Special Color Printing Software

There is another option that falls somewhere between the default printer drivers and RIPs, and that is specialized color printing software. (For more about printing software for producing black-and-white prints, see "The Secret World of Digital Black and White.") Following are a few examples:

Qimage

Qimage (from Digital Domain) is a popular viewing and printing software package. Sold direct and only for Windows 95/98/NT/2000/ME/XP operating systems, Linux systems running Wine, and Macs running Virtual PC, it's reasonably priced at $45 (from www.ddisoftware.com/qimage), and it has avid supporters. "Qimage is just the greatest printing software," says artist Linda Jacobs. "I could probably trade Photoshop for some other image editing program, but I'd never be without Qimage."

Qimage calls itself a "printing application" for improving print quality using internal print-optimization algorithms. It functions as a combination RIP and an image-editor, and where it really shines is with "auto-sizing" or interpolation in order to make large prints. (See more about this feature in "Printing Big!")

Artist Linda Jacobs prints custom, holiday wall calendars using Qimage and an Epson 1160 inkjet printer. "I have a low-end digital camera that I use for close-ups," she says. "Without Qimage I could never get by with such low resolution." Courtesy ofLinda Jacobs

ILFORD GALERIE Professional Printer Drivers

ILFORD was planning (at this writing) to launch GALERIE Professional Printer Drivers in North America in the fall of2004. These drivers are designed for GALERIE paper customers looking for a simple and automatic way to achieve better color control and consistency without having to use ICC profiles. After these printer drivers are installed on your computer (PC or Mac), you select the one for your printer and the GALERIE media type when you're ready to print, and the driver takes over the printing control to produce optimized color for that combination. The drivers will be available for a limited number of Canon, HP, and Epson inkjet printers; however, ILFORD promises continuous updating for more printers. For those who prefer to use ICC profiles, ILFORD offers more than 120 profiles for free download from www.ilford.com.

Gimp-Print

Gimp-Print started off back in 1999 as a plug-in for The Gimp, the open-source image-editing program mentioned in Chapter 3. This explains the name, but Gimp-Print has now evolved into an independent printing package; installing The Gimp is not required.

Continuously upgraded by a group of like-minded volunteers and software tinkerers, Gimp-Print is a package of high-quality printer drivers for Linux, BSD, Solaris, IRIX, and other UNIX-like operating systems (and now Mac OS X, which ships with Gimp-Print). "Our goal is to produce the highest possible output quality from all supported printers," says the Gimp-Print team. "To that end, we have done extensive work on screening algorithms, color generation, and printer feature utilization. We are continuing our work in all of these areas to produce ever-higher-quality results, particularly on the ubiquitous, inexpensive inkjet printers that are nonetheless capable of nearly photographic output quality. Additionally, Gimp-Print provides excellent drivers for many printers that are otherwise unsupported on Mac OS X."

Gimp-Print printer drivers can be used with all common UNIX print spooling systems, by means of either CUPS (Common UNIX Printing System) or Ghostscript (an open-source PostScript interpreter). Gimp-Print is supplied in source-code form under the GPL (GNU General Public License).

The Gimp-Print website (www.gimp-print.sourceforge.net) has a long list of the printers (500+) that are supported with separate drivers, and they can be especially useful with old printers that technology (and driver support) have passed by. As UK photographer Keith Cooper puts it, "I use Gimp-Print for handling several old or PC-only printers that sit on my network. It's nice not to have to consign printers to the scrap heap just because the manufacturers have moved on."

Keith Cooper uses Gimp-Print to keep older printers running. Here, he's working with Gimp-Print 5.0 (beta2) for Mac OS X 10.3.5 to print to an Epson Stylus Color 3000.

Courtesy of Keith Cooper www.northiight-images.co.uk

Keith Cooper uses Gimp-Print to keep older printers running. Here, he's working with Gimp-Print 5.0 (beta2) for Mac OS X 10.3.5 to print to an Epson Stylus Color 3000.

Courtesy of Keith Cooper www.northiight-images.co.uk

Photoshop Secrets

Photoshop Secrets

Are You Frustrated Because Your Graphics Are Not Looking Professional? Have You Been Slaving Over Your Projects, But Find Yourself Not Getting What You Want From Your Generic Graphic Software? Well, youre about to learn some of the secrets and tips to enhance your images, photos and other projects that you are trying to create and make look professional.

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