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06/27/12 Media type is very important when working with custom paper profiles and the Epson 9900

Since mid 2011, I have been working with the i1 Publish profiling solution.  This included the i1 software, now at version 1.3.2 and the i1 spectrometer for scanning the printed test charts.  The process is very straight forward.  You pick the total number of color swatches you want to print which in my case is 1323.  Then save the chart and open it in Photoshop making sure you have all color management turned off.  Select the paper you wish to profile and the ink type, either Matte or Photo ink, then print off the test charts.  After they have dried for a day, then you use the i1 spectrometer to scan the colors off the test charts and then use the i1 Publish software to create your new icc profile based on the paper, ink type, and media used.

Note, I highlighted media.  The media you choose with an Epson printer has a definite correlation to the amount of ink that is laid down on the paper.  With Epson printers you have a large number of media settings both for Photo and Matte ink.  With thick matte papers, like Optica 1 from Breathing Color, the recommended media setting is water color radiant white, or WCRW.  When I printed my test charts, I used the WCRW media setting.  Note, it’s very important to write down on the printed charts the media setting you used and incorporate that into the icc profile name later on.

I had tested this new profile on a couple of sample prints, but for some reason I had forgotten to check the media setting I used when I created the test charts.  When I made the prints, I used the media setting Epson Ultrasmooth fine art instead of the WCRW setting.  I had been printing on the Ultrasmooth fine art paper the other day, and just left the media setting the same as I felt it would not make a big difference.  When I made a print with some deep blacks, I was really very disappointed.  The colors were all great except the areas that had deep blacks, mainly shadow areas.  Instead of a nice gradation, my black were all blotchy and just very harsh, no graduation.  It was like the printer had just laid down too much black in these certain areas.  The prints were not any good and I was really pulling my hair.  My first thought was that the profile I had generated had some errors, so I went back to the printed test charts and noticed the fact that I had printed with the media setting of WCRW not Epson Ultrasmooth fine art.  OOPs!

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