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Author Topic: New to photo printing with Epson 3880  (Read 5055 times)
BobWarner
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« on: March 20, 2014, 05:37:23 PM »
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Hi,

I've never done much with my own images, but want to start printing them on archival papers.  Not for resale, for myself and friends. (And I run a small K-8 school and would like the kids to shoot and print some photos.)   I have many images - digital and scans of medium and large format negatives, color and B&W (mostly landscapes).  I have a recent model MacBook Pro and am using Photoshop CS3.  I just bought an Epson 3880 (NOT the Graphic Arts edition).

So I have a lot of noobie questions. 
1.  Do I need to somehow calibrate my screen so that what I see gets translated fairly well on to paper?  If so, how?
2.  I won't be using many different types of paper, and I don't have any interest in experimenting with different papers.  I'll probably select 2 or 3 and stick with those. I have a number of samples arriving in the mail soon.   I've heard something about ICC profiles for papers.  Is this something where I would load the profiles and then when I select that paper from the Epson print menu, everything should turn out just fine (with minor tweaking as necessary)?

I know there is a learning curve in such matters, and I know becoming a pro does not occur overnight, but I want to speed up the start of the process so that I can soon get to a point of high quality predictable results with 1 or 2 papers.  I thought it might be good to contact someone in my area (Pasadena, CA) who is familiar with the 3880 and pay for some set-up/consulting.  Not sure how to contact such a person - ??   Or if there is a solution along the lines of "read this, and this, and this -- apply what you learned", then that would be fine. 

Appreciate any comments.  Thanks.  Bob



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digitaldog
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2014, 05:42:04 PM »
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So I have a lot of noobie questions. 
1.  Do I need to somehow calibrate my screen so that what I see gets translated fairly well on to paper?  If so, how?
You have to do that on a regular basis. So you should look into a decent product to do so. There are all kinds of posts here from people using different products.
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2.  I won't be using many different types of paper, and I don't have any interest in experimenting with different papers.  I'll probably select 2 or 3 and stick with those. I have a number of samples arriving in the mail soon.   I've heard something about ICC profiles for papers.  Is this something where I would load the profiles and then when I select that paper from the Epson print menu, everything should turn out just fine (with minor tweaking as necessary)?
Try the profiles that are installed with your printer, they are usually very good. 3rd party papers are a bit more problematic, they vary from no profiles to OK profiles to very good profiles. At this stage of the game, stick with Epson papers and their profiles and then move on if you wish.
If you are in Pasadena, maybe there's some night class at Art Center College of Design?
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Andrew Rodney
Author “Color Management for Photographers”
http://digitaldog.net/
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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2014, 06:03:11 PM »
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I know there is a learning curve in such matters, and I know becoming a pro does not occur overnight, but I want to speed up the start of the process so that I can soon get to a point of high quality predictable results with 1 or 2 papers.  I thought it might be good to contact someone in my area (Pasadena, CA) who is familiar with the 3880 and pay for some set-up/consulting.  Not sure how to contact such a person - ??   Or if there is a solution along the lines of "read this, and this, and this -- apply what you learned", then that would be fine. 

In addition to what Andrew said, you might check out Andrew's web site where he has tutorials and articles. You might also check out LuLa's Camera to Print & Screen video tutorial (staring Mike & me) or my book, The Digital Print.
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BobShaw
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2014, 06:54:59 PM »
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1. Yes, just get a calibrator. I use the Spyder 4 Elite.
2. Yes, but there is no reason that you have to use Epson papers unless you want to, as you can download profiles for most papers to the 3880. If you get serious with a paper then it is best to get a custom profile made for that paper. Cost $60-150 depending on who does it.
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Website - http://AspirationImages.com
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Photography, Custom Framing and Printing, Sydney Australia
KirbyKrieger
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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2014, 10:03:20 AM »
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As above: the only way to get a color-correct workflow is to use a hardware calibrator and a high-quality monitor and printer.  You have the printer.  Buy the calibrator (as mentioned, this comes up regularly), and think about saving for a better monitor than the MBP display gives you.  The Retina (™) displays are certainly usable, but are (IME) much better for watching movies than for editing photos.

Use the mfr's ICC profile for whatever paper you like.  It is not likely, imho, that you will ever need to make your own profile or have one made.

Learn how to soft-proof.

Upgrade your software.  PS CS3 is old.  (I don't know if it is out-dated.)

The ICC profile is usually selected in the printing app's print dialog.  The paper (often called the media) is selected in the printer's print dialog.  There are usually two print dialogs invoked when you print.

Since you are on the OS X platform, you might consider purchasing Aperture, even though Apple just announced they will not support it beyond making it work with their up-coming OS, Yosemite.  Aperture is unsurpassed as an Image database, and has good color, proofing, and printing controls.  It should be usable for about 18 months.

While I wouldn't want to take any earnings from a guru, I suggest learning how to use and trouble-shoot your equipment yourself.  The transition from digital media to physical media is fraught with pitfalls.  You will regularly fail to get the results you want, and will want to be able to rely on your own skills to trouble-shoot.  Printing is not a "set it and forget it" process.

Your goal — "soon get to a point of high quality predictable results with 1 or 2 papers" — is easily reached with some effort.  I recommend using Epson Fine Art papers — they are good, they work, they are readily available in all popular sizes and types — until you are comfortable printing.

When I was learning these things, I found the information on this site (Luminous Landscape), and on Cambridge in Color, invaluable.

Good luck.  With a photospectrometer, a MBP, and the 3880 you should be making impressive prints soon.

—Kirby.
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