Color Controlled Black and White

PrintFIX PRO 2.0, the hardware/software profiling bundle from ColorVision, has added some features that bring monochrome output squarely into a color-managed workflow. As in its previous version, PrintFIX PRO 2.0 can be used to generate color profiles by measuring patches from a supplied color target. What sets this package apart, however, is the ability to print an Extended Grays target, like the one shown in Figure 3.45. Measuring this target with the bundled spectrophotometer characterizes the hue of a printer's multiple black dilutions. You can then bundle this data into a new profile that describes the amount of color pigment necessary to achieve

Figure 3.45 In PrintFIX PRO, you can characterize precise black-and-white printer behavior by printing and then measuring patches from the Extended Grays target.

a neutral black-and-white print with smooth gradations of density throughout its tonal range (see Figure 3.46).

ColorVision's use of the Extended Grays target addresses some major needs of black-and-white photographers. A comparison of the gray inks provided by Canon, Epson, and HP will show that they all differ in hue. It is also well documented that the choice of paper can influence the color of monochrome inks as well. You may love the tone that HP's Vivera inks produce on one paper but find that another paper yields a slight warmer or cooler tone. PrintFIX PRO uses the measurement data from its Extended Grays target to determine the amount of color pigment necessary to bring the printed color of the gray inks as close as possible to 0 values for both

Figure 3.46 By selecting the Use Extended Grays From option, you can incorporate the measurements from an Extended Grays target with the standard color target measurements when building a new profile.

the a and b Lab axes. A Lab value where a=0 and b=0 is the objective definition of a neutral color.

But what if you don't want a dead neutral tone? Perhaps you'd like a warmer, cooler, or even split-toned interpretation of the image. PrintFIX PRO 2.0 leverages the gamut of the OEM color ink sets to dial in tints and split tones right inside the profile. I'll take a detailed look at this in Chapter 6. But the idea is that by creating profiles specific to not only paper and ink but also tint, you can print a single grayscale image file in any number of hues without reworking the actual file. You can even import Photoshop RGB curve settings into the profile for a level of toning precision beyond that available in most OEM printer drivers.

Digital Black-and-White Pioneers

Concluding this chapter are exclusive interviews with three individuals who have developed tools specifically for fine art monochrome printing. Although they bring different backgrounds, experiences, and resources to their work, they each share a passion for both the craft of black-and-white photography and the tech-nology that continues to move it forward. Their inventiveness and commitment are reflected in the vibrant community of end users that has nurtured black-and-white digital photography from the beginning.

Jon Cone

Jon Cone is a master print maker and creator of Cone Editions, a collaborative printmaking studio that has been involved with digital printing for more than two decades. He is also the founder of Inkjet Mall, whose Piezography system made high quality black-and-white printing possible with Epson desktop printers.

© Download an mp3 audio file of this entire interview by visiting the book's companion Web site at www. mas teringdigitalbwbook. com.

Amadou Diallo: Talk a little bit about Piezography's evolution from a quad tone or four-ink printing solution to your current ink set, which uses seven dilutions of black.

Jon Cone: I actually introduced photographers to quad black printing about five years prior to the Piezography system, with a solution that used IRIS printers.

AD: Was this DigitalPlatinum?

JC: That was DigitalPlatinum, and I debuted it publicly at the PhotoPlus Expo in 1998. That's how I met George DeWolfe and John Custodio. These two photographers introduced me to the idea of developing a monochrome setup for the Epson printers.

I had been printing quad black prints for photographers, and what we were really trying to do was imitate large-scale platinum printing because those materials really had gone into extinction. The sole maker of large-scale platinum paper had stopped its production, and so DigitalPlatinum was for me a way to preserve photography. It is probably still my most amazing system to date. It had a very unusual toning, and the printer itself had 31 different variable size ink drops.

Essentially, what quad black infers is there are four dilutions of black ink, and there was a similarity between the IRIS printer and the Epson Stylus Color 3000. Both had four print heads. What the Piezography system did was introduce quad black printing to a much wider audience because the Epson was many times cheaper than an IRIS printer.

