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Author Topic: Print Tao 8 - Any experience with it?  (Read 2577 times)
Georgecp
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« on: March 21, 2014, 05:02:07 PM »
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Has anyone tried Silverfast's Print Tao 8?  If so, any feedback on how well it works and what it actually does.  From reading the information, it seems to provide the interface of a RIP while substituting its own color management chain using a standard printer driver with profiles.  I would be curious to hear of other experiences and impressions.

Thanks in advance.

George Pappas
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2014, 06:13:35 AM »
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See:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=85357.0


--
Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
January 2014, 600+ inkjet media white spectral plots.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2014, 09:09:51 AM »
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I played with it for a day, wrote up some questions and suggestions for the folks who asked I look at it, never heard back. It's got a very nice UI. I don't see the point if you're a Lightroom user however. TP8 isn't a rip in the strictest sense.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2014, 11:02:50 AM »
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As I mentioned in the thread Ernst linked above, a review is in the works. We aren't quite ready yet, so once again - stay tuned.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Georgecp
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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2014, 10:29:48 PM »
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Thanks for the replies..I will be on the lookout for the review.

I have not had the consistent results with standard LR printing workflow and am looking for better print quality and more predictability in color management output.  I use an EIZO monitor and make my own profiles with I1Profiler (and have tested the various profile settings).  I am still not happy with the results and have been frustrated with the changing color management behavior that has occurred with the various OSX's, PS/LR versions, and epson drivers...I want to "Test print" less and print more...

I believe I am following "standard" good color management workflows; printing targets with no CM, keeping my monitor contrast/brightness/color temp down (275/300:1, 75 candelas, 5k), printing with profile managed CM from LR and checking that the epson driver is showing "no CM"..I am using an epson 4900, Mac OSX 10.8.2, LR5.3.

The issues - prints have too much contrast compared to my monitor soft proof and prints are cooler than the warmer image on my monitor.  This even with printing on Platine which as no OBA's.  I use a 5K PDV viewing booth.  The other issue is that the shadow quarter tones look too blotchy to me.  I am printing with Lustre setting after testing the printer for best driver settings when I first acquired it.

After reading Mark D's review, I downloaded Imageprint 9 and will make some test prints to see what color density/tone and tonal transitions look like.  In short, I am after the highest possible image quality and the most faithful match to my monitor to make final manipulation easier and more predictable (though I know it won't be a perfect match).  I will test this for a bit.

Print Tao could be interesting to me if I had more predictable color management results and the same or higher image quality than I am getting from my standard LR/OSX/Epson workflow.

I haves tried to test every significant variable with I1Profiler to create profiles that product prints that "match" my monitor and have good color density/contrast.  The closest I have come is when I go through the additional optimize step and use a grayscale step wedge as the optimization image - this helped in getting the colors more neutral and a closer match to my monitor.

Any suggestions regarding I1Profiler settings or other  ideas would be appreciated...I have stayed away from V4 profiles per digitaldog's recommendation.
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Czornyj
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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2014, 06:01:10 AM »
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The problem is the calibration of the display. The major bad idea was to calibrate to D50. Another bad idea was to limit the CR at such low luminance. Calibrate the display to D58 or D65 as a starting point, use native contrast. If that won't help, try to lower down ambient light amount in the front of display surrounding, or increase the luminance of the display (BTW - by any chance, does your PDV have a dimmer?) Try to change "Color Management" to "Multiple Monitor Matching" here, ignore the fact that it's "not recommended":


And at the end (or in the beginning) - try use this feature to fine tune the wtpt of the display to a perceived wtpt of paper in a target environment:


If you're using Canon iPF printer, remember to use Doyle Yoder's script to correct the ColorSync behaviour issue in LR:
http://www.dypinc.com/Canon/AppColorMatchingInfo.xml.zip

At the end of the day, read Andrew's essay:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/why_are_my_prints_too_dark.shtml
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 06:20:52 AM by Czornyj » Logged

Georgecp
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« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2014, 07:00:19 AM »
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Thanks for the reply...I'll give this a try.

Regards,
George
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2014, 08:13:48 AM »
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You may also wish to try using BasicColor for calibration and profiling of your display. It may solve a lot of what you find wrong. I found it a definite improvement using my NEC PA271 versus the Spectraview software that came with the display. Delta-E results were better and more importantly, colour and luminance between the monitor and the printer (Epson 4900 using IGFS paper) are more closely aligned. In my experience, more often than not, significant mismatches are due to problems at the display end.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Czornyj
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« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2014, 08:28:30 AM »
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You may also wish to try using BasicColor for calibration and profiling of your display. It may solve a lot of what you find wrong. I found it a definite improvement using my NEC PA271 versus the Spectraview software that came with the display. Delta-E results were better and more importantly, colour and luminance between the monitor and the printer (Epson 4900 using IGFS paper) are more closely aligned. In my experience, more often than not, significant mismatches are due to problems at the display end.

