General question regarding P2 curves

I just started with Piezography (P2 Special Edition matte only on an epson 3800). I’m very happy with the results
but have a question: I’m using Canon Premium matte as an inexpensive working paper. I tested a half dozen or so
of the matte paper curves in the “Curve Setup” on QuadTone. I do see some difference in contrast but none in the
tone (color) of the test prints. I found that the NU (neutral, I assume) EpUltPremMatte gave me the best look (and
closest to my calibrated NEC MultiSync monitor), better than several Special Edition paper curves. I assumed
the Special Edition paper curves would give best results for Special Edition ink set, but that’s not the case. I also
assumed using a different matte curve (carbon, selenium, etc.) would change the proportion of inks used, and
thus the color, but that doesn’t appear to be true either. I couldn’t find information on this. Am I missing
something fundamental here? I’m happy with the S.E. tone/color as is, but it would’ve been nice to have altered it
using different curves. Also, it was good I did the test prints & found better results with the NU and could have
probably used a curves adjustment with the image file to bring a S.E. paper curve to look like the NU. So what’s up?
Just pick one paper curve and stick with it since others won’t have much effect (except on local contrast)? I even
tried with a ill-advised 2nd curve – didn’t see much difference. Also tried QTR_Gray_Matte_Paper profile instead
Adobe RGB, again no difference.

Are you soft-proofing in Photoshop with the QTR-Matte or Piezography Matte Icc profile with Preserve RGB Numbers turned on? If not, your prints will be flat (linear) compared to your image on the monitor (not linear until soft proofed). Me thinks the SE curves were creating more contrast than needed but that the lack of soft proofing was being compensated for by that contrast. You could use the NU curves and simply print with the Piezography Matte Print icc without changing your files or soft proofing and this may get you there in one fell swoop.


Thanks for replying, Walker. I’m not using either QTR-Matte or Piezography Matte to soft proof. The color is distractingly stronger compared to the print for my editing taste (with Preserve RGB on or off). Oddly, I’m using a Canson Photographique profile that seems to match well with prints as far as contrast fidelity. It’s just missing the subtle “color” (tone) of the print, which is fine. Maybe you misunderstood me. The prints look great, I’m very satisfied. I’m just surprised that there wasn’t much of a difference between prints made with various QTR matte curves selected. Some contrast difference (NU was very close to monitor), no difference that I could discern in “color” (tone). I.e., I would have thought using a selenium matte curve would have resulted in a “cooler” print or the NU matte curve a more neutral print. I do like the subtle Special Edition “color” (tone), it’s reminiscent of selenium toned darkroom prints on a warmer paper. It seems the “color” (tone) is locked in – QTR is using the same proportion of inks no matter what curve is selected, with the only difference being some curves result in slightly more contrast, others less. Maybe I was expecting a subtle form of what apparently the Pro Piezography inks can do, significantly altering “color” (tone) depending on what curves are used.

I’m unsure what your ink set is. With Piezography the ink determines the color not the curves or profiles although with split tone inks the overlaps may change it subtly.

What ink set are you using again?


It’s P2 Special Edition. Anyway you answered my question, thanks Walker. The ink determines the color, not the curves. The curve choice is the one that produces a print closely matching the contrast I’m seeing on my calibrated monitor. Is it only the Pro inks that can do split tone or is that achieved by replacing (or mixing) one or more inks in the Special Edition ink set as seems to be outlined on your Special Edition/Craig Dale page? I mistakenly thought different ink set curves would effect proportions, i.e., tell the printer to use more selenium, or more neutral in the way curve changes with color printing effects the proportions of color inks used by the printer. Oh well, too easy a way to subtly change color lol. Again, I do like the Special Edition color, your ink set comparative photos informed my choice and are accurate. I couldn’t find any information on what you’ve explained about ink determining color, not curves, so I was a bit confused as to all the QTR curve choices. If I hadn’t done print tests i wouldn’t have known that the NU epson curve was the closest monitor soft proof match. I would have assumed it to be one of the Special Edition curves. Likely I could have gotten a match with one of the Special Edition QTR curves by tweaking the curves adjustment layer I regularly add to my file before sending to the printer. Soft proofing gets close but even with my monitor set to a brightness of 80, midtones and shadows need to be lightened slightly with this curves layer or else they print darker than the monitor (I have slightly different curves adj. depending on whether the print is b+w or color or on matte or semi-gloss paper). I would assume different papers also effect the color subtly. In the past, I tried creating my own profiles but found paper manufacturers supplied profiles were better. Probably because I was using a Colormunki, not an i1 which is much more accurate (and expensive). Not sure if I’m the only one a bit confused, it might be good to explain in your Piezography manual ink set determining color and the need to print tests of various QTR curve choices to find closest monitor contrast match. Also, I couldn’t find anywhere that explains what UHD and HDPK means or when to choose which (PK refers to semi-gloss/glossy black ink?)…

There is a read-me pdf in every curve folder with the name explanation.