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Thursday, September 30, 2004

Hey, guess what.  I finally got the ImagePrint Demo to recognize my printer.  It was a stupid thing, it didn't want USB001 in the setup, it wanted Epson Stylus 2200.  And you know what, I just printed a completely neutral b&w print on the Hahnemuhle PhotoRag paper (under Tungsten light).

There are different profiles for different lighting sources.  It is a little too dark outside to get any idea of what it will look like under daylight.  Probably a bit greenish. 

I also installed the QuadRIP software but couldn't get it to work.  It wanted me to install the Microsoft Network Loopback adapter, which I did - but I don't think this is really ready for prime time on the PC and there are only a couple of profiles at this point for the 2200 under windows.

But the ImagePrint seems very promising.  Tons of profiles for every type of paper.  More later...

- - -


Yes.  Phew.  Very exciting.  Several neutral b&w prints.  No artifacts or any problems under tungsten light.  Oh, and they look good as well.  I want to do some more testing - just for the hell of it on gloss or semi-gloss paper with the photo black cartridge.  This is way better (for me) then what I went through with the MIS inks.  They also have profiles that enable a tinting option for the b&w.  Haven't fooled with that yet.  Really curious to see what they look like in daylight tomorrow.

Well, that's all for today.  Enjoy the joint press conference.

- - -

NOTE: I took my two b&w prints to the window, where there is a lot of reflected shade, bluish light.  The two prints look even better.  In fact, they remind me in terms of blacks and contrast of the difference between looking at a darkroom print in different light.  My room is very tungsten.  There is a floor standing lamp with a yellow shade.  A couple of other lamps, and very little daylight filtering in from the one window.  I would often take my darkroom print into the bathroom where there are very white walls and they always looked better than in my room.  I had the same experience with the two ImagePrint b&w prints.  The paper simply looks whiter in the window light, and the blacks look richer.

As a side note - not to be ignored - what I see on the monitor is damned close to the final print.  I haven't tried any color prints yet.  And I haven't tried anything on semi-gloss with the photo black ink yet.  There are a bunch of settings between Photoshop and ImagePrint that need to be set correctly, and of course you need to, at the very least use something to calibrate your monitor (I did it with the Adobe Gamma gizmo, which isn't the best way).  I suspect that if I sprang for some real calibrating software / hardware this would all be dead on.

- - -

Just ordered IMAGEPrint Lite.  Will have it on Monday.

NOTE: PREMIUM LUSTER PHOTO PAPER 10/1/04

I swapped in the Photo Black cartridge and did a few black and white prints on the Epson Prem. Luster Paper with ImagePrint.  These are by far, the best b&w prints I've ever gotten out of an inkjet.  Really a nice cold tone.  Yes, there is bronzing - let me see how bad it is when the thing is dry.  But I tell you, at this point, the quality is so good that they are worth the effort of spraying with ImageGuard or something along those lines.  And basically, I'm talking first time out of the box.  Look at the thing on the screen, soft-proof it, bring it into the the RIP and let it RIP.  I am getting a warning message in the RIP about some tag not being understood and being ignored - will have to find out what that is about, but it doesn't seem to be effecting the output.

Yes, there is a slight color shift - very slight moving from Tungsten to Daylight - but I'm not sure you would see it unless you were looking for it.  I'm also thinking that there are compromise profiles, maybe halfway between tungsten and daylight.  Also, I haven't used the gray profiles yet which allow you to warm or cool the print.  So far, so good.

6:19:55 PM    

Time to give my cousin Ray Beckerman's new blog a mention. 

Fairness By Beckerman

Warning: It is a cogent critique of President Bush. Read at your own peril.

 

12:52:07 PM    

After being up most of the night futzing with papers and profiles - I'm getting excellent results with the Hahnemuhle Photorag 308 gm2 paper.  This is, of course, matte paper.  I did a couple of tests with the Epson Prem. Lustre - ugh.

I had decided, that I would not go through the heartache of trying to use the 2200 for glossy stuff.  I've just seen too many problems with that.

And, of course, so far, I'm just talking color.  I haven't tried b&w yet. 

This is without the ImagePrint RIP demo which so far doesn't want to see the 2200.

I am not convinced yet that I need a RIP as opposed to custom profiling software / hardware (when I get to the b&w).

We'll see.  There are definite improvements, mechanically between the 2200 and previous Epson's I've had (1160, 1280).  One is that they seem to recognize that the printer needs to be cleaned once in a while and they give you a tongue depressor thing and some cleaning sheets and even have instructions for cleaning excess ink off the rollers. Wow.  What a concept.  Do you know how much time I spent cleaning, or trying to clean the 1280 rollers?

Another brilliant innovation: you don't need to move the print head in order to change the inks.  Where they are parked is where you change them.  Wow.  As far as handling thick paper - so far so good. 

My printing workflow is straight forward, so far: I'm using a paper profile in the print source of PS; and have color management turned off and ICM turned on in the printer driver. 

Color shift between daylight and tungsten is very slight on this paper.  At least with the two color prints I've managed to do.  And of course, on matte, you don't need to deal with bronzing.

I knew going into this that I wasn't going to try much with glossy or semi-gloss paper.  In fact, I bought extra matte black ink right from the get-go. 

So far (day two) - so good.

- - -

A quick shot at b&w.  Definitely a magenta cast (not horrible though) under tungsten light.  In daylight, the print is perfectly neutral and cool.  Again, I'm new to the RIP thing, but I'm not convinced that a RIP will solve this.  What they do have, is profiles calibrated for different lighting sources.  In other words, if you know the print is going to be seen indoors, use that profile.  Daylight - use that profile.  And I suppose it is possible to achieve some happy value in the middle where the shift is less noticable in either light source.   

 

11:34:13 AM