I began selling Piezography in 2000. Eventually, we came out with a support for an Epson 1160, another four-ink printer, and then when we came out with support for the six-ink photo printers, like the 1200...an incredibly unruly printer. What we did with the six-ink printers was take those quad inks and double them up. You have a black, a dark, a medium, and a light. We doubled up the dark, doubled up the medium, and put these duplicated tones in the photo cyan and photo magenta positions. So we had six-ink printers, but they were still running a quad black system.

So the next step was 2003 when I introduced PiezographyBW ICC. By this time, I had a whole new generation of ink. We still had four inks: black, dark, medium, and light, but what we ended up doing in the photo positions was using lighter dilutions in combination with the existing inks. We ran a medium dilution along with the dark ink, and a light dilution with the medium ink. Print quality was just amazingly increased.

2004 was the first time I really saw the seven-ink systems that other people were developing. I had won the PMA Best in Black-and-White award for Piezography BW ICC that year. And when I put a print that we produced with a six-ink printer right next to a septone print done on a seven-ink printer like the 2200, I could see visually that we had a much higher fidelity. While the septone systems and the toning systems were using seven-ink printers, they were not using seven dilutions. They were using a warm set and a cool set. You had a warm toned light, medium and dark, and a cool toned light, medium and dark, plus a black. You dialed in warm or dialed in cool, but you never used all seven dilutions at once. They did not divide the grayscale image up into seven parts, or partitions. What I did differently I think was to look at a seven-ink printer as a potential for creating a higher standard.

So if I was going to come up with a variable toning system— which was important to photographers—I was going to see how much further I could raise the bar. And using seven dilutions is visually superior to four. It is even superior to a six-ink dilution. You can use such weak dilutions for the highlights, and the crossovers are not present. So for the Epson 2200, I decided to do two things. Make seven dilutions for the highest standard possible, and then make an ink that was achromatic, meaning neutral, to the human eye, without color. So that when we printed it on paper, the tone of the paper—just like in a traditional silver darkroom—would impart the final color to the print.

AD: These innovations seem driven by taking the output process to the ultimate level ofphotographic fidelity.

JC: Absolutely. I mean I have always specialized in choosing the smaller market rather than going for the money market. It's about whatever I can do to increase fidelity. Now we are starting to do split tones—splitting between, say, sepia and selenium or neutral and sepia. It looks more photographic than ever.

AD: You are steeped in the traditions of printmaking, and it seems that that's really shaped your approach to digital printing. It seems as if that perspective made you open to a lot more possibilities.

JC: I started out at the School of Photography at Ohio University. About halfway through, I switched over to print-making. What I discovered when I started working with the IRIS printers and drum scanners was a perfect blending of photography and printmaking. You're doing both of them at the same time.

Another thing that really drove me to digital was that I was trained by the first Fellow Printer of The Tamarind. His name was Donald Robertson. The Tamarind had some strict ideas about what collaboration should be. I think Ken Tyler said it best. "As a collaborator, as a master printer, you are handmaiden to the act." We were taught that we really shouldn't interfere with the artist; we shouldn't make their mark. But with Cone Editions, which was founded as a collaborative printmaking studio, I found that in order to approach a major artist, spark their imagination, and make them want to work with me, I had to invent tools specifically for them. I invented some oils and pastels. I did all kinds of etching techniques, hybrid photogravures for various people. And sometimes that mark making required a lot of participation from me, and that began to become a conflict. What I loved about the digital realm was that it was completely virtual. The artist didn't touch the pixels. I didn't touch the pixels. The thing I was always fighting against—how much a master printer should be involved—didn't matter with digital. The physical matrix didn't exist. Everything is in software code until you have an actual print.

AD: Should the ultimate goal of digital printmaking, and in particular inkjet printing, be to replace what we've been able to do in the darkroom or instead create a distinctly unique medium?

JC: Well, I speak for myself I have two responsibilities. One is to preserve the traditional values of photography, When I first started doing monochrome, I knew then and there that my goal would be to try and preserve the values that I love about photography. Because if I didn't do something like this, the scientists would do it. And you end up with Epson engineers and Canon engineers, and they're not really photographers. And then the tools that photographers eventually inherit...well, they may not be the most photographic.

