JP5560823B2 - Image processing control apparatus, image processing apparatus, and program - Google Patents

Image processing control apparatus, image processing apparatus, and program Download PDF

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JP5560823B2
JP5560823B2 JP2010071664A JP2010071664A JP5560823B2 JP 5560823 B2 JP5560823 B2 JP 5560823B2 JP 2010071664 A JP2010071664 A JP 2010071664A JP 2010071664 A JP2010071664 A JP 2010071664A JP 5560823 B2 JP5560823 B2 JP 5560823B2
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JP2011204079A (en
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丈資 鳥居
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富士ゼロックス株式会社
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  The present invention relates to an image processing control device, an image processing device, and a program.

  A technique for reducing the memory capacity required for the cache and shortening the time required for the cache is known (for example, see Patent Document 1). In the technique of this patent document 1, when a font stored in a hard disk is used as print data, a necessary part of the font data is read from the hard disk to reconstruct the font data. Cached in the cache memory section.

  There is also known a technique for greatly reducing the occupied storage capacity on memory resources for other form data similar to predetermined form data and storing and managing a lot of similar form data (for example, see Patent Document 2). In the technique of this patent document 2, when registering other form data whose main part is similar to the predetermined form data, the difference data of the predetermined form data is registered and output from the predetermined form data and the difference data. A form overlay image is generated, and the form overlay image and the normal page image are superimposed and printed.

  There is also known a technique for efficiently registering data that expands its function in a printing apparatus that can be mounted or connected with a plurality of secondary storage devices, and efficiently registering the data in the secondary storage device to increase the processing speed ( For example, see Patent Document 3). In the technique of Patent Document 3, when function expansion data is received from an external device, it is determined whether it is a program or a form overlay, and if it is determined that it is a program, the speed in the connected secondary storage device It is determined whether the received data can be stored and registered in order from the earliest, and registration is performed when a free secondary storage device is found.

  A technique for performing image processing of print data at high speed when image processing of print data is performed in parallel by a plurality of image processing units is also known (for example, see Patent Document 4). In the technique of this Patent Document 4, attributes such as the number of pages of PDF data that is a page-independent print job are analyzed, and a process request command for designating which page of the print job should be processed is set to four images. The image data is transmitted to the processing unit, and the image processing unit develops the print data of the page specified by the processing request command into image information for each color.

JP 2000-94765 A JP 2001-1595 A JP-A-8-11811 JP 2009-146251 A

  An object of the present invention is to speed up image processing using a plurality of image processing means while considering reuse of image processing results of elements included in an image processing target.

The invention according to claim 1 is an acquisition unit that acquires target information to be subjected to image processing by a plurality of image processing units, and a specific part of a plurality of parts that constitute the target information acquired by the acquisition unit A detection means for detecting a specific element that is stored in the storage means and the result of the image processing for the element is reused, and based on the specific element detected by the detection means Determining means for determining the image processing means for performing the image processing on the specific portion of the plurality of image processing means , wherein the determining means has a reuse status of the specific element equal to or less than a threshold value. In some cases, the image processing control apparatus determines that the result of the image processing on the specific element is not stored in the storage unit .
According to a second aspect of the present invention, when the specific element detected by the detection unit is included in another part of the plurality of parts, the determination unit performs the image processing on the other part. The image processing control apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the image processing unit is determined as an image processing unit that performs the image processing on the specific portion.
According to a third aspect of the present invention, when the first image processing means is in a predetermined high-load state and the second image processing means is in a predetermined low-load state, the determination means is If the second image processing means has performed the image processing on the part including the specific element of the part, the second image processing means uses the image processing to perform the image processing on the specific part. The image processing control apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the image processing control apparatus is determined as a processing unit.
According to a fourth aspect of the present invention, there is provided acquisition means for acquiring target information to be subjected to image processing by a plurality of image processing means, and specific parts of a plurality of parts constituting the target information acquired by the acquisition means A detection means for detecting a specific element that is stored in the storage means and the result of the image processing for the element is reused, and based on the specific element detected by the detection means Determining means for determining the image processing means for performing the image processing on the specific part of the plurality of image processing means, and the detecting means includes another specific element included in the specific part. the further detection, the determination unit, when conditions are satisfied where the other specific elements detected by said detecting means is predetermined, the other specific elements detected by said detecting means Based on an image processing control unit and determines the image processing means for performing the image processing on the particular portion.
The invention according to claim 5 is an acquisition unit that acquires target information to be subjected to image processing by a plurality of image processing units, and a specific part of a plurality of parts that constitute the target information acquired by the acquisition unit A detection means for detecting a specific element that is stored in the storage means and the result of the image processing for the element is reused, and based on the specific element detected by the detection means And determining means for determining the image processing means for performing the image processing on the specific part of the plurality of image processing means, wherein the determining means includes a first element of the plurality of parts. When the specific image processing means performs the image processing on the first part and the second part including the second element, the selection is performed according to a predetermined criterion among the first element and the second element. The specified element is stored in association with the specific image processing unit, and the specific image processing unit is stored when the specific element detected by the detection unit is stored in association with the specific image processing unit. and an image processing controller and determines an image processing means for performing the image processing on the particular portion.
According to a sixth aspect of the present invention, the predetermined criterion is a criterion of selecting a larger one of the first element and the second element, or the first element and the first element. The image processing according to claim 5 , further comprising a criterion of selecting one of the first element and the second element that includes many elements when the two elements further include an element. It is a control device.
The invention according to claim 7 is characterized in that the predetermined criterion includes a criterion of selecting one of the first element and the second element that requires a longer time for the image processing. The image processing control device according to claim 5 or 6 .
The invention according to claim 8 is an acquisition unit that acquires print instruction information that instructs printing of an image, a plurality of image processing units that perform image processing on the print instruction information acquired by the acquisition unit, and the acquisition A specific element included in a specific part of the plurality of parts constituting the print instruction information acquired by the unit, the result of the image processing for the element being stored in the storage unit and reused Detecting means for detecting, and determining means for determining image processing means for performing the image processing on the specific portion of the plurality of image processing means based on the specific element detected by the detecting means. wherein the determination unit, when re-utilization of the specific element is less than or equal to the threshold, the result of the image processing for the particular element is not stored in said storage means An image processing apparatus characterized by determining that the.
The invention according to claim 9 is included in a specific part of a plurality of parts constituting the acquired target information and a function of acquiring target information to be subjected to image processing by a plurality of image processing means in a computer. A function of detecting a specific element that is stored in the storage means and the result of the image processing on the element is reused, and the plurality of image processing based on the detected specific element A function for determining an image processing means for performing the image processing on the specific part of the means, and the function for determining is determined when the reuse status of the specific element is equal to or less than a threshold value. This is a program for determining that the result of the image processing for the element is not stored in the storage means .
According to a tenth aspect of the present invention, a computer includes a function for acquiring target information to be subjected to image processing by a plurality of image processing means, and a specific portion of the plurality of portions constituting the acquired target information. A function of detecting a specific element that is stored in the storage means and the result of the image processing on the element is reused, and the plurality of image processing based on the detected specific element A function of determining image processing means for performing the image processing on the specific part of the means, and the function of detecting further detects another specific element included in the specific part, The determining function is an image for performing the image processing on the specific part based on the detected other specific element when the detected other specific element satisfies a predetermined condition. Is a program that determines processing means.

