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Author Topic: 16 bit printing  (Read 11198 times)
423photography
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« on: January 17, 2007, 03:02:10 AM »
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To preface this question: I am new to the printing side of photography.  As I do research on the iPF5000 and read posts to the LL forum I start to develop more questions, in a conversation today I asked about the Canon iPF5000 ability to do 16 bit printing and I was told that it was just “hype” but not truly note worthy.  Something to the effect that it all rolls down to 8 bit in the end (at least that was my understanding).  Reading the following post (scroll to post #12):
http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....16+bit+printing
and the review for the iPF5000 (3 times on the Performance topic and 16 bit topic): http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/...n-ipf5000.shtml

My take is that 16 bit is the best option for printing with the iPF5000: Via Photoshop vs using the Canon driver, speed is also an improvement, and color especially blue stands out.

My head spins with all the information that I’ve been gathering on this printer and other related topics on printing.  Thanks for all the help as I ground myself before beginning the printing process.

Keith
« Last Edit: January 17, 2007, 03:03:37 AM by 423photography » Logged
marcmccalmont
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2007, 03:43:53 AM »
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Buy the printer!
Read the Wiki!!
Print with the 16 bit plugin it is noticably better!!!
You will have no regretts!!!!
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2007, 12:08:21 PM »
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The ipf5000 allows a 16 bit workflow from image to print which works not only in theory but in practice.  
I have had the printer for about 6 weeks now and can see more detail and color in my prints than I ever have before. (previously used Epson 2200 and Epson 3000)
« Last Edit: January 17, 2007, 12:08:46 PM by jerryrock » Logged

Gerald J Skrocki
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« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2007, 03:03:36 PM »
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? Can I use the 16 bit plugin when my layout is set-up in PS CS2 Indesign? If so how? If not what part of PS CS2 Premium software can I set up a 2 page layout for greeting cards so I can use the 16 bit plugin? Thanks KSG
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Dale Allyn
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« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2007, 04:22:44 PM »
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? Can I use the 16 bit plugin when my layout is set-up in PS CS2 Indesign? If so how? If not what part of PS CS2 Premium software can I set up a 2 page layout for greeting cards so I can use the 16 bit plugin? Thanks KSG
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


These tutorials may help you to find a way to do your layout in Photoshop. That's what I do. The canvas size settings are what I'm referring to mostly, not suggesting that you need to use the RedRiver paper or sizes. They've just done a nice job of laying out a quick setup guide.

[a href=\"http://www.redrivercatalog.com/cardshop/tuts1/index.htm]http://www.redrivercatalog.com/cardshop/tuts1/index.htm[/url]

I don't use InDesign and can't say how it handles 16-bit images.

Also, while I don't use my iPF5000 for my note cards (I have a dedicated dye-based ink printer for that) I'm not sure how much difference you'll see on note card size images between using an all 16-bit workflow vs. 8-bit, if InDesign is making things difficult for you. I'm using a 16-bit workflow, but printing 12x18"  to 16x24" images where I do see a difference.

--
Dale
« Last Edit: January 17, 2007, 04:29:38 PM by DFAllyn » Logged

Bill J
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2007, 11:45:28 AM »
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? Can I use the 16 bit plugin when my layout is set-up in PS CS2 Indesign? If so how? If not what part of PS CS2 Premium software can I set up a 2 page layout for greeting cards so I can use the 16 bit plugin? Thanks KSG
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=96216\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
In Windows XP, the iPF5000 Print Plug-In installs in the Photoshop CS2 subfolder Plug-Ins\Adobe Photoshop Only\Import-Export. I'm guessing that "Adobe Photoshop Only" gives us a clue.

In InDesign CS2, there is no Import-Export subfolder under Plug-Ins. The Export command in ID CS2 simply gives you a file dialog box where you pick which file type you want to export for your InDesign project.

Bill
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digitaldog
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2007, 11:59:55 AM »
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My printer should arrive soon so at this point, anything said is speculation.

The idea behind high bit data is to end up with the best 8-bits to send to the output device. No question high bit files provide editing flexibility. Now, can printers use more than 8-bits? Of course but only a few drivers allow it (ImagePrint can so if you have a supported printer, you're good to go). Using that application does allow you to truly tell if there's an advantage. With Canon, we've got two different data path's so it's possible that the quality differences you see are not really attributed to the high bit data alone. When I send the same 8-bit data to an Epson using the supplied driver and ImagePrint, I see a slight quality difference in dither and a more pronounced difference in linearity. But heck, we've got again, two different data paths. So while the plug-in may very well show additional qualities, I'm not sure that's attributable to high bit data. When we can test this using ImagePrint, it will be a better apples to apples test.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2007, 12:04:45 PM »
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Oh, if you send the printer an 8-bit file, this so called 16-bit (12-bit) driver is doing exactly what more for the original data? If your data isn't in high bit for the plug-in, now what?
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Andrew Rodney
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Martin Phillips
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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2007, 12:09:53 PM »
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? Can I use the 16 bit plugin when my layout is set-up in PS CS2 Indesign? If so how? If not what part of PS CS2 Premium software can I set up a 2 page layout for greeting cards so I can use the 16 bit plugin? Thanks KSG
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=96216\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


That's easy. Just export your InDesign file to a PDF (set up your own preset for high quality RGB) then drop the PDF onto the PS2 or PS3 icon and it will rasterise the file to your taste! It takes no time at all.

