Mottling in the dark tones one Cone 5

qtr
curves
piezography

#1

Hi!,

I have been printing some rather dark prints as of lately - and I am struggling with mottling in the blacks/dark greys on cone 5, while printing from my 3880.

I use a selenium inkset - but have WT in shade 2.

I use the following recent curve supplied by Kelly:
K7-X880-SEL-JonConeType5

My work flow is as follows:

I print using manual front feed (to avoid pizza wheels).
I tape the print to a backping board - brush any depris of using a kinetronics anti static brush - and give it a quick 2 seconds blow with the hair drier (just to make sure no dust is on the paper)
I print using Mac, through photoshop
Once the print is finished, I blow dry it 3 minutes
Then I print GO using 30.000 - have also experimented with 35.000 - no difference.
Two coats of 30.000 seems to help, but this seems rather excesive though?

Currently the relative humidity is around 65, but I have noticed the same problem at lower humidity as well.

Using harman baryta gloss warmtone and the same workflow I do not experience the mottling.
I have previously reported to inkjetmall that I had rather a lot of black spots on my cone type 5, so they have kindly credited me another pack - wondering if this pack is bad somehow, or if I am doing something wrong in my workflow?

Cheers,
Michael


#2

[QUOTE=birkmose;8046]Hi!,

I print using Mac, through photoshop
[/QUOTE]

Do you mean that you print directly from Photoshop using File / Print menu and then selecting QuadTone RIP from there?


#3

Hi Jon,

Mac (maveric) - the I print directly from photohop using file / print menu, select quadtone RIP there and all the settigs as per the manual.
I have just printed the exact same image using harman baryta gloss warmtone - exact same workflow, humidity etc - only difference is different curve.
No muddling whatso ever - perfectly clean shadows. So I am thinking my setup should be just fine? I shake my cartridges around every 7-10 days, try to use the printer daily - if nothing else a nozzle check etc etc. If I can produce perfectly clean results on the harman paper my ink setup + workflow should be ok ?

I remeber that you mentioned you don’t like the harman paper so much Jon as it is not very hydroscopic. I am wondering if that could point towards moisture related issues? I.e cone 5 is more affected by moisture than the harman, and therefor I see the issues on cone 5 and not harman? Just guessing here. But agian I have printed using the same workflow on cone ar humidities around 40% and still I see that muddling in the darks. I am wondering if it is a curve issue or the WT in shade 2 that is affecting the cone paper?


#4

You can’t print directly from Mac OSX any longer without having an image that has a color RGB ICC profile attached to it and destined for an OEM RGB printer driver. Piezography is not that process. Because you are not printing to an OEM RGB driver - you need to print without any color management. Mac OS X after 10.4 no longer permits that. So your file is being manipulated first by the Mac OSX color engine and the gray values are being converted into other gray values resulting in what you are seeing.

I am very explicit about this in the Piezography Manual. You must maintain a Gamma 2.20 workflow through QTR Print Tool with Color Management set to OFF.

So, I will close this thread and direct you to read the New Piezography Manual which you can read here: The NEW Piezography Manual (version 6-13-2014) Covers Mac OS X, Windows, Piezography Glossy and Digital Negative

Regards,

Jon


#5

Read the Manual please.


#6

Hi Jon,

I have read the manual. I have been contemplating purchasing piezography for a few years now and I have done my best to educate myself and sift through lots of the forum posts. I understand that using QTR through photoshop on mac messes with the imaging pibeline - but I choose this route as the current profile I have available for my harman looks more correct than using the printtool (will have a custom curve made in the future when I feel more confident in the system). Sure the grey values are being converted, but in my mind I fail to see a scenario where this will cause a lumping/mottling of the dark values - if I draw a square box in photoshop with say a fill layer with a a fixed tone - say r,g,b 5,5,5 - the roundtrip through mac color managment might convert that grey value to - lets imagine 7,7,7 but no way can I understand how a square box would all of the sudden have random lumped pixel values introduced by mac color management system. And besides no matter what the pixel values that finally comes out of the imagine pibeline and is fed to QTR should be able to be printed smoothly by QTR - all the density stuff happens afterwards?? I simply fail to understand how a slightly modified image by the mac pibeline would cause random noise, lumping in the shadows , mottling - but leave that to rest for now.