So I want to preserve the ideals of photography, but at the same time, the tools that we developed surpass what traditional photography could do—just in terms of tonal range and how perfectly linear our systems can be. They react more like the human eye than they do like silver. So where it goes from here it's hard to say, because who's going to be in control of creating the tools?

AD: As photographers, we have always been an obsessive bunch about virtually every aspect of the craft. Now, with digital, it has really taken the obsession with equipment to an even greater level. Do you feel it's too easy with all of the technology advancements today to overemphasize technique and what the tools can do at the expense of one's own creative vision? Do you feel photographers should be looking at dither patterns with a lOx loupe in determining, "Oh, this is a good quality print, or it's a poor quality print?"

JC: I would caution a digital photographer today in terms of technology. You could hold up as an example the traditional photographer when he went to see a curator for the first time. When he went into the gallery, he didn't talk about the technique. He didn't talk about the lens or shutter settings, but about the light, the moment, the content. I mean, content is everything when it gets down to it. None of that can ever bore the viewer, the dealer, or the curator. I can tell you that no one really ever wants to hear about pixels! So I would caution digital photographers not to talk about technique and really to concentrate on the content.

I suppose, what the loupe would tell a photographer is whether this medium is good enough for him to be very expressive on. Then the loupe gets put away.

AD: In the fine art world, how have you seen the acceptance of digital prints evolve?

JC: I'll talk a little bit about what I'm doing now for Gregory Colbert.

AD: He's done the big Ashes and Snow exhibit that has gotten a lot of attention. It came here, through New York.

JC: Yes, the next stop is Tokyo. He's an amazing photographer. He's using both paper and projection and doing some amazing experimental photographic printmaking. First, I would say that artists have to really accept the medium. With Gregory, you have someone who has adopted these digital tools—and bravely. The art world can't reject beautiful, visionary artwork; it moves towards it. If one can produce really significant and beautiful fine art and beautiful photography, no matter what the tools are, then the fine art world moves towards it. That's just inevitable.

AD: Today we ve got a wide choice ofprinters, inks, and papers. Canon and HP are now jumping into the printer market. What are some of the areas that you feel have room for significant improvement, specifically with regard to black-and-white printing for the fine art market?

JC: I'm working on those right now. I'm working on a whole new inking system coming out of the intense development I'm doing right now. Probably the biggest thing I would like to see is the creation of a purpose-built platform for black-and-white photographers. That is a purpose-built printer, purpose-built inks, and a purpose-built media. Right now, what we're trying to do is adapt tools. We're taking Epson's printers, and we're adapting inks to them. But Epson has to make compromises because no one in their right mind would build a printer for a specific black-and-white ink market.

I would also like to see less erosion of those federal laws that permit us to put inks into printers.

AD: The third party vs. OEM issue.

JC: That's certainly under attack right now. Under the current administration, there has been some weakening of antitrust laws. I don't want to suddenly see that the only tools photographers have available are those with the stamp that Epson puts on them, or Canon, or HP It's like eliminating all the racing from an automobile manufacturing process. Great advancements come from racing teams around the world. And that's why those manufacturers support those teams. Those inventions get into the process and end up in consumers' hands.

AD: They get to see what works, what doesn't work, and how they can market it. With the K3 ink sets, for example, Epson switched to three dilutions of black.

JC: Exactly. But they still have color ink in their black-and-white prints. And the reality is, no matter what kind of longevity ratings you're going to get out of the system, once you start putting color ink into a monochromatic print, you're going to have uneven fading.

So they're not necessarily making the tools that are going to allow a photographer's work to head towards the future intact with the color and tone that they envision. That was certainly the criteria that I put into my second and third generation of inks, a real stability.

It's interesting what HP has just done and what Canon did before that. I think these two companies have really put out some interesting products recently that are really going to force Epson into rethinking what they've done. They never saw HP coming. HP is making the most amazing hardware ever. So the whole market is getting very, very interesting, and maybe they'll be busy with each other for a while.

