Hello Jeannie. I will attempt to answer you questions here.
Also I suggest starting a thread on our forum so I can answer questions in public and so they can be available to others who may have similar ones. (community.inkjetmall.com)
Piezo Pro ink and PiezoDN is actually working with our upcoming beta driver (all be it in a very early-stage manual way). The QuadtoneRIP driver makes too much noise for our tastes with Pro ink while our new driver that we are working on produces a much better negative than QuadtoneRIP (which current public version of PiezoDn relies on). I can set you up with the Beta driver but it does not have a particularly gentle learning curve yet and I am unable to support people who use it (like train them how to use a product that will change dramatically over the next few months).
It is unclear from your website if the Piezography Pro can be used with the PiezoDN software. That would be my first choice. I’m OK with just using Selenium, if I have no choice. Any comments?
If you want to get started sooner than later, I suggest selenium. This is an incredibly good matte paper ink as well.
I have a second hand 3800 that I’ve been reviving with Piezo Flush. As things are now all colors are working EXCEPT Magenta. It is clearly not printing any ink. Cyan has some clogged nozzles, but it is getting better. Whatever inkset I get, I will need your help with re-mapping as I suspect the Magenta is not going to work.
No problem. Re-Mapping can be done by us, or by you with a text editor very easily. We do charge a labor fee for re-mapping, and this procedure is also documented. Sublime Text editor is the tool I suggest for remapping if you are doing it yourself. (It’s free software).
I have made digital negatives for Cyanotypes using your inks and software at Maine Media here in Camden. The negatives (and completed cyanotype prints) showed tonal separations in the extreme highlights (print shadows) that did not show on my original screen or print. In my case, this was a bad thing. If I need to use your software to get my negatives to work better, do I need access to a spectrophotometer? Any workaround?
PiezoDN is particular to each darkroom and process and ink-set and printer. In general we tell people that YES they do need a spectrophotometer. However, if they are needing to calibrate for only 1 or 2 processes that they will keep printing with in a consistent manner, we offer this calibration service as well. Related to the shadows being too open, this was most likely a pre-set problem at MMW. We had built a specialized low-contrast (open shadow) workflow there during our few days of calibration that allowed for a small tweaking of shadow detail to open them up. That coupled with (most likely) not printing with an ICC profile is making the prints not match the screen. Your cyanotypes will match your screen if you follow the standard PiezoDN workflow though, no worries.
I am a bit confused about whether or not a MAC is required.
It is if you want screen to print matching (aka, printing with ICCs). Also it’s required for our upcoming driver. I would say that at this point it is required for what you want to do. However, if you are printing “Linear” you can use the rather old version of QuadtoneRIP (driver) for Windows and we do actually fully support that workflow on windows. Windows will most likely never be able to print PiezoDN with Pro ink however as the code we are developing for the upcoming driver is Mac only.
In the Under Product Overview you talk about how you can “Calibrate In House”,
and it does not say the software is limited to only being able to do this with a MAC.
We do support calibration on both Windows and Mac. (Excel and xRite tools are built for both). We support printing PiezoDN (with QuadtoneRIP) on Windows as well just with the caveats listed above.
In the Compatibility section it seems to say that a MAC is required to do this.
No. The Download section clearly shows Windows and Mac downloads (and requirements there-in) https://piezography.com/downloads/piezodn/
. Maybe there is some old writing somewhere that I need to update though . . .
I think I’m probably missing something. Perhaps I’m confused about Calibration vs ICC profiles.
There is two ways to calibrate. The first way is the actual ink curves that are used to run the printer. This is called “Linearization” and will create a uniform low contrast linear output.
The second calibration that happens after the linearization is to make an “icc” profile that sits on top of the Linearized negative that “characterizes” (aka adds contrast to—) the final print to match your more-contrasty monitor. This 2-step process is documented in the PiezoDN manual that comes with the software and does require a spectrophotometer. The ICC process also requires Mac because Windows does not allow printing with ICCs in this way.
Currently I have a PC and print my dig negs (prepared with custom curves in PS) with Quadtone RIP on Pictorico OHP Ultra Premium using color inks on an Epson r3000. To save switching ink on my R3000 I print matte ink on the Pictorico with seemingly no problem.
PiezoDN requires Photo Black ink. MK ink will rub off too easily and also create white spots in the highlights.
Think I can still do this using your Piezography Inks on my “new” 3800?
You will need MK in the MK channel and PK in the PK channel. Because PiezoDN (and Piezography Matte) only requires 6 shades, you can re-map the Magenta channel the Yellow channel (the Yellow channel normally has Shade 7 in it which you don’t need really) and then you’ll be all set. Alternatively you can get rid of the LLK channel (which normally has Gloss Optimizer in it) and re-map your Magenta channel to that, put your PK ink in the Yellow channel, and do some more wiggling with the curves so that you never have to switch black inks: instead, MK printing would use the black channel and negative printing would use the Yellow channel which has PK ink in it. This would make your negs slightly more fragile as the PiezoDN process normally prints a small amount of Gloss Optimizer to “harden” the ink on the film during the printing process, but it’s a negligible amount.)
I’d love to place an order in the next couple of days. So, in summary, my main concerns are:
1—What is involved with modifying my ink/workflow so that the non-working Magenta ink line is bypassed? I would like to do this.
You will need a re-map of existing ink-on-paper curves as well as PiezoDN curves.
2—Can I use Piezography Pro Inks with the PiezoDN ?
Only with the beta driver.
3—Can I get by without a Spectrophotometer?
Not really. This one is a good one to start out with http://www.datacolor.com/photography-design/product-overview/spyderprint/
4—I need clarification of how having a PC is going to limit my ability to customize the curves.
You will not get a good screen to print match with the PC and you will not be able to print negs with Pro ink. I suggest getting a used iMac that can be used just as your print computer.
Thanks so much for your help.
FYI, you may be interested in an actual workshop with us on the full printing process. If you have never used a spectro before, or used QuadtoneRIP, or built ICCs, we may not be able to support you as much as you need (remotely) without in-person training. That said, there is full documentation of the process (with screenshots) in the manual, as well as a private support forum (after purchase of PiezoDN) where a lot of people are that can help you.
All the best,