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Author Topic: soft proofing for black and white...  (Read 3189 times)
manzico
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« on: December 27, 2008, 02:24:33 PM »
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I did a quick search on this and I didn't find anything directly related, but it may be out there.  If it is, just point me in that direction, if not, here's my question:

     I understand how to soft proof, and use it successfully with color images, but I just picked up a new Epson 2880 and I understand that for various reasons (e.g. metamerism) I should select "let printer manage colors" for black and white images and use the advanced black and white setting for the printer driver.  Here's my question.  If I'm letting the printer manage the colors, how do I soft proof the image?

thanks,

David
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2008, 03:39:59 PM »
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If ABW works the same way on the 2880 as it does on the 3800, you CANNOT soft-proof in this mode. The image they provide is a proxy. This is the one less than satisfactory feature of printing with ABW, but once accustomed to setting it, the results are very good. I very seldom use this, preferring the control and predictability I get from the B&W adjustment layer on PS or its counterparts in LR and ACR. I have not perceived issues of casts, colour contamination or colour inconstancy using Ilford Gold Fibre Silk.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
manzico
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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2008, 06:17:00 PM »
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Quote from: MarkDS
If ABW works the same way on the 2880 as it does on the 3800, you CANNOT soft-proof in this mode. The image they provide is a proxy. This is the one less than satisfactory feature of printing with ABW, but once accustomed to setting it, the results are very good. I very seldom use this, preferring the control and predictability I get from the B&W adjustment layer on PS or its counterparts in LR and ACR. I have not perceived issues of casts, colour contamination or colour inconstancy using Ilford Gold Fibre Silk.

My issue has been one of tonality since the Dmax of my screen is greater than the Dmax of any print.  I usually soft proof in photoshop, not just for color gamut but also tonal range.  But if you let the printer choose the colors how do you proof in photoshop?  The sample image Epsom provides is useless since I don't know it's original tonal range.  I'm getting prints that are too dark letting the printer choosd, and I'm stuck with a the old trial and error method again.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2008, 06:29:18 PM »
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That's what I said - if you are using the ABW mode, you cannot softproof the tonality (being the issue at hand, because the only colour is "grey" unless you are also tinting). But you do not need to use ABW if you find the level of control inadequate - as do I. Use the B&W Adjustment Layer in Photoshop. That gives you full control over everything as you can operate it with softproof. Try it and see whether you get any undesirable side effects. The only way to know for sure is to experiment.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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manzico
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2008, 07:26:52 PM »
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Quote from: MarkDS
That's what I said - if you are using the ABW mode, you cannot softproof the tonality (being the issue at hand, because the only colour is "grey" unless you are also tinting). But you do not need to use ABW if you find the level of control inadequate - as do I. Use the B&W Adjustment Layer in Photoshop. That gives you full control over everything as you can operate it with softproof. Try it and see whether you get any undesirable side effects. The only way to know for sure is to experiment.

Fair enough.  Thanks for the info.  I'll give it a try tonight.

Dave
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2008, 11:00:23 PM »
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You can soft-proof for ABW printing if you have a spectro or densitometer, using some utilities that are part of the Quadtone RIP shareware package.

http://www.outbackphoto.com/printinginsigh...y.html#20070201

This guy has created profiles that you can download if the paper you're using is in the list:

http://people.csail.mit.edu/ericchan/dp/Ep...bwprofiles.html

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JeffKohn
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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2008, 11:13:41 PM »
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Quote from: MarkDS
That's what I said - if you are using the ABW mode, you cannot softproof the tonality (being the issue at hand, because the only colour is "grey" unless you are also tinting). But you do not need to use ABW if you find the level of control inadequate - as do I. Use the B&W Adjustment Layer in Photoshop. That gives you full control over everything as you can operate it with softproof. Try it and see whether you get any undesirable side effects. The only way to know for sure is to experiment.
I find this advice confusing, unless someone were actually printing color images using ABW mode and letting it do with BW conversion (which is certainly not optimal). B/W conversion is a separate issue from which driver mode you use to print, so I don't really see how B&W Adjustment Layers enter into the mix as far as printing goes.
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Schewe
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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2008, 11:23:56 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
B/W conversion is a separate issue from which driver mode you use to print, so I don't really see how B&W Adjustment Layers enter into the mix as far as printing goes.


Well, unless you want to spawn off multiple files for printing both color and B&W images, the use of a B&W Adjustment layer gives you the ability to keep the image in color while using an adjustment layer for the conversion from color to B&W. Everything printed using the ABW Mode of an Epson driver will be separated to the 3 blacks and possibly some limited colors using Epson's own formula. So, unless _YOU_ do the conversion to B&W, the driver will do it for you. Pretty sure Mark was simply pointing out a method of doing that B&W conversion via an adjustment layer before actually printing using the ABW mode. Also note that the standard color>B&W conversion of the ABW Mode can be useful for color images....if you do have soft proof profiles (that Eric is nice enough to provide for the 3800 printers) you can see what the EPson B&W conversion would look like.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2008, 11:45:04 PM »
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I agree B/W Adjustment layers are useful for monochrome conversions. I just didn't get the impression from the original post that David was sending color images to the ABW driver. I assumed he already had monochrome images and just wanted to soft-proof before printing. Maybe David can clarify.
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manzico
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« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2008, 01:34:53 AM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
I agree B/W Adjustment layers are useful for monochrome conversions. I just didn't get the impression from the original post that David was sending color images to the ABW driver. I assumed he already had monochrome images and just wanted to soft-proof before printing. Maybe David can clarify.

It looks like there is some confusion here.  Let me clarify: I do my own B&W conversion.  I have a work-flow that works for me, and when I'm done I have a monochrome file, unless I'm tinting it, in which case I leave it as an RGB file.

I had the same printer for some time so I didn't worry about advanced black and white modes, but now that I've got the new R2880 I decided to re-evaluate my B&W flow.  From what I've seen, the ABW mode is the way to go with this printer, but from what I can tell, you can't soft proof in photoshop if you use that mode.  That is my quandary.  Is there a way to soft proof using this mode?  I'd rather not have to purchase a RIP since I don't print enough to justify the added expense.

Thanks,

Dave
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teddillard
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« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2008, 05:21:21 AM »
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Quote from: manzico
the ABW mode is the way to go with this printer, ... Is there a way to soft proof using this mode?

no.
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Ted Dillard
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« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2008, 06:52:10 AM »
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I'd recommend you read Eric Chan's terrific information about printing b & w with  the 3800--he has specific paper profiles for ABW and explains how to use them, has more info on printing b & w (recommends ABW for 'neutral' mono).  I prefer to tone mine and print RGB, but have tried Eric's profiles and find them and his directions excellent.

http://people.csail.mit.edu/ericchan/dp/Ep...w_no_gray_curve

Diane
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Conner999
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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2008, 07:36:54 AM »
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The only way to soft proof using ABW is to have custom ABW B&W profiles -- as per Eric's exceptional, and free, copies. Do the B&W conversion (ideally using layers so you can tweak), pull up the requisite ABW profile, tweak -- and Bob's your uncle.  

Bear in mind that IF you're B&W conversion technique does not render absolute R=G=B you will have issues as the ABW driver will convert ANY residual color data into shades of grey prior to printing.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2008, 08:22:19 AM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
I find this advice confusing, unless someone were actually printing color images using ABW mode and letting it do with BW conversion (which is certainly not optimal). B/W conversion is a separate issue from which driver mode you use to print, so I don't really see how B&W Adjustment Layers enter into the mix as far as printing goes.

I don't see what's confusing here. There are at least several ways of producing excellent B&W prints from original RGB files. If the OP wants to softproof, then a method allowing soft-proof is necessary and printing from the ABW feature does not - possibly apart from using Eric's very recently published new procedure and profiles, which I have not tested yet - but I shall, as I highly respect Eric's work and recommendations in this field. Making an RGB print adjusted to B&W using the B&W adjustment layer (or its siblings in LR and ACR) and sending it to print using a normal RGB workflow with softproofing and all the rest produces fine results. Katrin Eismann/Sean Duggan highly recommend it on page 156 of "The Creative Digital Darkroom", as does Amadou Diallo on page 211 of his "Mastering Digital Black and White" (a whole, first-rate book on the subject of B&W digital imaging). Neither of them mention any issue of colour constancy (otherwise, perhaps erroneously, referred to as "metamerism" in much of the literature). I have not noticed such problems with the B&W prints I've produced using this method, of course recognizing the fact that no matter how you produce a B&W print, the tones look warmer when viewed under incandescent illumination than they do under D50 halogens.

Jeff - re your post early today - not quite - I was actually recommending staying in RGB throughout, using the B&W adjustment layer as the conversion technique. I expect to produce some comparisons of the same images printed using Eric's new approach with the ABW driver on the one hand versus the B&W Adjustment layer RGB approach on the other. Whatever the outcome, could be interesting to view and discuss at Epson Print Academy or PSW forthcoming.

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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