RIP – Raster Image Processor

What is RIP?

A raster image processor (RIP) is a key component utilized in printing systems to generate raster images, also known as bitmaps, which are subsequently used to produce the final printed output.

This technology interprets input data, often in the form of high-level page description languages such as PostScript, PDF, or XPS, and transforms it into a bitmap format that printers can understand and reproduce accurately.

Originally, RIPs were dedicated hardware devices that received page descriptions via interfaces like RS-232 and produced hardware bitmap outputs for real-time output devices like optical film recorders and computer-to-plate systems. Today, RIPs can be implemented as software modules running on general-purpose computers or as firmware programs executed within printers' microprocessors. Standalone hardware RIPs are still utilized in high-end typesetting applications.