable Finisher: Ideally suited for digital applications, MBM’s Aerocut slits, cuts, creases and perforates a wide variety of stocks, including brochures, business cards, post cards, greeting cards, CD jackets and more.

MBM Aerocut Programmable Finisher

  • Morgana AutoCreaser Pro 33: Provides the complete solution to the problem of cracking that occurs when folding digitally printed output. This automatic creaser is capable of handling conventionally printed card, laminates or cross-grained stock.

Morgana Autocreaser Pro 33

  • Morgana AutoFold Pro Digital Folder: free standing folding unit, the Autofold Pro was developed with both digital and litho printers in mind with its ability to fold both precreased sheets. Highly versatile, the Autfold Pro features a SmartScreen touch screen for simple operation.

Morgana AutoFold Pro

  • Dry-Lam FUJiPLA 3220 Automatic Laminator: This two-sided laminator features an automatic sheet feeder and will laminate and trim virtually unattended. Also capable of one-sided lamination, the ALM 3220 can laminate using a matte or gloss finish up to 5 mil.

Dry-Lam FUJiPLA 3220 Automatic Laminator

  • OKI DigiKing Digital Printer: The Digiking is an exciting product available only through MSL. Imagine printing full color envelopes, letterhead, and other unique items easily, efficiently, and economically. The abilities of the Digiking are like no other machine on the market.

OKI DigiKing

If you are interested in having a demonstration of any of our equipment, please call our Flint, MI location at 800.343.4231. And don’t forget to mark your calendar for the last Digital Freedom tour date!

Find Deals on Used Inventory

MSL is pleased to offer a wide variety of solutions for every business’s needs and budgets, including quality used equipment. Find reliable equipment from MSL at lower prices. Whether you’re looking at new or used equipment, we are happy to help you make the right decision for you and your company. Our team members are here to help you. Schedule a demo or call to find out more at 800.343.4231. We have listed some of the used equipment currently available from MSL.

Horizon FC-10 and SPF-10

  • The Horizon FC-10 and SPF-10 combination booklet maker stitches and folds at top speeds and can be put in line with a Horizon collator. Easy to operate, this user-friendly booklet maker provides quality trimming and high precision folding. Variable delivery belt advancement insures smooth delivery and easy handing regardless of book thickness. If your business is in need of a reliable and affordable folder/stitcher, MSL invites you to check out this FC/SPF-10 combination booklet maker from Horizon.

ABDick DPM 2340

  • The ABDick DPM 2340 combines leading-edge internal drum technology with reliable in-line processing to provide you with this state-of-the-art platemaker. The DPM 2340 is an advanced platemaker using precision internal drum technology and an integrated processor. The platemaker interfaces with feature enhanced PrintersRIP® software.

Mitsubishi DPX4 Platesetter

  • The Mitsubishi DPX4 Platesetter was designed for print shops looking for the quality found in a CTP, but have a budget they need to stick to. This polyester plate imager provides that but at significantly less cost as compared to metal. Known for high quality platestters, Mitsubishi’s DPX4 offers a small shop footprint automatic computer-to-polyester plate system. Easy to operate and maintain, this Mitsubishi DPX4 Platesetter is for the print shop looking for space-saving, efficient platesetter at a manageable price.

IntoPrint DP100GA

  • The Intoprint DP100GA (Dynamic Envelope Printer) was designed and built with the commercial printer in mind. The DP100GA offers quality reproduction, versatility, and a high level of productivity for that short-run application. The Fiery RIP ensures that the 55 full-color No. 10 envelopes produced per minute have consistent high quality color. You can quickly change from small invitations to custom 12 x 18 in a matter of seconds and print mono, spot, or full color.

Standard ST-60 Dual Stacker

  • The Standard ST-60 Dual Stacker provides your shop with continuous production. The dual stacker automatically diverts collated sets to a second stacker when one stacker is full. The ST-60 is also equipped with an eject station for irregular sets to allow non-stop production. If your shop is based on productivity and efficiency, this Standard ST-60 dual stacker is worth a look.

Standard SD25

  • The Standard SD-25 UV Curing System was created by Standard to complement the operating capabilities of the SD450, SD622 and SD650 Digital Duplicators. This ultra-violet curing system allows these Digital Duplicators to dry the print instantly to the printed sheets. The SD25-UV is simple to use and expands the range of stocks and applications that were not possible before with traditional digital duplicator process.

