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Author Topic: Use of Eric Chan's ABW profiiles for B&W printing  (Read 8972 times)
jao
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« on: February 25, 2012, 10:17:11 AM »
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I am new to LL Forum and missed the earlier discussion of this topic. 

I am working on a Mac Leopard LR3.6 printing (B&W currently) with an Epson 3880. 
I came across Eric Chan's AWB profiles and I am trying to grasp what these are all about.  Using the ABW profiles turns off the Epson print management and therefore  the Epson Driver "Advanced Black and White" ) (ABW) becomes unavailable in the Print settings>Printer settings.   Only the generic Media setting is available to designate the print paper.  I find that there is a slight muddying of the midtones in the few images I have printed with Eric's profiles while similar prints with either the paper profile or Printer managed color actually are a bit cleaner. 

I do not fully understand profiles and I do not know if Eric's ABW ICC profiles actually include the controls provided by the Epson ABW driver and that the best solution is to modify the tonal range of the images to work with the driver. 

Can anyone shed some light on this?
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2012, 11:04:30 AM »
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MacOS no longer supports the use of profiles with ABW and Epson changed the print driver accordingly.  This was discussed a short while back on LuLa HERE.
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S Kale
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2012, 10:49:29 AM »
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The best system for ABW is to use profiles generated by QTR Create ICC which is a small part of Quadtone RIP and an older version of PS for printing.  Print a 51 step wedge (without colour management - I use CS3 to ensure this) and with your preferred ABW settings. Scan this printed testchart with MeasureTool (part of the old PM5 and can be used without a dongle). Run QTR Create ICC and you have profiled the response of the ABW driver (with those particular settings). The ICC profile can be used for soft proofing tone also. Convert the image to the selected profile prior to sending to the Epson driver.  Works beautifully.

http://www.quadtonerip.com/html/QTRoverview.html

I'm sorry to say but a good number of the posts in the thread linked to below are off the mark.

In that thread digitaldog on Oct 29 2011 states

"As Iíve said over and over again, you are more than welcome to use the driver in a means not intended by the designer, soft proof (which has no relationship to the driver at that point), or use a 3rd party product the originator of the driver may feel is a hack. The bottom line is, ABW was designed and primarily used as a closed loop black box system. ... ABW wasnít designed to use profiles (its a black box)."

While correct, what he fails to recognise is that Epson's Adv B&W's weakness was the lack of ability to incorporate profiling and CMS into the workflow. Without profiling you are stuck with the manufacturer's embedded driver response and could only alter it via the 5 tone curve settings none of which produce a reasonably accurate rendition of the file you edited in PS.

The infuriating thing about CS5 that I experience is that in order to access "print settings" (including any colour controls in the driver) I have to have Photoshop Manages Colors selected and then of course all the printer colour controls are turned off. Simply flawed.  As a result I have given up using CS5 for printing.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 11:49:59 AM by S Kale » Logged
Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2012, 11:42:24 AM »
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While correct, what he fails to recognise is that Epson's Adv B&W's weakness was the lack of ability to incorporate profiling and CMS into the workflow. Without profiling you are stuck with the manufacturer's embedded driver response and could only alter it via the 5 tone curve settings none of which produce a reasonably accurate rendition of the file you edited in PS.

The infuriating thing about CS5 is that in order to access "print settings" (including any colour controls in the driver) one has to have Photoshop Manages Colors selected and then of course all the printer colour controls are turned off. Simply flawed. 
CS5 is not the problem here, it is the MacOS system.  See this particular post.  The issue is not with the 'tone curve' settings but the lack of linearity in the ABW driver which on my 3880 is most apparent in the midrange.  This is what the ABW profile is able to address.  The bottom line as has been stated, ABW profiles will only work with Windows machines at this point in time.
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S Kale
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2012, 12:12:49 PM »
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It's not the OS. CS3 works fine with ABW profiled using QTR Create ICC. There's also nothing wrong with it being a "printer manages colors" workflow - so long as you profile it and adjust the file values before sending them to the printer.  It's worth remembering that ABW was always intended as a printer manages colors workflow. It only ever expected to receive a bunch of pixel values (albeit with numbers associated with a file in the Adobe RGB or GG2.2 colorspace).

