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Author Topic: Disappointed with matte paper: is it me?  (Read 8128 times)
walter.sk
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« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2011, 11:01:05 AM »
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Well, I read all of the responses so far, and decided to give it another try.  Of course, I am aware of the fact that some images will look better on baryta papers and others on matte because of the inherent differences. Several of the posts spoke of ways to maximize the print within the physical limitations of the matte paper, essentially getting the eye to perceiving more apparent contrast and saturation.  Jeff's thoughts got me to go back to the softproof and see what I could do.  And yes, my softproof includes the paper white simulation and I am using the matte black ink with the 4900.

Usually in my softproofing I have the original image side by side with the softproofed version, and I simply try to get the softproof to look as much like the original as possible before I send it to the printer.  On my renewed trials I changed that so the original image was no longer on screen, leaving only the softproof to work on.  Then, I just work on getting the picture to look good.  I clipped some of the deepest shadows to black, and used a duplicate background layer to open up some shadows more than usual.  Then some work with Curves layers and a Hue/Saturation layer were successful in making the image look acceptably good.  When I printed the image, adjusted differently for Epson Hot Press Bright White, EpsHPNatural, and EpsCold Press Natural, I was amazed at the results when viewing them in my print viewer.  Only when I compared them simultaneously with the baryta prints did I see the difference in the darkest tones,  and I also realized that I had actually overcompensated for saturation and contrast.  Next round of adjustments was much better.  And so is my understanding of how to work with these matte papers.

When I was composing music (decades ago), I put a long silence in a piece, believing it was for emphasis.  A wonderful composer that I was working with said it wouldn't work as well as an "apparent" silence to accomplish the same psychological effect, and he was right.  Schewe's and Tlooknbill's comments reminded me of that, and it works.

I owe an apology to Epson, and I will order some rolls of the Hot Press Natural (especially with their 3 for the price of 2 offer), and actually look forward to enjoying the use of matte paper for those images I have that would benefit from it.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2011, 11:09:06 AM by walter.sk » Logged
felix5616
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« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2011, 08:02:49 PM »
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i have never used ilford paper. for non matte surfaces i prefer crane museo silver rag, stunning in my opinion. I use breathing color live canvas and decided to try a trial roll of breathing color optic one.. I have a shot of a leaf against a black background. with matte papers expansive areas of black look lifeless. with breathing color optic one the black looks like suede, very lustrous. tried it with color, same result. I will be buying 44" for larger prints.
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artobest
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« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2011, 07:09:14 AM »
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If you're near a good bookstore, try and check out the new edition of Koudelka's Gypsies, printed on matte paper by Steidl in Germany. It shows what can be achieved by carefully exploiting that 'soot'-like quality mentioned by an earlier poster - not to everyone's tastes, but inspiring if you enjoy the hand-feel of a good cotton paper.
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Trey
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« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2011, 08:13:30 AM »
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I love Baryta papers. I love matte too. I totally agree it depends on the image and your skill level of maximizing for a particular media.

I print about 80% canvas, which although it turns out great, I try to push more art papers. But my customers' customers want canvas, which fortunately is profitable enough to make it worthwhile. And understand the canvas looks great, it just doesn't have the personality of the art papers. I have been holding some fine art printing classes lately and after people become more educated on the subject, they have a much better appreciation. There is absolutely no comparison of a baryta print next to an $8.95 20x30 print from Costco. And they also appreciate that not everything has to look like a glossy snapshot. I show them great samples of of stuff on matte art papers and then they get it. Or at least a lot of them get it. Some still think the Costco print is 'good enough'.

As far as Breathing Color matte papers go, I have found nothing that matches the dmax and gamut. If anyone else has, please let me know. I want to use the best, as long as it is visually better also. The optica is smooth and the elegance is textured. They run about $150/sf if you figure shipping in. And they are very think too, which I love. Oh, breathing color will make custom profiles for you for free, and they are much better than anything I have been able to make, and I used to think I was good at it. But if you are comparing their matte paper with others, their custom profiles might just push theirs up the scale a bit.

While we are on the subject of Breathing Color, after the scratching problems found in Epson Exhibition Fibre with the Canon 8300, I tried a roll of Breathing Color Vibrance Rag, which is very similar in look and price, except I think the Vibrance Rag has a more pleasing texture. So I use it and Gold Fibre Silk as my Baryta choices now. Any body else compare the Vibrance Rag to anything else? Curious what you think.

But, I got off subject. I work almost exclusively with local artist and photographers, and when I have time, I like to do a few test prints on different media and show it to them. It keeps them from getting stuck on their one favorite paper and never experimenting and frequently they will choose a matte art paper when they never would have considered it before. And I don't simulate the blacks while soft proofing matte papers, it just looks dull to me. But soft proofing is great at showing what that paper is going to clip and lets you experiment a bit with if you want to change it.

