Banding, break-up and artefacts on digital negs

digneg
digitalnegative
pzdn

#1

Hi all, I’ve just tried printing negatives for the first time. Head stems swabbed with distilled water, two head cleans, perfect nozzle check pattern printed. Everything seems to be in order, printing files as 3.5x4" digital negatives on pictorico OHP, centered on the sheet. Saving beforehand as 300dpi greyscale TIFFs with Adobe RGB 1998 and a working grey gamma of 2.2. All relevant Epson divers installed correctly, printing in QTR K7 using the Meth3-1_6 curve reccommended for silver prints. Still getting horrible, uneven, broken-up negs with a cross-hatching or noise and occasionally some banding. have printed the neg multiple times, all different artefacts on each so it’s not the quality of the digital file at fault. Not sure where to go from here. Help?!

Included is a photo of a silver print made from enlarging the best neg (of about 10) with a durst Laborator 1200. It’s slightly buckled from drying, please ignore that.

Cheers,
Gareth


#2

I’ve since read in the forums to great dissapoinment that the negs aren’t supposed to be enlarged. Surprising considering the professed resolution.

The prints have a beautiful tonality and print fine, albeit the printing artefacts ruin it. If they were smooth I’m certain it would be fine.

I tried printing a neg for contact printing as a last resort but have horrendous banding. It’s an expensive option for me to send prints to Vermont as I’m based in the UK.


#3

No, you can not enlarge these. All digital negative processes are contact processes. The best practitioners of this medium will only vacuum contact emulsion side (ink side) to film/plate/paper.

I do not know at this point, if your banding is because you are trying to enlarge a small section or banding in the actual film from a printer defect (such as a missing nozzle or a print head that is out of alignment). So I am unsure how to help you at this point.

Let me know if the banding is visible by eye in the film, or you see banding because you are enlarging. With the former I can advise you, with the latter it is not designed for that.

Jon


#4

[QUOTE=jon;3354]No, you can not enlarge these. All digital negative processes are contact processes. The best practitioners of this medium will only vacuum contact emulsion side (ink side) to film/plate/paper.

I do not know at this point, if your banding is because you are trying to enlarge a small section or banding in the actual film from a printer defect (such as a missing nozzle or a print head that is out of alignment). So I am unsure how to help you at this point.

Let me know if the banding is visible by eye in the film, or you see banding because you are enlarging. With the former I can advise you, with the latter it is not designed for that.

Jon[/QUOTE]

Hi Jon, the banding is visible by eye without needing to use a loupe or accentuation through enlargement. I would see the artefacts if I was to contact print these small negatives. I also made a larger negative for contact printing too and the problem is more evident at that size.

Cheers


#5

Can you please upload an image of your nozzle check? Please use the manual nozzle check, rather than the auto-nozzle check. We can initially take a look at your print head condition that way.


#6

here’s both of em…


#7

You can’t print Piezography without a PERFECT nozzle check. You have nearly 50 nozzles missing between two print heads. So the banding is going to be horrendous. The missing nozzles are in a swath which often indicates that it may be on the outside of the print head rather than inside the print head.

  1. Tell me what printer model you have and I can make some suggestions.

#8

[QUOTE=jon;3408]You can’t print Piezography without a PERFECT nozzle check. You have nearly 50 nozzles missing between two print heads. So the banding is going to be horrendous. The missing nozzles are in a swath which often indicates that it may be on the outside of the print head rather than inside the print head.

  1. Tell me what printer model you have and I can make some suggestions.[/QUOTE]

Hi Jon, I have an Epson R2880. The first and second times I printed my nozzle check pattern they were perfect. It’s since then that things have gone down hill.


#9

We have a whole section on printer maintenance on this forum. Tips, etc. But, I will try and help you with your print head problem. Some questions…

  1. How old is this printer?

  2. What kind of ink was installed prior to installing Piezography?

  3. Have you performed any maintenance on the printer such as cleaning the capping station, or cleaning the print heads? If so, how?


#10

[QUOTE=jon;3410]We have a whole section on printer maintenance on this forum. Tips, etc. But, I will try and help you with your print head problem. Some questions…

  1. How old is this printer?

  2. What kind of ink was installed prior to installing Piezography?

  3. Have you performed any maintenance on the printer such as cleaning the capping station, or cleaning the print heads? If so, how?[/QUOTE]

It’s difficult to say how old. I bought it refurbished on ebay about 2 years ago. I was using genuine Epson cartridges beforehand. Never had real problems making negs using the ABW mode with Epson inks. I cleaned the print heads as detailed in the instructions using cotton swabs and distilled water, then drying with swabs. What’s the capping station exactly?

