Dark Prints

I have been unsuccessful printing with the QTR-Print-Tool on Epson Exhibtion Fiber paper using an Epson 3880 without applying significant PS corrections. The prints appear to be about a stop dark. I have downloaded and installed the glossy profiles from your site.

Here are the tone-related options I am using in PS as I prepare to print:
View - Proof - Device to Simulate - Setup-QTR_RGB_PhotoPaper
Page Setup: Printer:Quad3880-K7
Print Options: PS Manages Color, Printer Profile - (I use the Epson Ex Fiber - don’t see the 3800-3880-MPS-EPexFiber option available in Curve 1) Rendering Intent - Perceptual, Black Point Compensation box checked
Last Print Page: Mode, QuadTone RIP 8-bit
Curve 1: 3800-3880-MSP-EPexFiber
Black Ink: Photo Ink

I am using a calibrated iMac display and have even turned the brightness down more. The calibrated settings work very well with an identical 3880 set up with Epson inks.

Your advices will be appreciated.

What are the settings you are using in QTR Print Tool?

1)What do you see for Embedded Profile
2)What did you select for Print Color Management

Let’s start there first. Your workflow in PS is incorrect, but we recommend that you use the QTR Print Tool because of OSX issues with QTR.

Embedded Profile: Adobe RGB (1998)
Color Management: No Color Management

That is correct. So you are printing an RGB grayscale to QTR from Print Tool. And in QTR - you have selected the correct K7 curve for EEF?

If so, is your monitor calibrated?
If so - is the brightness set to no more than 85L or 85 candelas?



Hi Rogelio~

I reviewed you order history and see you purchased the set of refillable carts and Piezography Selenium matte/glossy inks in March 2012.
When did you first install the carts and Piezography inks into your 3880 printer? Have you been regularly agitating the ink cartridges and using the printer to maintain in-suspension pigment for accurate output?
If you’d like, I can check your output linearization to see if your output is correct/linear. If it is, then your viewing conditions are off, but if it’s not then you may be seeing the results of settle pigment or something else that we could look into at that point. To check your linearization, I will need you to print a 21 step strip image with your printer/inks, on the paper and with the appropriate curve (and GO layer printed), and main it to me to measure/review. It would also be helpful if you could print a nozzle check on the other end of the sheet you print the 21 step strip on for my review as well.

One thing I do suggest is viewing your image thru a soft proof profile that is specific to your ink/paper combination for the best on-screen simulation of what your print will look like.

I can email you the 21 step strip image, along with the SEL-EPexFiber soft proof profile to try. Please let me know if you have questions or if there’s anything else I can help you with.
Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:

Hi Rogelio~

I received your test prints today and have examined them in comparison with known good prints I have with Piezography Selenium on Epson Exhibition Fiber paper.
The first thing I noticed is that your paper is very blotchy, and I’ve never seen this, but it looks like to be caused by moisture and/or age (?)
Aside from the blotchy paper, your 21 step strip is printing darker than it should be. To follow up from my last message and get more information about your setup to help me determine the cause and solution for your dark output issue, please answer the following questions:
When did you first install the carts and Piezography inks into your 3880 printer?
Was the output correct until recently? If so, has the printer sat unused for a period of time, and/or have the cartridges not been agitated?
About how often have you been agitating the ink cartridges and using the printer to maintain in-suspension pigment for accurate output?

Please let me know so I can help sort this out for you.
Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:

On Jul 16, 2013, at 11:48 AM, Rogelio wrote:

Hi Dana,

I just attempted a response on the inkjet forum but don’t think it will arrive. As I was finishing a last sentence, it started the posting and is still “spinning.” To be safe, I’ll reconstruct my response here.

I set the printer up in January and have been using it periodically since then. I have made many beautiful print but always with a boosting of values, usually with PS “Levels.” Otherwise prints would be dark. I also tried using the Epson driver and made prints closer to the overall density but, depending on the file, often too contrasty. I reviewed all of the workflow information I had and returned to the QTR print driver but continued with the dark prints. That’s when I realized the problem was beyond my noodling.

Regarding the paper, it is a relatively new box and has been producing good prints. Perhaps it is holding more moisture now that we are in a more humid season. I do agitate the cartridges periodically although I print in spurts - depending on shows, etc. In the future, I will make a small print weekly if not working on a larger project. I had to refill the GO cartridge about 10 days ago so opted to top up the other inks. The bottles were all gently shaken. Your test strip was printed after the refill.

I love the look of the prints and look forward to resolving this issue. My workflow with a second 3880 with Epson inks produces prints very close to what I see on the monitor.

Thanks, Dana, for you assistance.

Hello Dana - it has been a few days since my response to your questions so am checking in to see if you have discovered the solution to the dark print mystery. I assume the nozzle check I sent would indicate an error with the inks, if there is one.

Hi Rogelio~

I haven’t forgot about you, but was working with clients in our studio last week and didn’t have time to check/answer emails like normal, I apologize for not responding sooner.
After comparing your printed nozzle check to my “known good” Selenium nozzle check, I don’t see anything obvious such as an ink in the wrong position, or an ink shade printing too dark that could cause your output to be too dark- though your output is certainly a bit too dark.

The biggest difference I see between my “known good” 21 step strip printed with Selenium ink and Epson Exhibition Fiber, is your paper is warmer and very blotchy. I am not sure if it was this way when you made the print, or if it possibly occurred during shipping (?) As a result, the ink is printing blotchy with uneven glossiness.
Aside from the paper, I’d say your output is about 1/2 zone darker than what it should be. Since there is no obvious problem (such as ink in the wrong position, etc…), and if you feel your Piezography output has been dark since you first installed the system (vs. it starting off normal, then getting darker over time), I think the best step to move forward is to have a custom curve made to get the best output for your specific setup.
Due to the blotchy surface of this paper (if it’s this way right out of the box), you may want to have a custom curve made for a different paper and only use the Exhibition Fiber for proofing (?)

Please let me know if you have questions, would like to have a custom curve made, or if there’s anything else I can help you with.
Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile:

Hi Dana,

Thanks for you feedback. I’ll try a couple of things before requesting the custom curve. I will open a different box of Exhibition Fiber paper and see if there is the same blotchy, warmer appearance. Do recall the sample I sent did not have the GO coating so that may account for these artifacts. I thought, too, I might install the QTR Print driver on my laptop and see if that makes a difference. I’ll be back in touch later this week. Thanks, again.

The lack of GO over the print you sent did not cause the blotchy appearance of the paper and inks, as I printed the same image with our Selenium printer on Epson Exhibition Fiber paper, and also didn’t print the GO layer for the best comparison to your print- mine was not blotchy, and had a more even and glossy finish to the inks. We bought a TON of this paper a few years ago, so I’m using an older batch, and it’s still as beautiful as it was years ago and doesn’t appear to be effected by temperature and humidity over the years.

Please keep me posted and let me know if you have additional questions, or there’s anything else I can help you with.
Best regards~ Dana :slight_smile: