Solved: Dark prints and posterization

Thanks Phil.

I have attached the smear test you added to Dropbox.
For instructions on attaching photos directly to this forum, please go here:

It looks like you rubbed each ink smear so much that you rubbed off the paper coating, which is why the center area is so much lighter than the outer rim of shades 2-7. I assume this was done on a piece of Exhibition Fiber paper, correct? I should have clarified, the smear test is best done on a piece of matte or rag paper, not gloss. Also, each test should be done as one even wipe across the paper, as shown in the example I attached above, not rubbing back and forth in a small area, as this overlaps the inks, and effects the paper surface, as seen in your test. I would appreciate if you could please repeat the test on a matte or rag paper, and test each ink shade with a single smear like in my example.

Thanks and best regards~ Dana


For instructions on attaching photos directly to this forum, please go here: [/QUOTE]

I’ll try it again next time. All my recent attempts have not worked.

I didn’t rub the paper. Other than the black ink, that’s what it did for the first stroke. For a couple of them, like yellow and magenta I tried a few more gentle strokes but it didn’t make a difference. I’ll try it again on matte paper tonight.


Hi Dana,

Here is a shot of the q-tip test on matte paper. Looks OK to me.

Hi Dana,

Any thoughts?


Hi Dana,

Could you come back to me and let me know what you thought of the results of the q-tip test and suggested next steps?

Right now I’m stuck with a significant investment that I can’t use.



Hi Phil, Sorry Dana has been out of the office taking care of family for the past few days. I read through these threads and I don’t see a reply in regards to this suggestion from Dana:

Please check your QTR version (the version listed at the top of the window is not necessarily the version #). To do this, open QTRgui, then select Help and choose About. The window that opens will list different versions for different parts of QTR, please let me know what version is listed for “Quad to Printer”.
Have you deleted and reinstalled your print driver and QuadTone RIP?

I have seen some VERY strange results happen for no reason what so ever, then after un-installing and re-installing the Print driver & QTRgui it was miraculously fixed. Sometimes we just don’t have the answers for these flukes, but it’s always the 1st thing we both try when experiencing strange output.

You can try using this curve, although it’s the same, maybe yours is corrupt somehow (3.48 KB)

Your smear test looks accurate to me, you have the correct shade placement in your cartridges. Try the above and let us know if it changes anything, all the best-Kelly

Hi Phil~

I apologize for not responding sooner, I have been home for the past several days caring for my sick baby…

Your printed Ink Separation chart looks good (other than the yellow staining), and your ink smear test looks good, but the printout of your 21 step strip and linearizations show light, then dark, then back to light and gradual darkening to black, which makes me suspect the issue lays somewhere in your printing workflow or curve.

I have attached a different K7-EPexhibition Fiber curve for you to try, which was made for the 3800 printer model, which uses lower ink limits, and we feel works better on glossy papers.

Please let me know how your results look with this “3800” curve.

Warmly~ Dana

Thanks Dana. I will give that a try. Do you also want me to re-install QTRgui once more?

I hope your baby is ok now.


Thanks Phil~

Please do let me know how things look with the 3800 curve, though now I don’t see it attached to my post… did you get it, or should I resend? With bizarre problems like you’re experiencing, I do recommend reinstalling drivers- both QTR and the Epson print driver. We have confirmed your inks are in the right positions, but your output is making the highlights print extremely dark for some reason, so I feel it’s somehow workflow or curve related.

We’ve had a very rough week with very little sleep… but he’s finally back at daycare today, and hopefully the day goes well, thanks for your well wishes.

Warmly~ Dana :slight_smile:

Kelly attached a file in the post before yours. Is that the one I should try?

I replaced the Epson driver a few days back when you asked me too. The QTR install is also fairly recent although I guess there’s no harm in another re-install.


It wouldn’t hurt to try both the curve Kelly attached, and the “3880” one below. (2.84 KB)

Hi Dana,

I re-installed QTR to a new directory and tried both the curves. No improvement I’m afraid.

The matte version is a little better so perhaps we should concentrate on improving the matte printing since I will print on matte paper the majority of the time.



Hi Dana,

Do you have any more ideas or suggestions?




Could someone come back to me please. My problem remains unresolved.



Hi Phil,

None of us have experienced this kind of result before, so to diagnose it is very hard! We have covered all the bases as far as correct ink shade placement, QTR versions and re-installing the print driver and QTR. The only thing left would be to try to save your image without an assigned profile, then open it in the QTRgui and print with the curve. Not sure if this has already been done yet, but it’s worth a quick test to see if the results change. Let us know the results. Kindly-Kelly

We have some customers in Australia with really weird output, too. We do know that Epson localizes many of their media and treat the USA market more technically (and they probably should not and unify their entire global supplies industry.) We understand that for example, Epson Ultrachrome ink is dead cheap in China and very expensive in USA. But with media, they can and do actually have a very changeable supply chain. Epson Exhibition Fiber (and we know who makes this for Epson) is the paper that keeps coming up. Could you drop a few sheets of yours into the post to us or express it and put in a piece of cardboard so it does not bend. We will print on it with our 3880 setup as yours and see what our results are. If there are enough sheets in the package - and our results are poor - we can make you a custom for it. It’s worth a try. And Ultra is the film you really want. Unless you have a hardware issue - the over inking on both the EEF and film can only be media related, workflow related, or software corruption (so take Kelly’s advise and reinstall!).

Being one of the customers in Australia, I’m happy to contribute paper too, if that helps.

Hi Phil~

I apologize for not responding sooner, I’ve been involved in teaching workshops over the past week, so have been away from email.
I re-read this thread, and see I asked you to send me the exact 21 strip image that you printed to get the linearizations, as well as a jpeg of the waterfall image you posted print examples of for me to review. You can email them to me at

Also, as Jon suggested, it would be helpful to send us a few sheets of your Exhibition Fiber to test here, and compare to the ExFiber we’ve been using/profiling.
Yes, Jeff- please send us a few sheets of your ExFiber to test as well, testing samples from around the world will be helpful to figure out why there have been so many problems with it recently.
Please send paper samples to us at the following address:

Attn: Dana/testing
17 Powder Spring Rd
Topsham VT 05076

Thanks~ Dana

One more thing- can you print an Ink Separation image on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag paper, then dry the print with a hair dryer for about a minute, or air dry overnight, then measure the 60% patch of each ink shade, and give me your individual ink shade measurements, to review to our measurements?

Thanks~ Dana

Thanks for sending the images Phil. I opened your waterfall image, and noticed it has an embedded profile of sRGB, which will not produce accurate results with QuadTone RIP and Piezography. Please set up your Photoshop Color Settings and use Gamma 2.2 or Adobe RGB (1998) workflow as per our manual, and let me know how this effects your output.
Also, the 21 step strip doesn’t have an embedded profile, so I’d like you to try printing the 21 step strip image attached, which does have Gray Gamma 2.2 embedded, and let me know how this effects your output/linearization.

Thanks~ Dana

21 step (142 KB)