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Author Topic: Printing advanced black and white from LR4?  (Read 16960 times)
S Kale
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« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2012, 04:39:32 PM »
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I don't believe that to be the case. No company can operate and be successful for long in a "black box".

I actually think the changes re the Epson driver make a lot of sense when thought of in a broader public sense. They remove a lot of confusion from newcomers to digital printing. If the editing or printing application manages colours then the ability to manage colours in the driver is prohibited and greyed out - makes sense.  If the editing or printing application says that the driver manages colours then driver colour management is available. It is a peculiarity rather than a general rule that someone would want to not manage colour at all and that is best dealt with by those applications that require printing of non-colour managed targets, as they do already today.

It was a bit annoying for Mac QTR Create ICC users (and similar, including those that preferred to print colour targets from PS rather than their profiling software) as we were dependent on a third party application such as PS to print targets without colour management and Adobe decided not to implement this ability except in the colour-ICC world via their little utility (which, frankly, I don't see any need for as I can print colour profiling targets from i1Profiler).  It's a real shame that they didn't provide for the printing of greyscale targets with printer manages colours and so allow the printing of targets to profile Epson ABW. I'm really surprised Eric wasn't on top of this given his earlier work with profiling Epson ABW.

So it is left to others to provide such utilities and on that I do know Mr Harrington has a few cards up his sleeves...





« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 04:48:37 PM by S Kale » Logged
S Kale
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« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2012, 04:44:56 PM »
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you could no longer use a profile with ABW, it had to be printer manages the colors. 

You can still use a profile with ABW and OS-X - you just need to convert to that profile sending the image to print. The OS-X compulsory conversion of greyscale files to Generic Gray Gamma 2.2 is a whole separate story but needs to be factored in also. This I have a problem with as I can't see any compelling need as to why Apple feels this is necessary but clearly no one is taking them to case on this point.  So we have to convert to the "ABW profile" then assign Generic Gray Gamma 2.2 before sending the image to print.
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Nora_nor
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« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2012, 07:03:52 AM »
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from lightroom, or from a file saved from Lignroom and printed fro Photoshop?

I have seen one workaround mentioned but it involves ps and a layer with a correction curve for adjusting the tones, which is then again turned off for printing. In ABW mode. I assume the same layer can be used for each paper , like a paper profile
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Nora_nor
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« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2012, 06:04:12 PM »
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Thanks for the warning about the generic bw with apple, since I have a new laptop just lying around with win7.
(I read about the apple problem that used to be with photoshop and generic RGB when sending files to printer, which got fixed at one time) (so I guess they only fixed the RGB mode)

What happened with the latest huge Epson printer update we got on macs? What printing problems did it supposedly fix? I got these dark prints after that and had to unhide the library, and /or re-install the driver then it printed fine again
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Nora_nor
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« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2012, 07:07:11 AM »
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okay, I found the note about not possible printing with ABW and custom profiles with macs anymore
http://people.csail.mit.edu/ericchan/photos/profiles.html
and there is a recent thread here about Eric not doing those custom profiles anymore
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S Kale
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« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2012, 10:03:24 AM »
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You can still use QTR profiles with ABW and a Mac. You just need to do things a little differently than before. When printing the target for profiling you need to assign Generic Gray Gamma 2.2 to the target before printing. Measure the target and create a profile as before.  When printing an image, convert the image to the QTR profile you made and then assign Generic Gray Gamma 2.2. Using an action makes this easy.  I prefer not to save the image file once it has been converted - instead keeping it stored in the working space.
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Nora_nor
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« Reply #26 on: April 24, 2012, 05:26:24 AM »
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OK, I have 4900 and I  will try printing some bw test files using ABW vs let lightroom handle colours and turn off colour management on the printer. I see there are some standard test files out there some places, like northlight images.
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pflower
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« Reply #27 on: April 24, 2012, 10:51:43 AM »
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Clearly I am missing something here.  I usually only print ABW with B&W negs scanned as RGB tiffs. I make sure I get rid of any colour cast in Photoshop (desaturate and, to play safe, convert to greyscale and then back to RGB).