According to the first aspect of the present invention, an image is obtained by using a plurality of image processing means while considering the reuse of the image processing result of the element included in the image processing target as compared with the case where the present configuration is not provided. The processing can be speeded up , and the storage means in which the image processing results of the elements included in the image processing target are stored for reuse can be used more effectively .
According to the invention of claim 2, as compared with the case where the present configuration is not provided, the storage means in which the image processing results of the elements included in the image processing target are stored for reuse is effectively used. The image processing can be speeded up using a plurality of image processing means.
According to the invention of claim 3, it is possible to suppress the concentration of the load on some of the plurality of image processing means.
According to the fourth aspect of the present invention, it is possible to cope with a case where a plurality of elements are included in a part of the image processing target.
According to the invention of claim 5 , even when a certain image processing means performs image processing of a plurality of elements, it is possible to determine the element that the image processing means is in charge of.
According to the sixth aspect of the present invention, it is possible to easily determine the element that the image processing means is in charge of, as compared with the case where the present configuration is not provided.
According to the seventh aspect of the present invention, the element in charge of the image processing means can be determined so as to speed up the image processing.
According to the invention of claim 8 , an image can be obtained using a plurality of image processing means while considering the reuse of the image processing results of the elements included in the print instruction information, as compared with the case where this configuration is not provided. The processing can be speeded up , and the storage means in which the image processing results of the elements included in the image processing target are stored for reuse can be used more effectively .
According to the ninth aspect of the present invention, an image using a plurality of image processing means is considered while considering the reuse of the image processing results of the elements included in the image processing target as compared with the case where the present configuration is not provided. The processing can be speeded up , and the storage means in which the image processing results of the elements included in the image processing target are stored for reuse can be used more effectively .
According to the tenth aspect of the present invention, it is possible to cope with a case where a plurality of elements are included in a part of an image processing target.

1 is a diagram illustrating a configuration example of an image forming apparatus to which an embodiment of the present invention is applied. It is the block diagram which showed the function structural example of the image process part in embodiment of this invention. It is the figure which showed the example of application of the image process part in embodiment of this invention. It is the figure shown about the format of the page management table of the image process part in embodiment of this invention. It is the flowchart which showed the operation example at the time of RIP processing request destination determination of the page distribution management part in the image processing part of embodiment of this invention. It is the flowchart which showed the operation example at the time of RIP processing request destination determination of the page distribution management part in the image processing part of embodiment of this invention. It is the flowchart which showed the operation example at the time of completion of RIP processing of the page distribution management part in the image processing part of embodiment of this invention. It is the figure which showed the specific example of a response | compatibility of the page and form used by embodiment of this invention. It is the figure which showed the transition of the content of the page management table when determining a RIP process request destination in embodiment of this invention. It is the figure which showed the transition of the content of the page management table when determining a RIP process request destination in embodiment of this invention. It is a figure for demonstrating the avoidance measure of the concentration of the load with respect to the specific RIP process part when determining a RIP process request destination in embodiment of this invention.

Embodiments of the present invention will be described below in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings.
FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating a configuration example of an image forming apparatus 1 to which the exemplary embodiment is applied. An image forming apparatus 1 shown in FIG. 1 is a so-called tandem color printer, and includes an image forming unit 10 that forms an image based on image data, and a main control unit 31 that controls the operation of the entire image forming apparatus 1. ing. Furthermore, for example, the communication unit 32 that receives print instruction data by communicating with a personal computer (PC) 3 or the like, the image reading unit 33 that reads an image from a document and generates read image data, and the communication unit 32 An image processing unit 34 that obtains image data by performing predetermined image processing on the received print instruction data, read image data generated by the image reading unit 33, and the like, and transfers the image data to the image forming unit 10; A user interface (UI) unit 35 that receives operation inputs and displays various types of information to the user is provided.

The image forming unit 10 is a component that forms an image by, for example, electrophotography, and includes four image forming units 11Y, 11M, 11C, and 11K (hereinafter referred to as “image forming unit 11”) arranged in parallel. It has. Each of the image forming units 11 has, as a functional member, for example, a photosensitive drum 12 on which an electrostatic latent image is formed while rotating in the direction of arrow A and then a toner image is formed, and the surface of the photosensitive drum 12 in advance. A charger 13 that is charged at a predetermined potential, an exposure device 14 that exposes the photosensitive drum 12 charged by the charger 13 based on image data, and an electrostatic latent image formed on the photosensitive drum 12. A developing device 15 for developing with each color toner and a drum cleaner 16 for cleaning the surface of the photosensitive drum 12 after transfer are provided.
Each of the image forming units 11 is configured in substantially the same manner except for the toner accommodated in the developing device 15, and each forms a toner image of yellow (Y), magenta (M), cyan (C), and black (K). To do.

