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Harlequin RIP / TrapPro


Has anyone here used Harlequin's RIP extensively and specifically the TrapPro add on? We do a lot of flatstock poster work here and file set-up is quickly becoming our biggest bottleneck in the shop. We receive client files in all stages of print readiness and while we absolutely bill for art, rarely do I see a perfectly trapped file that doesn't need to be touched and I struggle to know where to draw the line with my expectations for what standard a client should and should not be held to. We obviously care about what leaves the shop so for me the logical answer is to ensure proper set-up before jobs are on press in order to minimize issues with production. We do strive to educate clients and teach the process, but in my experience, it's more time and cost effective to trap to our standards from the get go rather than kick a file back and still not get what we need.

All this leads leads me to look for an automated trapping solution. We deal with plenty of raster files, so from my research an in-rip trap solution might be the way to go, but I'm hoping someone might be able to shed some light. One of my biggest questions, is can an in-rip solution still trap at a vector level?

Lastly, we are a Mac based shop, but I'd be happy to set-up a PC based server with a hot folder if this were the right solution. Hoping someone may be able to set me straight before we invest in a PC to trial the software. Thanks in advance!

I know the harlequin RIP well, actually read that tome they provide for a manual.   It's an excellent RIP and has the right workflow to truly control output.

I looked at this feature but ultimately didn't see an application for textiles.   Flatstock is a different story and it's what that feature was surely designed for.  Trial it and let us know.   I guess if you have deep enough control over how much and how to trap each plate it could save a bunch of time and help you standardize.  I always eff up flatstock seps, which I still get to do around here, by not trapping enough, it's crazy how much it needs and how important print order is to make the massive traps work.

If a co. like Astute made a plug in for traps it would be ideal maybe, try digging around on that too.  There has to be applications for this for the flexo printers, etc.

Oh and yes you'll need a PC rip station which I actually like having now.  All 3 of our epsons are controlled from one workstation and I setup hotfolder/printers on osx for each print spec, works well and scales very easily. 

Prince Art:

--- Quote from: endhymns on April 11, 2018, 11:46:45 AM ---...rarely do I see a perfectly trapped file that doesn't need to be touched and I struggle to know where to draw the line with my expectations for what standard a client should and should not be held to.

--- End quote ---

Sorry I can't shed any light on your main question, as I have no experience with the RIP, or separating for flatstock. But regarding this side issue: I've been moving away from asking for "print ready" files to simply asking for files that meet our "art requirements", which = high resolution files with colors on separate layers, and NO trap or choke. We roll basic prep charges into the pricing, not as a line item. But we also state up front that "art prep charges may be added if necessary". Any work that exceeds our basic prep allowance gets charged for. When it seems a customer might want to know why (like when dealing with a pro graphic designer), I'll give an honest answer much like what you said above: we have to prep the art & add trap to suit the tolerances of our equipment & print procedures. I have yet to have anyone balk at that.

Thanks for the input, guys.

I though I might be barking up the wrong tree as I figured this wouldn't be a tool most textile shops would utilize, but I was hoping someone has encountered this before and found a better solution than myself. I will definitely trial this is the not too distant feature and report back. Call me a glutton for punishment, but I actually enjoy trapping and find it relatively zen, but it's simply coming down to time spent and throughput.

I did check out Astute on your recommendation as I was not previously familiar and in my brief search, it doesn't look like they offer anything in regards to trapping. Tons of other cool plug-ins though, a couple of which I may revisit. Speaking of Illustrator plug-ins, there is a product made by Esko called Power Trapper that I've previously played with. It's marketed more towards the packaging and offset industries, but it offered a ton of control and at the end of the day, trapped cleaner than I would in a fraction of the time. I initially wrote it off as it's an Illustrator plug-in and we deal with a large percentage of raster files (which is why I was keen on an in-rip solution), but it is supposed to have the ability trap pixel image data, so after you mentioned Astute it clicked that it may be able to trap placed channel seps. I'm going to backtrack and take another look.

Prince, again, I appreciate the input. I'm generally on the same page with you and roll basic art into our print pricing and only bill separately if something outside of the norm is necessary. If I can't find a suitable software solution, this may come down to a lesson for myself in setting better client expectations in regards to cost / vs quality and learning to walk the line between letting go a bit and giving the client what was billed for which is something I could be better at.

Esko Power Trapper looks dope.  Can generate and choke a white ub too.  I like that it's non-destructive.   It does say it can trap process components which I assume is referring to placed raster channel data.


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