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Thread: Editing a printer profile - looking for more satured black on Canson Rag Photo..

  1. #1
    bziubek
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    Editing a printer profile - looking for more satured black on Canson Rag Photo..

    For some time I've been printing on Canson Rag Photographique paper and have been very happy with the generic profile. However now I've got some black&white photos and they just don't look good enough. On the generic profile dark black seem to have green cast and greys look a bit red. So I've created a custom profile with a profile maker. And well... it is better but I think epson 9900 can do better than that on this paper. Color cast on greys is gone but I the black... still seem a bit undersatured. Basically my question boils down to - how can I move black point inside ICC profile and will it help (at least in theory:)
    There was a very good article on LuminousLandscape about increasing color density in the driver and than creating a profile but first I would like to see if I can do better without changing paper settings.

  2. #2
    Donor Cornbread is on a distinguished road
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    For color profiles that come 'close', I have achieved good results by simply increasing contrast in the rip software. Not a precision solution, but clients have been pleased with outputs this way.

  3. #3
    aaron125
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    Quote Originally Posted by bziubek View Post
    For some time I've been printing on Canson Rag Photographique paper and have been very happy with the generic profile. However now I've got some black&white photos and they just don't look good enough. On the generic profile dark black seem to have green cast and greys look a bit red. So I've created a custom profile with a profile maker. And well... it is better but I think epson 9900 can do better than that on this paper. Color cast on greys is gone but I the black... still seem a bit undersatured. Basically my question boils down to - how can I move black point inside ICC profile and will it help (at least in theory:)
    There was a very good article on LuminousLandscape about increasing color density in the driver and than creating a profile but first I would like to see if I can do better without changing paper settings.
    There are a number of things going wrong here, I'll try to address them all, in no specific order.

    Firstly, you've spent how many thousands of $$$, $5,000 maybe $6,000 on an Epson 9900, only to almost completely waste the amazing performance of said printer by using canned, generic profiles? WHY??? At the very least, one would think that with a printer like the 9900, a custom profile created by a third party/web service would be the least one could do to get a half-decent print.

    Anyway, I'll get off my soap-box and off my high-horse and try to help you out with your problems. ;-)

    Regarding your main query, the very simple answer is no, it will not help at all and more than likely will end up damaging the profile or the printed output will be no improvement from before any profile editing had taken place. Profile editing is one of the most highly misunderstood areas of colour management and also one of the most difficult to learn and try to get to grips with. In fact, in 99% of circumstances, editing is most definitely NOT the recommended method or even worth trying.

    There is just one way in which the black density (dMax) in printed output can be increased and that is by laying down more ink on the page or else, through some very sofisticated trickery some RIPs can do.

    It is extremely simple to obtain a better black and higher dMax and that is exactly what you mention, changing the driver setting to add more ink density - I usually start with +7% and then try +10% or +12% and see how this improves or worsens things.

    Finally, your photos are B&W - why on earth are you even wasting your time with any of this rubbish when the Epson Pro printers and 9900 specifically have THE BEST black and white driver output of any printer on the market. By simply using the Advanced B&W section of the driver, you will automatically have ZERO colour casts, ZERO problems with greyscale, the MAX black density and dMax possible for that paper and essentially, everything will come out looking a million $$$. It really is that simple. It's best to use some type of Epson paper which is listed in the driver but if you choose your media type in the driver carefully, trying to match whatever paper you're printing on, a very good, neutral print can be created, even with non-Epson papers.

    I hope that gives you something to work with and by all means, please ask if there's anything I can help you with further. Good luck.

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    PRC Member lessbones is on a distinguished road
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    I agree with the previous poster-- use the epson Advanced B&W mode in the driver--

    google search for the QuadToneRIP and use the profiling charts they have to create a B&W output profile. Ive hit my head against the wall for a couple years now trying to get neutral B&W out of a 9900, but this is really the best way i've come up with. With the 11880 on the other hand, you can get a really nice neutral b&w using just the black inks, but the 9900 needs a little help from introducing other colors in there to remove the green/magenta casts-- the inks are simply not linear (the matte black especially is SUPER red tinted by itself) so save yourself some of the trouble of linearizing them and just use quadtone with the advanced b&w driver-- they even include a nice tutorial for how to generate a profile in the package

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  7. #5
    aaron125
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    I'm a bit surprised by your comments regarding B&W print neutrality lessbones. The x900 and x880 printers both use the same black inks, those being the UltraChrome K3 (x900 printers might call their entire inkset UltraChrome HDR but that's only referring to the extended gamut from the extra orange and green inks compared to the rest of the inks in use, which are apparently identical to the K3 Vivid Magenta inks).

    I've spoken with and read about 7900/9900 users who are absolutely loving the B&W output and there was never any real problems with the B&W output from K3 Vivid printers, so not really sure why you'd be having the problems you mention. But I've never heard of anyone getting neutral B&W output from an x880 printer using just the blakc inks. It should not even be possible because the black inks themselves are not at all neutral, so how a print using them alone can appear or measure neutral is difficult for me to understand. I have a 3880, of course, using the same inks and it is definitely not neutral when using black inks only.

    It has long been known that the Epson UltraChrome black inks are not black at all, they're actually dark browny red inks. But no-one ever said that one should expect the black inks to be absolutely, perfectly neutral and certainly Epson has never made that claim. Even when using the Advanced B&W neutral print mode, if you get a magnifying glass you can see that all inks are being used to create the print.