"lack of linearity..."  You don't want the workflow to have a linear response to your greyscale pixel values 0-255. This is what led to the creation of QTR Create ICC in the first place (after a very long discussion I was involved in). The classic, and still current but incomplete, B&W rip workflow was to manage ink output for each ink channel and then ensure that this was linearised. (Same with colour. Epson Colorbase is provided for this purpose for supported Epson printers and use with their drivers.) But, and this was the thing I was grappling with at that time, if you then send your image (without a profile conversion) to a driver with a linear response all your mid-range shifts because the white point and, most significantly, the black points are imperfect. You're trying to jam your (e.g.) gray gamma 2.2 image file into a linear line between dMax and dMin without a shift in the file numbers. Result: flat prints that are generally lighter than they appear on screen. The initial response to this was to apply a tone curve prior to printing and this was then refined by Roy into an ICC profile shell. (All the ICC profile does is perform the necessary curve transform but has the added advantage of recording the a* and b* values as well and hence allowing soft proofing, as well as the ability to record the hue generated by the ABW driver in a file via profile conversion which could be emailed, posted on the web etc.) Once you have profiled the response of the Epson ABW (or any other greyscale RIP) to a sample set of input numbers then you just need to alter the file numbers appropriately before they reach the printer (just like any colour managed workflow). One used to be able to do this on-the-fly as the file left PS but now one needs to do the profile conversion prior to sending the file to print (just don't save the file).

Epson Adv B&W likely incorporates a tonal shift even in the "normal" setting (if they did I think they got it wrong) but this doesn't reflect your own printer and choice of media (which may well not be Epson). I recall early demonstrations of ABW using the darker setting to combat the lighter-than-screen problem. I wouldn't mind betting that the only reason these choices exist is because of this issue - otherwise why the need for a tone curve adjustment in a set of colour controls focused on picking hue?

My beef with CS5 is, as I note above, that I can't access Print Settings (even to change the paper setting) when the print dialogue box is set to Printer Manages Color. If I boot CS5 and reset preferences while doing so I can access them once but only once.  This may well be a separate issue but I've not found a solution to this yet.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 01:39:38 PM by S Kale » Logged
Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2012, 03:35:56 PM »
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It's not the OS.
My beef with CS5 is, as I note above, that I can't access Print Settings (even to change the paper setting) when the print dialogue box is set to Printer Manages Color. If I boot CS5 and reset preferences while doing so I can access them once but only once.  This may well be a separate issue but I've not found a solution to this yet.
It is the OS.  I'm on Wndows and can print fine from LR using either Eric Chan's profiles or my own QTR profiles.  It is the linearity as I've done my own tests with either Eric's or my own QTR profiles.  The spectro doesn't lie.
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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2012, 04:36:46 PM »
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It's most definitely the OS.  Adobe provides a free utility (Adobe Colour Print Utility) to allow you to print targets which need to be outside of a colour managed workflow.
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Schewe
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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2012, 05:03:41 PM »
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My beef with CS5 is, as I note above, that I can't access Print Settings (even to change the paper setting) when the print dialogue box is set to Printer Manages Color. If I boot CS5 and reset preferences while doing so I can access them once but only once.  This may well be a separate issue but I've not found a solution to this yet.

Completely separate issue...what OS? Do you have a default printer installed? Have you tried toggling from Printer Manages Color to Photoshop Manages Color back to Printer Manages Color to see of the print settings then show up? With regards to PS CS5, what version are you running? CS5 (12.0.4) or CS5.5. (12.1)?
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S Kale
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« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2012, 05:32:26 PM »
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It is the OS.  I'm on Wndows and can print fine from LR using either Eric Chan's profiles or my own QTR profiles.  It is the linearity as I've done my own tests with either Eric's or my own QTR profiles.  The spectro doesn't lie.

