ULTRA TONE 7 (“UT7”) for 7600 – INFORMATION AND SETTINGS

By

Paul Roark

(9-6-07)

           

 

 

[Caveat:  As of 10-06, I stopped using this inkset and stopped recommending this or any “blended” B&W inkset for use in large format printers without this caveat.  I’ve found large format printers suffer from unacceptable tone shifts with blended inksets when they are left unused for much more than a week.  If one uses the printer regularly or uses an auto-print software program such at MIS provides at http://www.inksupply.com/cobra.cfm#ap then this is not a problem.  Additionally, tone shifts are not a serious problem with most desktop printers where the cartridges are constantly agitated.  However, blended inksets that have inks composed of more than one type of pigment mixed together have tended to have tone shifts between printing sessions where such sessions are separated by more than a week.  The does not appear to be ink separation in the carts, but rather in the tubes that connect the cars to the head.  Because I do not use my large format printers continuously, I found this problem too much of a nuisance to deal with.  As such, I have moved to a non-blended approach in my 7500 that uses just the standard black and gray inks, with LC and LM for tone control.   I believe this type of approach will also work well with the 7600 and 9600.  This non-blended approach requires a rip and is very slightly less smooth, but it’s much more practical for me.  It also give me full Lab a and b control within the neutral to carbon range.  For more information on what I call the “4K+” approach I am now using in my 7500, see http://www.paulroark.com/BW-Info/4K+.pdf ]

 

The UT7 Inkset

UT7 is a blended, pigment-based, variable-tone black and white inkset for Epson UltraChrome printers.  All inks in the UT7 inkset are predominantly carbon, with the C and LC positions being pure carbon.  The other positions are “toned” with very lightfast color pigments.  No dyes are used.

UT7 can be purchased from MIS Associates. 

See http://www.inksupply.com/bw/ut7_7600 

With MIS Eboni matte black ink, the system can print on both matte and glossy papers without having to change the black inks.  The curves that do this simply generate the black with the 2 dark gray inks.  The dmax often is better than when a Photo black ink is used.

This inkset supports 2 basic Epson driver workflows for B&W printing, and is also supported by various RIPs.  With the Epson driver any application, including page-layout programs and of course Photoshop, can be used to print with tones (hues) from neutral to medium warm on matte paper just by using the standard Epson print driver with mostly default settings and a grayscale file.   See section 2 below.

 

With Photoshop and Picture Window (www.dl-c.com) the use of image adjustment curves gives more control, including print tones that range from dark sepia to very cold on either matte or glossy paper.  With this approach the print is controlled by readily-available and easily-modifiable curves.  See section 3, below.

 

Note that the matte paper dmax with the 7600 (like the 4000) and the Epson driver is less than with most desktop printers and older large format printers.  While the MIS Eboni matte black used in the UT7 produces a better dmax than the OEM UC MK, it is still a bit low.  Typically this is about a 0.05 density unit drop compared to older Epson printers.  The lowest dmax I will generally accept is 1.60.  All of the matte papers listed below can exceed this except for Epson UltraSmooth & PremierArt Hot Press.   These papers (which are generally the same) are listed only because they other special features that offset the slightly low dmax.  The matte papers listed are the only ones I’ve tested that can meet my minimum 1.6 dmax. 

 

The glossy paper dmax with the 7600, Epson driver, and UT7 is excellent.

 

1.  INK POSITIONS

 

The UT7 inkset uses predominantly carbon pigments and no dyes.  The pigments are similar to those used in the UT2 inkset (for the 1280 and 1290) and UT1 inkset (for many printers including the 7500), but the mixes and positions of the inks vary among these inksets. 

 

Ink positions:

 

Black (K) = Eboni matte black (carbon).

 

Light Black (LK) = A light black that has been neutralized with blue pigments.

 

Cyan = Dark, un-toned, warm carbon pigment.

 

Light Cyan = Light, un-toned carbon.

 

Magenta = Carbon pigments toned cool with blue pigments.

 

Light Magenta = Light, cool-toned carbon.

 

Yellow position =       (1) Sepia-toned carbon is the default ink.                                         

 

                                    (2) Light carbon (LC) is more lightfast for those who do not use sepia.

                                                This results in a cooler range when no curves are used.

                                                For example, Enhanced Matte will print neutral with all

                                                sliders at 0.

 

                                    (3)  Gloss Optimizer (Glop) for bronzing-free glossy prints.

                                                The best gloss papers will be virtually bronze-free.  The worst will

                                                not benefit significantly.  The slider print range on matte paper

                                                is a bit cooler.

 

                                    (4)  For the ultimate in smooth highlights, UT-FS-Y can be put here.

                                                Special curves are needed to take advantage of this. 