I can then choose one of Eric Chan's profiles in Lightroom and print via ABW without a problem. I am running OSX10.6.8 and my Epson 3880 driver says that it is 6.60.  This seems to work ok for me.  Is this because my driver is so old?  If so am I missing anything in not updating?
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S Kale
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« Reply #28 on: April 24, 2012, 11:51:38 AM »
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When you tell LR to manage colours and select a profile (rather than Managed by Printer) with an up-to-date driver you will not be able access ABW - it is greyed out.  It makes sense because you've just determined that LR is managing colour. I don't use Eric's profiles (I make my own with QTR Create ICC) but you'll need to convert to the profile (assuming it is still "valid") before sending the file to the printer and in so doing you will select Managed by Printer  in the Colour Management tab of LR.

With printing greyscale files, OS-X throws another spanner in the works. It converts any greyscale file to Generic Gray Gamma 2.2 before the file gets to the printer.  This would screw up the application of an ABW printer profile if the steps I noted in previous posts weren't followed.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 11:54:17 AM by S Kale » Logged
Nora_nor
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« Reply #29 on: April 24, 2012, 02:33:55 PM »
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okay, you have a point with quadtone rip. I went over to their website and it is only 50 dollars.

I can borrow a colour monkey, can that work with it?
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #30 on: April 24, 2012, 05:17:56 PM »
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okay, you have a point with quadtone rip. I went over to their website and it is only 50 dollars.

I can borrow a colour monkey, can that work with it?
Yes, all you have to do is be able to read the densities of the patch set.  If you are going to use a ColorMunki, see this site for how to do it.  Kieth also has a 21 step patch set just for the Munki.

Alan
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #31 on: April 25, 2012, 07:09:35 AM »
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Let's be clear about something that a number of people in this thread seem to have ignored or forgot. While it is true that you can use QTR to create ICC profiles that can be used with ABW, not everyone wants to do this. Not everyone is in a position, financially, to be buying the gear necessary (even a Colormunki that is fairly reasonably priced), nor has the time or inclination to learn about creating custom profiles. And that is not a small number of people. For those, ABW is a black box as Andrew notes.
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S Kale
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« Reply #32 on: April 25, 2012, 07:16:48 AM »
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No more so than ANY driver is if you aren't managing colour with an ICC profile. Therefore, I'm afraid the above doesn't say or add much at all.

(A more relevant statement would be to note that with QTR ICC profiles, or Eric's for that matter, we are only managing the L* axis and allowing the driver to control a* and b*. We are profiling a* and b* (as well as L*) for soft proofing purposes but a* and b* aren't managed. Therein lies the difference between these "profiles" and a regular ICC profile-managed workflow. If you're not profiling either then they're both "black boxes". Only a RIP that allows full control over ink channels, ink deposit and linearisation could be described as not a black box - even then it is still generally an opaque one.)
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #33 on: April 25, 2012, 07:22:50 AM »
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(A more relevant statement would be to note that with QTR ICC profiles, or Eric's for that matter, we are only managing the L* axis and allowing the driver to control a* and b*. We are profiling a* and b* (as well as L*) for soft proofing purposes but a* and b* aren't managed. Therein lies the difference between these "profiles" and a regular ICC profile-managed workflow. If you're not profiling either then they're both "black boxes". Only a RIP that allows full control over ink channels, ink deposit and linearisation could be described as not a black box - even then it is still generally an opaque one.)
Correct and one can see differences between an un-profiled density curve and a profiled one.  It is quite subtle but there none the less.  Those who are interested can get added benefit from using an ABW profile.  Since QTR is the only game in town now that Eric is no longer doing ABW profiles, interested parties should probably go to the QTR User Group to post questions.
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S Kale
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« Reply #34 on: April 25, 2012, 07:26:07 AM »
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I would say "more than subtle" in the case of matt papers.

And people will find plenty of others on the Yahoo group Digital B&W - The Print willing to share profiles made for various printer, ink and paper combinations if they aren't in a position to make them themselves (just as one must share Epson's general colour ICC profiles if one can't make custom profiles). Just ask politely and people will help to the extent they can.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2012, 07:27:45 AM by S Kale » Logged
RFPhotography
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« Reply #35 on: April 25, 2012, 10:58:20 AM »
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No more so than ANY driver is if you aren't managing colour with an ICC profile. Therefore, I'm afraid the above doesn't say or add much at all.

(A more relevant statement would be to note that with QTR ICC profiles, or Eric's for that matter, we are only managing the L* axis and allowing the driver to control a* and b*. We are profiling a* and b* (as well as L*) for soft proofing purposes but a* and b* aren't managed. Therein lies the difference between these "profiles" and a regular ICC profile-managed workflow. If you're not profiling either then they're both "black boxes". Only a RIP that allows full control over ink channels, ink deposit and linearisation could be described as not a black box - even then it is still generally an opaque one.)