  Further, the image forming unit 10 includes an intermediate transfer belt 20 onto which the color toner images formed on the photosensitive drums 12 of the image forming units 11 are transferred, and the color toner images formed on the image forming units 11. And a primary transfer roll 21 that sequentially transfers (primary transfer) to the intermediate transfer belt 20. Furthermore, a secondary transfer roll 22 that batch-transfers (secondary transfer) each color toner image superimposed and transferred onto the intermediate transfer belt 20 onto a sheet P that is a recording medium (recording paper), and each color that has been secondarily transferred. And a fixing device 25 for fixing the toner image on the paper P.

  Each of the image forming units 11 of the image forming unit 10 forms toner images of yellow (Y), magenta (M), cyan (C), and black (K) by an electrophotographic process using the above functional members. Each color toner image formed by each image forming unit 11 is electrostatically transferred in sequence onto the intermediate transfer belt 20 by the primary transfer roll 21 to form a composite toner image in which the respective color toners are superimposed. The synthetic toner image on the intermediate transfer belt 20 is transported to the secondary transfer region Tr where the secondary transfer roll 22 is arranged as the intermediate transfer belt 20 moves (in the direction of arrow B), and is supplied from the paper container 40. Electrostatically transferred onto a sheet of paper P. Thereafter, the synthetic toner image electrostatically transferred onto the paper P is fixed on the paper P by being subjected to a fixing process by the fixing device 25. Then, the paper P on which the fixed image is formed is transported and accumulated on a paper stacking unit 45 provided in the discharge unit of the image forming apparatus 1.

On the other hand, the toner (primary transfer residual toner) attached to the photosensitive drum 12 after the primary transfer and the toner (secondary transfer residual toner) attached to the intermediate transfer belt 20 after the secondary transfer are respectively drum cleaner 16. , And the belt cleaner 23.
In this way, the image forming process in the image forming apparatus 1 is repeatedly executed for the number of printed sheets.

  By the way, when high-speed printing is performed by the image forming apparatus 1 having such a configuration, RIP (Raster Image Processing) processing that develops print instruction data received from the communication unit 32 into raster data in the image processing unit 34 becomes a bottleneck. Therefore, it is necessary to speed up the RIP process.

As a method for speeding up the RIP process, for example, the following can be considered.
The first method is suitable for printing based on VDP (variable data print) jobs, for which demand has been increasing in recent years. The print instruction data of the VDP job is divided into a reusable form part and a variable part. Data such as photographs with a high load in RIP processing is described as a form. When receiving the print instruction data of such a VDP job, the image processing unit 34 saves the processing result of the intermediate data format or raster data format obtained once expanded in a cache which is an example of a storage unit. Next time, it is conceivable to increase the speed by reusing the data in the cache.

  The second method is a page parallel method in which the print instruction data is divided into easy-to-divide units such as pages and processed in parallel to increase the speed. In this page parallel method, RIP processing including interpretation processing and rasterization processing can be performed in parallel by a plurality of RIP processing units, so that the performance improvement effect is also great. At that time, the greater the number of CPUs that can be used, the greater the parallelism of the RIP processing units, and the higher speed can be realized.

However, for the VDP job described in the first method, when RIP processing is performed in parallel as in the second method, the cache reuse efficiency decreases as the degree of parallelism increases. As a result, the speed-up effect due to parallelization cannot be obtained.
Therefore, in the present embodiment, the image processing unit 34 causes the RIP processing unit that has performed RIP processing for a certain page to execute RIP processing for a page that uses the same form that the page used. Like that.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating a configuration example of the image processing unit 34 that performs such an operation.
As shown in the figure, the image processing unit 34 includes a front end unit 50 that performs the former stage process and a back end unit 60 that performs the latter stage process. The front end unit 50 includes an input data management unit 51, a form extraction unit 52, a page management table storage unit 53, a page distribution management unit 54, and a resource management unit 55. The back end unit 60 includes RIP processing units 61a, 61b, 61c, and 61d. In the following description, the RIP processing units 61a, 61b, 61c, and 61d may be represented by the RIP processing unit 61.

First, each functional unit constituting the front end unit 50 will be described.
The input data management unit 51 receives print instruction data as input data from the communication unit 32 (see FIG. 1), and transfers it to the form extraction unit 52 and the resource management unit 55. In this embodiment, print instruction data is used as an example of target information to be subjected to image processing and print instruction information for instructing printing of an image. Here, the print instruction data is, for example, PDL data described in PDL (Page Description Language). An input data management unit 51 is provided as an example of an acquisition unit that acquires target information and an acquisition unit that acquires print instruction information.

  The form extraction unit 52 analyzes the print instruction data passed from the input data management unit 51, detects a page break, and extracts information on the form used on each page. In the present embodiment, a page is used as an example of a part constituting target information or a part constituting print instruction information, and a form is used as an example of an element included in the part. Moreover, the form extraction part 52 is provided as an example of the detection means which detects an element.

  The page management table storage unit 53 stores a page management table that manages allocation of pages to the RIP processing units 61a, 61b, 61c, and 61d of the backend unit 60.

  The page distribution management unit 54 determines page allocation for the RIP processing units 61 a, 61 b, 61 c, 61 d of the back end unit 60, and registers information related to the page allocation in the page management table storage unit 53. Also, information for instructing RIP processing for the page (hereinafter referred to as “page RIP instruction information”) is transmitted to the RIP processing unit 61 to which the page is allocated. In this case, the page RIP instruction information includes the page number to be subjected to the RIP process in the print instruction data, the identifier of the RIP processing unit 61 to be preferentially processed, the print attribute of the page, and the like. Furthermore, the page distribution management unit 54 deletes information related to the page allocation from the page management table storage unit 53 when the RIP processing of the pages allocated to the RIP processing units 61a, 61b, 61c, and 61d is completed. In this embodiment, a page distribution management unit 54 is provided as an example of a determination unit that determines an image processing unit that performs image processing on a specific portion.

