Realized after writing that last bit that many readers may not know what a RIP is. Raster image processor. Here's wikipedia's helpful description of the stages of RIP:
"Stages of RIP
1. Interpretation: This is the stage where any PDL (Page description language) which get feed in RIP is being understand by it i.e., RIP cannot understand commands written in PS (a PDL). Interpreter helps him to understand all the information written in PDL.
2. Rendering: A process through which interpreted PDL is turned into a continuous tone bitmap.
3. Screening: In order to print, Bitmap which is in continuous tone state is converted in halftone (Patter of dots). Amplitude Modification or AM screening (Dot size varies based on Object density/tonal values. Dots are placed in a fixed grid.) and stochastic or Frequency Modulation or FM screening (Dot size remain same and they are placed in random order to create dark or lighter area of object/Image. Dot placement is precisely controlled by sophisticated mathematical algorithms) are two screening methods/types."