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Author Topic: Grayscale Neutrality and Epson 4900  (Read 1999 times)
walter.sk
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« on: October 09, 2011, 01:22:39 PM »
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For years I had printed grayscale images in RGB mode on my Z3100 with a Z3100-made profile for Epson Premium Luster paper.  In adjusting the softproofed image I was always able to return it to neutrality by using the Color Balance tool, basically adding yellow in an adjustment layer (I use "simulate paper color" in the softproofing).

I just got an Epson 4900 and found it very difficult to come close to neutralizing the softproofed version of the image, as the color shift is not uniform across levels, and it seems to be off in more than one color, using the same Premium Luster paper.  The actual print is very close to the softproofed image.

Several questions:

1) Does this seem like a problem with Epson's profile?
2) My only profiling equipment now is the Color Munki.  Am I likely to get a more accurate profile for B&W printing than Epson's own? 
3) If so, is there any Munki procedure that would be more accurate? (I have only the Munki software).

and, even though I'm afraid I know the answer,

4) Is there any way, using the softproofed image in CS5, to measure the color shift with eye dropper, color sampler, or other tool, and use the gray eyedropper in the levels or curves adjustment layer, to try to neutralize the appearance of the softproof?

Many thanks.
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PeterAit
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2011, 09:17:27 PM »
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I may be missing something, but if you want a neutral, monochrome image, why is there any color in it at all? Why not convert to monochrome using LR or a plug in?
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Peter
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Schewe
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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2011, 09:51:41 PM »
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I just got an Epson 4900 and found it very difficult to come close to neutralizing the softproofed version of the image, as the color shift is not uniform across levels, and it seems to be off in more than one color, using the same Premium Luster paper.

You want to look to look ad the Advanced B&W mode printing. You won't be able to softproof since the ABW mode of the driver is not a Colorsync option with ICC profiles....but you can get really neutral B&W prints.
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walter.sk
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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2011, 10:23:02 AM »
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I may be missing something, but if you want a neutral, monochrome image, why is there any color in it at all? Why not convert to monochrome using LR or a plug in?

My final image was entirely B&W.  It was only the softproof that showed a color cast, and, since my softproof is accurate, the print reflected the same shift.
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walter.sk
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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2011, 10:27:09 AM »
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You want to look to look ad the Advanced B&W mode printing. You won't be able to softproof since the ABW mode of the driver is not a Colorsync option with ICC profiles....but you can get really neutral B&W prints.

I was under the impression that the ABW mode makes the conversion to B&W according to its own idea of how to do the conversion.  Would I be able to send an already-converted B&W in RGB mode to the printer and let it neutralize the image?
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walter.sk
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« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2011, 10:58:39 AM »
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Jeff:  I just ran a quick test and sent an optimized, converted B&W file, in RGB, to the 4900.  In Qimage I used "let printer manage color," and I set the printer driver for AWB.  The resulting print maintained my tonal gradations, and was identical to the neutrality of my original image. 

I assume that the AWB setting took into account the paper used in the 4900 (Epson Premium Luster,) and corrected it according to the printer's own profile for that paper, because the tonal range seems to have been corrected the same as what I would have done in the softproof.   At any rate, for printing neutral versions of my B&W, this is the way I will go.  It is even faster and easier than softproofing first.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2011, 12:57:42 PM »
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I assume that the AWB setting took into account the paper used in the 4900 (Epson Premium Luster,) and corrected it according to the printer's own profile for that paper...

No profile per say is used here. ABW is a 'black box' conversion process which does quite a good job.

IF you would rather use an ICC profile, then the success is based on the quality of the profile neutrality of course. I don't think you'll see the same quality of neutrality even with a tuned profile (optimized for grays) but I could be wrong. The 4900 is newer, the drivers are getting a bit more linear as time goes on.
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Andrew Rodney
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Jan Morales
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« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2011, 05:03:14 PM »
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You want to look to look ad the Advanced B&W mode printing. You won't be able to softproof since the ABW mode of the driver is not a Colorsync option with ICC profiles....but you can get really neutral B&W prints.

Speaking of this, I understand (if I understand at all) that the gamma of the colorspace in Lightroom is 1.8 and that in ABW it's 2.2, and that therefore this can result in prints that are darker than they should be. If I edit a B&W image from Lightroom in Photoshop and convert it from ProPhoto RGB to Gray Gamma 2.2, that will correct the print when printing from Lightroom. Am I understanding this correctly?
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Schewe
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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2011, 05:31:49 PM »
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Speaking of this, I understand (if I understand at all) that the gamma of the colorspace in Lightroom is 1.8 and that in ABW it's 2.2, and that therefore this can result in prints that are darker than they should be. If I edit a B&W image from Lightroom in Photoshop and convert it from ProPhoto RGB to Gray Gamma 2.2, that will correct the print when printing from Lightroom. Am I understanding this correctly?

