Experimenting with Piezo Pro curves – and emulating classic Agfa papers


I’m new to Piezography, attracted to the Piezo Pro inkset because it should be possible to simulate or at least approximate the tones of some classic darkroom papers. IMO this is one of the important things the new inkset could accomplish.

My initial concern is to come close to (or ’remanufacture’?) Agfa Portriga Rapid and Brovira. For many photographers these were the gold/silver standard of the era when all darkroom papers were heavy on silver (though near the end of their lifespan the Agfa papers diminished in quality). Portriga was warm-toned, and Brovira was cool black with OBs. Both came in glossy (#111) and matte (#118) surfaces. For fine-art printing they were normally selenium toned for archival preservation. This was a light or diluted toning that increased permanence and made a slight but quite attractive change in the tone of the print. And I happen to have vintage prints and a well-preserved set of Zone System patches of Portriga to compare with inkjet output.

For a portfolio I’m printing with a vintage look, I want to emulate Portriga Rapid 118 (matte) on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag. The initial obstacle I encountered was the slight magenta cast of the Piezo Pro inkset. Portriga depended on more Y and/or R for the richness of its overall BW tone. Epson ABW Warm actually comes closer to Portriga than PPro, but PPro offers noticeably smoother tonal transitions. PPro presumably inclines to magenta because Y ink is more inclined to fade. The cast that initially bothered me resembled the IJM sample prints of K7 Special Edition and Selenium, whereas Portriga’s warmth looked more like the tones of K7 Neutral and Warm Neutral. I had to experiment to reduce this cast, which I could see at 5000K (but not at 6500).

Another feature of Portriga (especially with archival selenium toning) was a crossover from warm darks to slightly cooler highs, starting with Zone VI. PPro did a great job of following this crossover. I read somewhere (Manual? Blog?) that it might not be a good idea to mix PPro Warm and Cool curves without using some Neutral in the middle. By beginning this way I got a crude approximation of Portriga 118 on HPR with Highlights, Midtones, and Shadows set for 100% Cool, Neutral, and Warm, respectively. But after trying quite a few variations, I thought this blend looked best:

Highs = 100% Cool
Mids = 50% Cool / 50% Neutral (or alternately 75% Cool / 25% Neutral – hard to decide)
Shads = 100% Warm

In my trial runs I came up with some useful three-curve blends for HPR that didn’t emulate any particular paper, but IMO produced better results than using one or two of the HPR Piezo Pro curves:

For what I thought was a desirable cool tone, skipping the Neutral curve:
H = 100 C
M = 100 C
S = 100 W

For moderately warm tone (as above, for Portriga):
H = 100 C
M = 50 C / 50 N
S = 100 W

And also a duotone that looks richly warm, rather like Piezo Carbon:
No split toning, just 75% W, 25 N.

I’ll work on emulating Portriga 111 (glossy, like a slightly smoother F surface) sometime soon, using Harman Warmtone Gloss. Its base and its surface gloss are a pretty good match for Portriga 111.

Apologies if it’s presumptuous for a newbie to say so much so soon. These are just first tries. But to get used to the Pro inkset I had to try a bunch of curve combinations, and this note might give old hands some starting points on which they can improve. (And when you do, please let me know?)


Piezography Pro Community Edition QTR Curves

This is a great post!




Many thanks for your blending recipes! Like you, I was especially attracted to Piezo Pro because of the nearly infinite blending and split possibilities, something just not possible with ABW. I never printed with Portriga in my darkroom days (mostly Oriental and Ilford Multigrade Fiber selenium toned) but it definitely has a look that I like.

I just did some test prints using your recipes on Canson Rag Photographique and I especially like the [H=100C, M=50C/50N, S=100W] combination. (My Neutral curve is made using the Pro Blender tool from my linearized K5 Cool and K4 Warm curves, with a mix of 18% Warm, 82% Cool.) One thing I’m especially noticing with this combination is that the shadows seem to open up a bit, giving a better sense of depth.


[QUOTE=thompsonkirk;13307]I’m new to Piezography, attracted to the Piezo Pro inkset because it should be possible to simulate or at least approximate the tones of some classic darkroom papers. IMO this is one of the important things the new inkset could accomplish…



OK, here’s a revision re: Portriga 118 – or any warm-toned matte paper: Use MOAB ENTRADA NATURAL instead of HPR and you’ll get less of the magenta (‘pink’) tone that sometimes looks bothersome to my eye with the Piezo Pro inkset:


Also for a Neutral tone on Entrada:
Either 100%Neutral, or:
H = 100 C
M = 100 N
S = 100 W


PS, I wish there were a separate topic here for “Piezography [B]PRO[/B] use, practices, and experience.” I’d rather not sort through all the other topic headings to find what others are learning about the new inset. :frowning:



Yes, Dave, I think you’ve got it just right. Comparing this to my HPR and Entrada experiments (follies?), Canson Rag Photographique @ H=100C, M=50c/50N, S100W is the most neutral tone I’ve achieved. IMO CRP with this recipe looks more ‘neutral’ than with 100% Neutral settings. (Just found a used/small GTI viewer with new bulbs on eBay, and it’s a lot of help in judging this.)