BIG difference between ABW and color printing with profiles. There are profiles pretty readily available for a variety of printers and papers via paper manufacturers' websites. Not so with ABW.

As far as my comment not saying or adding much at all; that response does exactly what I outlined. It patently ignores the fact that a lot of people are not in a position to make their own custom profiles. Finding some through the The Print Yahoo group is fine but even then the variety available is unlikely to be close to what is available for color printing.

WRT a and b being unmanaged in the print process, should it matter? ABW expects to receive data in true grayscale, R=B=G. Given that, all that should be required is L. Or are you saying that a and b are required as well because the printer still mixes some colour ink even when printing via ABW?

You don't need a density curve to see the differences, Alan. The difference between printing through ABW with and without a profile can be easily seen in regular prints of b&w images. And the differences are not always that subtle.
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S Kale
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« Reply #36 on: April 25, 2012, 12:26:51 PM »
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BIG difference between ABW and color printing with profiles. There are profiles pretty readily available for a variety of printers and papers via paper manufacturers' websites. Not so with ABW.

Well, in that there is no "manufacturer" in this case I would agree with you but there are a lot of people willing to help out someone with no access to a densitometer (see the last paragraph below).

As far as my comment not saying or adding much at all; that response does exactly what I outlined. It patently ignores the fact that a lot of people are not in a position to make their own custom profiles. Finding some through the The Print Yahoo group is fine but even then the variety available is unlikely to be close to what is available for color printing.

I said that the ABW driver is no more a "black box" than any other. Both need/should be used with profiles. It's a real shame that Epson missed a beat and didn't deploy this extension of their great ABW driver - and make available profiles for at least their papers and the standard settings (warm, cool etc). But then they've always been focused elsewhere and not on B&W. ABW was a good step forward but it's far, far away from current "state-of-the-art" B&W printing. It is, however, when coupled with QTR ICC profiles, tremendously convenient for the average user.

WRT a and b being unmanaged in the print process, should it matter? ABW expects to receive data in true grayscale, R=B=G. Given that, all that should be required is L. Or are you saying that a and b are required as well because the printer still mixes some colour ink even when printing via ABW?

I think you miss the point a little bit but I will attempt to answer your question. In crude terms, as you undoubtedly know, with a conventional colour profile and colour printing, we profile (as opposed to calibrate) a printer by measuring its colour response to a set of colour numbers and then try - as much as possible within the available gamut - to get the printer the produce the right colours by altering the image file numbers "on the fly" as it is sent to the printer. Various methods manage any necessary gamut compression including the rendering intent and black point compensation.

When black and white printing (when not using a colour workflow), we use the driver to select hue and, typically, only send it a single channel file (or, as you note, an RGB file where R=G=B). In a RIP such as QTR, managing hue is done by selecting which inks (they may be colour inks or a graded B&W ink set which in turn may or may not have warm and cool inks for toning) are used, when and in what amounts. In ABW, this is managed with the (very convenient) hue picker (or standard settings) which drives how the ink channels are used/mixed. I may want a warm print (via either driver) and so not desire a=b=0 across the gradation from paper white to ink black, even though my image in PS appears as a (neutral) greyscale file (whether in an RGB or single channel workspace). If a QTR ICC profile tried to manage a* and b* then it would attempt to alter file values to reverse the selected hue in ABW. So in outbound management of the file, a* and b* are ignored. Rather we are only concerned with fitting the image's luminance ramp into the narrower print space (for, particularly for matt papers, the printer doesn't get close to a perfect black or even a perfect white). We record the luminance response of the printer for various stimulus numbers build a curve for that response and embed it into an ICC profile shell. Together with BPC, the profile manages the file to print space "luminance gamut" transition by changing the files numbers (either single channel or, in the case of an RGB image, with always R=G=B) to produce the appropriate, corrected L*. So this is what I mean by a* and b* aren't managed. a* and b* are left to fall where they may according to the shift in L*.

The "freebie" that comes along with using an ICC profile for this curve adjustment is that we can, however, record the a* and b* response of the printer - for soft-proofing purposes only. So you can create profiles for a given paper, printer, ABW settings and soft-proof the hue your image will have when printed. (Take a close look at a QTR ICC profile with Colorsync Utility.)

