Color Pigment Output: Canon IPF-Prograf with Lucia pigments and HP-Z3200 and Z3100 Vivera pigment Printers
The color output is set up to produce the greatest possible permanence without sacrificing color gamut. I start with a good file, optimize it, and output on the custom profiled Canon Prograf 44" wide printer, or the HP Z3200 or Z3100 44" wide printers. All have the ability to reproduce photographs, paintings, drawings, or other 2D artworks very accurately, while at the same time produce a level of permanence not readily available in a photo or digital process until fairly recently. The kind of color rendition we output ranges from the high saturation high resolution results that greatly supass the dynamic range achieved with traditional "Type C", Lightjet, or Lambda prints, to the soft delicate pastel qualities previously the domain of Iris, platinum, or multi-color silkscreen prints. Both the quality and permanence of these processes are influenced by the type of media used. However, accurate color and tonality can be reproduced (and expanded upon) on most of the coated media we have profiled. The Canon is great for major editions due to it's speed and effeciency and it has excellent color gamut and neutralized grays that need no color inks for black and white prints.. The HP Z series uses color and neutral gray pigments that have shown from three major testing facilities to have by far the most lightfast inkjet pigments (for color prints) in use today. It can also quickly profile any specialized alternative media internally with its onboard Eye One color spectrometer within 20 minutes. This additonal hardware and software also keeps the printer totally linearized for monochrome applications. The Z series also has a built in gloss optimiser channel for super smooth surface rendition on the gloss fiber media we use . For more information about this pigment process see our data in Permanence page.
HpZ3200 and Z3100 And Canon IPF Prograf Monochrome with True Black and White Rip
With the HP Designjet Z3200, neutral or toned, extremely stable monochrome prints are also possible and this is what I use for monochrome work done on both matte papers as well as the new generation of fiber gloss/semi-gloss papers such as those made by Canson and and Hahnemuhle. The dmax of this ink set on these papers is exceptional and gray ink only approach with the gloss enhancer channel on gloss and satin PK papers is totally smooth and uniform. Depending on the papers used and image settings,, the image color is either a warm neutral, cool neutral or totally neutral color. When tiny amounts of color inks are added to the mix any monochrome hue is possible. With this set up we can match specific print color of various darkroom prints if necessary. The color and gray inks of this inkset are designed to fade at the same rate over the very long term in order to avoid any color shifting in the distant future. This longevity equalization is unique to the Vivera inkset
The Canon IPF monochrome output can produce first class black and white prints on all matte rag media as well. It is expecially innovative on gloss and gloss fiber media like the Canson Platine and Hahnemuhle Photorag Baryta that we use . This capability has come a long way in the last few years, with the Canon Lucia's much improved gloss differiental and bronzing performance. They have the same appearance as traditional analouge semi-gloss prints but with much greater longevity since we don't use dye brighteners in our papers as do modern gelatin silver papers. We use the True Black and White rip by BowHaus for the Canon bw prints that brings a degree of hue uniformity from edition to editon. The True Black and White rip turns off all the color channels, if you want, utlizing the gray and black pigment channels for neutral prints but also allows hue toning capabiliy for subtle hue alterations for warmer or cooler prints if you are tryting to match the print color of a previously made analogue print for instance. Neutral prints have no color pigments utlized at all within the print driver, so no metameriam or potential color shifting in the future will be a factor. With the True Black and White software from BowHaus the surface appearance of the Canon Prograf printer on the Canson and Hahnemuhle papers, natural white and warm surfaces with no dye brighteners at all,, render prints that are so close to traditional gelatin silver prints that even while holding in your hands it is difficult to tell they are pigments at all.
Piezography Carbon K7 Monochrome
We are very happy to be offering the latest version of Piezography seven channel pure carbon inks in the lastest Epson 9890 printer. This combination produces the highest resolution output with the most subtle tonal range avaialbe in photographic imaging today. It also contains only carbon pigments rather than the blends of carbon with other pigments that all the other processes contain. This makes is especially lightfast in regard to both the print tonality and black point, as well as the print color, over the very long term. Accelerated test results posted at the independent testing facilty, Aardenburg imaging, show it remaing totally stable after very long periods of intense daylight simulation for 8 hours a day.
The print color of pure carbon is warmish in appearance and this set is appropriate for printing on matte media only. One way to describe it is similar to a platinum/palladum print with much better black density and much better resolution. Besides photographs, it is also a very beautiful process for reproducing fine drawings, lithographs, or etchings. And they would be designed to last as long as the originals.
To read more about my experiences with CK7 you can read what I wrote on the Piezogrpahy blog here.
Why would anyone want to get involved in very high-end drum scanning these days in a world where film and photo labs are vanishing before our eyes. I can think of two good reasons, which is why I decided to continue it.
First, there are still a lot of folks left in this world who can not afford the hardware of a very expensive large format digital camera back. So we often still shoot 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10 sheet film, or medium format panoramas that easily fit on the 12" drum and can be enlarged greatly.. Drum scans from this kind of film can go as big as we can print. If they are done from quality film, espeially if it is fine grain film, they can often out perform these very expensive large format digital backs and allow prints to be made that are more subtle and larger than you can imagine. Fluid mounting on a drum produces much smoother grain, better shadow detail, less noise, and it removes scratches and dust that take forever to clean up in post processing. Strangely enough lately I've seen a resurgence in people shooting black and white film, and often it needs digital retouching work for perfect prints.
Second, there exists tons of archived film from photograpers of the last 100 years that is just begging to be scanned, cleaned up and printed or saved for future generations. As a matter of fact, most of the great photography that exists in the world today was captured on film. If that film was color it is already starting to deteoriate if it hasn't already, and it is just a matter of time before it is totally lost. If it was shot on black and white film and carefully processed (rare) there are so many things that can be done to enhace, enlarge, or finesse that imagery these days that many people have not even considered.
These days we are using the Aztek DPL Hi-Resolve 8000 scanner for all the scanning. This unit combined with the Digital Photo Lab Pro version software, is as good as it gets for film scanning. Not only can we scan transparencies and black and white negative material to very exacting standards, but also the more difficult color negative film of all sizes as well. This scanner will scan up to 8x10 inch film @ 8000 ppi or smaller resolutions at 48 bit color depth and an aperture down to 3 microns.The DPL software allows us to produce custom calibration media settings from any film type on the fly, whether the film is still made or not, to render the most accurate color and smoothest tonal range, while giving the sharpest result possible. So in effect each piece of film has its own custom color and tonal calibration.This keeps you from having to do radical tonal adjustments in Photoshop which can be quite damaging to the file.