                                                Most people with most papers will not see any difference. 

                                                Typically when people see some dots it is due to printing with

                                                “High Speed” checked.

 

                                    (5)  This is the most suitable position for custom inks.

 

 

 

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2.  GRAYSCALE, MATTE PRINTING FROM ANY APPLICATION; SLIDER CONTROLS

 

This Readme file assumes that Eboni matte black is installed in the printer.  However, the driver alone can also print glossy paper if Photo black ink is installed. 

 

Recommended Settings

 

"Media Type” – “Enhanced Matte Paper” unless otherwise stated in the individual paper settings sections.

 

“Print Quality” – 1440 with "High Speed" not checked.

 

“Color Management” -

 

                        Color Controls checked,

      

                        Mode – Automatic.

      

SLIDER SETTINGS FOR SOME POPULAR PAPERS

 

Slider Settings vary and are listed by paper. 

 

With sliders in the ”0” or neutral position, the print will be slightly warm on Epson Enhanced Matte with the default sepia toner in the yellow position.  It will be neutral with a second light carbon (UT7-LC) in the Y position.  Adding "Magenta" (the cool ink) by moving the Magenta slider to the right cools the print, removing magenta warms the print.  Adding "Cyan" (the warm, pure carbon gray ink) or "Yellow" (sepia tone) warms the print.

 

The recommended starting points, below, are not necessarily the only or even best settings to achieve the indicated tone and the best print for every printer.  Experiment with the slider settings to get the desired results.  Similar settings will probably work for a number of matte papers.  Large moves of the sliders may negatively affect the print quality.

 

Note that the "neutral" tone of this inkset is often referred to as "selenium" tone because it matches the tone of a lightly-selenium-toned silver print.

 

Epson Enhance Matte ("EEM") (aka “Archival Matte”)

 

This non-archival (100 year dark storage) paper sets the standard for smooth matte display prints.  The tones listed are with sepia installed.

 

                        Neutral: Cyan -10, Magenta +5, Brightness +5;

                        Warm: C +5. M -5, Y +25, to

 C +15, M -10, Yellow +25, Contrast +5.

                                   

Hahnemuhle Photo Rag

 

Photo Rag has the best dmax of matte papers.  To avoid “flaking” of the surface (small flakes of coating pop off and leave a white spots or holes in the image) I always use air to blow off the flakes.  Some wipe or brush the surface, but this could leave marks.  Spraying with Lascaux Fixativ will help protect the sensitive image surface.  The paper may be prone to yellowing by airborne pollutants.

 

                        Neutral:  C -20, M +10,

                        Warm:  C +7, M -7, Y +25, Brightness -4.

 

PermaJet Alpha, Omega & Delta

 

PermaJet’s new “Image Life” line of papers have similar coatings but differing amounts of brighteners.  None of them flake and all have good dmaxs.  Alpha has no optical brighteners and a creamy-toned color.  Other PermaJet papers Delta (neutral white) and Omega (just a bit of brightener) print cooler.  The tones achieved will depend on the paper used. 

 

                        Cooler:  C -20, M +10,

                        Warmer:  C +7, M -7, Y +25, Brightness -4.

 

Innova

 

Innova has a full line of papers with various surfaces.  They all seem to have the same coating.  None of them appear to flake, and all have good dmaxs.  The tones achieved will depend on the paper used. 

 

                        Cooler:  C -20, M +10,

                        Warmer:  C +7, M -7, Y +25, Brightness -4.

 

 

 

Epson UltraSmooth & PremierArt Fine Art Hot Press

 

These papers are all essentially the same.  In addition to not flaking, they may have the most abrasion-resistant surface.   They have no optical brighteners but are still relatively bright.  The dmax for these papers is modest. 

 

                        Neutral: Cyan -15, Magenta +7;

                        Warm: C +5, M -5, Y +25, Contrast +3.

 

 

The above samples of slider settings should be close to what works on most matte papers.

 

 

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3.  PHOTOSHOP CURVES FOR GREATER TONE CONTOL

 

Controlling the print tones with image adjustment curves gives more control than the sliders and has some other advantages for experienced printers.  Which curve is applied determines the mix of inks and thus the tone of the print.

 

Basic Workflow & Settings

 

For this approach the final grayscale file must first be changed to an RGB color image for printing.  (Save the final grayscale file before doing this.)  In Photoshop, set the RGB working space to AdobeRGB(1998).   (Edit, Color settings – I set the top setting to Photoshop 5 Defaults and then change RGB working space to Adobe RGB (1998).) 

 

I recommend working in 16 bit mode.  Among other things, it is best to have the RGB file in 16 bit mode before the tone curve is applied, especially for the carbon and sepia curves.  This is true even if the grayscale file was an 8 bit file.  Once the curve is applied the file can be converted back to 8 bit per channel with no decrease in print quality. 

