What is… a RIP?

advancedpfPrepress, Tips & Pointers

What is a RIP

Raster Image Processor

RIP is the acronym for Raster Image Processor and is a system that translates computer documents to a printable format. Just like the graphics card in your computer translates digital code into a viewable image, a RIP is necessary to ‘display’ digital content on paper. 

Unlike your desktop printer with a built in translator, commercial printing RIPs requires a lot more horsepower and has to tackle far more technical problems. At the heart of the RIP is the screening engine. 


In traditional multi-color printing we would expose images through color filters and very fine screens to break the continuous tone image (photograph or illustration) into a series of tiny dots. These dots are visible under magnification but at normal reading distances the human eye will blend the colored dots back into a continuous image. With the image broken down to dots and component colors we can now image that to a printing plate and subsequently put ink on paper. A RIP’s screening engine accomplishes the same thing using software. It separates the component colors of an image and then breaks each of those down to a series of different size dots placed on a very fine grid. 


Before screening can occur the RIP needs to simplify the document. It takes all of the layers of information – text, images, objects, blends, drop shadows and so on – and flattens them down to a single layer. The RIP then examines the flattened document and creates a list of trapping instructions to pass to the separation engine. The RIP applies trapping and separates the component colors which in the case of Four Color Process Printing is Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Finally the RIP can apply screening to each of the separations. 


The last job of the RIP is to compress the separation files and send them to a plate setter or CTP (Computer to Plate) device. This will be the subject of a future ‘What is…’ post.


Our pre-press experts are an indispensable resource available to you on any project. We are only a phone call or an email away: 770-664-8199 / prepress@advancedpf.com.

Steel Rule Dies / Die Cutting


Steel Rule Die

A steel rule die consists of various shapes or lengths of steel blades that are formed or bent to cut unique shapes or designs in different types of material. Dies can be made into just about anything imaginable, from a simple shape such as a circle or square to more detailed shapes such as pop ups inside of a book to candy or video boxes. 

Metal, Rubber and Wood

To make a die, the cutting rule is formed and then typically placed onto a wood block with small pieces of rubber that are used to help with the pressure of the cutting process. The wood block is then attached to the press and readied for cutting. 

Measure Twice, Cut Once

The press operator will then measure where the paper needs to be underneath the die and cut a series of test sheets to make sure things are properly lined up and that the die is cutting through the material being used. Once he is satisfied with placement and cut, he will then proceed with running the job.

Let Advanced Print & Finishing help you with your next die cutting project, give us a call at 770-542-0667. Or send us an email at finishing@advancedpf.com.

Multi-Level Stamping Dies


Multi-level stamping dies are used for several types of embossing and for combination dies. Multi-level refers to the dimensional quality of the die. 

Die Types

In the case of a logo there may be details that are more pronounced that need to be raised above the rest of the embossed area. Think of this type as a stair step. Other times the emboss may require a rounded bevel or in some cases a sculpted die is called for, an example of which is in the photo above.

Another type of multi-level die is a Combination Die or “combo die”. This type of die can emboss and foil stamp in one pass. 

Combo Dies

A combo die is almost always sculpted to give great dimension and detail to what you are working on. They are made from brass which is the hardest metal from which stamping dies are made. Brass dies are also long lasting. This enables you to use the same dies time and time again without the die wearing down. Typically used for high end letterhead and business cards, invitations and holiday cards. They help you achieve that greater depth and detail that you are looking for when foil stamping and embossing.

Call for Details

Give us a call to see if a multi-level die is right for your project. Our staff are always here to guide you through the process, 770-542-0667. Or email us at finishing@advancedpf.com.

What is… Trap?

advancedpfPrepress, Tips & Pointers

The Problem

The lower half of the graphic above represents an exaggerated example of misregistration. This is a problem that can exist in any multi-color printing process. 

Printing presses lay colors down one on top of the next. As the paper moves through the press there can be slight variations in registration – or the alignment between colors. Much of the time this is imperceivable to the reader but under certain circumstances it can be seen as gaps of white between two adjacent colors. 


The solution to the problem is called Trapping. With this technique we create a hairline overlap where distinct colors meet. The top half of the graphic above shows an again exaggerated version of trap. The dark outline around the letters in the word “Trap” is an example of the solution. When done correctly, the trap is not noticeable and gaps are eliminated. 

Our Solution

Advanced Print & Finishing has invested heavily in our production workflow. Part of that investment is in sophisticated software that evaluates the contents of each page and adds trap as needed. 

Too little trap will result in the problem still being noticeable in certain areas. With too much trap the trap itself will become noticeable. So how do we ensure that the exact amount of trap needed will be applied? Our skilled pre-press operators review the parameters of each job and dial in the software settings. Once dialed in, the RIP takes care of the rest. We are then able to review the trap after the RIP stage and before the job goes to press. 

Our Experience is Your Experience

Always remember that our pre-press experts are an indispensable resource available to you on any project. We are only a phone call or an email away: 770-664-8199 / prepress@advancedpf.com.


Up next… What is a “RIP”?

Pocket Folders

advancedpfFinishing, Printing

Keep it Together

Not only are pocket folders a great way to stay organized, but they are a wonderful way of displaying your company’s branding and print collateral. 

The standard pocket folder is 9”x12″ with 2-4” pockets with or without business card slits. We also offer custom printed folders on the paper of your choosing. 