I have printed through the print tool as well with the same issue. I have printed the ink seperation chart through the QTR calibration mode and I see the same issue - basically lumping in the dark areas of the print. Also quite a lot of the channels looks extremely grainy on cone 5 using the QTR tool. I have done all the usual suspects of head cleaning, head alignment - the problem does not look digital - it looks very organic. It reminds me of printing in the darkroom with a bad developer. I have been debugging the issue with Kelly today with no success. Then I had a thought. I have an epson 7880 sitting around. I am going to refurbish it for piezography as per Kellys recomendation (and inspired by Danas love poems on these forums for this printer :slight_smile: ). It has stale OEM epson inks installed currently - but I thought heck why not change EVERYTHING - every single variable but the paper - so I printed a QTR calibration image using the stale OEM inks. I clearly see the lumping on the cone 5 - on epson premium luster it is smooth - no lumping. I see the lumping even without GO - GO merely pronounces the issue. So the only thing I didnt change was my physcial environment (i.e humidity) and the cone 5 paper. The one paper that I keep seeing this issue with is cone 5 regardless of using piezography inks or stale OEM inks.

Kelly has send me a replacement pack that I will test when I receive and see if it is a bad batch. I had previously noted that there was quite a few dark spots on this paper (like on average 4-5) so perhaps quality control was not so good with this batch.


#7

For anyone interested they can see a scan of the QTR calibraton image from cone 5 - I have tried to point to some of the issues with red marks on the image.
Apparently the image is too large to upload to the forum so it can be found externaly here:

http://birkmose.org/privat/cone5issues.jpg


#8

Thanks for the additional information Michael. Based on your reports, I agree that everything points to paper as the cause of the mottling and “lumping” issues you’re seeing on Type 5 paper, but not on other papers you’ve tried. We have not experienced these problems with Type 5 paper, so would like more information from you to look into it further. Do you have the batch # from the Type 5 paper box you’ve been using?
Please do let us know your results when you receive the new box of paper, and we will go from there.

Aside from the issues you’re experiencing with Type 5 paper, does your print quality and tonality look good/correct on the other glossy papers you’ve tried?

Warmly~ Dana


#9

Hi Dana - unfortunatly the papers has been switches to another box, and the origiginal box has been thrown out - so I do not have a batch number of it (I have only ever purchased one pack so far - so perhaps it is possible to see from my order history?)

The tonality is great on the other glossy papers yes. The cone 5 papers looks great as well when there is less dark smoth areas - perhaps as the issue is masked out. Its mainly in dark smooth areas I observe it (currently going through some dark tonality prints). I am fed up with the 3880 for glossy though (pizza wheels, markings on paper etc) - cannot wait to get the 7880 up and running :slight_smile:

I do wonder about the grainyness on the QTR calibration charts though - not the lumping, but that graininess - is that normal on QTR calibration chart? Even on harman on shade 1 and 2 (both WT) I see grainyness as well in lower densities - but not sure exactly what happens in calibration mode.


#10


Here is the Type5 QTR Calibration Mode image from Michael I received in tech support email


#11

And here is the same print on Epson Luster w/GO, using the same printer and workflow


#12

And here is his image printed on Type5 paper using the Type 5 curve I supplied him


#13

Received the replacement cone 5 paper today - same issue, albeit a lot less but definitely this same “sticky” mottling texture, lumping of ink somehow in the dark areas of the print.

On another note quality control seems just as bad with this pack - the very first 8.5x11 paper I pulled out of the pack had like 7-8 black dots on them. Even had a hair fibre engrained into the emulsion that I could not remove with my kinetronics brush. Don’t think this paper is very suitable for dark prints with large smooth tones of blacks, simply does not seem to cope.