Well QTR profiles work fine with OS-X 10.6.8.  As of this morning anyway.


Alan, perhaps you should pop over to the Yahoo group "Digital B&W: The print" and raise your issues with all the happy users over there.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 06:04:57 PM by S Kale » Logged
S Kale
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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2012, 05:35:08 PM »
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It's most definitely the OS.  Adobe provides a free utility (Adobe Colour Print Utility) to allow you to print targets which need to be outside of a colour managed workflow.

What's that got to do with ABW?

Yes we all know that in order to print a colour target chart for conventional ICC profile generation in a colour workflow without colour management then we need to either print from the profiling software or use something like the little utility Adobe produced. I print my colour targets from the profiling software - all fine I'm told.

For ABW and QTR Create ICC we simply want to profile the entire chain, regardless of what happens in the middle so long as it is consistent.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 06:55:01 PM by S Kale » Logged
S Kale
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« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2012, 05:52:59 PM »
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Completely separate issue...what OS? Do you have a default printer installed? Have you tried toggling from Printer Manages Color to Photoshop Manages Color back to Printer Manages Color to see of the print settings then show up? With regards to PS CS5, what version are you running? CS5 (12.0.4) or CS5.5. (12.1)?

Agree separate issue and likely best discussed in a separate thread but.... OS-X 10.6.8, CS5 12.0.4. Just two printers on network - Epson 4800 and a simple office combo BX635FWD.  OS-X System Prefs is set to make the last printer used as default. Toggling "color handling" to "Photoshop manages colors" allows access to "Print Settings" but of course with this ABW etc is inaccessible in the driver dialog box. With "color handling" set to "Printer Manages Colors" clicking "Print Settings" does nothing. As noted above, if I open PS while holding down the shift-option-command keys and delete the Adobe Photoshop Settings file I can - once only - access Print Settings with Color Handling set to Printer Manages Colors but once I save these settings I can no longer access Print Settings with Color Handling set to Printer Manages Colors.  

(BTW I couldn't get a solution to this on the Adobe forums so appreciate it if you can solve the issue. At the moment I edit in CS5 and when it comes to printing just switch to CS3.)
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 05:58:33 PM by S Kale » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2012, 06:19:20 PM »
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(BTW I couldn't get a solution to this on the Adobe forums so appreciate it if you can solve the issue. At the moment I edit in CS5 and when it comes to printing just switch to CS3.)

Dave Polaschek from the Photoshop team indicated there may be a bug that requires setting a specific printer as Default and then toggling from Print Manages Color to Photoshop Manages Color then back to Print Manages Color to be able to get to the Printer Settings...I think it's a combination of having a default then toggling and ending up in the Printer Manages Color. I've got multiple printers installed but have a single one as Default. I've not had an issue trying to get to the Printer Settings running 10.6.8 and 10.7.3, but I do keep a Default printer in the print pipeline (and I usually print out of Lightroom).

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S Kale
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« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2012, 06:49:18 PM »
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Dave Polaschek from the Photoshop team indicated there may be a bug that requires setting a specific printer as Default and then toggling from Print Manages Color to Photoshop Manages Color then back to Print Manages Color to be able to get to the Printer Settings...I think it's a combination of having a default then toggling and ending up in the Printer Manages Color. I've got multiple printers installed but have a single one as Default. I've not had an issue trying to get to the Printer Settings running 10.6.8 and 10.7.3, but I do keep a Default printer in the print pipeline (and I usually print out of Lightroom).