My platform of choice right now is these gigantic Roland printers. In the studio in New York, I have a 110-inch printer and a 64-inch printer. I have 12 ink slots. I am partitioning images with sometimes seven and eight partitions across two different inks. I'm creating inks as I want. The Roland is an amazing platform, and the software tools I have to run that printer are amazing. You know, you have StudioPrint yourself

If you can begin to think of monochromatic images not as grayscale or RGB, but think of them as very multilayered images ofinformation...ril take that work I'm beginning to do and put that into the desktop printers.

There are tools out there that we really haven't seen being used for digital printmaking yet. I just want to see what's out there, what the capabilities are. I'm not only a developer; I'm also a printmaker.

Paul Roark

Paul Roark is an accomplished fine art photographer who specializes in black-and-white landscapes. But he is perhaps best known among his peers as architect of the MIS variable tone black-and-white ink sets.

© Download an mp3 audio file of this entire interview by visiting the book's companion Web site at www. mas teringdigitalbwbook. com.

Amadou Diallo: I'd like to begin by asking you if you could talk a little bit about your current printmaking setups.

Paul Roark: My main printer for large prints is the Epson 7500 with a modified black-and-white ink set that I've designed.

On the small end, I am actually a big fan of Epson's entry-level printers like the C88, which I use with the MIS EZ B&-W ink set.

Above the 8x10 size, I have a 2200 and a 2400. The 2200's getting a bit long in the tooth. The 2400 is just an outstanding printer. And in that printer I also have a custom ink set. I'm using a very, very simple modification of what Epson already provides. I simply replace their yellow ink with a light dilution of pure carbon.

I have a lot of printers, but to be perfectly honest, I could live with just one desktop printer and my 7500. MIS and I work together a lot. It's more of a de facto working relationship, nothing formal. I design these inks for MIS, not as a paid consultant. I do it for free, because I want to advance the state of the art. They just happen to have a business model in which they will make whatever people want. And it turned out people like the ink set formulas I came up with, so they end up making them.

It's turned into a mission for me, to be honest. I want to get affordable, top-quality black-and-white out there to everybody, without them having to pay the horrendous ink prices that the big companies charge. And so the support of the C88 and the 2200 that I've mentioned, with these MIS inks, basically gives starving artists, students, and retirees on Social Security a way that they can print black-and-white that is as good as what the most expensive equipment can produce.

AD: One thing that I notice talking to people that are heavily involved in digital black-and-white printing is that there is a real passion there. Because at some level everyone is going beyond what the OEM, out-of-the-box experience will give you—all in pursuit of a higher level of quality.

Could you take us through some of the steps involved in the ink design process? Are you blending the inks, mixing them by hand? How does that actually work?

PR: Well, it's evolved over the years. I was a darkroom guy for several years. I saw digital coming and tried digital interneg-atives, the digital imagesetter, all different sorts of things. Finally, it was Jon Cone's Piezography that convinced me that inkjets really could do the job. I was frankly amazed. But after a couple of months of using his system, I just didn't like the tone of the ink. I needed some way to get a tone that was more pleasing to me. So my first contribution was what I called the Variable Piezo ink set. I published all the formulas on the Yahoo Piezography3000 forum. This got me removed from the forum and incidentally led to the creation of the Digital Black-and-White Print forum.

As far as ink design, I want carbon to be the primary constituent. The question is how does one get a primarily carbon image that nonetheless has the tones that you want across the full tonal range? It's not easy to do. A single mix of ink will print with one tone on a given paper. So I started a variable tone approach, first with the Variable Piezo, and then moved over to MIS, based on cost and fade tests that I did. One channel is typically carbon because I want to maintain the ability of the printer to print a pure carbon image. That is the most durable and light-fast image we know how to make.

AD: So you get the longevity advantages, but the trade-off is you re going to get a warm tone...