Also on another note I have been going through my sample prints that I purchased from inkjetmall (the pack with 5 small samples) and I can see the lumping going on there in the shadows as well. But those sample prints are so tiny so its very different to compare to my own larger prints.

It’s a shame really as its a beautiful paper cone 5 :S From a distance it looks great, but I really like small prints where you can put your nose to it and inspect every single little details. And cone 5 does not seem to live up to that kind of inspection :S

Any ideas are most welcome.


#14

Hi Michael~

We use our Type 5 constantly in our studio, for both production printing and printing the Piezography samples we sell. I have made many beautiful prints with very dark or solid black backgrounds on this paper, and even tested it carefully after your initial report, by printing a full sheet of pure black, and it was perfectly smooth, so are not able to replicate your results in our tests. I downloaded your image, and see the background isn’t black, but 93%, which would primarily use shade #2 ink (Warm-Neutral in your setup).
Without seeing actual prints, and having a clear understanding of your problem, I will tell you that I experienced some “mottling” in the past on Type 5 and other glossy papers when I slid the paper out of the package, and the print surface got rubbed. This rubbed area was visible at an angle before the sheet was printed on, and caused a blemish when printed over, which was especially obvious in a very smooth or dark area. Once I started fully opening the paper package, and lifting sheets off the top, I haven’t had that problem again. Are you sliding or lifting sheets out of the box?

I have seen several different issues over the years working with many different papers, but have not experienced the issues you’re reporting with Type 5 (other then when I slid sheets out of the box), so would appreciate if you could mail us some prints as well as unprinted sheets for further evaluation/testing. I have included my address below.
After going thru the emails between you and Kelly, I see you don’t have a measuring device, so would like you to send us the following:

  1. one or more of your prints showing the “mottling” problem you’re experiencing
  2. a few unprinted sheets
  3. a printed 21 step strip (attached), printed on Type 5 paper with the Type 5 curve Kelly sent you, then print GO (print the 21 step strip as you would normally print an image with this printer/ink/paper).

Ship to me at the following address:
Inkjetmall
Attn: Dana/testing
17 Powder Spring Rd
Topsham VT 05076

21 step strip.tif.zip (142 KB)


#15

Hi Inkjetmall,

I have written a few times on the tech support, but never received a reply, so I’ll try here instead - was wondering if you received the sample prints I posted three weeks back, and if you have any idea what could be causing this mottling issue on two seperate printers, with two seperate inksets?


#16

Hi Michael~

Here is what Kelly just wrote to you via email:

SO sorry about the delay, I know you’ve been patiently waiting a reply. We did receive your prints and we both looked over them with a fine tooth comb. Neither one of see what you are referring too as mottling, but rather maybe a lack of density in your black/dark background. Dana will be able to explain this better, something about adjustment in PS to help darken this area. I am not all that familiar with Imaging and adjustments you can make to help make things look better. I know the technical side of printing and Dana knows both, inside and out.

I did however measure your Ink Sep for Lab L to compare the WN2 to SEL2 and found a very large difference, which could be (more likely is) contributing to your problem. You are using a curve created for SEL K7 which is looking for a much darker shade 2 then you are currently using. This may be corrected with a custom curve for your system, it would at least bring it to linear, then you may have to make adjustments based on personal preferences for darkness.

Your printer is NOT even close to printing linear, it was very far off, due to the WN2.

I also believe what you may be seeing is the fibers present in the TYPE5 paper, which some people love and well, obviously others may not. There is nothing wrong with your paper, I think it’s just a personal preference honestly, you like Harmon (which we don’t) and we like TYPE 5 (which you don’t). Neither makes one way right or wrong, just a matter of finding that balance of a Linear Print, Ink tone, density, image and paper…all of which takes time, as you are well aware off.

I would personally install the SEL2 in that position and get myself a good linear print, then determine what you need to adjustments. OR you would install all WN inks and go that route instead, either would work nicely with your images. As I said before, understanding how each shade and the density of that shade affects the image as a whole is going to be your largest learning curve, so getting a linear print is vitally important for making an good print.

