With ImagePrint Phatte Black
If you own an Epson 4800, 7800 or 9800, printing using Ultrachrome K3 inks, and may have already heard about Imageprint's Phatte Black ink system, reviewed here first in November, 2005. In combination with the Imageprint RIP 6.1 and a specially rechipped Epson Matte Black cartridge it allows these printers to print to both matte and glossy papers without the need to swap cartridges, and without suffering the hassle and the cost of wasted ink and time involved each time paper types are changed.
When the Phatte Black system was first introduced in November '05, it did not support the use of custom profiles; only ColorBytes' own supplied DK profiles. But, given that this is one of the largest profile libraries in existence, and that all of these profiles are free for the downloading for anyone that uses ImagePrint, some might wonder at the need for custom profiles.
Cano 5D with 24-105mm f/4L IS lens @ ISO 400
Making Phatte Black Profiles
As good as they are (and they're very good), and as many as there are (nearly every major paper on the market is covered), it still is a necessity or simply a desire for some print makers to create their own printer profiles. New papers are always coming to market, Hahnemuhle's Museum Etching is one recent example, and though ColorByte is very good at responding to requests for new profiles, sometimes it takes a while, and sometimes the papers are obscure and so aren't covered.
Also, there is a pleasure in creating ones own profiles, and knowing that the prints made are as good if not better than those from second parties. Of course a high-end spectrophotometer and profiling software, such as Gretag Macbeth's Eye One system is also a requirement.
If you have such an outfit, have Imageprint 6.1, and are using the Phatte Black ink system, you'll be pleased to know that in late December, '05, ColorByte upgraded Imageprint so that it now allows the use of one's own custom profiles.
Creating these is straightforward. You'll need to obtain two special "profiles" from the Imageprint web site. These are X800_DK_matte_No_Recipe and X800_DK_photo_No_Recipe. Or, simply use "Select correct printer profile". This points to a file called default.icm in your Imageprint / Color directory. The only difference between using this and the special No_Recipe profiles is that the latter cause the right inkset and quality to be selected, saving some steps.
Load your profiling software's test image, and then select one of these so-called profiles (depending on the paper used) using the Color Management / Output tab. Also go into the Bitmap tab and change the Untagged Image/Missing Profile section to NONE in the RGB field.
Then, in File / Print / Setup choose the Quality you wish. Finally, make sure under Inkset that you choose KMCMYcm 7 pigment for matte papers and KCMYcm 7 pigment for glossy papers.
When the print is finished, let it dry an appropriate amount of time (not less than 30 minutes in my experience) and then make your profile. Place this profile in the Color subdirectory of the ImagePrint folder, and re-start Imageprint. If you want to softproof, put a copy of the new profile in your operating system's appropriate directory.
Just one final note – unlike profiles created by ColorByte, profiles generated yourself will not cause ImagePrint to automatically choose the correct Quality and Ink Set, so these must always be set manually.