-Frequently Asked QuestionsHow can Photo-Station merge data so quickly?
Images II created a new technology which can read a plain text file containing
data (comma separated values), and MERGE this data into a specified format.
A format is a file created which contains a description of
where items are to be placed on the page along with various options such
as type font, color, image sizes, etc. Each line in the data file produces
one or more output pages. The MERGE process fills in the template
with the specified items from the data file and creates a special Postscript
language output file. Special software in the RIP (Raster Image Processor)
computer then processes and converts the Postscript file and prints it.
Why is the output of Photo-Station so much better than printing
to the same printer through other RIPs?
The Photo-Station RIP processes the image file and applies an ICC profile
to correct the color before it sends the data to the printer. The method
the RIP uses is significantly different from other RIPs which results
in a much more photographic look to the printed images.
Why is the Photo-Station RIP so much faster than other RIPs offered
- even those costing much more?
The Photo-Station RIP is constructed on a PC based computer using custom
software and a proprietary set of plug-in cards to interface with the
printer. Special configuration programs create a protected environment
within the computer which allows us to utilize special speedup techniques.
Can I use my own computer instead of purchasing the Photo-Station computer?
The Photo-Station workstation computer is a PC based computer but it is
highly specialized and custom built for the Photo-Station application. It
would be easier for us if we could just purchase a computer off-the-shelf
instead of building a special computer. The Photo-Station computer has multiple
processors, a large amount of RAM, special high speed data paths, etc. The
benefits of utilizing this computer are significant and its productivity
benefits far out weigh the cost. In addition other computers could not be
supported by us.
I already have a RIP computer & Xerox printer. Can I use these
instead of purchasing this as a part of the Photo-Station system?
Existing Xerox printers
(5750, Doc 12, 2045, 2060) can be used but need to be updated to the very
latest revisions. Only the Photo-Station RIP -for the Doc 12 & Doc
12LP or the CreoScitex
SPIRE RIP -for the 2045 / 2060 can be used. These RIPs are enhanced with
software which adds capabilities to process the special Photo-Station
Can I print from other programs through the Photo-Station system like
I can with other systems?
Yes, the Photo-Station RIP and printer appear as a network printer
on a computer network. Any computer which you authorize, can have access
to the full color printer capabilities whether standard PC or MacIntosh
computers and software. Just print as you would from any application.
Why do I have
to send people to a 3 day training class? My people learn software quickly
and are very experienced.
We would prefer not to have to individually train each customer. It would
be much easier for us to just send out a manual or instructional DVD.
But, just as the Photo-Station is a totally unique product, it requires
the learning of new concepts which have not been used before. If we are
to support our customers they must have a common basis with our support
What background do you need to operate the Photo-Station?
The operator must have a reasonable grasp of Windows
operating system functions. They must understand creating folders (directories),
copying files, deleting files, etc. While it is not absolutely necessary,
it is very helpful to have a working capability of Adobe
I shoot using digital cameras, do I need the film scanner?
No, it would not be necessary. The standard Photo-Station has the capability
to read Flash Memory cards, Smart Media cards, and MicroDrives. However,
even though new photography is shot with digital sources, there is a tremendous
amount of existing film in most organizations. There are applications
where the versatility of film can accomplish tasks that would be very
difficult or impossible with only digital cameras.
Where do I get the paper to print on?
The Xerox printers print
on plain paper. Paper can be purchased from office supply stores (Office
Depot, Office Max, Staples) or through paper companies which sell to commercial
printers, from reps for paper mills such as Hammermill, or directly from
Xerox. There are hundreds if not thousands of paper stocks available.
Some papers have a gloss finish, some matte finishe, some have texture
finishes, etc. We recommend papers with a short grain and
hard surface. Papers should be dust controlled and maintained
in a normal humidity range per specifications for your printer. Papers
which have been preperforated for special applications such as business
cards, photo finishing, package prints, etc are available or can be customized
for your application by Think,
Inc. in Pennsylvania.
Will my customers accept the output?
This was probably the first question which we had to answer in creating
the Photo-Station system. A great deal of research and customer testing
was done to develop the output quality that users expected. But acceptance
is a combination of image quality, product feel, and the suitability
for an application. We have found that the user is almost always more
concerned with the output than the customer. The output may be indistinguishable
from a traditional photo to the customer; however, we have found that
it is best to promote the advantages of the new process. Todays
photos are not like those of a few years ago, there have been many changes
in print finishes (silk, pebble, gloss, matte, etc.), changes
in color vividness, etc. There are many advantages to the digital process
- color, sharpness, text quality, variety of surfaces, etc.
Should I print
on plain paper, heavy paper, or pre-perforated paper, or laminate the
The prints on plain paper (28#) are the most economical.
Some item such as greeting cards are best printed on heavy stock such
as 10 or 12 pt. Preperforated papers are preferred for items such as business
cards or package prints (multiple images on a single page).
Laminated prints (generally on plain paper) give the look and feel
of RC photo paper but add the durability of a laminated print making it
waterproof, fingerprint proof, peanut butter & jelly proof, resistant
to abrasion in a purse or wallet, etc. Various laminates can also give
various surface looks and textures.
There are some specialty papers such as Xerox
Pixography paper which produce a true photographic quality
at a slightly higher paper cost.
How long will the Xerox printed images last?
The images are formed from polyester toners. Each toner is manufactured
from materials which are the specific color; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black.
The toners are not colored, painted, coated, etc - they are made entirely
of a material that is the desired color. As such, when the toners are
put on the paper and then fused (melted) with temperature and pressed
into the paper with pressure, they become a part of the paper surface.
There is nothing to fade or degrade unless the paper itself were to disintegrate.
Unlike photo images which are only rated for image stability in dark storage,
the images from the Xerox printers do not appreciably change under any
normal conditions including light exposure. So the image life is essentially
the life of the paper itself. The paper could degrade if exposed to extremes
in humidity, molds, atmospheric contaminates (acid rain), etc. A laminated
print further extends the print life by eliminating these factors from
affecting the paper.
What kind of support is available?
Images II provides 1 year of toll free tech support with live people.
No maze of push-button menus to navigate.
What is the warranty?
The whole system is covered by a 12 month parts and labor warranty. Some
items are additionally warranted by the manufacturer for a longer period.
All software upgrades to the Photo-Station software are also included
for 12 months.
What happens after the first year?
Continued hardware and software support are available by subscription.
This is a voluntary user option and is not required, however the customers
find that the upgrades keep their system up to date and protect their
investment by continuing to increase their capabilities.
What if I dont want to create my own formats?
We teach users to create their own formats so they can create new formats
which are applicable to their business. However, Images II staff will
create formats for our customers for a fee based on the time required.
Users can also modify the standard formats included with the Photo-Station
What about graphics and backgrounds?
The backgrounds used in formats are just any .TIFF or .JPEG file. These
can be graphic files created by an artist, scanned photos, digital photos,
commercial clip art, or images from commercial libraries - almost any
What are packages and how are they created?
Packages are just collections of formats. A format is a single
page (1 or 2 sided). The user can create their own packages
which specify various formats assigned to that package name. A package
can contain pages of different sizes and can be single or double sided.
The data entry can specify which package is to be produced from that data.
All the pages are then output together for each data item. The packages
are created/assembled in the Photo-Station MERGE program.