PR: Yeah. And in fact, with some of the newer papers like Crane's Museo Silver Rag, pure carbon is so close to a traditional sepia, that I'm dropping support for the sepia tones. At any rate, the basic issue is how do you get a printer that can do carbon and also run cooler to the neutral range and maybe just a little bit beyond the neutral? Some people like actually a bit of a cool image.

The variable tone method is simply a way to have one channel be carbon and the other channel comprised of a mix of inks, such that as you blend them into the carbon channel via software instructions, your tone goes from the carbon to neutral and maybe a bit cooler.

If you start with the premise that you're going to have pure carbon, then you're really looking at what toners will accomplish the goal of neutralizing this warm tone. My toners inevitably end up being a mix of primarily carbon and cyan. Cyan is a very light-fast pigment and better suited, in my view, than magenta, largely because it stays in suspension when mixed with the carbon and can control the color on the paper. AD: Canon and HP have released their own pigment-based photo printers. Could they pose a threat to Epson's dominance?

PR: I'm just delighted to see the competition. I had a previous career in anti-trust law enforcement. So competition is in my blood. I want to promote it whenever possible. We're going to have to see how all that plays out.

AD: / am wondering if we could step back a bit from the technology and if you would mind talking about your own photography. Who were your influences? What do you look for when composing an image?

PR: I look for impact. I look for a macro and a micro sort of pattern. I want to get the attention of the viewer. And the question is, "How do I convey what I see and how I reacted to it to somebody who is not in this environment and does not really have the same context?" I want to grab their attention first. I want to pull them up to the image, and I want there to be enough of what I call the micro pattern, the things of interest in the image, to keep them involved for a long time. In terms of how I actually see things, I must say I think Rembrandt is the master. His use of light and the way he controls the eye is beyond what any photographer has achieved. I just think it is amazing how he has tapped into our mental processes to capture our interest and keep us looking at his images. If I had to pick one person that I found influenced me, it would be Rembrandt—not a photographer.

AD: Do your printing or editing tools inform some of the choices that you make when you are shooting?

PR: They actually do. They have changed some things. The ability to zone focus and combine images on the computer takes us to a different level. Even when you used lens tilt, you were still restricted to that one plane of focus, plus a little depth of field on each side. With zone focus, you can get everything. The ability to combine the dynamic range of multiple exposures... now I can capture from the shadows behind trees to the disk of the sun.

Knowing what I can do post-exposure in Photoshop has certainly influenced what I can capture, which is really cool.

I am now able to have a final image that is closer to what I see on the negative than I was ever able to get in the darkroom. Not to say the darkroom hasn't produced some incredibly good images. The masters show that in spades. But digital for me is closer to what I saw in the field and what I see in the negatives. That is a real advance.

AD: There is always the comparison it seems of inkjet prints to silver gelatin prints. Do you think this is a fair comparison? Should we be looking to replicate previous standards from the wet darkroom, or should we look towards creating a new medium?

PR: I think there's been an evolution of different mediums. I mean, we didn't start out with gelatin. Photography has gone through a series of different technologies. Silver gelatin was what I would call the final culmination of the wet darkroom process, and it set a very high standard. I do think it's fair to compare whatever new technology is challenging the current king. With digital, quite frankly, I think we've now beaten the silver print.

Which is more archival? The digital print is more archival. Acids are attacking the silver print, because of its buffered paper base. The cotton paper that's never seen an acid stop bath or all the chemicals is simply going to outlast the silver print. In terms of fading, carbon may not be quite as good as silver that's been totally toned, but almost nobody ever fully tones a silver print.

In terms of Dmax, we've beaten the silver print with the new glossy papers. Museo Silver Rag can achieve a 2.4 Dmax. You're never going to get that in a silver print. In the wet darkroom, the only way you're going to get a bright, high-contrast highlight is to bleach, and that introduces even more chemical problems. With inkjets, we can push that highlight right up to the paper white. I think the silver print is simply relegated to an alternative process category at this point.

I think the digital papers do still have room for improvement. One of my main criticisms is the durability of the surface. What I see really is that the physical damage to prints from handling is worse than the fading in most situations. The matte papers that we are using are just a disaster in terms of scuffing the blacks. If you take a Hahnemuhle Photo Rag with a hundred percent black or a deep black anywhere and you touch it, it's ruined.