You can find even more quality used print and graphic arts equipment on our used equipment page. Email or with any questions.

MSL Offers Deal on Used DPX4 Platesetter – Sold!

MSL would like to announce that our DPX4 has a new home!

MSL has recently added a used equipment page to our website, which is kept updated to reflect the constant changing used inventory we have to offer. Currently MSL has a used DPX4 platesetter from Mitsubishi available.

The DPX4 offers polyester plate imaging for printers who want to obtain the benefits of CTP at a fraction of the cost of metal. Mitsubishi Imaging products are known for excellent performance and high quality. The DPX 4 is a prime example, offering a highly productive, fully daylight-operational and automatic computer-to-polyester plate system. With the DPX4 you can produce imaged, punched and processed plates which are cut-to-size and ready for immediate use. Dual cassettes allow the user to quickly change between plate sizes without having to reload the machine.

DPX4 Platesetter from Mitsubishi

Operation and maintenance are simple and will save you valuable time. Additionally, the DPX 4 has a very small footprints, taking up minimal space, leaving you more room for production.

To learn more about the DPX4 we currently have in-store, please contact us at 800.343.4231 or email our Marketing Coordinator at

On a Budget? Find Used Printing Equipment from MSL

Mid-State Litho has provided quality sales and support to our customers for over 25 years. Along with the newest equipment lines from our vendors, we also have several pieces of used equipment available. Buying used equipment is a smart way to update your shop or venture into a new market, without having to pay the full price you would find on a similar piece of equipment. MSL has recently been making a lot of changes to our website, including the addition of a used equipment page. Look for this page to be updated frequently, as used equipment often moves fast.

Used printing equipment currently available through MSL includes:

The Hamada RS-34 LS is a versatile two-color printing press from Hamada made to be durable and user-friendly. If you are looking for an easy-keeper offset press which will please your customers with high-quality product and benefit your shop, you want to take a closer look at this Hamada RS-34 offset press

The Horizon FC-10 and SPF-10 combination booklet maker stitches and folds at top speeds, and can be put in line with a Horizon collator. Easy to operate, this user-friendly booklet maker provides quality trimming and high precision folding. Variable delivery belt advancement insures smooth delivery and easy handing regardless of book thickness. If your business is in need of a reliable and affordable folder/stitcher, MSL invites you to check out this FC/SPF-10 combination booklet maker from Horizon.

The Champion Paper Cutter is the only UL listed cutter in its class. Simple job programming and rugged construction ensure dependability and productivity. The Champion is made to go all day, every day, without pausing for time consuming maintenance. Menu assisted job set-up and tangible numeric buttons aid in simplifying the otherwise complicated task of programming a job and storing it. Challenge’s unique software system lets you enter measurements however you like, enter in inches, fractions or millimeters and they will be converted on the fly to save you time This Challenge paper cutter will benefit your business with increased productivity, while satisfying your bottom-line.

The Mitsubishi DPX4 Platesetter was designed for print shops looking for the quality found in a CTP, but have a budget they need to stick to. This polyester plate imager provides that but at significantly less cost as compared to metal. Known for high quality platestters, Mitsubishi’s DPX4 offers a small shop footprint automatic computer-to-polyester plate system. Easy to operate and maintain, this Mitsubishi DPX4 Platesetter is for the print shop looking for space-saving, efficient platesetter at a manageable price.

The Standard ST-60 Dual Stacker provides your shop with continuous production. The dual stacker automatically diverts collated sets to a second stacker when one stacker is full. The ST-60 is also equipped with an eject station for irregular sets to allow non-stop production. If your shop is based on productivity and efficiency, this Standard ST-60 dual stacker is worth a closer look.

If you are looking to update your shop, keep these products in mind, and remember, check back for used printing equipment often.

Troubleshooting Postscript Errors

What’s covered

  • Viewing or printing a PostScript error message
  • Using the PostScript error message to start troubleshooting
  • PostScript error types
  • PostScript offending commands

Troubleshooting possible causes of a PostScript error

You may receive a PostScript error when sending a file to a PostScript interpreter (for example, a printer, Acrobat Distiller). A PostScript error occurs when the PostScript interpreter can’t read the file’s PostScript code, or if the file’s PostScript code exceeds one or more of the limits built into the PostScript page description language. If your PostScript interpreter appears to process data but then stops, a PostScript error may have occurred.