  The resource management unit 55 transmits the print instruction data passed from the input data management unit 51 and the resources necessary for the RIP processing to the RIP processing units 61a, 61b, 61c, and 61d of the back end unit 60.

Next, each function part which comprises the back end part 60 is demonstrated.
Each of the RIP processing units 61a, 61b, 61c, and 61d interprets the print instruction data received from the resource management unit 55 of the front end unit 50, performs rasterization based on the print instruction data, and converts image data that is raster data. Generate. In particular, in the present embodiment, only the part related to the page indicated by the page RIP instruction information received from the page distribution management unit 54 of the front end unit 50 is extracted from the print instruction data received from the resource management unit 55, Rasterization based on that part is performed. In the present embodiment, RIP processing units 61a, 61b, 61c, and 61d are provided as an example of a plurality of image processing means. However, the number of RIP processing units 61 may be changed according to the configuration of the image forming apparatus 1.

  Note that the image processing unit 34 generally includes a color conversion unit that converts a color designated by the print instruction data into a color used in the image forming unit 10, a screen processing unit that performs screen processing on raster data, and the like. However, these functional parts are omitted. These functional units may operate in the RIP processing unit 61, and the RIP processing unit 61 may be regarded as a general image processing unit as described above. In this case, the result of general image processing for the form may be stored in the cache and reused.

Here, a case where an image forming controller having a specific application (hereinafter simply referred to as “controller”) is used as the RIP processing units 61a, 61b, 61c, and 61d will be described.
FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating a configuration example of the image processing unit 34 in this case.
In this configuration example, the RIP processing unit 61 is provided for each assigned basic color. Here, the assigned basic color is a color corresponding to the basic print color assigned to the image forming unit 11 (see FIG. 1). For example, the basic print color is yellow, magenta as shown in FIG. , Cyan, and black, the basic colors assigned to the RIP processing unit 61 are also these four colors. That is, the RIP processing unit 61a is used as an image forming unit controller for yellow, the RIP processing unit 61b is used as an image forming unit controller for magenta, and the RIP processing unit 61c is used as an image forming unit controller for cyan. The RIP processing unit 61d is used as a black image forming unit controller. The other functional units are the same as those described with reference to FIG. 2, and thus description thereof is omitted here.

The general operation of the image processing unit 34 in this case is as follows, for example. Here, PDF (Portable Document Format) job data will be described as an example of print instruction data, but the present invention is not limited to this.
First, the resource management unit 55 transmits the PDF job passed from the input data management unit 51 to the RIP processing units 61a, 61b, 61c, and 61d.
Next, the page distribution management unit 54 transmits to the RIP processing units 61a, 61b, 61c, and 61d page RIP instruction information that indicates which page of the PDF job should be subjected to RIP processing.
Each of the RIP processing units 61a, 61b, 61c, and 61d develops the print instruction data for each color to acquire image data, and sets the image data of colors other than the basic color in charge among the image data for each color. The data is transferred to the RIP processing unit 61 which is the basic color in charge. In the figure, the sides of the rectangle indicating the image data for each color and the arrow lines indicating the transfer direction of the image data are thin solid lines for yellow, dotted lines for magenta, broken lines for cyan, and thick for black. It is represented by a solid line. Thereafter, the RIP processing units 61 a, 61 b, 61 c, 61 d receive the assigned basic color image data obtained by developing the RIP processing units 61 a, 61 b, 61 c, 61 d and the assigned basic color image data transferred from the other RIP processing units 61. Output to the image forming units 11Y, 11M, 11C, and 11K (see FIG. 1), respectively.

Next, the operation of the image processing unit 34 in the present embodiment will be described.
In the image processing unit 34, first, the input data management unit 51 of the front end unit 50 receives print instruction data as input data from the communication unit 32 (see FIG. 1), and sends a print instruction to the form extraction unit 52 and the resource management unit 55. Pass data.
Then, the resource management unit 55 transmits print instruction data to each RIP processing unit 61. Further, the form extraction unit 52 extracts information on the form used on each page of the print instruction data. Specifically, a form identifier, a form data size, and the like are extracted. At this time, since it is necessary to perform processing at high speed, it is preferable not to analyze a portion not related to distribution to the RIP processing unit 61. The form extraction unit 52 notifies the page distribution management unit 54 of the extracted form information.
As a result, the page distribution management unit 54 obtains the number of RIP processing units 61 operating in the image processing unit 34, creates a page management table, and stores it in the page management table storage unit 53. Alternatively, the page distribution management unit 54 may create a page management table before the input data management unit 51 receives the print instruction data, for example, when the image processing unit 34 is activated.

Here, the page management table will be described.
FIG. 4 is a diagram showing an example of the page management table.
As shown in the figure, the page management table is provided with an RIP field, a priority form field, a size field, and an unfinished page field.
The RIP column holds the number of the RIP processing unit 61. Here, it is assumed that four RIP processing units 61 operate in parallel, and 1 to 4 are held as the numbers of the RIP processing units 61.
The priority form field holds the identifier of the form preferentially assigned to the RIP processing unit 61 having the number stored in the corresponding RIP field. The form held in the priority form field may be referred to as a form handled by the corresponding RIP processing unit 61.
The size column holds the data size of the identifier form stored in the corresponding priority form column.
The unprocessed page column holds the number of the page in which the RIP processing of the number stored in the corresponding RIP column in the RIP processing unit 61 is being executed or is waiting to be executed.

On the assumption that such a page management table is stored in the page management table storage unit 53, the page distribution management unit 54 performs the following operation.
First, an operation when the page distribution management unit 54 determines a request destination of RIP processing of a page (hereinafter referred to as “target page”) from among a plurality of RIP processing units 61 will be described.
5 and 6 are flowcharts showing an example of the operation of the page distribution management unit 54 at this time.
As shown in FIG. 5, first, the page distribution management unit 54 receives information on the form used in the page of interest from the form extraction unit 52 (step 501). Then, the number of forms used by the page of interest is determined based on the number of form identifiers included in the form information (step 502).

