My prints went from great to flat

I’ve had my piezography setup going for a couple of weeks now, and after some initial setup hiccups the prints were looking great. Until a couple of days ago. I printed out a 12x18 image and it came out really washed out and flat in the shadows. I printed a nozzle check pattern and it looked clean, but I didn’t have more time to deal with it then.

Tonight I printed the same image on a different paper but got the same flat shadows. I went back to one of the Northlight test images I used when first getting set up and something has clearly gone wrong. I printed a gradient step image and 80, 85, and 90 are all nearly the same shade, and 95 is WAY brighter than 100.

I took a closer look at the nozzle check and noticed that the Shade 2 ink appears to be about the same darkness as the Shade 4. I can see separation between all the other shades so this seems like the source of my problems. I haven’t added ink to any of the carts since initial setup, and it was working fine until a few days ago. And, the nozzle check looks clean, it’s just that Shade 2 is not very dark.

Any ideas what might have happened, or what else I should check?

If you enter calibration mode in QTR and print the ink separation page, what does it show?

I’m not able to upload images for some reason, so uploaded to dropbox:

I looked up another thread for instructions on printing it. I’m not sure what the image is supposed to look like, but this doesn’t seem right.

Also, here’s a before/after scan of the test print. The left side printed last night, the right side was about a week ago, just after gettting installed and running a couple of power cleans. Both on the same paper with the same profile.

How to attach images to posts:

There are quite a few puzzles in that scan of yours. I’m not sure what inkset you’re using, but it appears to me that Cy and Y still have colour staining from previous colour inks. And something is definitely wrong with the flow in the LM & LK channels.

I’m not sure that I can help you with this mix of problems on this printer. I think there’s a piezo workshop on in Vermont this week, so the staff are a little busy and you may have to wait. What I would do in the meantime if I were you is print single channel purge patterns on those channels and see if they come good. See:

I suspect that Dana and Kelly will tell also you to clean the printer, so it may be worth checking out the videos on how to do this.

I always get a red exclamation point after uploading. I never make it to the Image Settings Dialogue. I’ll try an IMG tag with a link to dropbox:

I’m running the Warm Neutral inkset. Here’s what I get after running another power clean, the fifth since installing.
[li]The Cyan cleared out, though it wasn’t there until two days ago. I wonder if there was a pocket of it hidden somewhere in the lines?
[/li][li]The Yellow has stayed that way since the third cleaning.
[/li][li]the LM and LK? I got nothing. :slight_smile:

I’ll try running those single channel purge patterns on a few channels to see if anything clears up.

I bought this printer used about a year ago. I had to run one power clean initially to clear out some clogs, but it has run perfectly since then, not a single clogged nozzle. I haven’t done a cleaning so I may take that on today. I read about replacing dampers after a while. I’m sure that’s never been done, maybe something to consider.

Thanks for your help, Brian.

This wasn’t printed correctly. I assume you’re using Mac, correct? What operating system are you using? Are you printing from Photoshop, QTR Print Tool, or another application?

Please let me know so I can help, thanks~ Dana :slight_smile:

Hi Dana,

I’m using Mac, OSX 10.10, and printing with Lightroom CC. Here’s a screenshot of my setup, just before I hit print. Does anything look out of place?

Yes it does. It appears you are printing from Lightroom on a Mac and you can not print without color management on Macs anymore. The last Mac OS that allowed this was 10.4. So the image is being converted silently in the background by Mac OS X. And it is not separating the ink channels so we can not yet see what ink is in what position.

Have you read the NEW Piezography Manual? Page 8 discusses how to print from Mac. Section 2 explains the necessity for PrintTool. You can only print to QTR from PrintTool.

Also, it appears that your printer is not yet flushed of the yellow pigment staining.

I think that you need to read the manual in order to get everything out of the system.
But, if you want to get a confirmation from us on your inks - please follow the instructions for printing the Calibration mode target by clicking here.

I guess that’s what I get for going off-script! I previously read this article which references printing to QTR directly from Lightroom, but I see that’s no longer applicable:

I downloaded print tool and this is what I get with the calibration image. Looks much more sane! I think I’m going to post this and the previous one on my office wall as a reminder to follow the script! :slight_smile:

I followed this up by printing an image I had previously printed from LR (that I was happy with even though I was doing it wrong) and it’s improved even further. I may run the purge pattern on the yellow channel tomorrow to try to bring that one down even more. It’s really persistent!