A PostScript error message includes a PostScript error type, defining what sort of error it is, and an offending command, which usually indicates the specific part of the PostScript code that the interpreter couldn’t read. The offending command usually indicates the command that caused the problem. Some PostScript errors will point you right to the cause of the problem, and some will get you looking in the right direction.

PostScript errors usually look like this:

%%[Error: ; OffendingCommand: ]%%

For example, the PostScript error %%[Error: dictfull; OffendingCommand: def ]%% contains the PostScript error type “dictfull” and the offending command “def.” The error type indicates that the dictionary contains the maximum number of entries; the offending command is the last command the PostScript interpreter tried to process, “def,” which defines a new word in the dictionary.

Viewing or printing a PostScript error message

If you think a PostScript error has occurred, but it doesn’t appear on-screen or in your printout, you may be able to view or print the error message by doing one or more of the following:

  • Use an error handler utility. For example, Adobe PageMaker has the Include PostScript Error Handler option in the Print Options dialog box.
  • In Windows, configure the printer to print the error message:

Note: In Windows NT, you cannot configure a printer to print an error message.

Windows XP or 2000:

  1. Choose Start > Settings > Printers.
  2. Right-click the target printer, and then choose Properties from the pop-up menu.
  3. Click Printing Preferences, and then click Advanced.
  4. Click PostScript Options, click Send PostScript Error Handler, and then choose Yes from the pop-up menu.

Note: If PostScript Options isn’t visible, double-click Document Options.

Windows Me or 98:

  1. Choose Start > Settings > Printers.
  2. Right-click your target printer, and then choose Properties from the pop-up menu.
  3. In the printer’s Properties dialog box, click the PostScript tab.
  4. Select the Print PostScript Error Information option, and then click OK.
  • In Mac OS, configure the Apple LaserWriter 8 or Adobe PS printer driver to print the error message by doing one of the following in the Print dialog box:
  • Choose either Job logging or Error Handling from the pop-up menu, click Options, select either Summarize on Screen or Print Detailed Report, and then click Print.
  • Choose Background Printing from the pop-up menu, select Foreground, and then click Print.

Using the PostScript error message to start troubleshooting

After you identify a specific PostScript error message, you can begin troubleshooting the cause. To begin troubleshooting a PostScript error, locate the error type and offending command in the “PostScript Error Types” and the “PostScript Offending Commands” sections of this document. You can then try to repair the problem.

For example, you may receive the PostScript error “%%[Error: limitcheck; OffendingCommand: image ]%%.” Your first step is to locate “limitcheck” in the “PostScript Error Types” section. The “PostScript Error Types” section lists “limitcheck” under the heading “Exceeds printer’s memory or PostScript language limit.” The “PostScript Offending Command” lists “image” under the heading that indicates a problem with bitmap data. So you have bitmap data that exceeds the printer’s memory or PostScript language limit. The likeliest source of bitmap data is a graphic in your file. You can then check graphics in your file to see if one or more is causing the problem. If you find a likely culprit, you can delete the graphic, reimport it, save it in different format, or simplify it (for example, reduce its dpi). You can also try printing the file to a printer with more memory.

Some PostScript errors won’t help you determine a likely cause. For example, you may receive the PostScript error “%%[Error: undefined; OffendingCommand: ]%%.” The “PostScript Error Types” section lists “undefined” under the “Errors that indicate unintelligible PostScript code” heading. The “PostScript Offending Command” section lists “” under the heading that indicates a problem with any element or file. In this case, your file contains PostScript code the PostScript interpreter can’t recognize. See the “Troubleshooting Possible Causes for the PostScript Error” section to continue troubleshooting.

PostScript Error Types

This section lists common error types, grouped by general cause.