Thanks! What a PITA though.  I have to set a default printer and:

(a) change to the default printer (the little office all-in-one)
(b) set Photoshop Manages Colors
(c) open Print Settings and save
(d) change to Printer Manages Colors
(e) change to the Epson 4800
(f) hit Print Settings and go from there

Well at least I have a solution.  Much appreciated.  Shame they don't bother to fix the bug. Apologies for the detour from the topic at hand.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 06:57:34 PM by S Kale » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2012, 07:00:05 PM »
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Thanks! What a PITA though.  I have to set a default printer and:

I'm not sure you have to do this each and every time...try it and see if Photoshop CS5 starts behaving after that first time. That was the impression I got (although I can't remember the specifics of the series of posts).
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« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2012, 08:14:47 PM »
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What's that got to do with ABW?

Yes we all know that in order to print a colour target chart for conventional ICC profile generation in a colour workflow without colour management then we need to either print from the profiling software or use something like the little utility Adobe produced. I print my colour targets from the profiling software - all fine I'm told.

For ABW and QTR Create ICC we simply want to profile the entire chain, regardless of what happens in the middle so long as it is consistent.

The changes made in CS5 reflect the changed paradigm of the OS and the wishes of the OS vendor with regard to colour management.  For that reason, and because that particular paradigm changed several times in a relatively short period of time, Adobe removed the option from CS5 and produced, instead, the aforementioned utility.  Dave P. at Adobe quite correctly suggested it would be much easier to maintain the utility in a changing environment than updating PS (also much quicker to respond).  Pressure from OS vendors to follow their particular paradigm is significant - they can ask and, if you don't follow, they can force.  Better to follow than to have them force the issue and break your app.

ABW was never designed for use in a colour managed/ICC workflow - that use was (and remains) effectively a kludge.  It's a kludge that works, of course, but the changes in CS5 in line with the OS changes removed that option.

In short, the reason it doesn't work with CS5 is because of the OS.
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S Kale
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« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2012, 02:50:01 AM »
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The changes made in CS5 reflect the changed paradigm of the OS and the wishes of the OS vendor with regard to colour management.  For that reason, and because that particular paradigm changed several times in a relatively short period of time, Adobe removed the option from CS5 and produced, instead, the aforementioned utility.  Dave P. at Adobe quite correctly suggested it would be much easier to maintain the utility in a changing environment than updating PS (also much quicker to respond).  Pressure from OS vendors to follow their particular paradigm is significant - they can ask and, if you don't follow, they can force.  Better to follow than to have them force the issue and break your app.

Nothing to do with ABW

ABW was never designed for use in a colour managed/ICC workflow

Yes it had shortcomings. Utilities such as QTR Create ICC allowed us to fix that.

- that use was (and remains) effectively a kludge.  It's a kludge that works, of course,

It wasn't a workaround but rather an improvement, the missing link in ABW (and any other B&W printing workflow for that matter).

but the changes in CS5 in line with the OS changes removed that option.


Removed what option? One can still print with Printer Manages Colors (just as intended before) and apply a tone transformation within PS (with an ICC profile generated with QTR Create ICC) before sending the file to print.  The only difference between now and before is that one used to be able to apply the transform on-the-fly as the file was handed off by PS (with Photoshop Manages Colors) and still retain printer colour management/ABW settings in the driver. Now ABW is only available when Printer Manages Colors.  That actually makes sense. So we need to apply the transform before handing the file off. (Just don't save that as your master file.)

What exactly that you think happens now, as opposed to before, between a file being handed off with Printer Manages Colors and the Epson driver taking over? Have these changes you believe exist affected printing from CS3 (for example)?


What was removed was the ability to print a target without any colour management whatsoever (and Adobe, as you say, provided a utility to do so). There are other ways to print targets without colour management - Adobe just had to fix the ability to do so from within the Adobe "empire". But with ABW we always profiled the "colour management" being done by the ABW driver. In other words, we want to profile "Printer Manages Colors".

The only thing that's missing insofar as ABW is concerned is the convenience to have both Photoshop Manages Colors and Printer Manages Colors operating at the same time when it comes to printing the image.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2012, 03:26:56 AM by S Kale » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2012, 03:34:59 AM »
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Nothing to do with ABW

Plenty to do with it.