...and yes, there is a difference using 16 bit!

Martin
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dittert
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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2007, 12:34:23 PM »
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? Can I use the 16 bit plugin when my layout is set-up in PS CS2 Indesign? If so how? If not what part of PS CS2 Premium software can I set up a 2 page layout for greeting cards so I can use the 16 bit plugin? Thanks KSG
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=96216\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Short answer:
You can't use the Plugin when printing from InDesign. Canon provides a plugin for photoshop and for Digital Photo Professional.

Long answer:
It is a little bit more involved to answer the question whether you can print in 16 bit from applications or not. As far as I have seen from the Windows API documentation, pixels are represented as ARGB values. Each component uses an 8 bit value and as a consequence, it is not possible to draw pixels that use 16bit values with the standard system drawing routines (that is, neither to screen nor to a printer) without converting them to 8 bit first.

Things might be different for applications that use different drawing methods (like OpenGL or DirectX) but both of them are not relevant for printing. One thing that might allow passing 16bit graphics to a printer might be for an application to generate a Postscript print job. Frankly, I have no idea which limitations apply to images included in those.

Bottom line: printing is limited to 8 bit on Windows, possibly with the exception of Postscript print jobs.

As far as I have seen from the API documentation, things are a little better for OS X. It's color representation is a lot more powerful. NSColor uses float values for color components (and is fully color managed, i.e. conversion between color spaces is already built into the core functionality). Printing does not differ from painting pixel to the screen and all components that I looked at used seem to support the NSColor representation. Even Carbon (Quickdraw) uses 16 bit component values.

Bottom line: printing 16 bit images should be theoretically possible on OS X. Ultimately, it boils down to the capabilities of the printer driver.

Conclusion: To the best of my knowledge, 16 bit printing is theoretically possible on OS X and impossible on Windows. Please note that my API knowledge on both platforms is limited, though.

However, I can hardly imagine that 16 bits substantially improve the quality of a printout. What might be difference between the printer driver and the 16bit plugin is the printing algorithm (driver optimized for speed, plugin for quality).

I guess, we'll get to know the real limitations when ColorByte releases a PostScript version of ImagePrint  that supports the Canon ipf 5000.

Hope that helps.

Please note: if you are a software developer with knowledge in this field (printing api on either Windows or OS X), I'd be happy if you corrected any error I may have made. Thank you.
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andrewshults
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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2007, 01:00:44 PM »
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Quote
Long answer:
It is a little bit more involved to answer the question whether you can print in 16 bit from applications or not. As far as I have seen from the Windows API documentation, pixels are represented as ARGB values. Each component uses an 8 bit value and as a consequence, it is not possible to draw pixels that use 16bit values with the standard system drawing routines (that is, neither to screen nor to a printer) without converting them to 8 bit first.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=96424\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

From the Canon specs
Quote
Print Plug-in for Photoshop - An export print module for Adobe Photoshop

This plug-in is a true export module that bypasses the print driver on Windows and Macintosh computers. The module was designed to be an integral part of a photographer's 16-bit workflow without compromising image quality. The Plug-in facilitates the printing of 16-bit images by processing the data outside the conventional driver and sending the data directly from Photoshop to the printer, dramatically increasing gradations and as a result, overall image quality.

The module encodes the data as GARO instructions (Canon's proprietary printer language) so that all of the issues associated with how the operating system handles the data become a non-issue. It still uses the OS's spooler, but I believe that just feeds data from the computer to the printer without doing any conversions.

The biggest place where I've seen improvements in print quality with the 16bit driver is when you take an image that exceeds aRGB space (ProPhoto is what I use). When forced to convert the image to an 8bit image (still in the prophoto space) the blue gradient of the sky displayed noticable steps to it that weren't present when I used the 16bit plugin. With the expanded gamut of the 5000 there are cases where you need all of the data you can get to produce clean gradients.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2007, 01:06:48 PM by andrewshults » Logged
dittert
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2007, 01:49:34 PM »
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The biggest place where I've seen improvements in print quality with the 16bit driver is when you take an image that exceeds aRGB space (ProPhoto is what I use). When forced to convert the image to an 8bit image (still in the prophoto space) the blue gradient of the sky displayed noticable steps to it that weren't present when I used the 16bit plugin. With the expanded gamut of the 5000 there are cases where you need all of the data you can get to produce clean gradients.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=96429\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The question is, whether these steps are the result of a lack of color values to print (i.e. only 8 bit available) or are caused by the way these gradients are handled by the printer driver. Given that colors are created by rastering process, I have a hard time to believe that 2^24 values aren't enough to represent all possible colors.