 

In general, in the driver the following settings are used:

 

Source Space -- Document: Adobe RGB (1998)

 

Print Space -- Profile: Same as Source

 

Media Type – "Enhanced Matte Paper" unless otherwise stated.

 

Print Quality – 1440, High Speed un-checked.

 

Color Management – “No Color Adjustment” is used.  Because this setting is used, the curves should work equally well with both Windows and Mac computers.

 

Print Tone Curves

 

The print tone curves are available from MIS or from my web page at http://www.paulroark.com/BW-Info/UT7-7600-curves.html .  (If you download from my page, be sure to note the instruction concerning extensions.)

 

“Neutral” tone curves generally result in prints having CMY readings such that C = Y, and M is elevated 0.01 density unit.  This gives the slight “selenium” tone.

 

In general, I put points on the curves that correspond with the steps on the 21-step test files that are available from this website and elsewhere.  The Red curve (which controls the cyan-position, warm carbon ink) and the Green curve (which controls the magenta-position, cool ink) often have only 3 internal points on them from 75% up to 0%.  This allows users to easily change the tones of the highlights and midtones by making off-setting moves of the respective points of these 2 curves.   This makes it easy to achieve a split-tone between highlights and midtones. 

 

From 75% down more points are often needed.  With these also, offsetting moves of the Red and Green curves can be effective in changing the tones. 

 

For some papers I have made Cool and Medium Warm curves.  Comparing these curves with the neutral versions indicates the relative tone changes that one can get from offsetting moves of the curves.

 

The "carbon" tone curves print warm, about half way to a sepia tone.  Some people compare its visual impact to the classical platinum print.  The curves essentially eliminate all the color pigments and print with only carbon.  This gives the most lightfast print possible, because the carbon pigments are more stable than the color pigments.  "Carbon on cotton" (acid-free & buffered paper) is, in my view, a classic B&W medium.

 

MATTE PAPERS

 

I generally make curves that give a neutral tone (spectrophotometer cyan density = yellow density, magenta is 0.01 unit higher), cool (0.03 units), Meduim Warm (0.03 units warmer than neutral), carbon (pure carbon pigments are typically about 0.10 units warmer than neutral), and sepia (typically 0.25 units warmer than neutral at 50% density).

 

The following curves have been made:

 

Epson Enhanced Matte:

 

            (These curves will probably work well with many matte papers.)

 

            UT7-7600-EEM-Cool

            UT7-7600-EEM-Neutral

            UT7-7600-EEM-MedWarm

            UT7-7600-EEM-Carbon

            UT7-7600-EEM-Sepia

           

PhotoRag

 

            UT7-7600-PhotoRag-Cool

            UT7-7600-PhotoRag-Neutral

            UT7-7600-PhotoRag-MedWarm

            UT7-7600-PhotoRag-Carbon

            UT7-7600-PhotoRag-Sepia

 

Alpha & Innova papers (These curves print well on PermaJet Alpha, Delpa & Omega,  and on most Innova papers.  The tone will vary with specific paper.  The curves were made on Alpha.)

 

            UT7-7600-Alpha-Innova-Cool

            UT7-7600-Alpha-Innova-Neutral

            UT7-7600-Alpha-Innova-MedWarm

            UT7-7600-Alpha-Innova-Warm

            UT7-7600-Alpha-Innova-Carbon

            UT7-7600-Alpha-Innova-Sepia

 

 

 

 

GLOSSY PAPERS – With Eboni Ink Installed in the printer

 

The UT7 inkset allows printing on glossy papers even when Eboni black ink is installed in the printer.  The black is generated by using both the dark warm and cool inks together.  All of the curves below are written with the assumption that this matte black ink is in the printer.

 

I generally make curves for the same tones as listed for the matte papers.

 

The following papers are now supported: 

 

Epson Premium Semigloss, Glossy and Luster Photo Papers,

 

            Media Type:  "Enhanced Matte Paper."

 

Epson Premium Semigloss, as well as the other Epson Premium papers, are the only glossy papers that Wilhelm Research has rated as having dark storage lives of over 200 years.  This, combined with excellent fade resistance ratings make these papers the top choice for archival glossy ("RC" or "barrier" paper) prints.  Among these papers, the Premium Semigloss, in my opinion, gives the best image, especially when sprayed with an appropriate protective lacquer or fixative.

 

As with most glossy papers when printed with pigments, these papers exhibit “bronzing” that distracts from the image.  The print surface is also very sensitive to abrasion and fingerprints.  I recommend three light sprays with PremierArt Print Shield (http://www.premierimagingproducts.com/) to reduce the bronzing and protect the surface.  Lyson Print Guard appears to be the same product.

