July 1, 2011

Summer 2011 update

Filed under Announcements,Technical Articles | by Tyler Boley @ 5:49 pm

Lulu\'s cool rug courtesy of Don Lysons

Lulu's cool rug courtesy of Don Lysons

The transition of previous capabilities to new equipment and software, and development of performance improvements now available, has taken much of the first half of the year. The transitions have been slow to avoid disruption of ongoing work, and most of the tools and techniques are new.
The Cone Piezotone ink black and white dual quad system was moved from the original Epson 9600 to an Epson 9880. The slightly smaller dot size, cheats in the RIP for more variable dot shenanigans, and increased precision and speed for 2880 performance, has resulted in smoother photographic output with this beautiful ink set. The RIP, Ergosoft StudioPrint, has been updated to the latest version and drives the setup. The nozzle performance of the 9880 has proven to the the most dependable of any Epson I have very owned.
The new 9900 color setup has been the greatest challenge, literally everything about how it is being used here is new territory with new products. Epson hung in there to help with a persistently problematic new printer, a service tech camped out here on multiple occasions, resulting finally in performance more reliable than the 9800 it replaces for color work here. The latest release of StudioPrint and GPS profiler were required to drive this printer with 6 color linearization and profiling. Again taking the role of a new user on new techniques with a new software release, things can be painful and time consuming. Another development I have been waiting for, the new profiling software from X-rite, i1Publish with 6 channel capability was also released, also with maddening early adopter obstacles.
But now everything is falling into place, setups completed on several papers, the results are impressive and the benefits clear in the last several shows posted on the blog. Cyan, magenta, yellow, black, orange, and green inks, each iteratively linearized, careful limiting per channel and total, GPS Profiler’s amazing accuracy and colormetric performance in six channels, i1Pulish’s new color mapping also in six colors with it’s gorgeous perceptual rendering, things are about as bleeding edge here as they can be for fine art color printing. I have the empty Excedrin bottles to proof it… but this color is the cleanest, most delineated, and when called upon, richest I have seen.
Other developments would mostly be paper, I have gravitated to new Epson fine art papers for color, and some impressive Canson offerings for both B&W and color, while most previous papers used here are still in play.
Have a great Fourth of July weekend.

3 Comments »

  1. Wow. Makes my head hurt just thinking about it. I vividly recall spending excruciating weeks trying to build a usable profile for an Epson 2000p, back in the digital stone age, with its horrid metameric failure.

    What’s the biggest benefit of such precision in color management and ink limiting? Greater relative color accuracy, or pushing the limits of the gamut map a little further outward?

    Comment by Geoff Wittig — July 24, 2011 @ 3:02 pm

  2. The current OEM RGB drivers are very good, and it’s difficult to better their gamut performance. However there are always tradeoffs and these procedures allow the user to maximize performance in all areas, dottiness, resolution, linearity, neutral axis performance accuracy, etc etc. One must often weigh these factors and others against each other accordingly for different media. An obvious example would be recent ink setups for uncoated Arches Cover, selecting dot sizes, light link limits, individual color ink limits, total ink limit, and of course each of those channels perfectly linearized over which a superlative profile can be made… all this allows for an unusual but beautiful print process on a very pleasing media for suitable for particular work. This would be impossible using the OEM driver.
    I could not say there is a single most significant advantage, other than putting every aspect of how ink goes down into the hands of the user. For many the learning curve would far outweigh the individual’s needs. But for a printmaker it’s great stuff.

    Comment by Tyler Boley — July 26, 2011 @ 10:31 am

  3. Oh Lulu you command the place as you should! Queen on her thrown.
    Suppose I should comment on post content. Instead I write about Lulu. This is why YOU print and I pay! :)

    Comment by Mary Grace Long — August 9, 2011 @ 7:53 pm

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