The following error types indicate that something exceeds the PostScript interpreter’s memory or a PostScript language limit:

  • dictfull
  • fatal system error at [various]
  • limitcheck
  • VMerror

The following error types indicate communication problems:

  • interrupt
  • ioerror (may also be caused by a disk problem on the printer’s hard disk, such as a bad sector)
  • timeout

The following error types indicate the file contains unintelligible PostScript code:

  • configurationerror
  • dictstackoverflow
  • dictstackunderflow
  • execstackoverflow
  • handleerror
  • invalidaccess
  • invalidexit
  • invalidfileaccess
  • invalidfont
  • invalidrestore
  • nocurrentpoint
  • rangecheck
  • stackoverflow
  • stackunderflow
  • syntaxerror
  • typecheck
  • undefined
  • undefinedfilename
  • undefinedresource
  • undefinedresult
  • unmatchedmark
  • unregistered

PostScript Offending Commands

This section lists common offending commands, grouped by general cause.

The following offending commands indicate a problem with specific text or a font element:

  • addglyph
  • ashow
  • awidthshow
  • charpath
  • definefont
  • findfont
  • imagemask
  • kshow
  • makefont
  • removeglyphs
  • selectfont
  • show
  • startdata
  • stringwidth
  • usefont
  • widthshow

The following offending commands indicate a problem with specific masks (for example, clipping paths):

  • clip
  • eoclip

The following offending commands indicate a problem with fills and lines, often in imported object-oriented, or vector, graphics (for example, EPS, PICT):

  • arc
  • arcto
  • currentpoint
  • curveto
  • eofill
  • fill
  • lineto
  • moveto
  • rcurveto
  • rlineto
  • setdash
  • setlinecap
  • setlinejoin
  • shfill
  • stroke

The following offending commands indicate a problem with bitmap data:

  • colorimage
  • image
  • imagemask (associated with 1-bit image bitmap graphics and bitmap fonts)

The following offending commands indicate a problem with any element or graphic:

  • array
  • currentsmoothness
  • currenttrapparams
  • def
  • dict
  • exch
  • get
  • index
  • itransform
  • nostringval
  • packedarray
  • put
  • restore
  • save
  • setcolor
  • setgray
  • setpageparams
  • setsmoothness
  • settrapparams
  • settrapzone
  • setscreen
  • [random characters]

Troubleshooting Possible Causes of a PostScript Error

While many PostScript error messages readily indicate the source of a problem, you need to troubleshoot a problem further if you receive a non-specific PostScript error message, or if a PostScript error occurred without a message. To troubleshoot a PostScript error, isolate when the problem occurs to determine if it is a system-level, application-specific, file-specific, or element-specific problem. After you isolate when the problem occurs, you can eliminate likely causes until you solve the problem.

Isolating System-Level Printing Problems

Do you receive the error from more than one application? If the same problem occurs from more than one application, the cause is most likely a problem at the system level. System-level problems are commonly caused by damaged fonts, damaged system files, damaged printer drivers, insufficient hard disk space, network problems, or hardware problems. If the problem occurs only from one application, see the “Isolating Application-Specific Problems” section.

Make sure that you use an up-to-date PostScript device driver (for example, printer driver), or that you use the version of the driver required by the application. You also need plenty of free hard disk space when sending a file to a PostScript interpreter, especially when you print a large file. Make sure that free hard disk space is defragmented.

If you print to an external PostScript device, secure loose connectors (for example, cables, switch boxes) by unplugging and replugging them. You can easily tell if a connection to an external device is severed altogether: The device won’t receive any data, so nothing happens. But if a connection is loose, the symptoms of a problem may be unclear: the device might receive small jobs only, or its driver may appear only intermittently in a the Chooser in Mac OS.

If you print to an older PostScript printer or one that uses a PostScript emulator (for example, a LaserMaster or LexMark printer), it may not recognize newer PostScript code. Try printing the file to a printer or RIP that contains a more current version of Adobe-licensed PostScript.

Isolating Application-Specific Problems

Do you receive the error only from a single application, and in every file from that application? To determine if the error is being caused by the application or by a specific file, create a new file containing only a simple element, such as a rectangle or line. If the error doesn’t occur with this test file, the application itself isn’t causing the error, so you can move to the “Isolating File-Specific Problems” section. If this test file does cause the error, the application software may be damaged. Delete the application’s preferences file, and then reinstall the application from the original installation disks.

Isolating File-Specific Problems

Do you receive the error only with a specific file or files? If the error occurs only with a specific file, the file may have the wrong print settings selected for your PostScript interpreter, it may be damaged, or it may contain a problem element (for example, a damaged graphic). You can begin troubleshooting the file by using the same print settings as those of a file that doesn’t cause an error.

