Wide-Format Printers/Plotters

On the Job: Firm Outputs Large-Format Drawings in Record Time

14 Aug, 2005 Cadalyst

HP Designjet 4000ps produces high-quality prints for Richard Meier & Partners Architects

Richard Meier & Partners Architects has installed a new high-throughput HP Designjet 4000ps in its New York offices and is discovering that something as basic as a printer can have a positive effect on business.

Best known for designs such as the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Richard Meier & Partners is using the 42" large-format device to produce color renderings of work in progress, line drawings and high-quality final output of designs for client presentations on a variety of media.

HP's Designjet 4000 printer series is designed for the AEC, MCAD (mechanical CAD) and GIS (geographical information systems) markets, producing accurate lines; professional image quality; and fast, unattended printing, according to the company. Employing the new HP Double Swath technology for an expanded print path, these printers reportedly double the print capacity of previous HP Designjet printers to facilitate tight deadline delivery.

Figure 1. The HP Designjet 4000ps large-format printer sells for $12,495.
Robert Lewis, director of information technology for Richard Meier & Partners, believes the HP Designjet 4000ps (figure 1) addresses two persistent demands in the architecture business: quality and speed. "Quality, in particular, conveys the image that has helped Richard Meier & Partners become one of the world's most respected architectural firms," Lewis says. "The output has to look good. Architects have to win jobs, and they have to impress their clients. And you can't afford to waste prints or time; you have to be as productive as possible."

The increased speed of the HP Designjet 4000ps printer means greater efficiency in the creative process. "We do a significant number of drawings and renderings," Lewis explains. "During this process, it is better for an architect to produce five or six prints of a project to see changes as they are implemented. The rapid print speeds of the HP Designjet 4000ps mean that architects can always work from updated drawings so they can see the full effect that subsequent changes have on the overall design of a project."

The firm has also found that getting versioned prints is easy with the HP Designjet 4000ps. "The new Adobe PostScript RIP gets the job done," says Lewis, commenting on the option available with the 4000ps. "The printing time for a photorealistic rendering has dropped from an hour and a half on the HP Designjet 1055 to 10 or 15 minutes on the HP Designjet 4000ps."

To ensure color consistency throughout the workflow, Richard Meier & Partners took advantage of the HP Professional Color technologies included with the HP Designjet 4000 printers. Tools such as Closed Loop Color, Pantone calibration, HP CMYK Plus, Black Point compensation, sRGB, AdobeRGB, and TIFF and JPEG with embedded ICC profiles ensure that an HP print closely matches the on-screen image.

The firm took particular interest in the efficient Adobe PostScript processing of the 4000ps. Two other large-format printers at the firm have Adobe PostScript capabilities, but their RIPs were too slow for practical use on color jobs. Color work was being sent through the devices' print spooler, with varying results. More importantly, work that could be color managed at the desktop or on the firm's smaller-format printers was not a guaranteed match when output on the plotters.

"When you're in meetings, it is wonderful to give clients prints of a large-format design that is being shown on the wall. But, when the colors are different, it is disconcerting," Lewis says. "The HP Designjet 4000ps has very good Adobe PostScript support. Color management is excellent, and the output is very close to what you see on screen."