PS again: I hope Jon or Walter will create a separate forum discussion thread for Piezo Pro use/practice/experience. I’m not sure where others might be posting info like this, and it seems natural to have one place to collect it. Otherwise we’re all reinventing our own wheels, which might be fun but it’s time consuming!



Currently PPE has a very thriving private forum at piezography.com where most of the Pro ink users are posting.

We are in the process of working out a cohesive migration to a more updated forum architecture where we will be able to bring all the forums together with a better design, etc,



Unfortunately, Walker, I can’t access forums via Piezography.com. Email/Username not recognized. Is it the one called PiezoPro Private, which seems to require purchase of the linearizing tool?



It does as it is a direct-support site for that toolset. It’s private because we post modified tools, modified curves, etc, that would normally be just downloaded by anyone on the internet if it was public facing. Working on some sort-of middle-ground as there is useful information there that needs to be published wider.



I hope that’ll happen soon because those of us who’re supported by a color management person just don’t need our own spectrophotometer, and it’s ‘not nice’ to be blocked from useful information because we don’t need that piece of hardware.

On a more positive note I’m getting very good results with the new inkset :slight_smile: and am proofing what will become a screwpost-bound portfolio book of prints on Entrada Natural book paper (12x13"). This has higher D-max than HPR Photo and Album paper, but IMO a preferable overall image tone. The comparable K7 Warm Neutral icc profile is very close for soft proofing. But it would help to see how others are dealing with variables/combinations in split toning on these and other papers.

I’ve also been making larger prints on Harman Gloss Baryta Warmtone for a new project and am following your suggestion to use Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Baryta curves. With 50% Neutral / 50% Warm, results are quite warm and just beautiful, with tonalities from stitched full-frame digital files that might possibly be mistaken for 4x5. Gloss is rather high, a bit more than F-surface gelatin silver, but less than RC glossy or old-fashioned ferrotyping. The prints, however, are consistently much darker than what I see on monitor using a K7 gloss warmtone profile. I’ll have to poke around among existing soft-proof profiles to find a better match, unless you have a specific suggestion.



Just a heads up to tell you that the relationship between Harman & Hahnemuhle has ended so the complete range of Harman by Hahnemuhle paper has been discontinued. My advise would be to buy a good stock of the warmtone version of the Harman Glossy Baryta paper while you can. Its a shame this unique paper has been discontinued, but Hahnemuhle have a replacement for the neutral version called Hahnemuhle Photo Gloss Baryta 320, and Permajet have also introduced a new paper called FB Mono Glossy Baryta 320, which I am guessing is the same as the forthcoming Hahnemuhle paper. I have a box of the new Permajet paper and its a dead ringer for Harman Glossy Bartya but with much less curl, which is a bonus.


[QUOTE=walkerblackwell;13432]Working on some sort-of middle-ground as there is useful information there that needs to be published wider.[/QUOTE]

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm …


Hahnemuhle Photo Gloss Baryta 320 will be the same as the old Harman NT but with less pock-marks and batch issues. But yes, everything else Harman-brand is unraveling (as a brand not as a coater company).

I have a test roll of the new stuff for Quality Control testing in lab this morning so I will report back.



Thank you, Andy, for this advice! I saw that B&H was selling out their Haarman in 13x19, but didn’t realize at the time that I’d need this & 17x22. I much preferred the Warmtone to the OB version for BW.


PS, It seemed to me that Harman finally licked the curl problem in the last year or so.


Thx in advance, Walker, for forthcoming report. The important thing I noticed in the HPR Baryta Glossy description is [B]NO OBs[/B].

Could you please include in your report how the paper base looks in comparison to the Harman versions, the regular Gloss that had OBs vs. Warmtone Gloss which had none? I hope it’s more like the latter, which is so beautiful for warm-neutral prints with the new inks.

(Also could you suggest which of the K7 soft proof profiles seems to work best with the new paper? Or will you be making a soft proof profile for PiezoPro?)



I got the paper in. It’s pretty much exactly the same as the original FB-NT but without any batch issues (at least on the 24" roll, not sure about the larger rolls).

As the original beta tester on this paper (back in the mid 2000s), I can say with authority this is probably the best batch ever created. Let’s hope that under Hahnemuhle’s stewardship the coater is able to continue this way.

BTW, if they are advertising zero OBAs they are probably not saying it honestly. All baryta silica goop has trace OBAs in it. It’s the same stuff they’ve been making since the 1930s and I don’t think they’ve changed their tune. Measured whiteness is exactly the same on this paper compared to Harman NT.



BTW/FYI: This paper still has curl issues. I recommend printing with a high vacuum pressure on roll printers and giving yourself at least 7 inches of leader or the head may strike.