When the number of forms used by the target page is 0, that is, when the target page is a page that does not use the form, the page distribution management unit 54 has the RIP with the smallest number of pages in the unprocessed page column of the page management table. The processing unit 61 is selected (step 503). At this time, if there are a plurality of RIP processing units 61 having the smallest number of pages, one RIP processing unit 61 is selected from among the RIP processing units 61 based on a criterion such as selecting the one with the smallest number of the RIP processing unit 61, for example. do it. Then, the number of the page of interest is registered in the unprocessed page column corresponding to the selected RIP processing unit 61 (step 504), and page RIP instruction information for instructing RIP processing of the page is stored in the selected RIP processing unit 61. Transmit (step 505).
When the number of forms used by the target page is two or more, that is, when the target page is a page using a plurality of forms, the page distribution management unit 54 has the largest data size among the plurality of forms. The form is determined as the representative form (step 506), and the process proceeds to FIG.
If the number of forms used by the page of interest is 1, the page distribution management unit 54 proceeds to FIG. 6 using the form as a representative form as it is.

  Thereafter, as shown in FIG. 6, the page distribution management unit 54 determines whether or not the representative form identifier has been registered in the priority form column of the page management table (step 511). That is, it is determined whether the target page is a page that uses a form having the same identifier as the identifier registered in the priority form column of the page management table.

  As a result, when it is determined that the representative form identifier has been registered in the priority form column of the page management table, the page distribution management unit 54 performs processing incomplete pages corresponding to the RIP processing unit 61 in which the representative form has been registered. The number of the page of interest is registered in the column (step 518), and page RIP instruction information for instructing RIP processing for the page is transmitted to the RIP processing unit 61 in which the representative form has been registered (step 519).

  On the other hand, when it is determined that the representative form identifier is not registered in the priority form column of the page management table, the page distribution management unit 54 displays the form in the priority form column corresponding to all the RIP processing units 61 of the page management table. It is determined whether or not the identifier has been registered (step 512).

  As a result, when it is determined that the form identifier has been registered in the priority form column corresponding to all the RIP processing units 61 of the page management table, the page distribution management unit 54 determines that the page management table has not been processed. The RIP processing unit 61 having the smallest number of pages is selected (step 513). At this time, if there are a plurality of RIP processing units 61 having the smallest number of pages, one RIP processing unit 61 is selected from among the RIP processing units 61 based on a criterion such as selecting the one with the smallest number of the RIP processing unit 61, for example. do it. Further, it is determined whether the data size of the representative form is larger than the data size registered in the size column corresponding to the selected RIP processing unit 61 (step 514). The registered form information is replaced with the representative form information (step 515). Specifically, the identifier of the form registered in the priority form column corresponding to the selected RIP processing unit 61 is replaced with the identifier of the representative form, and the data size of the form registered in the corresponding size column is also changed to the data of the representative form. Swap with size. If the data size of the representative form is not larger than the data size registered in the size column corresponding to the selected RIP processing unit 61, such replacement is not performed. Alternatively, the representative form identifier may be additionally registered in the priority form column corresponding to the selected RIP processing unit 61, and the selected RIP processing unit 61 may be the RIP processing unit 61 in charge of two forms. Then, the page number of interest is registered in the unprocessed page column corresponding to the selected RIP processing unit 61 (step 518), and page RIP instruction information for instructing the RIP processing of the page is stored in the selected RIP processing unit 61. Transmit (step 519).

  On the other hand, if it is not determined that the form identifier has been registered in the priority form field corresponding to all the RIP processing units 61 of the page management table, that is, if there is an RIP processing unit 61 whose form is not registered, The distribution management unit 54 selects the RIP processing unit 61 with the smallest number of pages in the unprocessed page column of the page management table from the RIP processing units 61 whose form is not registered (step 516). At this time, if there are a plurality of RIP processing units 61 having the smallest number of pages, one RIP processing unit 61 is selected from among the RIP processing units 61 based on a criterion such as selecting the one with the smallest number of the RIP processing unit 61, for example. do it. Also, the representative form information is registered in the selected RIP processing unit 61 (step 517). Specifically, the identifier of the representative form is registered in the priority form column corresponding to the selected RIP processing unit 61, and the data size of the representative form is also registered in the corresponding size column. Then, the page number of interest is registered in the unprocessed page column corresponding to the selected RIP processing unit 61 (step 518), and page RIP instruction information for instructing the RIP processing of the page is stored in the selected RIP processing unit 61. Transmit (step 519).

  When the above operation is completed, the RIP processing unit 61 of the back-end unit 60 uses the page RIP instruction information received from the page distribution management unit 54 among the plurality of pages included in the print instruction data received from the resource management unit 55. RIP processing including interpretation processing and rasterization processing is performed on the designated page. When the RIP process is completed, the RIP processing unit 61 transmits information (hereinafter referred to as “RIP completion information”) notifying that the RIP process is completed to the page distribution management unit 54.

  In step 506 in FIG. 5 and step 514 in FIG. 6, the data size, which is an example of the size of the form, is used to determine the priority of the form that the RIP processing unit 61 takes charge of. Or standards may be used. For example, it may be possible to use the number of objects, which is an example of an element in the form, instead of the data size of the form. In this case, the one with the larger number of objects is preferentially adopted. Alternatively, instead of the data size of the form, the time actually required for RIP processing, which is an example of image processing for the form, may be used. Here, the time actually required for the RIP process may be the one included in the RIP completion information received from the RIP processing unit 61. In this case, the longer time required for the RIP process is preferentially adopted.

Next, an operation when the page distribution management unit 54 reflects the completion of the page RIP processing in the page management table will be described.
FIG. 7 is a flowchart showing an operation example of the page distribution management unit 54 at this time.
As shown in the figure, first, the page distribution management unit 54 first receives RIP completion information from each RIP processing unit 61 (step 551).
Next, the page distribution management unit 54 extracts the page number for which the RIP process has been completed from the RIP completion information (step 552).
Then, the page distribution management unit 54 selects the RIP processing unit 61 in which the page number is registered in the unprocessed page column of the page management table from among the plurality of RIP processing units 61 (step 553).
Accordingly, the page distribution management unit 54 deletes the page number from the unprocessed page column corresponding to the selected RIP processing unit 61 (step 554).