To determine if the file itself is damaged, copy the file’s contents into a new file, save the new file using the Save As command, and then see if the error occurs with the new file. If the error doesn’t occur, the original file is damaged. If the error does occur, run any built-in diagnostic routines your application offers.

Isolating Element-Specific Problems

Do you receive the error only with a specific page or elements on a page? After you rule out a damaged file as the cause, the error is likely caused by a damaged or incorrectly written element or font. It may also be caused by an element or combination of elements that requires more memory than is available. If the error occurs with a range of pages, look for common elements on those pages. If you can print all elements individually or in small groups, but not all at the same time, the combination of elements you print requires more memory than is available.

To isolate the element or elements that cause the problem, make a copy of the file. Then send groups of pages to the PostScript interpreter. If a group causes an error, print one page at a time from that group. Continue sending pages until you narrow down the problem page. You can then isolate the elements causing the problem by removing elements from each page. If you remove a page and the error doesn’t recur, the elements you just removed cause the problem.

If an element that causes the problem is text or an element you created in the application, re-create the element. For text elements, you can also try using a different font (for example, reformat the text using a different kind of font). If the error doesn’t recur with a different font, the previous font is damaged and you should reinstall it from the original media.

If the element causing the problem is an imported graphic, first try reimporting the graphic. If the error still occurs, open the graphic in the application in which it was created, resave itwith a different name, make sure that it prints from that application, and then reimport the graphic. If the imported graphic still causes the error, try resaving it in a different format, exporting it from a different application, or simplifying it so that it requires less memory. An imported graphic can cause a PostScript error if it contains damaged or incorrectly written information, or if it is too complex for the PostScript interpreter (for example, it requires more memory than is available).

If the file causes a PostScript error because it is too complex, simplify it and see if it will print. To begin simplifying a complex file, reduce the number of imported graphics, reduce the number of fonts that must be downloaded, reduce the number of text effects (for example, skewing, rotation), delete elements you don’t need, create paths using fewer points, or reimport bitmap images with ones that have been resampled at a lower resolution. Graphic formats such as EPS are updated periodically, so older applications may use an older graphic standard that newer PostScript interpreters may not understand.

Article entirely via Adobe

All About Ripping

RIP Software

RIP Software

What is a RIP? Why do I need to use a RIP? What is the RIP doing? Such questions are found floating in the heads of prepress personnel throughout the entire graphics industry. We will address these issues to clear up some of the foggy areas of image handling and graphics processing.

First of all, the basics; a RIP is a Raster Image Processor. We can start by breaking apart this acronym into its components and then bringing it all back together. Raster is a collection of picture elements, or pixels, that when arranged in a very specific sequence create a picture. Raster is the opposite of vector. Vector is resolution-independent, it is mathematically drawn based on geometrical formulas. Modern-day RIPs can handle both raster and vector image formats, however the classical definition of a RIP implies the use of raster graphics. The second word is image, which presumably most everyone is familiar with. An image can be a photo, a gradient, or even a picture of text. Processing is a generic term that simply implies that there is some sort of change being made. All together Raster Image Processors use mathematics to convert varying files into pixel based output images.

In the printing industry a RIP is typically a standalone program that performs high fidelity and high-resolution image conversions for high-end output devices. It is only natural that when the cost of an output device such as a platemaker, proofer, or imagesetter is taken into account, more care is put into the handling of the files being passed through the system. When the cost per mistake climbs up, the importance of error free ripping rises too.

That should give you some insight into what the RIP is doing at a fundamental level, but what about the specific things that happen while a given file is being ripped? What are things like flattening, trapping, imposing, compensating, embedding, and colorspaces? This is where things can get complicated, in most situations when a RIP is installed, a certified technician will create templates for you. However, at times it is best to be self-sufficient and it is important to know what is happening behind the scenes so that in the heat of the moment, if there’s a problem then you can fix it.

An Example of Transparency Flattening

An Example of Transparency Flattening

Flattening is a step in the RIP that has undergone some major changes in the last few years. With the advent of more advanced prepress software like Adobe’s Creative Suite 4 and Quark 8, files are being passed to the RIP with many more degrees of transparency, or alpha, and objects with different opacities on top of one another. These areas of mixed color have long been a sore spot with graphic designers. Color variations that crop up at the very end of the output process can give designers who plan for one color and end up with something different quite a headache. Modern RIPs use standard formulas for handling transparency and flattening which offers greater stability to a workflow. This is a common reason to update your RIP.