Cheers


#11

We have a section on small format printer maintenance at

You will see the capping station in the video.
The print head rests on it when it is not printing and cleans itself on it.

Piezography Digital Negative prints much higher resolution than ABW. It prints the dots between the Epson dithering dots. But, in any event, you can not print Piezography with missing nozzles. In your case, you have a whole swath of missing nozzles and that implies that there is gunk under your printer head. It can be left behind by a dirty capping station of the wiper blade. It is very typical of that situation. So watch the entire video and try the cleaning procedures and let us know if it works.

If it does not and you have a blockage and this blockage had no effect on ABW negatives, it will have an effect on Piezography printing. Piezography requires a printer of the highest standard. You can try injecting PiezoFlush into the print heads as we instruct. if that does not clear it - make sure that your cartridges are vented correctly (you can install Epson carts) and print the nozzle check and send that to us to see.

But, somehow you need to free your print head. I think I have covered all of the possibilities in this reply for you to try.


#12

Will give the video a watch now. Only problem is I don’t have Piezoflush if it comes down to using it. Was told it was unecessary to buy. Will distilled water do for celaning the capping station/wiper blade?


#13

Just checked the wiper blade and it’s absolutely filthy! I need to give everything a good clean. Would be good to add a small maintenence section to your manual, hinting at the online videos. I was completely ignorant to printer maintenece. Not even sure if its covered in the Epson manual to be honest.

Will I be safe using this ‘Magic Bullet’ stuff? …


#14

Printer maintenance is very important to getting the best results and longest life out of your printer (this is true with any machine). Epson doesn’t instruct users how to take care of their machines, because they want people to just buy new printers instead of maintaining and getting years of great results with one.

We have no knowledge or experience with this “Magic Bullet” cleaner, so can’t tell you anything about it. Our PiezoFlush is specially formulated to be tough on clogs and great for cleaning, but also gentle enough to be used as long term storage fluid. Some other cleaners can clean well, but also dry or damage the print head.


#15

Ok thanks. I asked at time of purchase whether I needed piezoflush and was told no, that it was adequate to flush the heads with piezo ink. It wasn’t mentioned that it could be used in this way for general maintenence. Now it means I have to order it separately and incur more postage cost. :frowning: Is distilled water adequate to clean with?


#16

As per our maintenance page, you can use warm distilled water to clean your printer by following our instructions.


#17

Thankyou for the help. I’ve now cleaned everything with warm distilled water and it seems to have solved the issues. I’m currenty getting smooth negs and a 99% perfect nozzle check pattern.

I’ve noticed quite a difference between my test negs printed using the 1_8 curve intended for platinum and the values of those I’ve been making with a Dan Burkholder curve for ABW printing.

The 1_8 Piezo curve doesn’t appear to be ‘pulling up’ the shadow density in the same way I’m used to with the Burkholder curve. There are blank areas or near-blank areas where I would expect there to be detail once the image is inverted. Thereby the shadows will be featureless and missing detail, something which was corrected using the old correction curve. Is this where I need to calibrate the K values on my screen to match those printed by the neg?

Cheers


#18

There is no reason not to use the 2nd part of PDN if you like using PDN. Have it perform the Photoshop curve calculation only. If you want to take a peak at a hand made Photoshop curve used for Platinum take a look at David Chow’s most excellent articles on using Piezography Digital Negative with platinum printing. Part one starts here: http://shopping.netsuite.com/s.nl/c.362672/it.I/id.263/.f?sc=15&category=84388

I made some platinum prints this Summer by imitating Chow’s curve.


#19

[QUOTE=jon;3531]There is no reason not to use the 2nd part of PDN if you like using PDN. Have it perform the Photoshop curve calculation only. If you want to take a peak at a hand made Photoshop curve used for Platinum take a look at David Chow’s most excellent articles on using Piezography Digital Negative with platinum printing. Part one starts here: http://shopping.netsuite.com/s.nl/c.362672/it.I/id.263/.f?sc=15&category=84388

I made some platinum prints this Summer by imitating Chow’s curve.[/QUOTE]

I’ve had some minor sucess using PDN Jon, that was about 5 years back though. I haven’t really experimented with it much since. Might give it another look in conjuntion with Piezo inks. It was a Dan Burkholder curve for Epson advanced black and white printing designed for the 2400 that was giving me good results before. I feel that using this along with the Meth 3 1_8 curve would produce too much dentisty. Would it be possible to try the curve you were using for platinum? I’m certain the Meth 3 1_8 profile will print the right density in the upper values, it’s just that the tones need a nudge up in the lower values. I could do this by fudging with the shadow/highlights in Photoshop but your way is far better! Cheers!


#20

I also need to dive back into the manual to see how best to calibrate my monitor and use it for positive soof proofing.