Harlequin® Host Renderer SDK

The Harlequin Host Renderer is a new generation “Digital” Harlequin RIP from Global Graphics®. It provides high performance components with which to build Digital Front Ends (DFEs) for digital production presses and other host-based Page Description Language (PDL) rendering solutions.

Independent speed tests confirm the sheer power and consistency of the Harlequin Host Renderer.
Download the InfoTrends’ White Paper.

Independent speed tests carried out by the Rochester Institute of Technology and published in a White Paper by InfoTrends in May 2012 show that Harlequin Host Renderer has plenty of processing power head-room over the industry’s highest performing digital presses, delivering pages far in excess of the print devices’ rated speeds. (Tests conducted on Harlequin Host Renderer v.3)

This power means that manufacturers can achieve rated engine speed with less processing power, with a concomitant reduction in the costs for hardware, operating systems and other associated software.

  • manufacturers of light and medium production devices can reduce time to market by using a single RIP;
  • vendors of high and ultra-high volume devices can minimize the costs of their DFE using multiple RIPs.
  • Print shops can drive a broad span of digital presses at full engine speed, only stopping for scheduled maintenance.

What's new in version 4?

Color

  • Harlequin SetGold can be used with Version 4 to prepare a press for profiling, by setting gray balance and ink limiting; this reduces variation over time and between presses when using the color profile
  • Calibration data sets can now be installed into version 4 by supplying measurement data in a variety of measurement systems (e.g. density, %dot, Status-T etc); the OEM no longer needs to pre-compute compensation curves
  • Version 4 can now produce pre-compressed, unscreened output in 10- and 12-bit depths, minimizing artifacts when final calibration must be performed post-RIP (e.g. for near real-time correction as the press is running) without the data copying overhead of 16-bit rasters.

Platforms

  • Version 4 is now supported on Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 and Red Hat Enterprise Server 6.2 Linux. Windows Server 2012 pricing is significantly more attractive than earlier versions for machines with >32GB RAM.

Performance

  • Files containing significant live PDF transparency are processed even faster
  • Raster caches for re-used partial pages can now be shared between RIPs when using Harlequin VariData in external mode. This accelerates processing of PDF/VT and other variable data PDF jobs even more.

New security technology

  • Provides more robust support for multi-RIP, multiserver environments
  • Enables even more flexible licensing models
  • Enables software licensing without dongles.

Workflow integration

  • The ability to generate JPEG files is now included as shipped, enabling the use of version 4 to generate previews and thumbnails for web-to-print and workflow user interfaces.

Benefits to press manufacturers

Economical

:
  • a faster RIP requires less hardware - reduced cost of manufacture
  • available on Linux to reduce costs even further
  • no excessive RAM requirements
  • no special hardware needed

Scalable

– can drive any number of digital presses

Easy to integrate

into a DFE:
  • reduced time to market and engineering costs
  • handles PDF and PostScript in one RIP
  • many production print options such as color management, screening, imposition

PDF/VT

Use Harlequin Host Renderer to build PDF/VT compliant solutions

Benefits to print shops

Achieve ROI on cost of press

  • FAST! Drives the press at full engine speed, only need to stop for scheduled maintenance

Accelerate processing

of variable data in regular PDF files, as well as PDF/VT
  • Most files are constructed as optimised PDF (58.8% End User Workflow Survey: InfoTrends 2010)

Handle huge files

– in excess of 3 million pages

Predictable, correct output

, including high-quality colour

Reduce power consumption

and cooling by reducing hardware
  • Going green can be profitable!

Light and medium volume press

Drive faster printers with a single RIP solution.

A single HHR drives low to medium volume throughput
Multi-threading - the Harlequin Host Renderer makes full use of multiple core chips

High volume press

Minimise the hardware and infrastructure cost for a RIP farm solution.

An array of HHRs caters for very high throughput
Multi-RIPs - the Harlequin Host Renderer allows you to harness the power of multiple RIPs

Performance

Independent speed tests confirm the sheer power and consistency of the Harlequin Host Renderer.
Download the InfoTrends’ White Paper.

To demonstrate the power of the Harlequin Host Renderer Global Graphics commissioned independent speed tests carried out by the Rochester Institute of Technology. These tests, conducted on version 3, show that Harlequin has plenty of processing power head room over the industry’s highest performing digital presses, delivering pages far in excess of the print devices’ rated speeds.