I have quite the opposite opinion.

Not sure about how it handles an EIZO CG, but in case of PA series basICColor display calibrates the backlight luminance to 160cd/m^2, no matter what target is used. It results in better dE  validation results, because evan in case of low luminance targets the bkpt is relatively high and the sensor has less problems when measuring black/dark colour patches. As a result it also makes impossible to achieve higher CR at lower luminance levels - so in the above mentioned case will only make things worse (or the same at best). It also lacks visual correction, or CIE 1964 10° observer measurement options.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 08:31:39 AM by Czornyj » Logged

Mark D Segal
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« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2014, 08:32:33 AM »
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You can select the display luminance value you want in BasicColor. Mine is at 110. I've made thousands of prints with this system and my total waste ratio due to mismatch disappointments is less than 5% - and I keep records of this. I can only speak from my own experience.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Czornyj
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2014, 08:41:11 AM »
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You can select the display luminance value you want in BasicColor. Mine is at 110. I've made thousands of prints with this system and my total waste ratio due to mismatch disappointments is less than 5% - and I keep records of this. I can only speak from my own experience.

When you set 110cd/m^2 target, basICColor will calibrate the backlight luminance to ~160cd/m^2, and then it will cut the wtpt using internal LUT of the display, which leads to involuntary CR decrease, faster CCFL degradation and higher power consumption. It may coincidentally give a visual match in your environment, but it's not a general rule.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 08:43:28 AM by Czornyj » Logged

Mark D Segal
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2014, 08:44:22 AM »
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If the way it's behaving with me were not general to most of their customer base perhaps the product would be much less successful than it apparently is, and much less endorsed by some pretty heavy-weight colour management professionals internationally - including with NEC in Europe.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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digitaldog
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2014, 09:44:01 AM »
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I have not had the consistent results with standard LR printing workflow and am looking for better print quality and more predictability in color management output.
Print Tao 8 isn't going to do anything to help you in this respect. Something else is off or amiss in terms of color management and predictability.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2014, 09:46:47 AM »
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Delta-E results were better and more importantly, colour and luminance between the monitor and the printer (Epson 4900 using IGFS paper) are more closely aligned.
The first part isn't important (dE results), it is primarily a feel good button. The 2nd part is important, I can't understand what SpectraView can't provide what would produce a visual match.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 09:57:05 AM by digitaldog » Logged

Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2014, 10:03:10 AM »
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The first part isn't important (dE results), it is primarily a feel good button. The 2nd part is important, I can't understand what SpectraView can't provide that would produce a visual match.

Yes Andrew - we've had the discussion about "feel good" several times before. You are right that it is a closed-loop test, but I have maintained that it remains useful if not sufficient, simply because it is good to know there is internal consistency in the results it is giving - for as far as that takes us - I would say just a good starting point, because if the system can't do at least that, it ain't worth much. But let us not rehash old arguments.

We agree that the second point is the important one, and again, relying on personal visual experience, all I can tell you is that with my PA271, an Epson 4900 printer and IGFS paper (mostly), and whether printing out of LR or PS, I get more predictable results with BasicColor than I did with Spectraview. I started with Spectraview, then tried BasicColor and systematically found the latter more reliable. They are of course totally different algorithms - one using LUT, the other Matrix. I am not a technical specialist in the intricacies of software design and the math they are doing under the hood, so I can't carry a credible technical discourse any further. All I can tell you is what my eyes tell me, and me eyes are pretty good at this stuff - just came back from my annual eye exam on Friday and after putting them through all kinds of state-of-the-art diagnostic machinery, the doc confirmed it :-).

Cheers.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Czornyj
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« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2014, 11:03:57 AM »
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If the way it's behaving with me were not general to most of their customer base perhaps the product would be much less successful than it apparently is, and much less endorsed by some pretty heavy-weight colour management professionals internationally - including with NEC in Europe.

All I can say as a flyweight colour management professional - who had installed many NEC Spectraview displays, trained their users and tried to support them - is that Spectraview profiler a.k.a. basICColor display was a PITA that had consistently driven me nuts, and using it was a lottery.

For example - for a long period of time there was a problem with ColorMunki Photo support, so the application couldn't really use it. The addition of i1Pro2 support was realised in a very funny way - they added the sensor name and photo, but the sensor was still working in a legacy mode using old i1Pro1 API - it was quite obvious, because it asked to place the instrument on a dark, opaque surface to calibrate the sensor, while new API for i1Pro 2 is using white tile to make wavelenght calibration of the sensor. And even if the sensor was supported, the profiler worked on some systems/configurations, but was unstable or didn't work at all on other systems/configurations.