The glossies, you can spray them with a nice spray like Print Shield, and then they'd be able to withstand fingerprints. The technology that's gone into the new glossy papers from Crane, as well as Innova and Hahnemuhle, is a major step forward, not only visually, but also in terms of the durability of the surface.

AD: That's something that doesn 'tget discussed a lot.

PR: No, it doesn't. People are so obsessed with the Dmax, metamerism—which is terrible—and gloss differential, but the physical durability of the print really needs to be focused on.

Roy Harrington

Roy Harrington has managed to combine the skills of a photographer and print maker with those of a software programmer to develop a product called QuadTone RIP. This software, known by its users simply as QTR, features an inexpensive printer driver that produces exhibition quality black-and-white prints on a variety of third-party inks and papers using Epson printers. It also allows for end user calibration and the creation of fully functional grayscale ICC profiles.

© Download an mp3 audio file of this entire interview by visiting the book's companion Web site at www.masteringdigitalbwbook.com.

Amadou Diallo: Id like to begin by asking if you could talk a little bit about the current setup that you use to print your own black-and-white images. What are some of the tools that you've settled on for optimum results?

Roy Harrington: I use Epson printers. That's what QuadTone RIP is based on. My large printer is an Epson 7500. I'm currently running it with some of Piezography's Neutral K7, which is actually only K6 on that printer. The other printer I use primarily for my own work is the Epson 4000. In that printer, I have some MIS inks, and currently I've been doing more with the photo ink papers.

AD: Like the Innova F-type Gloss and the Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl?

RH: I've mostly been using the Crane Museo Silver rag. I like the tone of that, but they're all very similar.

AD: What are some of the factors that you use in choosing between the hardware and ink options you have, other than just image size?

RH: The paper makes a big difference. Photo Rag happens to be the one that I've really liked. It's kind of become the standard. In finding what inks to work with, obviously the black is the biggest issue—what do you get for Dmax? The Piezography inks and the MIS inks and actually the Epson matte black are all very good for blacks.

I think the color of your black-and-white print is probably more important than the color of your color print. You are more sensitive to it. That's probably where I've spent most of my time in everything that I've done with black-and-white printing on the computer—and actually even before that, in the darkroom. What is the tone of the print, and how does that relate to what it feels like? Is it what you want? Is it neutral, is it warm, is it cool in tone? Different images have different needs. I try to get something that feels good for the subject. And when I do a show, I like to have all the prints look similar in tone. So I think the colors of the inks have probably been the most important thing in inkjet printing.

AD: I'm wondering how you would compare the current state of digital printing for black-and-white photographers with what we could produce, say, 4, 5, 6 years ago? What are some of the key changes that you ve seen in terms of advancing print quality?

RH: Print quality is pretty much two things: the inks and the paper. Papers have probably increased most dramatically. They're getting better and better. And they're getting more geared to individual taste. And the ink's gotten better. Back when we were trying to print with just Epson color inks, you only had one black. Things like color casts—all kinds of problems would happen. To have multiple blacks or grays in a printer was a major advance.

AD: Exactly. One thing that I'm very curious about is your role with developing QuadTone RIP Independent software development is quite an undertaking to say the least. What was your motivation for creating QTR, and how did the idea come about?

RH: It came about sort of by accident. I wanted to get into bigger printers, and I bought a 7500 in late 2002. But it was an old printer, and Apple had switched from OS9 to OS X. Well, here I was with a brand new computer that ran the newest operating system. But I had this old printer, and Epson was not going to upgrade their drivers to run on OS X.

I got wind of this open source project that had been going on for several years called Gimp-Print. As I started to use Gimp-Print, I found it had control of all the different inkjets, which seemed quite useful. People were saying, "Boy, I wish we could control these inkjets instead of having to send these RGB files" that mysteriously get converted into CMYK. If you could control these inks individually, you could do a lot. I slowly worked on it, just for my own use at the start. I wasn't doing anything fancy, I just wanted to be able to control the inks and learn how they got laid down on the paper.

