Global Graphics boosts Jaws RIP speed by 500%

Simon Nias
Thursday, September 20, 2012

Global Graphics has claimed an average speed improvement of up to 500% in the latest version of its wide-format RIP, Jaws 3.0, over its predecessor.

Global Graphics' chief technology officer Martin Bailey said the speed boost was largely thanks to a significant amount of work on multi-threading, which allows multiple processing tasks to be completed simultaneously.

Together with new 64-bit and dynamic memory management, this has made the RIP, which is used extensively by the likes of Wasatch, Onyx, Quark, Pitney Bowes and Canon Finetech, between 300-500% faster than the previous version.

"It's about analysing where work is going and avoiding doing it when we don't have to," explained Bailey. "By doing a little extra work up front we can help to significantly reduce the amount of work that has to be done by the RIP.

"Things like recognising that in a transparency soft mask every pixel is either fully transparent or fully opaque and treating those as a hard mask instead, avoiding the need to perform transparency compositing."

Optimisations to boost the speed of transparency handling include multi-threading of all the transparency blending operations, which allows the RIP to spread the load across multiple cores and therefore deliver rasters to the printer faster.

Global Graphics has owned the Jaws RIP since 2000, when it acquired the technology from 5D, and Bailey was full of praise for the team behind the latest improvements.

"They've put a lot of work into it over a number of years, very much responding to the way the market has changed around us, noting the pain points of customers - what they need or expect to need in the future - and using that to solve pretty much every issue out there in wide-format today," he added.

Meanwhile, Kendal Madsen, director of engineering at Onyx Graphics, said that the company's use of the Jaws RIP for Postscript and PDF file processing had been "key to the success of Onyx".

"Our customers have come to rely on the quality, consistency, and reliability produced by the Jaws RIP," added Madsen. "I have been impressed through the years at the ease at which we are able to integrate each new update of the Jaws engine into our product. We are currently implementing Jaws 3 and are excited to take advantage of the new multi-threaded capabilities."

Other new features in the Jaws RIP, which has shipped more than 5m copies to users worldwide under Global Graphics ownership, include enhanced support for ICC colour correction and improved font handling and compatibility.

Bailey explained: "We include interfaces to LittleCMS, and to platform-specific CMMs for colour correction. We also have a new mode that simplifies configuration of colour management for a new device by avoiding the need to generate both a profile and CRDs for it; a profile will suffice.

"We also now include a fall-back CJK font that’s used when the requested font is not embedded in the job and not installed in the RIP. We’ve completely re-written the PDF font handling code for speed and compatibility."


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