Next, the operation of the image processing unit 34 in the present embodiment will be described using a specific example.
FIG. 8 is a diagram showing a specific example used here.
In the figure, the page number describes the number of each page, and the page designation form field describes the identifier of the form used on the page in the corresponding page field. In the following description, a page whose page field is “N” is expressed as “page #N”, and a form whose page designation form field is “X” is expressed as “form X”.

  FIGS. 9A and 9B are diagrams illustrating changes in the contents of the page management table when the operations illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6 are performed on the specific example of FIG. Here, it is assumed that the pages are processed in order from those described above in FIG. It is assumed that the page management table is not updated by the operation shown in FIG. In the following description, the RIP processing unit whose RIP column is “N” is expressed as “RIP processing unit #N”.

Hereinafter, each page will be described.
As shown in FIG. 8, form A is used on page # 1. In the initial state, no form is registered in the page management table. Therefore, “1” is obtained at step 502 in FIG. 5, “No” is obtained at step 511 in FIG. 6, and “No” is obtained at step 512. The page distribution management unit 54 selects the RIP processing unit # 1 because the priority form field corresponding to the RIP processing unit # 1 in the page management table is empty (step 516), and the priority corresponding to the RIP processing unit # 1. The identifier A is registered in the form field, and the data size of form A is registered in the size field corresponding to the RIP processing unit # 1 (step 517). Also, the page number “1” is registered in the unfinished page column corresponding to the RIP processing unit # 1 (step 518). As a result, the page management table is as shown in FIG. Thereafter, the page distribution management unit 54 transmits the page RIP instruction information of page # 1 to the RIP processing unit # 1 (step 519).

  As shown in FIG. 8, no form is used on page # 2. Therefore, it becomes “0” in step 502 of FIG. The page distribution management unit 54 selects the RIP processing unit # 2 because the unprocessed page field corresponding to the RIP processing unit # 2 in the page management table is empty (step 503), and corresponds to the RIP processing unit # 2. The page number “2” is registered in the unprocessed page column corresponding to the RIP processing unit # 2 without registering information in the priority form column and size column to be performed (step 504). As a result, the page management table is as shown in FIG. Thereafter, the page distribution management unit 54 transmits the page RIP instruction information of page # 2 to the RIP processing unit # 2 (step 519).

  As shown in FIG. 8, form B is used on page # 3. Also, as shown in FIG. 9B, in this state, form B is not registered in the page management table, but there is a RIP processing unit that can register the form. Therefore, “1” is obtained at step 502 in FIG. 5, “No” is obtained at step 511 in FIG. 6, and “No” is obtained at step 512. The page distribution management unit 54 selects the RIP processing unit # 3 because the priority form column and the processing incomplete page column corresponding to the RIP processing unit # 3 in the page management table are empty (step 516), and the RIP processing unit The identifier B is registered in the priority form column corresponding to # 3, and the data size of form B is registered in the size column corresponding to RIP processing unit # 3 (step 517). Also, the page number “3” is registered in the unfinished page column corresponding to the RIP processing unit # 3 (step 518). As a result, the page management table is as shown in FIG. Thereafter, the page distribution management unit 54 transmits the page RIP instruction information of page # 3 to the RIP processing unit # 3 (step 519).

  As shown in FIG. 8, form A is used on page # 4. Further, as shown in FIG. 9C, in this state, the form A has been registered for the RIP processing unit # 1 of the page management table. Therefore, “1” is obtained in step 502 of FIG. 5 and “Yes” is obtained in step 511 of FIG. Then, the page distribution management unit 54 registers “4”, which is the page number, in the unprocessed page column corresponding to the RIP processing unit # 1 (step 518). As a result, the page management table is as shown in FIG. Thereafter, the page distribution management unit 54 transmits the page RIP instruction information of page # 4 to the RIP processing unit # 1 (step 519).

  As shown in FIG. 8, on page # 5, form A and form C are used. Therefore, “≧ 2” is satisfied in step 502 of FIG. If the form C is larger than the form A, the page distribution management unit 54 determines the form C as a representative form (step 506). In addition, as shown in FIG. 9D, in this state, the form C is not registered in the page management table, but there is a RIP processing unit capable of registering the form. Therefore, “No” is obtained at step 511 in FIG. 6 and “No” is obtained at step 512. Then, the page distribution management unit 54 selects the RIP processing unit # 4 whose processing incomplete page column is empty among the RIP processing unit # 2 and the RIP processing unit # 4 corresponding to the empty priority form column of the page management table. Then, the identifier C is registered in the priority form field corresponding to the RIP processing unit # 4, and the data size of the form C is registered in the size field corresponding to the RIP processing unit # 4 (step 517). Also, the page number “5” is registered in the unprocessed page column corresponding to the RIP processing unit # 4 (step 518). As a result, the page management table is as shown in FIG. Thereafter, the page distribution management unit 54 transmits the page RIP instruction information of page # 5 to the RIP processing unit # 4 (step 519).

  As shown in FIG. 8, form D is used on page # 6. Further, as shown in FIG. 9-2 (e), in this state, the form D is not registered in the page management table, but there is a RIP processing unit capable of registering the form. Therefore, “1” is obtained at step 502 in FIG. 5, “No” is obtained at step 511 in FIG. 6, and “No” is obtained at step 512. The page distribution management unit 54 selects the RIP processing unit # 2 because the priority form field corresponding to the RIP processing unit # 2 in the page management table is empty (step 516), and the priority corresponding to the RIP processing unit # 2 is selected. The identifier D is registered in the form field, and the data size of the form D is registered in the size field corresponding to the RIP processing unit # 2 (step 517). Also, the page number “6” is registered in the unfinished page column corresponding to the RIP processing unit # 2 (step 518). As a result, the page management table is as shown in FIG. Thereafter, the page distribution management unit 54 transmits the page RIP instruction information of page # 6 to the RIP processing unit # 2 (step 519).