The whole concept with black and white is that you have multiple shades of gray, and you use the light parts in the light parts of the picture, and you gradually get into darker grays as you get darker parts of the image.

When I started getting this going, there were a few people that I knew were interested in having that capability. As I got things working, I said, "I'll give you this and see what you can do with it." There were a few people that did a lot of work of actually helping me figure out what was useful. Slowly, I got to the point where the software was easy for others to use.

At this point, I just put it on my Web site and let people download it. It started becoming more and more popular. I found myself doing more tech support. And also, people were asking, "What about this printer, what would it do it for that one?" And I thought, well, the only way to really try it on those printers is to buy those printers. It's at that point that I decided to make it a shareware product. It was a way to get a little bit of money for it. People just had to donate the money for the product. I still do that to this day.

AD: Well, one of the things I've found most interesting about, at least the latest incarnations of QTR, is the fact that, using that spectrophotometer gives black-and-white photographers an opportunity to be full citizens in a color managed workflow. I wondered if you could talk a little about the role color management plays when using Q TR. You ve got the ability to create fully functional ICC profiles, correct?

RH: That's right. All the black-and-white efforts that I knew of back then worked by manual trial and error. You'd tweak the curves, send out step wedges, and say, "I need a little more shadow detail opened up." The whole ICC concept has been around for quite a while, but the black-and-white side had always been neglected.

AD: Sure. It seems that all the approaches that come out have the little asterisks behind them. "This is our proprietary method, and so you have to take what we give you."

RH: That's right. But why not make it so it works as good for black and white as color? Because having part of your workflow be color-managed and some of it—the black-and-white printing—not being color-managed is really weird. Color management is built into all these editing programs. It is built into the operating systems. It deals with black and white, as well as color, internally, but you need to have the profiles to do it.

I figured out what the ICC formats and underlying ideas were and got to the point where color management would basically control the luminance of your prints, so that what you saw in brightness on your screen would be the same as on the print. At least as close as you can get. Obviously, blacks are not the same on the screen as they are on paper.

AD: It seems there is a never-ending debate over how close inkjet prints today are or even should be to darkroom output. Do you think it's important for the new process to mimic the old one? Should we be looking to replicate what we are doing in the darkroom or just forge ahead and say we're looking to create a distinctly unique medium here?

RH: You look at what you did before and say I want the new process to be at least as good. But they are different mediums. This has happened before in photography. When silver gelatin came out, lots of people went to silver printing, but we still have people doing wonderful platinum printing these days, and it's a different look. It's a different feel. Interestingly enough, I think inkjet prints on matte paper look more like platinum than silver gelatin prints.

AD: I'm just curious about what you see happening in the future. What advances would you like to see?

RH: Well, I think most of the stuff is going to be pretty evolutionary, slowly increasing in capability. The Epson printers are slowly getting bigger heads, getting faster, getting more automated in terms of maintaining themselves. We'll probably see more inks, more heads, but the basic technology is the same. I think I can still make a better print with my ancient 1160 than with my 2400, if I put the right inks in the older printer.

The Epson 2400 is, interestingly, quite close to what I do with QTR in terms of not using as much color inks and instead using black inks. The strange thing is that you have two drivers now. One thing they did not do is address color manage ment with black-and-white printing. My QTR-Create-ICC profiling stuff is really independent of my driver part. So you can use it with the Advanced B&-W Photo driver in exactly the same way. Youd make the color ICC profiles with a color profiling product, and youd make the black-and-white profiles with QTR Create ICC. You can do soft proofing, you can print through it. It does all the color management things that youd like to do.

Understanding Adobe Photoshop Features You Will Use

Understanding Adobe Photoshop Features You Will Use

Adobe Photoshop can be a complex tool only because you can do so much with it, however for in this video series, we're going to keep it as simple as possible. In fact, in this video you'll see an overview of the few tools and Adobe Photoshop features we will use. When you see this video, you'll see how you can do so much with so few features, but you'll learn how to use them in depth in the future videos.

Get My Free Video


Post a comment