Posts Tagged ‘Epson’

Color Management Made Simple – From Computer to Print

June 29th, 2013

Color Management is the science of getting the colors you want in your photographs – consistently.  And in my workshops I hear all too often that people are disappointed because the colors they get in their prints are not what they saw on their monitors.  They often go to a lot of work preparing an image and when they print it it’s as if all that work was a waste of time.

Color Management is indeed a science and can be very complicated and technical.  But getting the same colors on the print that you see on your monitor is essential if you are to have control over the creative process.  For that, color management is the key and in these series of articles I’m trying to break it down to make it more understandable and accessible for all of us.

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In the previous two articles I presented the concept of a color space and what happens behind the scenes when you move the image from the camera to your computer.  See Color Management Made Simple – Color Space and Color Management Made Simple – From Camera to Computer.  In this article I’ll be covering the all important aspect of getting your prints to look like what you see on your monitor; that is, from Computer to Print.

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Epson 4800 Clogged Nozzles

December 30th, 2009

A while back I wrote a post on the problems I have with my Epson 4800 nozzles clogging.  I don’t print on a regular basis so the printer will sit for days and weeks with nothing going on.  (See Epson 4800 Tip.)

In the original post I talked about putting a damp sponge inside the print area to raise the humidity.  It worked really well but then I was so excited that I did a lot of printing.

But over the Christmas holiday several weeks went by without any printing. And the sponges dried out.  So it was back to the same old dry conditions inside the printer.

Last night I wanted to start printing again so I moistened the sponges.  Then I ran a nozzle check and found the magenta was mostly clogged and the light cyan was totally clogged.

I gave it 24 hours, hoping that the increased humidity would loosen things up.  So, when I ran the nozzle check again today I was a bit disappointed to see that the magenta and light cyan were still very much clogged.  I prepared myself to repeat the ordeal I have gone through so many times in the past.

But here’s where the magic started.  I ran a head clean and then a nozzle check.  I certainly didn’t expect to see a good nozzle check.  But one head clean did the trick!  The nozzle check was perfect.  That’s unprecedented.  I have a ton of printing to do and I’m good to go!

It’s probably worth a few sentences to explain why clogging is a problem with the 4800 and the other Epson Stylus Pro printers.  It’s because they use  pigmented inks.  Most ink jet printers use dyes for the colors.  Dyes are colored molecules that dissolve in the solvent.  But pigments are ground up solids.  They’re very fine powders suspended in the solvents.  So if the solvent evaporates from a nozzle there is a residue of pigment left behind.  That’s what clogs the nozzles.

The big three printer makers – Epson, HP and Canon – are all working hard at resolving this problem and have varying solutions that I don’t want to go into here.  But if you have an older Epson like I do or possibly even a more recent model, this is a good tip to know.

So any hesitation about this technique I may have had  is dispelled.  It really works.  I can recommend it with a great deal of confidence – if you live in a dry area or your Epson sits for days or weeks on end without doing any printing, place a moistened sponge in the chamber with the print head and keep it moist.  It will really help in preventing the nozzles from clogging or, if they do clog, it will help getting then unclogged.

It really works.

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Epson 4800 Tip

November 15th, 2009

I have an Epson Stylus Pro 4800 printer that I basically love.  Having a high quality printer like the Epson really unleashed my creative potential by giving me the ability to fine tune my photographs.  Sending proofs off to labs and even waiting only a couple of days to get them back (like some of the better labs do) just wasn’t working out.  Realistically, I could only do a couple of proofs.  But with my own printer I can run scores of proofs if I need to.

There is one thing about the Epson that’s been bugging me though.  I have nozzle clogging problems.  It’s from two things – the relatively dry atmosphere here in Southern California and the fact that I don’t print every day.  It gets so bad that I would sometimes have to spend an hour repeating the nozzle check and head clean before I could start printing.  It wasn’t fun.

But last weekend I heard a tip from two people.  Musical instruments, especially the kind made from wood, suffer from the wood drying out in low humidity conditions.  And that affects the quality of the sound.  So musicians purchase a humidifier device to put in their instrument cases.  It maintains the humidity inside the case at an optimum level which keeps their instrument sounding its best.

The suggestion was to purchase one of these and place it inside the 4800.  Well, the advice made total sense but I took a different tack.  We had a Starbuck’s shot glass sitting around.  I took a kitchen sponge and cut it into four strips.  Two of these fit perfectly in the shot glass.  Moisten the sponges, insert them in the glass, add a little extra water (not too much), set it inside the printer way out of the way where the print head wont hit it, and cross fingers.  After one day I  ran a nozzle check.  Wow, it was almost perfect, good enough to try a print.  I printed a proof and it was just great.

Since then I’ve printed more and it’s working perfectly.  I check the water level every other day or so and am amazed at how quickly it goes down.

So, while time will tell, it seems the nozzle clogging problem may be solved.  And I don’t have go to through the onerous chore of unclogging nozzles before I can print.  I’m cranking out proofs and feeling productive and creative again.  I’m a happy camper.

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Ink Jet Papers – Red River

August 23rd, 2008

One thing I haven’t done at all really is play around with different ink jet papers.  My thinking is simple – there is so much to master in all the tools I use – Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. – and so many techniques to learn that adding one more variable is something I just wasn’t interested in doing.

I made the decision right at the start to go with matte papers.  The paper I chose was Epson Enhanced Matte, now renamed to Premium Presentation Paper – Matte.  The decision was based on my desire to produce photographs that look more like paintings.  A glossy or even luster surface shouts “photograph!”  But people don’t expect to see photographs on matte surfaces.  At shows, people frequently ask if my works are paintings.

So Epson Enhanced Matte paper has worked out very well for me and I still stand by my original decision.  It’s my paper of choice.  But I had no idea what I was getting into.

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