When I had set the low luminance target (like 80cd/m^2) and I selected native bkpt, I constantly received higher bkpt luminance/lower CR  than from SVII. You also couldn't change the DUC level. You also couldn't change the hardware Colour Space Emulation rendering intent, which is not a big deal, you can change it in Multiprofiler - but hey, Multiprofiler didn't recognise ICC profiles created by Spectraview Profiler/basICColor display, so you had to change the profile manually in the OS when you wanted to go back.

I also always wondered what's the point to calibrate to CIECAM02 dark or dimmed TRC, and save dark or dimmed TRC to a tag of display ICC profile - it doesn't make sense, so what's the point of such option?
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 11:41:33 AM by Czornyj » Logged

Mark D Segal
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« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2014, 11:18:48 AM »
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Hi Marcin,

I use the colorimeter that came supplied with the PA271 and BasicColor had no issues with it. Maybe my requirements and approach are too straightforward so I haven't needed to stretch this stuff beyond developing a successful colour-managed workflow using ICC-compliant  profiles and profiling applications for my display and my printer. Getting back to the issue the poster raised, my only intent was to suggest trying it. If it works well fine, if not, well so be it. Onto something else.

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Georgecp
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« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2014, 11:40:48 AM »
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Thanks to all for weighing in on this issue.  This forum is terrific.

The primary takeaway that I get from this is to look much more closely at my monitor calibration which I will do.  I have operated under the assumption that if I use a high quality monitor and calibrate it to a basic standard, then I should revolve my adjustments around that.  It appears that I was wrong.

My D50, 275/300:1 contrast ratio setting comes from my work with Piezography.  I have had, and still have, successful results with a good screen match (primarily contrast/brightness) between my monitor and dimmable PDV viewing booth (the lights are D50).  I had a decent match for color work when I was printing with a Canon IPF5100 and using snow leopard several years ago.  At the time, I was using I1 match and their first generation I1 spectro.  Soft proofs in PS and a general contrast/brightness match for LR at the time (no soft proofing) worked for me.

I dont' remember the exact OSX version where trouble started, but my behavior changed.....then my printer died (logic board) in early 2012.  I purchased an Epson 4900 - while I have had issues with clogging (I am not a daily printer), I liked the quality of output.  At the same time, I1 profiler was released which had its own learning curve.  And papers changed.  I used IGFS for a while and really liked it.  Now I use primarly Canson infinity baryta and platine...

I have read much of color managment from the early books by Bruce Frazier and others...as a career enterprise software professional, I understand the computer science concepts and process concepts very well.  However, I don't work the real ins/outs of these systems every day so I really only know enough to be dangerous.  Add to this the moving standards implementations that Apple/Adobe/Epson bring to the mix and I feel like I am falling behind, not ahead in getting this under control.

To avoid color management issues for printing profile targets, I use QTR print tool to do this.  In I1 profiler, I use the standard workflow, with D50 lighting condition.  After that, have some success optimizing the profiles with a good, neutral, grayscale image using I1Profiler's optimize function.  I am close but the contrast is still off and the color temp of my prints is still too cool, even with Platine which as no OBA's to complicate things.

Anyway, thanks for the suggestions, I will re-double my efforts and consider the tweaking of my monitor settings where I haven't done so before.  I have long experience from the chemical darkroom so I know what I want my prints to look like - I just need a better link between the display/print so I don't waste time/money due to their disconnect.  Thanks again, I'll keep the group apprised of my progress in case it can be helpful to someone else..



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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2014, 11:46:31 AM »
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You are welcome, and I hope you hit on the right combo.

You are correct that the various vendors do not make this stuff easy for us, as coordination between them and within in terms of systems and software upgrades could be a whole lot better. Each time something changes, it is a recipe for more research and finger-crossing. In an ideal world it shouldn't be like that, but alas.......
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2014, 11:58:16 AM »
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You are right that it is a closed-loop test, but I have maintained that it remains useful if not sufficient, simply because it is good to know there is internal consistency in the results it is giving - for as far as that takes us.
So you are referring to trending (dE values over time and plotted)? That's quite different and it IS useful. It tells you if you're not calibrating a non stable device on a regular basis and how far from the target you are at a given interval. IOW, the stability of the display system over time. Or if there is some visual mismatch from a recent calibration, the trend value uncovers that something is amiss so recalibrate. A single dE report comparing what was measured just a few minutes ago to some chosen colors that will produce a good report is just a feel good experience. You're far better off just opening a refrence image and viewing the reference print to see if you are still producing a visual match. Isn't that after all the goal?
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I get more predictable results with BasicColor
Don't understand. You're getting a better display to print match? Or better predictably as the trending shows that over X amount of time?  There's a big difference between the two. Why do you suppose one product produces a better visual match than the other? One has better options for setting the calibration targets that produce a match?
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Andrew Rodney
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