Yes it had shortcomings. Utilities such as QTR Create ICC allowed us to fix that.

They weren't shortcomings.  A shortcoming would suggest it failed to meet its design specification.  It didn't.

It wasn't a workaround but rather an improvement, the missing link in ABW (and any other B&W printing workflow for that matter).

Quite reasonable to call it an improvement, so long as it is noted that it is using it in a way for which it was not designed.

Removed what option? One can still print with Printer Manages Colors (just as intended before) and apply a tone transformation within PS (with an ICC profile generated with QTR Create ICC) before sending the file to print.  The only difference between now and before is that one used to be able to apply the transform on-the-fly as the file was handed off by PS (with Photoshop Manages Colors) and still retain printer colour management/ABW settings in the driver. Now ABW is only available when Printer Manages Colors.  That actually makes sense. So we need to apply the transform before handing the file off. (Just don't save that as your master file.)

You answered your own question.  Note that this isn't required under Windows, only OS X, since Windows will allow changes to the driver (although it does also make driver changes in accordance with the underlying colour management paradigm, it just doesn't lock out changes in the way that OS X does.

What exactly that you think happens now, as opposed to before, between a file being handed off with Printer Manages Colors and the Epson driver taking over? Have these changes you believe exist affected printing from CS3 (for example)?

No changes of importance here, but not relevant to my point.

What was removed was the ability to print a target without any colour management whatsoever (and Adobe, as you say, provided a utility to do so). There are other ways to print targets without colour management - Adobe just had to fix the ability to do so from within the Adobe "empire". But with ABW we always profiled the "colour management" being done by the ABW driver. In other words, we want to profile "Printer Manages Colors". The only thing that's missing insofar as ABW is concerned is the convenience to have both Photoshop Manages Colors and Printer Manages Colors operating at the same time.

Yes, and the reason that's missing is because of the OS.  Which is what I said.
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S Kale
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« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2012, 03:59:48 AM »
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Plenty to do with it.

In what way?

They weren't shortcomings.  A shortcoming would suggest it failed to meet its design specification.  It didn't.

A shortcoming is something that leads to it not being the best it could be. Epson only provided crude tone mapping between the image space and the printer response.

Quite reasonable to call it an improvement, so long as it is noted that it is using it in a way for which it was not designed.

The Epson driver is still being used as intended. We simply apply a transform prior to getting to the printer driver to reflect the fact that we are moving from one gamut to another and avoid using Epson's crude tone mapping. Have you ever actually used ABW with QTR profiles?

You answered your own question.  Note that this isn't required under Windows, only OS X, since Windows will allow changes to the driver (although it does also make driver changes in accordance with the underlying colour management paradigm, it just doesn't lock out changes in the way that OS X does.

The changes are fine - they simply require a very modest change in behaviour to achieve the same result. The more relevant point is that none of this affects the use of QTR profiles for enhancing ABW. They still work fine.

No changes of importance here, but not relevant to my point.

Eh? So nothing has been dropped by the OS into the file to print path that will affect the response of the printer? (Even if it did, we could profile it if it was consistent.) Everything as before. Just can't do the tone mapping on-the-fly but that isn't an issue at all.

Yes, and the reason that's missing is because of the OS.  Which is what I said.

And for ABW I don't care that this has been removed (back to the first point above). It affects the printing of targets for colour profiling but not for the QTR Create ICC profiling of Epson ABW which is what we're talking about.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2012, 05:08:20 AM by S Kale » Logged
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« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2012, 03:32:12 PM »
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Actually, we're talking about, "Use of Eric Chan's ABW profiiles for B&W printing".
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« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2012, 03:44:55 PM »
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Actually, we're talking about, "Use of Eric Chan's ABW profiiles for B&W printing".


Err...no.  I commented that one can use QTR Create ICC profiles. Replies since have been to that and subsequent posts.
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