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Getting good B&W prints on an inkjet

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  • Getting good B&W prints on an inkjet

    B&W prints on my inkjet printers are of very poor quality and I've been looking for a way to imrove them.

    I came across this company, has anyone tried their products?

    They offer a plug-in and also something called a "Quad Cool Multi-black" ink cartridge.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for getting better quality B&W images without spending a bunch more money?


  • #2
    I'd suggest investigating quad-tone and piezography processes. They might be available for your printer. Also, the Digital Silver email group over at is aimed specifically at high-end b/w inkjet printing.
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    • #3
      By "very poor quality" do you mean "slight tinges of color" (like green) or what?

      What's your definition of a bunch of money:
      * Less than $50
      * Less than $100
      * Less than $500

      This will help focus the possible solutions.


      • #4
        Doug: Thanks, I'll follow those up.

        Danny: I don't want to spend any money - but if I have to, $150 would be my limit.

        By poor quality, I mean B&W with a green cast on the print where none is visible on the screen also patches of other colors appearing at odd places. I'm printing on glossy paper, and most of the image is glossy, but there will be patches of dull finish. In some cases the contrast is glaring.

        Maybe I'm just expecting too much. I have an Epson C80 and tried printing the same image to it and got the same result as to dull spots and color cast etc.

        I used to be a seamstress - maybe I should just chuck this computer stuff and go back to it.



        • #5
          This info helps, Margaret.

          I've only read about the method Doug mentioned (highly respected methodology; rave reviews). I believe it's a 'dedicate your printer to BW-only solution, not practical for folks like me who prefer to print either BW or color from one printer or have space and/or $$ constraints.

          If on the other hand you're real serious about getting exceptional BW quality, it would be a technology I'd recommend researching further.

          Here's something that helped me get around the slightly green color cast...

          Before you print a grayscale image, expecially one that has a considerable amount of shadows and/or midtones, open a Color Balance adjustment layer.

          Click the "shadows" button.

          See the "Magenta / Green" slider?

          Nudge it left to about -10 (= less green, more magenta). Repeat for midtones.

          Your on screen image image will look like it's tinted very dark blue; in print the green will be gone, or at least considerably better. It may take a little experimenting to find the right adjustment for your prints / printer, but I'd say it's worth a try.

          As I understand it printers do the best they can mixing the CMYK inks to generate shades of gray; "true black" can't be generated.

          Don't know what to tell you on the random other colors showing up or the dull spots, but maybe this will buy you some time or help you in the decision making progress.



          • #6
            Thanks again Danny. I'm not in a position to dedicate a printer to B&W, so I'm trying to make the printer do both.

            I like your suggestion of the color balance adjustment layer. I tried adding different color fill layers in overlay blending mode and printing until I came up with a reasonable print - the on-screen image looked really wierd though. I ended up with a number of color fill layers - your suggestion of the color balance layer will be less awkward.

            It's comforting to know that others have had to find solutions to this problem too - I thought it was just me and that I was doing something wrong.

            I've been thinking about the other color blotchy problem and I realize that it's been awhile since that has happened. I changed ink cartridges recently and I wonder if that was the problem. I might have had a bad cartridge.

            Anyway, thanks again. I will experiment and see if I can come up with an adjustment layer that will give me better prints.

            Last edited by winwintoo; 09-09-2002, 02:23 PM.


            • #7

              What kind of inkjet printer are you using? Is the green cast just as obvious under tungsten lighting as in daylight?

              One of the problems with pigment based inks is metamerism (see the link for a description and advice for fixing it on an Epson 2000P). One of the most cited complaints is that dark areas have a green cast under certain lighting conditions.

              It is also possible that your printer profile is not neutral. I don't think any inkjet uses only black ink to produce the lighter grays. If the balance of CMY is off you get a color cast. I have seen this in step wedges I print, where some steps have a definite magenta or green cast.

              I have ColorVision ProfilePLUS, so I can build my own profiles to fix this. You can buy professional profiles (which are better than the ones fro ProfilePLUS) too for about $50.00 if this turns out to be your problem. Each paper/ink combination is different and can require a different profile.

              I'm not sure about the dull areas. Could this be over-inking? That would be an indication that the paper choice in the printer driver, and the actual paper are not a good match.



              • #8
                Somewhat along the same lines, only in color...I use an Epson 820 Photo printer. Everything looks good on the screen ( ADOBE GAMA ), but when I print, I consistently get skin tones too red. I am a NEWBIE and ADMIT IT! This site has been a great help!!! Any suggestions on what to do? Thanks!! Gregory


                • #9
                  (A bit OT, you should maybe have started a new thread. )

                  What I do, (and I know DJ does as well), is to print several small pics on an A4 sheet and tweak the color slider settings in the printer driver. To create the small images, create a new blank A4 sheet at 3-4 times the res of your image, flatten the image, select all and drag it on to the new blank sheet. At 3x the res of your image, you should be able to fit 3 little pics in a line on the A4. With each test print, you just move the little pic to a new position.

                  Unfortunately, I don't have an Epson printer on this PC, so I can't talk you down the printer driver settings tree, but what comes to mind is go for custom settings, and try the various options until you come to the color sliders. To decrease the red, back off the magenta a tad (I had one this weekend where I had to decrease the magenta by 5).


                  • #10
                    I have just experience the same problems with my printer as winwintoo, and have a green cast on the image. Its happening with my epson 750 photo and my HP 960. I also tried to just print black with both printers but it came out at a substandard quality.

                    I am going to try Danny's colour correction tips and see the magic... Thanks for this tip.

                    Danny you also mantioned dedicating your printer to purely printing black and white. As my HP does a fine job at printing colour, I am interested in how to dedicate the Epson. Do you have any more info on this. I would be very interested as I have not heard of this before.



                    • #11
                      Clare, check out InkJetArt. They replace the color catridge in a photo printer with one containing 5 shades of grey. (sorry I can't point you to the exact page where they discuss it)


                      • #12
                        Chears Big Al ... I am going there now.
                        I have noticed that because I am using XP!!! that my drivers were not correct. ( I have not used my epson on this system yet -I've been printing loads of colour and I use the HP!).
                        Epson also have a plug in on there site for colour matching (Called PRINT image Matching). I've down loaded it but have not tried it out. If anyones interested I will post my findings with it after a bit of experimentation.

                        Thanks again for the pointers


                        • #13
                          Here's a newsletter which discusses the subject.


                          • #14
                            I've just tried Danny's tip and have a usable print. The graduation has come out slightly sepia, but the warmth adds to the atmosphere of the image. Thanks Danny.

                            I'm still going to look into turning into a dedicated b+w printer but at least now I've got more time to read up on it - there seem to be quite a few systems out there but not all support the 750. Thanks Big Al for your links they are very interesting and informative. I would like to find a English site that sell the bulk continuous ink system .... more web searching!

                            Thanks again for the input


                            • #15
                              Clare, if you're using the Epson for your B/W prints you can try fiddling with the color sliders in the printer driver itself as I mentioned a few posts back on this thread. This is the way to go if your image colors look good on the screen.

                              Unfortunately, I don't think HP drivers allow the same degree of control as Epson.
                              Last edited by BigAl; 10-07-2002, 06:25 AM.


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