« Last Edit: December 06, 2011, 08:16:01 AM by Trey » Logged
luxborealis
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« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2011, 09:13:26 PM »
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As many posters have said, if it does't work for you then don't use it. You have to feel the emotion from the print. Why matte papers don't do it for you will have more to do with the type of work you are showing and the look you want for it. You have to go with your gut.

I've been printing using a range of papers but have narrowed it down to two, both of which are 100% cotton rag with not OBAs. Neither are glossy but both give excellent D-Max: Canson-Infinity Platine with a "smooth" lustre finish and Moab Entrada Rag Natural with a slightly textured matte finish. I love the way the Moab presents my work. I love the fact that it is not pure white. It has an organic look to it that provides just the right feel to my work.

When I worked in the wet darkroom, I loved the gloss of a Cibachrome and the dull sheen of a dried F surface. At the time, matte papers seemed to lack depth largely due to the lack of D-max. But with these more recent fine art papers for digital printing, my tastes have changed.
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Terry McDonald
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kenben
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« Reply #25 on: December 07, 2011, 08:00:51 AM »
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Talking about Varance Rag Trey.I notice there is 3 versions of it.Can you give a run down on each.Likes and dislikes.
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mmurph
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« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2011, 09:55:13 AM »
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As predicted Matte lost ground very quickly when Baryta digital papers showed up.

Once we got a good selection of Baryta a few years ago, I ran tests of color and b&w on 40+ papers.

I settled on all "photo black," no matte, and selected 5 standard papers to stock.  

One thin weight for proofing (Epson Premium Semigloss 170). One for every day "final" prints.  One every day Baryta for art type images.  

One premium Baryta for color, and one premium Baryta for b&w.

I have my own custom profiles for each.  Made my life much, much simpler.  Usually I am only using 2 very close papers, proof and final image, in rolls.

Good luck!
Michael
« Last Edit: December 07, 2011, 09:57:12 AM by mmurph » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2011, 10:09:31 AM »
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Michael, this sounds like a very sensible approach. I'm curious to know which baryta papers you normally use for final B&W and colour, if you don't mind revealing, and why you differentiate.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #28 on: December 07, 2011, 10:21:18 AM »
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FWIW, I too have narrowed down the number of papers that I print on (though I am always on the lookout for new papers that might have something to offer).  I have not forsaken matte papers since there are some images that just look good on them.  Additionally, whether the print will be framed of handled as part of a folio is also important.  I would rather print on rag-based papers for folio prints because there is a difference in how they feel.

Matte papers:  Hahnemuhle Photorag Ultra Smooth, Hahnemuhle William Turner (I do some printing for a local painter and she likes the texture and brightness of this paper), Canson Rag Photographique

Gloss papers: Ilford Gold Fiber Silk, Museo Silver Rag
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walter.sk
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« Reply #29 on: December 07, 2011, 11:33:00 AM »
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Well, so far my paper choices will now include:  Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl for everyday printing: results very much like the Epson Luster, but somewhat more controlled light scatter, and 17" x 100' rolls are very inexpensive and quite handy for my usual 11"x17" prints, right off the roll;
Canson Infinity Baryta Photographique and Ilford Gold Fibre Silk (both superb for color and B&W) for most prints for exhibit,  and Epson Exhibition Fiber which gives excellent range and color with somewhat of a visible texture.  Of the matte papers I've tried, I now prefer Epson Hot Press Natural for the kind of color images I would want to see on a matte paper, as well as some of the sepia toned pictures I like.  For most black & white pictures I still prefer the Epson Luster and Canson Baryta, despite the sheen.

My only complaint about the barytas (Canson and Ilford) is that the surface gets very funky if wet (I really try not to, but it can happen).

I again thank everybody here for their helpful coments.

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AndyS
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« Reply #30 on: December 07, 2011, 12:08:07 PM »
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I think one of the things that this thread has highlighted is what a fantastic choice of papers we have to print with in this current day.

Whether you like your paper glossy, matte, lustre, thick, thin, smooth or textured there seems to be something to suit, and you can produce stunning prints right from your own office. Great times to be in!

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mmurph
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« Reply #31 on: December 07, 2011, 02:19:52 PM »
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Michael, this sounds like a very sensible approach. I'm curious to know which baryta papers you normally use for final B&W and colour, if you don't mind revealing, and why you differentiate.

Hi Mark,

The short answer is that in 2008, when I did the tests, I settled on Innova Glossy Warm Tone for the B&W, instead of going with any kind of "toned" ink set.  For most images, though, colour and B&W, I wanted a very "nuetral", mild textured, premium paper.