If you need plain folders with a die cut window like those used for tax preparation we produce those too. But, if you want your folders to be a bit more unique, get creative with:

• Custom Shaped Pockets
• Embossing and/or Foil Stamping
• Business Card Slits
• Printed Stepped or Stitched Inserts
• Unique Sizes
• Velcro Dots 

And the paper options are endless!

Need Help?

Call or email us to discuss how our team of designers and craftsmen can assist with your pocket folders : 770-664-8199 / info@advancedpf.com.

Index Tab Dividers



Advanced Print & Finishing custom die cuts each index tab order to your specifications. For extra durability, add mylar reinforcement to the tab and/or binding edge. Keep in mind that there is an array of mylar colors available for the tabs.

Custom Tabs

The majority of tab jobs are for a 9” x 11” sheet size and typically require anywhere from two to ten tabs per bank. The standard tab height is 1/2” with a minimum width of 1”, but we can create custom index tabs if needed.

We of course offer a much greater capability. Please don’t hesitate to contact us about your special requirements.

Tab Finishing

After the tabbing process is completed, we can also hole punch the dividers in various sizes and placements. And don’t forget that we can collate, assemble or kit your project as well.

Watch Out

Keep an eye out for future posts that will dive deeper into tabs. We will include information about our printing services, available dieline images, our tabbing equipment, tab file preparation and more.

Or visit our dedicated landing page for more details: https://advancedpf.com/index-tabs/

Call or email us to discuss your next index tab project: 770-542-0667 / finishing@advancedpf.com.

Die Cutting Tips

advancedpfFinishing, Tips & Pointers

There are things you can do prior to sending a job to us to be die cut to ensure your project goes off without a hitch. Here are a few suggestions to help you achieve this.


Always make sure there is enough gripper on the sheets you are sending over to be die cut. The minimum gripper needed for our equipment is 1/2”, if there is room it should be 3/4”. This especially applies when multiple up sheets are being trimmed down to be cut 1 up.


Letting us know what stock you are going to use prior to printing helps us when building a die, especially if it’s going to have folds in it. Creasing rule (score) height plays a big role in making sure the scores don’t crack and the piece folds properly. The rule heights that go into a die are determined by the stock you plan to use. 


If you decide to build your own die to send to us, please contact us prior to doing so. We can proof your die line for you and make suggestions that will save you time and money throughout the process. This will also ensure that the die will be suitable to run on our equipment.


These are just a few examples things you can do, feel free to give us a call to help make your die cutting project a success, 770-542-0667. If you prefer, send us an email with any questions.

What Is… Prepress?

advancedpfPrepress, Tips & Pointers

Prepress is the term used in commercial printing for everything that happens before print production. Prepress procedures include: 

  • Preflight of supplied files
  • Typesetting and copy changes
  • Color correction of images
  • Creation of high quality, press ready PDF files
  • Dieline layout
  • Proofing
  • Imposition
  • Trapping
  • Screening

Preflight can also include planning and preparation for print jobs that require finishing work.

Prepress is a necessary function that helps coordinate the needs of the printing, finishing and bindery departments with the files supplied by the customer. 

Have a Plan

The Advanced Print & Finishing prepress department has decades of experience in file preparation and work closely with customers to streamline the production process. Be sure to contact us early to discuss your next project. Chances are we can provide advise on how to save money or streamline the production process. As we say in Prepress, “a little planning can go a long way”.

Stay Tuned

Check back for additional “What Is…” posts that will describe other terms such as RIP and Trap. 

Menu Print & Finishing

advancedpfFinishing, Menu Printing

Advanced Print & Finishing Menu Options

Create a unique experience for your guests with custom printed menus from Advanced Print & Finishing. 


We offer a wide variety of paper and finishing options to make your establishment stand out from the rest. Even a simple black and white menu can easily be enhanced with textured paper and finishing options like round cornering. 


Another popular option for some eateries is to add a laminate. We offer gloss, satin and soft touch laminate in sealed edge or flush trim in a variety of thicknesses: 1.5, 3, 5 and 10 mil. 

Those wanting the most durable and long lasting option, 10 mil Gloss Sealed Edge Laminate is definitely the preferred option. And don’t forget about To-Go and Kids Menus; we can assist with those too! 

Instant Quote

Many of our options are presented in our instant online quote form. This pricing guide was created to simplify your options based on menu types. Keep this in mind if you don’t see paper, lamination or other finishing options that you desire. If this is the case —

Give Us a Call

No two restaurants are alike and your menus shouldn’t be either. Call or email us to discuss how we can help you with your next menu printing: 770-542-0667 / menus@advancedpf.com.

Advanced Lamination Options


Whether you are wanting to add a layer of protection to your printed piece or create a graphic effect, Advanced Print and Finishing has multiple types of laminate to achieve your goals. We offer gloss, satin, soft touch and even dry erase laminate. 


Depending on the end use of your project, we can recommend the correct thickness to meet your needs as well as if it needs to have a sealed edge or flush trim. Thicknesses range from 1.5 to 10 mil in one and two sided laminate. 

One sided laminate is used primarily for book covers and marketing pieces. Two sided laminate is more popular for menus and items that need to be water resistant. 

Other Options

Other finishing options for laminate projects include: round cornering, plastic coil binding, grommeting and foil stamping.

Since there are quite a few twists and turns to laminate projects we are always happy to discuss your project with you. Call or email us to discuss how we can help: 770-542-0667 / info@advancedpf.com.