The test file suite, developed by RIT, and created using InDesign, QuarkXPress, XMPie, and GMC, was composed of files in six different categories: label, transactional, direct mail, photo book, commercial and publication. For each category, multiple test files were created with different page counts and characteristics to reflect the variety in real-world production jobs.

Label

Over 20 times faster than the HP Indigo WS600 using one RIP

Transactional/direct mail (VDP)

4 times faster than the HP T410 and 20 times faster than the Océ ColorStream using a server with 10 RIPs. 15 times faster than an HP Indigo 7500 using one RIP.

Commercial*

12 times faster than the Xerox iGen4 and nearly 20 times faster than a Canon imagePRESS C7000VP using one RIP

Publication**

11 times faster than a Kodak Prosper 5000XL with a server of 10 RIPs, 24 times faster than the Ricoh C901 with one RIP
* assuming a minimum run length of 20, larger run lengths allow faster speed
** all press speeds assume printing in full color

How is speed achieved?

Harlequin Parallel Pages allows the RIP to process one page while it’s still rendering the previous one. It greatly extends multi-threading support, allow maximum use to be made of both workstation and server-grade multi-core CPUs.
Harlequin VariData greatly accelerates the processing time of PDF files containing variable data whether they're submitted as regular PDF or as PDF/VT. It uses a unique method of intelligently recognizing repeated content and responds to changes in variable data usage.
.

Native 64-bit application

The Harlequin Host Renderer is also available as a 64-bit build to access additional memory when it’s needed for pages with large amounts of data such as very large pages with high image coverage. 64-bit RIP builds allow access to effectively unlimited amounts of RAM.

The RIP Core

The Harlequin Host Renderer RIP core features:
Independent speed tests confirm the sheer power and consistency of the Harlequin Host Renderer.
Download the InfoTrends’ White Paper.
  • Native interpreting paths for PostScript®, PDF and XPS. An OEM may choose to take all three Page Description Languages, or any one or two. Native support for all formats within a single RIP greatly simplifies integration of color management, screening etc, reducing engineering cost and time to market. It also ensures efficient and consistent rendering regardless of which PDL is used
  • Infrastructure for an OEM to build a PDF/VT compliant solution around the Harlequin Host Renderer. Harlequin OEMs have been shipping DFEs supporting PDF/VT since Ipex 2010
  • Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) and image file formats such as JPEG and TIFF are also supported, enabling implementation of a PPML/GA solution with consistent rendering of all required data elements
  • A highly optimized multi-threaded architecture, to make maximum use of compute horsepower available, and therefore minimize the cost of hardware required to reliably achieve engine speed
  • A flexible memory model makes maximum use of RAM supplied, but allows performance to degrade gracefully if insufficient memory is available to process a job optimally, ensuring that correct output is still produced
  • Configurable raster output formats, offering a wide variety of color spaces, channel interleaving and bit-depth and including multi-level screening
  • Extremely flexible control and configuration interfaces, including boilerplate system code that can be amended or replaced by the OEM as required
  • Built-in font rendering, color management and screening that can be replaced with an OEM's own IP or third-party libraries.
  • Cross-platform support enabling porting to any suitable hardware and operating system.

Highly configurable RIP core

Highly configurable RIP core
Independent speed tests confirm the sheer power and consistency of the Harlequin Host Renderer.
Download the InfoTrends’ White Paper.
  • Highly configurable RIP core

    The RIP supports a rich, high-level configuration language for all of a client system’s per-job, per-page, per-process and persistent configuration requirements. This includes job control, color management, screening, font handling, imposition, etc.

  • A complete solution for production print

    Harlequin color technology includes calibration support and Harlequin SetGold, a utility to pre-set gray balance and ink limiting before color profiling.
    • ColorPro, for accurate color management of all your jobs, in combination with built-in application of calibration tables. Harlequin color technology includes calibration support and Harlequin SetGold, a utility to pre-set gray balance and ink limiting before color profiling.
    • Screening; a wide range of powerful and tunable halftone technology can be supplied, including multi-level screening for inkjet presses. An OEM may also install their own screening as encrypted font caches or using an API for programmatic halftone technology.
    • TrapPro, a full-featured trapping solution.
    • Font emulation, patent-pending technology for when that job just has to be out now, even if required fonts were omitted when the PDF was made.
    • Simple imposition, enabling fast and efficient fully automated creation of simple imposition layouts.
  • A complete solution for variable data print