 

Encapsulating carbon pigments with PremierArt on the front and a “barrier” paper like the Epson Premier Semigloss behind the pigments may be an excellent way to make a more durable, archival print.  Air pollution, humidity, and oxidation are primary factors in fading and damaging photos.  These air-borne problems can enter the paper through either the front or back.  A sprayed barrier paper may be an efficient way to protect the image.  While framing under glass gives even more protection, the sprayed glossy print is tough enough to even be cleaned with a damp paper towel.

 

 

The following paper will be supported:

 

Epson Premium Semimatte

 

This paper, like the other Epson Premium papers, has been rated at more than 200 years by Wilhelm Research.  This is the “glossy” paper I use for large display prints.  It has low bronzing, a very nice finish, and a surprisingly good price.

 

Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl & Glossy papers

 

            Media Type:  "Enhanced Matte Paper."

 

            Many like the Pearl surface.  The paper is not archival and does suffer from bronzing.       

 

PremierArt Print Shield or Lyson print guard/shield spray largely eliminates the “bronzing."

 

 

Costco Kirkland Signature Pro Glossy Inkjet Paper

 

            Use the Ilford curves, above.  With those curves it prints slightly cooler and lighter.

            Increasing the Color Density, in the Ink Configuration part of the driver, gives a better

            dmax and also darkens the image up to about +12.

 

            This paper has a buffered, acid-free interior paper like the Epson Premium papers.

            It also has a very low bronzing.  Overall, it is an unbeatable bargain, but only

            available in letter size.  Non-members can buy from Costco on line.  See

           http://www.costco.com/

 

           

           

4.  Matching the Monitor to the Print, or Vice Versa

 

Monitors typically compress the deep shadow values of an image.  That is, the typical monitor, profiled either manually with Adobe Gamma or more accurately with, for example, Spyder2Pro, will show almost no difference between 100% black and 90% black.  The monitor and print may also show the midtones with different brightness and contrast characteristics. 

 

If the monitor and print to look different, there would seem to be two basic approaches that could get them to match better: 

 

First, the view on the monitor can be altered to match the print. 

 

Second, the image file can be printed so that the print matches the monitor’s view.

 

The curves workflow suggested here supports both of these approaches.

 

            a.  Altering the monitor view to show the full 256 range

 

This procedure makes a custom dot gain curve that is applied to the grayscale file after it is opened in Photoshop.  It has no effect on the file values.  It only affects how they are displayed.  The procedure at http://www.paulroark.com/BW-Info/Monitor-Profiling.htm outlines the steps one takes to implement this approach.  I have a function key set up on my system such that every time I open a grayscale file I just hit the key and the full range of values is displayed.  The system does not work with RGB files.  It also does not tag the file.  The function key must be pressed each time the file is opened.  Once the system is set up, it is very easy to use.

 

            b.  Printing the file so that it matches the typical monitor view

 

Although the curves I make print the full range of values, a secondary curve can easily be made such that the file prints in a manner that matches the monitor as it is typically profiled with Adobe Gamma or a Spyder.  For this approach the idea is to apply a curve to the grayscale file that replicates the monitor compression and then apply the RGB tone curve.  In addition to making the curves available, I have also placed them on a small file as layers.  This way they can simply be dragged from the Tone Layers file to the file to be printed.  Additionally, I have placed a Monitor-Matching curves layer on the Tone Layers file.  This file can be applied first to replicate the monitor compression, and then the tone curve is applied. 

 

To streamline this process, the tone layer and a copy of the monitor layer can be combined into a layer set.  This way one simply drags the combined tone + monitor layer to the file to be printed.  The EEM neutral curve and monitor matching curve have been put into a set to illustrate this.  New layer sets can be made easily in Photoshop (Layer>New>Layer set), and then the curves can be put into the set by dragging them to the folder symbol on the layers set in the Layers palette.  It is important that the tone layer be above the monitor layer.  To get the layers out of the set, just delete the layers set, set only (not the contents).

 

If the monitor-matching layer is not quite right for your system, the monitor matching layer can be replaced with a new one that fits your system.  The monitor-matching curve is also posted with the tone curves.   (See http://www.paulroark.com/BW-Info/UT7-7600-curves.html)  This curve can also be used if your system prints files with steps that are not even.  In short, this curve is a place where one can “linearize” the system by visually inspecting 21-step test files.  (For 21-step files, see http://www.paulroark.com/BW-Info/Test-files.htm.)

 

 

 

Enjoy the journey.

 

Paul

www.PaulRoark.com 

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PS: For an open forum where I hang out, join the B&W Digital Print form at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DigitalBlackandWhiteThePrint/