    Regarding linearity, the K3 inks really are very linear - I think you meant to say they're not neutral because whether the black ink comes out red or purple or green or whatever, this has nothing at all to do with linearity. Linearity is not concerned with colour at all, it's just referring to the fact that a 10% swatch will be half the density of a 20% swatch and so on. If there are colours contaminating the base ink, that doesn't affect linearity.

    I'm very curious, what papers are you using to make your prints where you have the problems with the non-neutral B&W output? Have you tried using an Epson paper which is listed in the printer driver and seeing if you can then create a neutral print?

    Also, how are you determining if the print is actually neutral or not? By eye or are you measuring with a spectro? I'm asking because a print can appear to be just about perfectly neutral, even though the measurements might tell you otherwise. But this is caused by a number of factors, including the paper used, the difference between human perception and a spectro's measurements, etc.

  8. #6
    PRC Member lessbones is on a distinguished road
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    The inks in the 11880 and the way it mixes them internally are NOT the same as the other x880 series printers (it's very difficult to find information on this, but i have read it from multiple sources on luminous landscape) and in my personal experience using a 4800, 3880, 4880, 9900, nothing compares to the neutral tone of the 11880 black inks. I know it sounds impossible or crazy, but there is some relationship between this and the reason for why EFI decided that it was too difficult to produce a halftone driver for the 11880 when they have one for all of the other x880 series printers. Yes they are supposed to use the same black inks, but as evidenced by the fact that the 11880 doesn't share inks with any other printers in it's series, its just a different beast even though they call the inks K3 w VM....

    speaking of which, although slightly off topic, when my company first bought a 9900 we initially used the sample ink carts that came with the printer, and i did all the profiling and setup with efi, at which point we ran low on one single cart (light black i think) and putting in a new one from the store COMPLETELY ruined all my calibrations. The ink samples were from japan, and unless this was due to some extreme heat shifts in transit of the printer box, there has to be something going on here that epson is not completely willing to explain.

    I wasn't able to get the printer to be stable and neutral until all of the sample inks had been completely flushed with new 700ml carts.

    one more thing--


    its using efi that i am able to use ONLY the black ink in the 11880 (contone driver, with CMY channels all turned to 0) and the prints that we get from this workflow are fantastic and more neutral than anything i've seen before. Using the same technique on the 9900 or even the 4880 yield notably inferior results... so go figure (ive been trying to figure this out for the better part of a year and a half...)

    after doing an absurd amount of tests there was no other conclusion I could come to until i read somewhere that the inks used in the 11880 were indeed slightly different than the others in the same series...

    ok one more thing still--

    the only reason I can possibly think of that would enable the 11880 to be neutral where the others aren't is if there is some kind of internal mixing going on btwn the much REDDER matte black and the greener tinted photo black-- since there is no halftone driver available in EFI for the 11880 i have never been able to actually see the output from the single inks themselves, but rather only from the black channel, as interpreted by the printer itself
    Last edited by super silja; 02-12-2012 at 02:46 PM. Reason: continued posts

  9. #7
    bziubek
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    Thank you all for your responses, especially aaron.

    I would like to give you some more explanation because it's a pretty interesting topic.

    Firstly - we mostly print on canson papers but also on epson and some "economic class" :) For epson we use generic profiles provided by epson, for canson it's 50/50 - when customers wasn't exactly satisfied we made our own profiles. The difference may not be huge but surely visible. For cheap papers we do our own profiles with good results.

    The neutrality of b&w prints was only an issue with matte papers. On gloss/semi-gloss, judging by eye, prints were neutral. Switching to advanced b&w option in the driver solved the problem with matte papers. I have measured 10% black steps on matte paper printed with our profile. On some steps it was neutral, on some not - 1-1,8 deviation rather in magenta/green channel than cyan/yellow. Haven't yet measured it on ABW setting but I'm very curious:) Judging by the eye it looks neutral and blacks are definitely better :)

    There are still three things I would like to try out:
    1) create a profile for ABW settings
    2) see if I can improve d-max by increasing ink density without making the print look darker
    3) checking abw for glossy/semiglossy papers

    I will keep you posted how it turns out:)

    And one more interesting thing about cusom profiles and canson papers.
    Profiles created by Profile Maker have slightly less gamut than those provided by canson but prints look better on custom ones:)
    Last edited by super silja; 02-12-2012 at 02:47 PM. Reason: continued posts

  10. #8
    dfd
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    Monaco profiler

    Quote Originally Posted by bziubek View Post
    for some time i've been printing on canson rag photographique paper and have been very happy with the generic profile. However now i've got some black&white photos and they just don't look good enough. On the generic profile dark black seem to have green cast and greys look a bit red. So i've created a custom profile with a profile maker. And well... It is better but i think epson 9900 can do better than that on this paper. Color cast on greys is g but i the black... Still seem a bit undersatured. Basically my question boils down to - how can i move black point inside icc profile and will it help (at least in theory:)
    there was a very good article on luminouslandscape about increasing color density in the driver and than creating a profile but first i would like to see if i can do better without changing paper settings.

    before some months i have the same problem and i make icc outpout profile with monaco profiler software and spectroscan spectrophotometer. When i build the profile i select gcr 90% and the result is perfect

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