Hope this finds you doing well-Kelly


#17

To add to what Kelly wrote, what we believe you’re seeing in Type 5 is the paper fiber and surface texture.
We printed your image on the paper you supplied, as well as Type 5 paper we’ve been printing on, and the two prints are the same.
The background in this image looks black at a glance, but is actually 93% gray, and it appears this photo was taken with film, as I see what looks to be film grain when I adjust the curve by lightning the shadows to better see the background (which also shows variations in the background, that I can see as possible “mottling” areas you pointed out). I edited your image file to make the background true black, and that printed much smoother without the grainy background.

If you have a measuring device, you can linearize your setup using Roy Harrington’s Droplet tool, or we can certainly make you a custom curve for your exact setup. A slight edit to the file also seems to help break up the noise.

I hope this helps, best regards~ Dana


#18

Hi Dana,

Ok first of all thank you for the support you are offering - I really appreciate it!
But it seems somehow that I am asking in west and getting answers in east… so I am sorry if the text below sounds a bit “robotic” but I will try to reply with a range of numbered questions - I would appreciate if you could reply directly to each questions as feel like I am getting some answers not related my issue.

1: Can you please acknowledge that that sticky texture that I am seeing on my prints i not normal? I know that type5 has a texture very different from the harman paper - and I do like the type5 texture (and particular the subtle warmth of the paper base, but I don’t believe this sticky, lumpy spots has anything to do with the paper??)

2: Can we please stop talking about this one individuel image? Yes the background is 93% density in the file - but that doesn’t really make any difference? I expect it to print without any sticky texture. The file is from a DSLR (5d mark II), but I use silver efex pro to get a more analog feel of the image, as I come from a darkroom background. I edit on a EIZO coloredge 245W, which I calibrate regularly, and it is hardware based calibration so that monitor is pretty darn accurate - and I can see the difference on my monitor between pixel value 1,1,1 and 2,2,2 - that sticky texture is not part of the image - there is a fine fine fine grain in the very darkest tones, but nothing that explains that sticky texture.

3: The reason I state point two - is that as I have mentioned to you guys a lot of times - that obviously I have also tried to print out patches from photoshop with perfect monotone tonality - i.e by creating a fill layer in photoshop with a fixed value - i.e for instance perfect 93%. And that sticky texture is still very much present on the prints. So the particular image serves no other purpose than illustrating at 93% density there is a lot of funky stuff going on. Can you please confirm that this should NOT happen? I mean I should be able to print density 93% if I chose to do that??

4: On the samples I have send you in QTR calibration mode - can you please confirm that you see this lumping/sticky texture as well on my prints on cone5 (but not on epson paper or harman) - including on the black ink from my epson 7880 on the prints on calibration mode there? Forget about the QTR curve, the WN2 vs SEL2 - why does the lumps show up on QTR calibration mode - not only on WN2 but on some of the other SEL shades as well - as well as the black ink from the OEM 7880 ink (which is stale/old, but still I do not see any of that lumping/sticky texture on epson/harman papers). I even printed on some canson paper that I had luying around - no sticky texture there either. So why does it happen on the cone5 when I print using the QTR calibration mode and thereby avoid any issues with linearity?

Now having said that I do acknowledge that it seems to be the WN2 that is the culprint. When I inspect the curve file in QTR, right around 93% density is where the cyan is maxed out (ie shade 2). If I print straight from photoshop without using QTR printtool (i.e subjecting myself to mac os messing with the photography by compressing the shadows), I get more cold shadow tonality as less of the WN2 is used, and I see less of this sticky texture issue. I know you are not supposed to print using that workflow on mac, I am just mentioning it to illustrate that it seems to be the WN2 messing with my system.