I blended my own glossy black ink set along the lines of Paul Roark's ink sets at the time.  He was still doing a primarily matte ink set with colored toners, and Cone kept delaying their neutral glossy set. I blended a glossy only, 6K (6 blacks) plus GLOP (gloss optimizer) neutral ink set for glossy paper.  I think the Innova smoothness also worked well with the GLOP.

Looking at a post from 2008 on another forum, my proofing paper was Epson Premium Semigloss 170 (thinner.)  My main day-to-day paper was Epson Premium Luster.

I went with the Hahnemuhle Fine Art Baryta as my main premium paper. That was a bit of "Goldilocks" decision based on texture and color - too little, too much, just right - among the usual suspects: Epson, Illford, Harman, Hahnemuelle.

After Epson added the Epson Exhibition Fiber in rolls, I added that as my other premium paper. It was my #1 pick in my initial tests, but it was not yet available in rolls.


All of that is very subjective of course, as I ranked the Ilford Gold Silk lowest of the baryta's at the time, behind the Harman Gloss Fiber Al, which was just a little too smooth (according to my notes; I don't have a note on the Ilford.) 

Of course, that was the opposite ranking of many here!  I have tested newer papers, and I need to decide on and mix a new B&W ink set (dye or pigment? I have the pigments already ..), so I supose things may change a bit.


I think one of the things that this thread has highlighted is what a fantastic choice of papers we have to print with in this current day.
.... Great times to be in!

It really is, isn't it?

When I was doing B&W chemical darkroom in the 1980's, it would take me hours to get one decent 8.5x11 print.

Now I can roll off a few 24"x30" prints as proofs!  I could never afford the equipment or materials to print that big back then.

Cheers!  Michael
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Brian Gilkes
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« Reply #32 on: December 08, 2011, 02:56:51 PM »
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Size could have something to do with it. Most prints I make are in the 1 to 2 sq m range and 85%  of artists insist on matte. With this sort of size the eye/brain sets it's own white /black points and the technical (instrument read) DMax and gamut differences have reduced influence. There is also a cultural thing. Many of my clients come from painting, etching or 3D arts. They seldom go for satin/gloss, usually rejecting it out of hand as looking "tinny " or cheap. Photographers are more likely to choose satin. Here Silver Rag wins out . I bought a roll of Baryta and can't get rid of it , despite making lots of free test samples.  I definitely recommend the mid-tone contrast boost mentioned, particularly for matte. With Epson printers 2880 dpi maximises ink load  and very careful custom profiles can make a significant difference , especially to saturation and colour separation in the deep shadows that gives rich , tapestry like colours to the matte papers..
Cheers,
Brian
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mmurph
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« Reply #33 on: December 08, 2011, 03:41:46 PM »
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85%  of artists insist on matte. With this sort of size the eye/brain sets it's own white /black points and the technical (instrument read) DMax and gamut differences have reduced influence.

Yes. Without a side-by-side comparison, psychologically the matte print "lloks like" it has the same DMax as a glossy (with no direct reference.)

Similar to many of the optical illusion "games/tricks" online.
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afx
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« Reply #34 on: December 08, 2011, 04:09:23 PM »
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Yes. Without a side-by-side comparison, psychologically the matte print "lloks like" it has the same DMax as a glossy (with no direct reference.)
But that does not explain why the same image printed by the same R2880 with stock profiles has at least as rich blacks on Museo textured Rag compared the Canson and Hahnemühle Barytas when viewed next to each other independent of the light used for the comparison.

cheers
afx
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mmurph
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« Reply #35 on: December 08, 2011, 04:37:47 PM »
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But that does not explain why the same image printed by the same R2880 with stock profiles

There is an online tool that will let you upload and compare the 3D gamut of 2 different profiles. 

You can rotate them, and compare to known standards.

You might be able to find beter profiles, or your work flow could be constrained. Maybe a new thread with the details of your specific printer, workflow, etc?

Quick reply - on my phone. Honestly, I had not looked at your question, just replying to the OP.
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afx
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« Reply #36 on: December 09, 2011, 12:59:56 AM »
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There is an online tool that will let you upload and compare the 3D gamut of 2 different profiles. 

You can rotate them, and compare to known standards.
That will just confirm that the gamut of the matte is smaller (which I can also evident on the few color prints I tried). But I am looking at deep blacks here as stated above. (Probably should have made it clearer that these are BW images)
In that set of test images there where other matte papers like the Hahnemühle  William Turner which clearly could not match the blacks of the Barytas.

I guess it just points to the fact hat not all matte papers are equal.

cheers
afx
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