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Input/Output/Workflow Scanning, printing, color management, and discussing best practices for control and repeatability

Good B/W prints on Epson 870?

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  #1  
Old 12-21-2001, 09:19 PM
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kaulike kaulike is offline
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Good B/W prints on Epson 870?

As with a previous poster, I'm having trouble printing good black-and-white, though it could easily be my *(&)$& horrid retouch job from a *(&)#&# terrible scan that's the problem.

I'm using an Epson 370, Heavyweight Matte paper, standard Epson ink. Trying glossy paper (ColorLife) tonight, but the paper isn't the problem, the photo just looks like it is printing fairly low-res, even at 720dpi.

I'm using the "correct" ICC and have tried using both color and black-only. Anyone have other tips?

thanks
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Old 12-21-2001, 10:45 PM
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DJ Dubovsky DJ Dubovsky is offline
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I don't have that model Epson but I would think that it should print pretty evenly at that dpi and even lower. Has it always printed B&Ws that way? I know the archival inks are supposed to print B&Ws badly although I don't think they do so bad. But the normal inks should print B&Ws pretty good. Have you run a test to see if your print heads are clean? I know I started printing bad and found out my black ink head was not printing correctly so I did a clean and all is back to normal.
DJ
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Old 12-21-2001, 11:28 PM
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Try running fairly heavy unsharp masking and then make a print. Ideally, USM will be tuned for the final output device. Prints aimed at inkjets will look oversharpened on the screen (which is why you print from a copy, so you can save the unsharpened version).

I've also found B/W printing works better when the printer is left in color mode.
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Old 12-21-2001, 11:29 PM
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I just bought the printer and am still experimenting...

actually, seconds ago I figured out one thing. If you set "custom" for the printer's mode you can change all sorts of things, from color management to whether or not it uses colored ink. It's a very versatile printer driver with many settings. One of those for color management enables you set (drum roll please).... gamma. It is set to 1.8 by default. I am lucky enough to have my color management all set already, so what I see onscreen matches what I print, but I reset things to use a new paper, and ended up using the default gamma of 1.8, when it was already balanced. That combined with using only black ink led to very grainy prints. I changed to "no color mgmt" and using color inks again, and voila, a photo-quality print!

(Or at least, that's as good as it gets with my current retouching skills!)
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Old 12-22-2001, 09:51 AM
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Wait till you see what it can do at 1440 dpi.

I don't print much in B&W but while your in the customizing area I believe it also defaults to high speed halftoning. You may want to change that setting to high quality halftoning.
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Old 12-22-2001, 12:01 PM
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I set my B&W images to RGB mode. Then in Prints Options I select show more options, color management. I then select the document in Source space ( I am using Adobe RGB 1998). In the print space, I select the Epson Stylus Pro 1270 profile, (in your setup you should have same profile except for 870) and set the intent to perceuptal. Then in the page set up I select the properties tab, set the media type to the paper I am going to be using (usually heavyweight matte), set ink to color, click custom and under advance I set print quality to 1440, check ICM, uncheck high speed and select High Quality Halftoning. On the 1270, get great photos. Using Black ink only or printing in Grayscale mode does not give me the images I am lookig for.

George
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Old 12-22-2001, 04:06 PM
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Thanks for all the replies!

George, you might be using Photoshop. PSP doesn't give me too many more options than the driver itself---I can't find anywhere to tell it what kidn of printer I'm using, but it knows. I might try telling it to do some ICM.

PSP color management enables some profiling, and I can grow my own CMYK conversion if I'm a total geek, but I'm not (yet!).

When you set B/W images to RGB mode, do you mean that you set the printer driver to print 8-bit images as color, or that your B/W images are 24-bit? My sorry excuse for a computer thrashes heavily on large 24-bit files (50MB or larger).

Good general question, do you work on greyscale images as grey or as color? I could drag more resolution out of the same file by downgrading to 8-bit before doing things like moire removal.

(I tried that on a 50MB file with 2 layers last night, and it took 13 minutes just to get the preview image! I'd call that thrashing.)

The image on which I am working is from 1909, kept in a scrapbook. Very grainy and faded. What I'm getting may simply be the best my current skill set and software can accomplish. In that case, no print settings will help.

Another general question, do b/w prints show up better on glossy paper? I have been using heavyweight matte but I am wondering if the texture of the paper makes the result seem even more grainy. I am loath to burn expensive colorlife paper on an experiment, but it might be worth it if the quality is even slightly better.
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Old 12-22-2001, 09:36 PM
George George is offline
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Kaulike

Yes I am using Photoshop 6.01, not familiar with PSP. I would think, but not sure, that your printer setup for Epson would be the same. Not sure how you select the source space and the printer space in PSP.

I make most of the corrections to my B&W photos in 8 bit grayscale. I change the mode to 24 bit RGB just for printing.

I use heavyweight matte paper for almost all of my prints. I find that the heavyweight matte paper ( a lot cheaper than the colorlife paper) gives me a richer color or tones than the glossy paper does. I found out by trial and error that if I change the grayscale to RGB to print, and print using the color ink I get a much better image.

Just for information. I wanted to evaluate the work of a professional digital lab. I sent them a 39 Megbyte image file and had 2 20 x 30 prints made of the same image. One on glossy paper and one on matte paper. Framed both images the same way, and had various individualls (artist, professional photographers, and others) view both prints, they all picked the image printed on the matte paper as the better one.

Wish I was familiar with PSP to help you set it up similiar to what you can do in PS, I am sure another forum member who uses PSP can help you in that regards.

George
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Old 12-23-2001, 12:07 AM
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Thanks again for the reply. PSP doesn't really have a "print space" as I understand it, or at least nothing called that.

Thanks also for the notes on matte paper, you are definitely right about it being less expensive! And color looks fantastic on it. I am continually amazed at the results I'm getting from a printer on which I spent $94.

I really think my current woes are due to a grainy photo rather than a printing problem. It's a very "dirty" picture, requires a lot of handholding, and I'm on edition #4 now, each one is a learning process. Hopefully I'll get it sorted out and printed well by xmas!
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