Onto trapping, trapping is a feature that makes it far easier for a printing press operator to produce quality work that is appealing to the eye. Subtle misalignments in color on a printing press can leave gaps of white paper showing where two or more colors butt up to each other. As a general rule of trapping, the lightest of the colors in question will grow to overlap the darker colors. This helps to keep this process from altering the final look of the artwork while simultaneously making the job easier to work with. The two key words when talking about trapping are choke and spread. The two words are opposites, choke referring to a color shrinking to induce overlap. Spread refers to an area of color growing outward to become slightly oversized. Trapping has become increasingly incorporated into end-user software packages like InDesign or Quark but most RIPs have trapping modules that can be turned on to perform this task automatically every time a job is ripped.

A Screenshot of Imposition Software

A Screenshot of Imposition Software

Imposing is a term used when creating a booklet. Because books have a specific order for the pages and each page often has a front and a back, booklets are typically printed out of order and then assembled later for efficiency. Imposing is the process of breaking a booklet up into its components and arranging the pieces so they can be printed easily.

Imposition can be pretty tricky to accomplish and it is not uncommon to see people folding up dummy booklets to help them figure out how to lay out a job for a press. Modern RIPs and Workflows are the magic wand for imposition. It is now as easy as telling the software how many pages your book has, how it is going to be bound, and a few other odds and ends enabling the RIP to do the work for you. Software controlled imposition greatly reduces errors in booklet production. The repercussions of a mistake in imposition can be pretty grim because only one out of place page can screw up the sequence of an entire book and easily cause a job to have to be started again from scratch.

Example of Dot Gain Compensation

Example of Dot Gain Compensation

Dot gain compensation is something most RIPs do automatically. Dot gain is a term used to describe the way a droplet of ink spreads out as it’s soaked into paper. The darkness or brightness of a color is controlled in printing by altering the dot percentage, which is a measure of the percentage of ink area vs. blank area. When an ink spot spreads out it can throw off the dot percentage and darken a printed color. Fortunately this is a well-known caveat of the process of printing and by means of dot gain compensation graphic artists and RIPs can retain very tight control of the final look of a printed piece. A RIP will look at the color a graphic artist intends a specific element to be and will reduce the dot percentage by the dot gain of the output device to achieve an ideal dot percentage to use to get the intended result. Dot gain for printing presses is typically around 20%. In color critical situations output devices are very accurately measured and this information is entered into the RIP to produce perfect color.

Embedding fonts is crucial in print production. The choice of what font to use is one that is often labored over by a graphic designer, the look and feel of text can have a great influence on the feeling or mood set by the words that are written. For this reason, it’s absolutely necessary that the font chosen by the designer be passed through the RIP with the file so the look of the piece is maintained. The Adobe PDF standard encompasses a robust mechanism for embedding fonts or subsets of fonts into a single file that can be easily passed around or delivered to a printer. RIPs check for fonts used in a job to be embedded. If the font is not present a job will be rejected. Modern workflows watch closely for this because it can slow down production if someone has to go track down a font.

Colorspaces are another thing that RIPs have to keep control of. The two main colorspaces are RGB (Red, Green and Blue) and CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key/Black). CMYK and RGB are polar opposites. CMYK is a subtractive color model where as you add pigments or dyes your final mixed color becomes darker. Subtractive color models are always used in printing where we’re starting with ink or dye. RGB is an additive color model where we are mixing light to create color. Mixing light is how your computer monitor and television create color.

Colorspaces matter when it comes time to rip a file. A picture in the RGB colorspace will not come properly when passed through a CMYK RIP. A RIP has to identify elements that are the wrong colorspace and either convert them on the fly or bounce the job so the artist can fix them.

Transparency flattening, trapping, imposition, dot gain compensation, font embedding, and colorspace conversion are all jobs your RIP has to do whenever it processes a file. These steps are all important when trying to run a smooth operation and process a large number of files in a timely manner. A trade professional has done each of these steps manually for decades but with the advent of the computer and the evolution of hardware and software these once complicated tasks can now be done in the blink of an eye. As prepress software evolves, RIPs must evolve as well. I hope this helps your understanding of some of the complex processes that often go unnoticed or are simply unknown.