Actually, ABW mode is expecting sRGB's tone curve...and Lightroom, when you send an image Managed by Printer is sending ProPhoto RGB with, I think, a linear curve. But the different drop down options under Tone in the Advanced Color Settings is a gamma correction adjustment. Epson just didn't bother with putting what the correction is...just lame names like Darkest, Darker, etc. Test the various Ton settings and see what looks best. If you do go from ProPhoto RGB, you should consider simply using sRGB as sRGB has a slightly different toe in the curve from a straight 2.2 gamma curve.
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Paul2660
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« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2011, 06:20:27 PM »
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Question on sending an image as sRGB to the printer in AWB mode vs Greyscale.

I have always followed Eric Chan's 3800 detailed instructions on AWB.  Just applied them to my
7800 and 9880.  Since I have been printing without a ABW profile (Eric talks about that in a different
section), my last step before printing the file is to convert to greyscale in photoshop.  Eric states
the AWB driver is a greyscale driver and I have always assumed he felt it was better to do the
sRGB to greyscale in photoshop yourself and not let the AWB driver do it.

I have always found it hard to really find anything written in a how-to about the AWB mode, and Jeff's
comment about the AWB mode looking for the sRGB tone curves was something new for me.   

So what is the consensus, sRGB to greyscale in photoshop first or just send the image as it is
in sRGB to the AWB driver.  Or does it matter?

Also do any of the LL-how to videos have a section on AWB? 

Thanks
Paul Caldwell
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Paul Caldwell
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Schewe
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« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2011, 11:48:14 PM »
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Also do any of the LL-how to videos have a section on AWB? 

In the new Camera to Print & Screen yes...although Chris hasn't edited it yet so it's not yet posted. Not sure when, keep checking the What's New or the main thread for new video updates.

As for the rest of your questions, Eric did his stuff with the 3800 and a much earlier print driver. Now, Photoshop and Lightroom with current drivers force you to use Print Manages Color to get to the ABW mode of the driver. So, at this point much of what Eric wrote and the use of his profiles is now out of date. Unless you have a compelling reason to drop to a greyscale file, I would simply convert to sRGB (since that's what the driver wants for ABW mode).
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Paul2660
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« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2011, 10:22:03 AM »
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Jeff:

Thanks for the information, and I will look for the new video.  One other question, what rendering intent would you recommend? Relative or Perceptual. 

Just made a print based on "printer manages color" with the AWB on my 9880 and results are very nice.  Left image as sRGB.  I used Relative colormetric.

Paul Caldwell
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Paul Caldwell
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2011, 10:25:22 AM »
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As for the rest of your questions, Eric did his stuff with the 3800 and a much earlier print driver. Now, Photoshop and Lightroom with current drivers force you to use Print Manages Color to get to the ABW mode of the driver. So, at this point much of what Eric wrote and the use of his profiles is now out of date. Unless you have a compelling reason to drop to a greyscale file, I would simply convert to sRGB (since that's what the driver wants for ABW mode).
While I am hesitant to take a contrary view in light of Jeff's experience, I'm not so sure this is right.  The big problem with the ABW driver (and I'm speaking from my experience with a 3880 which is a newer model than what Eric originaly wrote about) is that it's does not reproduce a linear grey scale.  One can correct for this either by using one of Eric's 3880 profiles, having him make one if the paper is not already there, or use Roy Harrington's QTR program to create your own.  I have done a fair amount of testing on the papers I print B/W on and you clearly can see that the density response is not linear.

Eric's original LR workflow does call for sending sRGB to the printer unless you have a specific ABW profile as noted above.  Perhaps he will weigh in on this thread.
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Paul2660
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« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2011, 12:27:24 PM »
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Alan

When I read Eric's how to on AWB he says leave the images sRGB only if you are sure the image is 100% grey r=g=b  and if not sure convert to grey scale which is why I always converted to grayscale.  He doesn't mention using let printer manage colors which is a new step for me.

Paul
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Paul Caldwell
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2011, 01:00:54 PM »
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Alan

When I read Eric's how to on AWB he says leave the images sRGB only if you are sure the image is 100% grey r=g=b  and if not sure convert to grey scale which is why I always converted to grayscale.  He doesn't mention using let printer manage colors which is a new step for me.

Paul

I always use an ABW profile (either one Eric has prepared or one that I have) so I can softproof before printing.  Thus, my print workflow is no different except that I select the ABW driver when printing.  I'm looking foward to Jeff's presentation in the current Camera to Print series to see his approach.
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