Ok the above is some observations about the problem at hand. Next some more general observations about piezography:

4: I have been researching this system for 2+ years, and finally pulled the trigger - I have read TONS of blogposts from Jon Cone, and scouted this forums a lot. One thing that I have seen repeated again and again and agains is that piezography is DENSITY based - i.e the inksets are interchangable. I have seen numerous blog posts by Jon Cone describing this, and seen reports from your workshop where people have had fun mixing their own ink recipes - which is entirely enabled by the fact that the system is density based. I even called you guys on the phone back in april (don’t remember which gentleman I spoke to on the phone) and it was confirmed to me that this was in fact the case. And now you are letting me know that SEL2 and WN2 does not have the same density and that they are in fact not interchangeable? Something does not seem right here?

5: No I do not have access to measuring my own densities - it is something I would like to invest in in the future, but based on jon cones numerous blog posts / forum posts stating that piezography is a turn key system where you really don’t need to mess around that much with measuring densities - I chose to invest in the piezography system for now, and then postpone investing in a density measuring tool for the future. Is it possible for you to create a profile using the stepwedge I have send you?


#19

1: Can you please acknowledge that that sticky texture that I am seeing on my prints i not normal? I know that type5 has a texture very different from the harman paper - and I do like the type5 texture (and particular the subtle warmth of the paper base, but I don’t believe this sticky, lumpy spots has anything to do with the paper??)
We do not see any abnormalities with your Type 5 paper that you are describing. Rather, we see the natural make up of this paper, with no defects. It may be that you simply do not like our Type 5 paper and it is not suitable for your use.

2: Can we please stop talking about this one individuel image? Yes the background is 93% density in the file - but that doesn’t really make any difference? I expect it to print without any sticky texture. The file is from a DSLR (5d mark II), but I use silver efex pro to get a more analog feel of the image, as I come from a darkroom background. I edit on a EIZO coloredge 245W, which I calibrate regularly, and it is hardware based calibration so that monitor is pretty darn accurate - and I can see the difference on my monitor between pixel value 1,1,1 and 2,2,2 - that sticky texture is not part of the image - there is a fine fine fine grain in the very darkest tones, but nothing that explains that sticky texture.
I believe the “Sticky” texture you are explaining is actually the paper surface itself, it has a bit of a depth to the make up of the paper and is not smooth like the Harmon paper you are used too.

3: The reason I state point two - is that as I have mentioned to you guys a lot of times - that obviously I have also tried to print out patches from photoshop with perfect monotone tonality - i.e by creating a fill layer in photoshop with a fixed value - i.e for instance perfect 93%. And that sticky texture is still very much present on the prints. So the particular image serves no other purpose than illustrating at 93% density there is a lot of funky stuff going on. Can you please confirm that this should NOT happen? I mean I should be able to print density 93% if I chose to do that??
Again, I feel like I am repeating the same here, There is nothing wrong with the TYPE 5 paper you sent for testing or in the images you sent us for evaluating. The only differences we can see are your density values are darker then our (ALL of them, NOT just the WN2). This leads me to the question of Go application, how much GO are you applying? We print 30K go at 1440 dpi, Bi-Directional for all of our testing as well as in the studio and this is the recommended workflow. Anything more or less of the recommended will throw the Lab values WAY off, this could be why your WN2 is so far off from ours and SEL2.

4: On the samples I have send you in QTR calibration mode - can you please confirm that you see this lumping/sticky texture as well on my prints on cone5 (but not on epson paper or harman) - including on the black ink from my epson 7880 on the prints on calibration mode there? Forget about the QTR curve, the WN2 vs SEL2 - why does the lumps show up on QTR calibration mode - not only on WN2 but on some of the other SEL shades as well - as well as the black ink from the OEM 7880 ink (which is stale/old, but still I do not see any of that lumping/sticky texture on epson/harman papers). I even printed on some canson paper that I had luying around - no sticky texture there either. So why does it happen on the cone5 when I print using the QTR calibration mode and thereby avoid any issues with linearity?
Harmon & Epson glossy papers have a very smooth finish, almost looking plasticy in comparision to the Type 5 paper, which is a Fine Art paper made to look more natural. Again, there is no comparision and you really should abandon the idea that Type 5 should look or be compared to either of those papers.