  As shown in FIG. 8, on page # 7, form B and form E are used. Therefore, “≧ 2” is satisfied in step 502 of FIG. If the form B is larger than the form E, the page distribution management unit 54 determines the form B as a representative form (step 506). Further, as shown in FIG. 9-2 (f), in this state, the form B is already registered in the RIP processing unit # 3 of the page management table. Therefore, “Yes” is obtained in step 511 of FIG. Then, the page distribution management unit 54 registers the page number “7” in the unfinished page column corresponding to the RIP processing unit # 3 (step 518). As a result, the page management table is as shown in FIG. Thereafter, the page distribution management unit 54 transmits the page RIP instruction information of page # 7 to the RIP processing unit # 3 (step 519).

  Thereafter, the page distribution management unit 54 performs the same processing for pages # 8, # 9, and # 10, and as a result, the page management table is as shown in FIG. 9-2 (h). Thereafter, the page distribution management unit 54 sends the page RIP instruction information of page # 8 to the RIP processing unit # 1, the page RIP instruction information of page # 9 to the RIP processing unit # 3, and the page RIP instruction information of page # 10. Transmit to RIP processing unit # 1.

By the way, for some jobs, instructions may be concentrated on a specific RIP processing unit 61 due to a difference in form usage status or page processing time.
Therefore, when the RIP processing unit 61 determined as the RIP processing request destination is in the idle state, the RIP processing unit 61 is directly requested to perform the RIP processing, and when the RIP processing unit 61 is busy, the RIP processing request exceeding the threshold is requested. If there is a free RIP processing unit 61, the RIP processing unit 61 may be requested to perform RIP processing.
In that case, for example, priority is given to the RIP processing unit 61 in which a form having the same identifier as the form used in the page is registered, the RIP processing unit 61 having a small number of registered forms, and the RIP processing unit 61 having a low processing load. The change destination may be determined according to the conditions such as.

FIG. 10 is a diagram for explaining the distribution of the concentration of instructions to the specific RIP processing unit 61 as described above.
(A) shows the state of the page management table when the operations of FIGS. 5 and 6 for the specific example of FIG. 8 are completed. However, in this example, when a new form is assigned in a state in which the form is assigned to all the RIP processing units 61, it is assumed that the form is added instead of replacing the form by comparing the data size of the form. . Under this assumption, no size column is provided. Further, it is assumed that the RIP processing of pages # 1 to # 3 has already been completed, and the numbers of these pages have been deleted from the unfinished page column by the operation of FIG.

  Here, a case where the threshold value of the number of pages waiting for RIP processing (hereinafter referred to as “RIP waiting pages”) is “3”, that is, a case where the number of RIP waiting pages cannot be three or more is considered. In this case, since the number of RIP waiting pages of the RIP processing unit # 1 is “2” when the page # 10 is registered, the RIP processing unit # 1 is in a high load state, and the number of RIP waiting pages can be further increased. Judged not. Therefore, the page distribution management unit 54 does not request the RIP processing of the page # 10 to the RIP processing unit # 1, but refers to the priority form column corresponding to the other RIP processing unit, and the same form is registered. If there is a RIP processing unit, the request destination is switched to the RIP processing unit.

In the example of the figure, the RIP processing unit # 2 and the RIP processing unit # 4 have the least number of unfinished pages among the RIP processing units other than the RIP processing unit # 1, and among these, the RIP processing unit # 4 On the other hand, the same form A as that assigned to the RIP processing unit # 1 is registered. Accordingly, the page distribution management unit 54 switches the RIP processing request destination to the RIP processing unit # 4.
(B) shows the state of the page management table after the request destination is switched in this way.
In this example, the RIP processing unit # 1 is an example of a first image processing unit in a predetermined high load state, and the RIP processing unit # 4 is an example of a second image processing unit in a predetermined low load state. It is an example. Here, the high load state or the low load state may be determined based on information other than the number of RIP waiting pages.

In the present embodiment, the case where the present invention is applied to the image forming apparatus 1 that is a printer that prints on cut paper has been described. However, the present invention is also applied to, for example, a continuous paper machine that prints on continuous paper. Is applicable.
In the present embodiment, each time the form extraction unit 52 extracts a form from a page, the page distribution management unit 54 determines the RIP processing unit 61 that is the request destination of the RIP processing for that page. However, for example, when processing a job that can extract a form in a short time, after the form extraction unit 52 extracts a form from all pages, the page distribution management unit 54 requests the RIP processing request destination of each page. The RIP processing unit 61 may be determined.

  In this case, the page distribution management unit 54 sets a cache suppression flag in the page RIP instruction information for the page including the form when the reuse frequency, which is an example of the reuse status of the form, is equal to or less than the threshold. You may send it on. At that time, the number of pages including the form, the data size of the form, the number of objects in the form, the actual time required for RIP processing for the form, and the actual time required for RIP processing for the form It may be determined that the reuse frequency is less than or equal to the threshold when the ratio of the included page or all pages to the RIP processing time is less than or equal to the threshold. Alternatively, based on the total number of pages in the print instruction data, for example, when the ratio of the number of pages processed so far to the total number of pages is equal to or greater than a threshold, the cache suppression flag is turned on in the page RIP instruction information. May be transmitted. Here, the cache suppression flag is a flag indicating whether or not to enable the cache mechanism in the RIP processing unit 61. That is, when the cache suppression flag is on, the RIP processing unit 61 does not store the form in the cache when performing the RIP processing of the page. Alternatively, even in the form of determining the RIP processing request destination while extracting the form from the page, the page that uses the form when the reuse frequency of the form is dynamically predicted and the reuse frequency is predicted to be low. The cache suppression flag may be turned on.