Epson's ABW driver still uses some colour when you ask it to print a single channel greyscale file, just as any driver uses its colour set to produce a colour when asked to deliver neutral grey (it just may not do a very good job as was the problem pre ABW and, some would argue, still today).  But, importantly, ABW uses dramatically less yellow and no dark cyan or dark magenta. It also uses a lot more light-light black. Here are some numbers Roy Harrington recorded when ABW first came out:

"Since there's been talk about the two Epson driver modes I thought
it would be worthwhile seeing how they compare in ink usage.
The following "prints" were done to a file and analyzed to see what
commands were being sent to the printer.

Comparison of ink usage from the Epson R2400 with Epson driver
Image - grayscale 21 step wedge
Paper - Velvet Fine Art
Quality - Best Photo (1440x1440)
Both prints use 2 dot sizes, percents are weighted based on drop size

Epson ABW driver - neutral
total   100%   dots 9,763,341 small 2,532,646 medium
K   31.27%
LK   26.15%
LLK   21.03%
LM   12.76%
LC    7.92%
Y    0.87%

Epson standard driver - Epson Velvet Fine Art profile
total   100%   dots 10,393,768 small 2,694,351 medium
K   32.84%
LK   49.40%
LLK    1.29%
M    3.25%
LM    4.39%
C    2.90%
LC    2.37%
Y    3.54%

Some observations:
ABW uses a lot more LLK --- 16 times!
ABW uses a lot less Y --- 1/4 the amount
ABW uses no dark C and M

Interestingly this really supports the idea of replacing the Y
ink with a LLK ink with either driver.

Roy"

You don't need a density curve to see the differences, Alan. The difference between printing through ABW with and without a profile can be easily seen in regular prints of b&w images. And the differences are not always that subtle.

Agreed and that's why we like it.

While one needs a spectrophotometer to get the soft proofing part of QTR Create ICC, one only needs a densitometer to get the L* management.  So it really can be extremely cost effective to adopt. And if one doesn't have even that, there's a community out there which is willing to help those that desire a profile for a particular ink, printer, ABW hue combination. I'm not suggesting that every imaginable combination is available, but there's a lot of help out there for the most commonly used papers and printers.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #37 on: April 25, 2012, 12:39:16 PM »
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I said that the ABW driver is no more a "black box" than any other. Both need/should be used with profiles.

Actually that isn’t so, at least in terms of the end user having to supply, use or select a profile. In the state of it’s original design, ABW doesn’t require any output profiles and the color portion of the Epson driver can operate without them as well.
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Andrew Rodney
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S Kale
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« Reply #38 on: April 25, 2012, 12:54:27 PM »
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Andrew, again (as we've had this conversation before), that's because its "design" was inadequate. To be acceptable to a reasonably sophisticated user it does require the very sort of profile that is supplied by QTR Create ICC. Adding light black and light-light black inks were a step in the right direction for better B&W printing. ABW was another. ABW with QTR Create ICC profiles was yet another. One can go considerably further with dedicated B&W ink sets.

Once again, the driver is no more a "black box" than Epson's colour driver - it causes the printer to produce ink on paper in reaction to a particular input number set. Neither provides the user with greater insight or control over all the variables that control that printer response for a given input. Both the Epson regular colour driver (or colour printing component of the Epson driver) and the ABW driver can be used with or without profiles. The capabilities of both are greatly enhanced by profiles.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #39 on: April 25, 2012, 01:01:38 PM »
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Andrew, again (as we've had this conversation before), that's because its "design" was inadequate.

That is one opinion...

Quote
To be acceptable to a reasonably sophisticated user it does require the very sort of profile that is supplied by QTR Create ICC.

Perhaps acceptable to YOU. The vast majority of users don’t seem to have any problem with either the design or the results without the use of a 3rd party ‘hack’ or drivers.

Quote
Once again, the driver is no more a "black box" than Epson's colour driver - it causes the printer to produce ink on paper in reaction to a particular input number set. Neither provides the user with greater insight or control over all the variables that control that printer response for a given input. Both the Epson regular colour driver (or colour printing component of the Epson driver) and the ABW driver can be used with or without profiles. The capabilities of both are greatly enhanced by profiles.

I’d agree generally on all points other than the bit about the black box and ABW in terms of it’s effect on sending color data to this portion of the driver when used as designed.

We can drive the printer using any number of 3rd party drivers or RIPs. We don’t have to and the vast majority of Epson users don’t resort to such options. I suppose you could say they are not sophisticated and they are blind to their prints being unacceptable. But I think that is a big stretch.
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Andrew Rodney
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