You’re image is not linear because, 1. you are not using a full K7 set of the same ink shade, which is what our curves are created for 2. I believe there is something going on with the GO application that is not recommended workflow, causing your output to be much darker then it should be
Now having said that I do acknowledge that it seems to be the WN2 that is the culprint. When I inspect the curve file in QTR, right around 93% density is where the cyan is maxed out (ie shade 2). If I print straight from photoshop without using QTR printtool (i.e subjecting myself to mac os messing with the photography by compressing the shadows), I get more cold shadow tonality as less of the WN2 is used, and I see less of this sticky texture issue. I know you are not supposed to print using that workflow on mac, I am just mentioning it to illustrate that it seems to be the WN2 messing with my system.
You have a number of things going one here, Yes the WN2 thrown in the mix with the SEL ink set is not going to give you linear prints. BUT, I believe you are comparing apples to apples with the papers and have grown used too the appereance of the Harmon & Epson glossy papers so the Type 5 looks off to you. The same is true for us, we are used to Type5 and in comparision to Harmon or Epson glossy paper we think it blows it out of the water, this is obviously personal preferences, neither opinion is right or wrong.

Ok the above is some observations about the problem at hand. Next some more general observations about piezography:

4: I have been researching this system for 2+ years, and finally pulled the trigger - I have read TONS of blogposts from Jon Cone, and scouted this forums a lot. One thing that I have seen repeated again and again and agains is that piezography is DENSITY based - i.e the inksets are interchangable. I have seen numerous blog posts by Jon Cone describing this, and seen reports from your workshop where people have had fun mixing their own ink recipes - which is entirely enabled by the fact that the system is density based. I even called you guys on the phone back in april (don’t remember which gentleman I spoke to on the phone) and it was confirmed to me that this was in fact the case. And now you are letting me know that SEL2 and WN2 does not have the same density and that they are in fact not interchangeable? Something does not seem right here?

SEL2 & WN2 are similar in density, but not a dead match, none of them are a dead match, they are all unique in this aspect. BUT, they are all within a certain specification that we set based on a number of factors that we find valuable. I believe your WN2, along with ALL your other shades are much darker then they should be, causing such a drastic difference between our values and yours. We need to determine why that is and fix it, otherwise you will be fighting an up hill battle the entire process of this journey. After years and years of research, I am confident you understand the process and have a good base of knowledge to make this system work wonderfully for you. As you are finding out, it is all a matter of fine tuning what you have and getting the most out of your current system before moving on to the next ink mixture. Where once again, you will be starting back at square one, where you are right now. I have explained this in private emails back and forth between us several times and have recommended starting with a FULL K7 ink set to get yourself a good starting point before mixing inks or adding a different ink all together to the system. I have also explained many times the importance of a measuring device, without it you are basically shooting in the dark for a decent output.
[B]We always tell customers to perfect any system, you need to have a custom profile[/B]. This is ecspecially true with custom set-ups, these inks may be within specific density ranges, BUT they are different in color (yes Piezography has color values). In combination with your individual printer, Paper, Inks, environment, OS and anything you might be adding or changing along the way, like custom ink shades you need a custom curve created for your system to begin with an accurate output. I see shifts in linearizations by very small L value changes, L values can be affected for numorous reasons.

5: No I do not have access to measuring my own densities - it is something I would like to invest in in the future, but based on jon cones numerous blog posts / forum posts stating that piezography is a turn key system where you really don’t need to mess around that much with measuring densities - I chose to invest in the piezography system for now, and then postpone investing in a density measuring tool for the future. Is it possible for you to create a profile using the stepwedge I have send you?

“Turn key” is not exactly true as I explained above in my lengthy response to the last question #4. If you are mixing custom ink sets, then you need to have a measuring device, there is far more involved then simply using a straight ink set of K7, such as SEL1-7. We do not offer custom curves for free, you need to invest in a measuring device to measure your target and then QTR to create your own OR pay $99 each.