However, I do agree that you get higher image quality with the plugin. Please note, that I am only talking of the last step (pixel data -> printout) and not about preprocessing steps that clearly benefit from 16bit color.
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423photography
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« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2007, 10:21:05 PM »
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Buy the printer!
Read the Wiki!!
Print with the 16 bit plugin it is noticably better!!!
You will have no regretts!!!!
Marc
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=96135\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I took the plunge and ordered the printer!     Now I'm reading the Wiki    and letting that sink in slowly........ I'm sure once I have hands on experince that a lot of questions will be answered.  I've had prints done of my photography and you're absolutly right.... no regretts with the results that were right out of the box.  I'm sure with 16 bit plugin and tweaks that things will be even better

K-
« Last Edit: January 26, 2007, 10:22:14 PM by 423photography » Logged
marcmccalmont
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« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2007, 12:50:56 AM »
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I took the plunge and ordered the printer!     Now I'm reading the Wiki    and letting that sink in slowly........ I'm sure once I have hands on experince that a lot of questions will be answered.  I've had prints done of my photography and you're absolutly right.... no regretts with the results that were right out of the box.  I'm sure with 16 bit plugin and tweaks that things will be even better

K-
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97730\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Start simple, use the upper sheet feed ("tray") and the plugin first, get comfortable with that, then move on to more.  I would recommend a bunch of 8.5 x 11 glossy or semi gloss IJA paper with their canned profiles first. The Cannon papers aren't that good. I filled up a trash can pretty quickly with mistakes, Remember you have to tell both the plugin and the printer (on the front panel) what paper and what size.
Oh it took me a day or two to realize the plugin is under export not print!!!!
Marc
Post this close to the printer:
[attachment=1656:attachment]
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Marc McCalmont
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« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2007, 01:37:54 AM »
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My printer should arrive soon ..

Will be very interested in your assessment of the plug-in Andrew.  

My six months with this printer has been generally very positive (compared to my Epson 4000 machines).  I print almost exclusively with the plug-in and when importing a 16 bit file that has been uprezed to 600dpi in bicubic smoother, the print quality is indeed visibly better.  But not sure I really know WHY ?

Tony Bonanno
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Tony Bonanno Photography
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423photography
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« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2007, 02:09:29 AM »
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Start simple, use the upper sheet feed ("tray") and the plugin first, get comfortable with that, then move on to more.  I would recommend a bunch of 8.5 x 11 glossy or semi gloss IJA paper with their canned profiles first. The Cannon papers aren't that good. I filled up a trash can pretty quickly with mistakes, Remember you have to tell both the plugin and the printer (on the front panel) what paper and what size.
Oh it took me a day or two to realize the plugin is under export not print!!!!
Marc
Post this close to the printer:
[attachment=1656:attachment]
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97739\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thank you Marc for your post, start up info and the attachements I'm sure will save me some initial headache(s).  Now, to prepare the room for the printer!
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Dale Allyn
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« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2007, 03:20:05 AM »
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Will be very interested in your assessment of the plug-in Andrew. 

My six months with this printer has been generally very positive (compared to my Epson 4000 machines).  I print almost exclusively with the plug-in and when importing a 16 bit file that has been uprezed to 600dpi in bicubic smoother, the print quality is indeed visibly better.  But not sure I really know WHY ?

Tony Bonanno
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97741\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Like Tony, I'm getting my best results by delivering 600ppi files to the printer via plug-in. And, like Tony, I'll be interested in your observations, Andrew. It makes sense that there are likely variables beyond just resolution of files, and it's logical that there are differences in delivery conduits, be they plug-in or OS driver. For me, the plug-in works best.

I appreciate the contributions that many make here, so that we all can benefit from each other's experiences.

Dale Allyn
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2007, 10:42:55 AM »
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I thought the plugin worked best because it is feeding the printer 16 bits (12) of info and your eye can see the difference?
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
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« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2007, 10:46:50 AM »
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Thank you Marc for your post, start up info and the attachements I'm sure will save me some initial headache(s).  Now, to prepare the room for the printer!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97743\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
My poor mans stand was a 24" tool chest from Lowes $99, a nice place to store paper and inks (I RTV'd it to the stand so the vibrations don't cause it to move.
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
423photography
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« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2007, 01:10:25 AM »
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My poor mans stand was a 24" tool chest from Lowes $99, a nice place to store paper and inks (I RTV'd it to the stand so the vibrations don't cause it to move.
Marc
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=97791\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I got two "all in one" cabinets from Staples/OfficeMax ($70) and it looks to be a tight fit but I'm sure it will work out.......... Wednesday will be the test!

K-
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