  Furthermore, in the present embodiment, the RIP processing unit 61 to which a page is allocated is determined based on the form used by the page, but the present invention is not limited to this. For example, when the drawing object is applied to print instruction data that can be easily extracted, such as PDF, the determination may be made based on other drawing objects such as image data.

  Furthermore, in the present embodiment, the resource management unit 55 transmits print instruction data to each RIP processing unit 61, and each RIP processing unit 61 instructs from the page distribution management unit 54 among the pages included in the print instruction data. The RIP process is performed only for the pages that have been processed, but this is not limited to this form. For example, the resource management unit 55 holds the print instruction data without transmitting it to each RIP processing unit 61, and each RIP processing unit 61 stores the page distribution management unit 54 among the pages included in the held print instruction data. A form in which a page instructed by the user is taken out from the resource management unit 55 and RIP processing is performed may be employed.

  The program for realizing the present embodiment can be provided not only by communication means but also by storing it in a recording medium such as a CD-ROM.

DESCRIPTION OF SYMBOLS 1 ... Image forming apparatus, 10 ... Image forming part, 34 ... Image processing part, 50 ... Front end part, 51 ... Input data management part, 52 ... Form extraction part, 53 ... Page management table storage part, 54 ... Page distribution management 55, resource management unit, 60 ... back end unit, 61a, 61b, 61c, 61d ... RIP processing unit

Claims (10)

  1. Obtaining means for obtaining target information to be subjected to image processing by a plurality of image processing means;
    A specific element included in a specific part of a plurality of parts constituting the target information acquired by the acquisition unit, the result of the image processing for the element being stored in the storage unit and reused Detecting means for detecting
    Determining means for determining image processing means for performing the image processing on the specific portion of the plurality of image processing means based on the specific element detected by the detection means ;
    The determination means determines that the result of the image processing for the specific element is not stored in the storage means when the reuse status of the specific element is equal to or less than a threshold value. Image processing control device.
  2.   When the specific element detected by the detection unit is included in another part of the plurality of parts, the determination unit is configured to perform image processing on the specific part. The image processing control apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the image processing control unit is determined as an image processing unit that performs the image processing on the image.
  3.   The determination unit includes the specific element of the plurality of portions when the first image processing unit is in a predetermined high load state and the second image processing unit is in a predetermined low load state. If the second image processing means has performed the image processing on a part, the second image processing means is determined as an image processing means for performing the image processing on the specific part. The image processing control apparatus according to claim 1 or 2.
  4. Obtaining means for obtaining target information to be subjected to image processing by a plurality of image processing means;
    A specific element included in a specific part of a plurality of parts constituting the target information acquired by the acquisition unit, the result of the image processing for the element being stored in the storage unit and reused Detecting means for detecting
    A determination unit that determines an image processing unit that performs the image processing on the specific part of the plurality of image processing units based on the specific element detected by the detection unit;
    With
    The detection means further detects another specific element included in the specific portion,
    The determination unit, when conditions are satisfied where the other specific elements detected by said detecting means is predetermined, on the basis of the other specific elements detected by said detecting means, for said particular portion An image processing control apparatus for determining an image processing means for performing the image processing.
  5. Obtaining means for obtaining target information to be subjected to image processing by a plurality of image processing means;
    A specific element included in a specific part of a plurality of parts constituting the target information acquired by the acquisition unit, the result of the image processing for the element being stored in the storage unit and reused Detecting means for detecting
    A determination unit that determines an image processing unit that performs the image processing on the specific part of the plurality of image processing units based on the specific element detected by the detection unit;
    With
    The determination unit is configured to execute the first image processing when the specific image processing unit performs the image processing on the first part including the first element and the second part including the second element. And an element selected according to a predetermined criterion among the second element and the second element are stored in association with the specific image processing means, and the specific element detected by the detection means is the specific image processing An image processing control apparatus that determines the specific image processing means as an image processing means for performing the image processing on the specific portion when stored in association with the means.
  6. The predetermined criterion is a criterion that a larger one of the first element and the second element is selected, or a case where the first element and the second element further include an element. The image processing control apparatus according to claim 5 , further comprising: a criterion for selecting one of the first element and the second element that includes many elements.
  7. The said predetermined reference | standard contains the reference | standard of selecting the longer one which the time required for the said image process among the said 1st element and the said 2nd element is longer, The Claim 5 or 6 characterized by the above-mentioned. Image processing control device.
  8. Obtaining means for obtaining print instruction information for instructing printing of an image;
    A plurality of image processing means for performing image processing on the print instruction information acquired by the acquisition means;
    A specific element included in a specific part of a plurality of parts constituting the print instruction information acquired by the acquisition unit, wherein the result of the image processing for the element is stored in a storage unit and reused Detecting means for detecting the element;
    Determining means for determining image processing means for performing the image processing on the specific portion of the plurality of image processing means based on the specific element detected by the detection means ;
    The determination means determines that the result of the image processing for the specific element is not stored in the storage means when the reuse status of the specific element is equal to or less than a threshold value. Image processing device.
  9. On the computer,
    A function of acquiring target information to be subjected to image processing by a plurality of image processing means;
    A function for detecting a specific element that is included in a specific part of a plurality of parts constituting the acquired target information and that is stored in the storage unit and the result of the image processing on the element is reused When,
    Based on the detected specific element, a function of determining an image processing unit that performs the image processing on the specific part of the plurality of image processing units is realized ,
    The determining function is a program for determining that the result of the image processing for the specific element is not stored in the storage unit when the reuse status of the specific element is equal to or less than a threshold value .
  10. On the computer,
    A function of acquiring target information to be subjected to image processing by a plurality of image processing means;
    A function for detecting a specific element that is included in a specific part of a plurality of parts constituting the acquired target information and that is stored in the storage unit and the result of the image processing on the element is reused When,
    A function for determining an image processing means for performing the image processing on the specific portion of the plurality of image processing means based on the detected specific element;
    Realized
    The detecting function further detects other specific elements included in the specific part,
    The determining function is an image processing for performing the image processing on the specific portion based on the detected other specific element when the detected other specific element satisfies a predetermined condition. A program that determines the means.
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