    • Harlequin VariData™, to accelerate printing of variable data jobs that were saved either as PDF/VT or as regular PDF. This is configurable to hold retained rasters within the RIP or to deliver them to OEM technology for reconstruction of final pages, offering the choice of an easy route into high-performance VDP, or maximum throughput for those OEMs who already have aggregation technology.
    • Infrastructure for an OEM to build a PDF/VT compliant solution around the Harlequin Host Renderer. Harlequin OEMs have been shipping DFEs supporting PDF/VT since Ipex 2010
    • Ability to render all four graphical formats required for PPML/GA (EPS, PDF, TIFF & JPEG), enabling an OEM to build a complete PPML solution around the Harlequin Host Renderer, with consistent color management rendering and screening of all graphical assets.
  • Cross-platform

    Global Graphics has a long history of providing cross-platform technology and in the Harlequin Host Renderer cross-platform support is provided through an OS abstraction framework, allowing deployment in host-based solutions on a wide variety of operating systems and hardware. It is available on Windows, enabling easy integration into many existing solutions, and on Linux, avoiding the requirement for costly Windows licenses. Other platforms available on request.

  • Time to market

    The Harlequin Host Renderer will assist you to deliver your project on time and on budget.

    • Support for multiple page description languages within a single SDK minimizes integration work required to achieve consistent results
    • Inclusion of a boilerplate framework and configuration code allows developers to make rapid progress from day one
    • A wide variety of raster delivery formats mean that the Harlequin Host Renderer can be easily configured to deliver the data you require.
  • Performance

    Global Graphics’ technology is renowned for its high performance and reliability. The Harlequin Host Renderer is built on mature technology: it uses a new iteration of the RIP kernel found at the heart of the Harlequin RIP, with significant expansion and optimization.

    Version 3 of the Harlequin Host Renderer includes:

    • extensive multi-threading of transparency compositing and rendering
    • Harlequin Parallel Pages™, which allows a page to be interpreted while the previous pages are still being rendered. This ensures that processor cores are kept busy, ensuring the highest possible throughput.

    The Harlequin Host Renderer is exceptionally fast and efficient so you can achieve rated engine speed with less processing power, with a concomitant reduction in the costs for hardware, operating systems and other associated software.

  • Complementary technology

    The Harlequin Host Renderer addresses your needs for rendering PostScript, PDF and XPS within a larger, server-based system. The same core is available in other forms for other users: the Harlequin MultiRIP provides a server-based RIP with a prebuilt graphical user interface, and the Harlequin Embedded SDK is designed for use on controller boards within printers.

  • Standards-based

    The Harlequin Host Renderer ensures compliance to a broad array of color- and print-related standards, including PDF/X, PDF/VT, ICC, OpenType etc.

    At the same time, Global Graphics recognizes that some creation applications make non-compliant files, and the Harlequin Host Renderer is also written to be compatible with the output from a wide variety of such tools. The emphasis on both compliance and compatibility results in outstanding output quality across all jobs.

Native interpretation of:

  • PostScript (including EPS)
  • PDF (including ISO 32000-1)
  • XPS
  • TIFF
  • JPEG
  • Processing & validation of PDF/X-1a:2001 & 2003; PDF/X-3:2002 & 2003; PDF/X-4 & 4p 2008 & 2010; PDF/5g & 5pg 2008 & 2010
  • Processing & validation of PDF/VT-1 & PDF/VT-2
  • OEM partners can build PDF/VT compliant digital front ends (DFEs) around the Harlequin Host Renderer.

Extensive configuration capabilities, accessible from all PDLs

  • Effectively unlimited resolution, including unequal fast and slow scan
  • Supercell, stochastic (FM) and hybrid screens available, including multi-level. OEM screening IP installable as screen caches or through an API
  • In-RIP imposition
  • Extensive font substitution and emulation capabilities
  • Internal and external modes to PDF Retained Raster for optimal VDP performance
  • Thread count usage control
  • C API for interfacing between layers and core.

Color

  • Mono, CMYK & spot, RGB, RGBK, sRGB, CMY, K & spot output, support for N-color (inc. HiFi, photoink and custom) or rendered content description
  • Raster depths output: 1, 2, 4, 8, 10, 12 or 16 bits
  • Planar, band interleaved, or pixel interleaved output
  • Internal Color Management support, (ICC 4.0) or user defined via CMM API
  • Output of object map data to inform downstream color management or screening processes, etc
  • Multiple calibration curve options.

Cross-platform support through an OS abstraction framework

  • Currently supported on 32- and 64-bit Microsoft Windows and 64-bit Linux; ask if you have requirements for other operating systems.

Market leading performance