A new acquaintance, Max Marinucci, writes in his visually beautiful website (I recommend a visit: http://www.maxmarinucci.com/) that in his non-dark room printing the results he gets from Jon Cone’s (http://theagnosticprint.org/author/jon-cone/) Piezography pigment inks “are stunning”, I agree with him.

Something happens to me when I peer over a 40” x 30” carbon print coming slowly out one of my Epson 9800’s dedicated to Piezography; perhaps something like the feeling a print-maker in his dark room gets when he pulls a print out of the wet tray. Imagine a different but equally poignant scene, with the studio lights bearing down on the printer, white gloves, and the magic of Piezographic tones brilliantly represented on a 310 gsm photo rag. The details emerge unidirectionally, each line as beautiful as its predecessor as the Piezography curves do their craft through the 255 tones from black to light to produce the true details of an artist’s photographic vision.

Piezography has transformed my love of photography. I spent years looking around and sampling the wares of various studios and other print outlets, and even of the Giclee world of inkjet printing, but to no avail. I could not remember even one time that the print approximated the vision of the photograph, until the day I met Craig Samuel of S1 Studios, who introduced me to the world of Piezography (http://www.s1group.ca/).

Here are some brief concluding points of advice on how to control your color to produce quality black and white prints in piezography (some of this advice is good also for Giclee and other Black and White print processes):

  1. NEVER change your pixel values on a grayscale image when you open them. Pixel values are determined at the creation/capture of the photograph. Piezography K7 profiles, when used with K7 inks, can potentially produce 255 shades of grey without linearization.
  2. Black and white printing does NOT use color management. In Piezography you must control the color process of whatever system you are using. Do NOT let your computer manage it. For instance, Mac, since OSX 10.5, does NOT allow you to completely grayscale your image to print, because they perhaps cannot imagine that black and whites should print WITHOUT color. Color printing in RGB through Mac may be OK, but for black and whites, Mac’s manipulation changes the linearization.
  3. There is NO NEED to print black and whites through your Mac. The easiest way to avoid any color transfer onto your print is NOT to use your internal (CS6, or Mac) print command. I spent valuable hours bashing my head against this wall. Control your color settings through the QTR rip available from Roy Harrington for $39 – http://www.quadtonerip.com/html/QTRprinttool.html. Harrison’s QTR Print Tool is amazing and works for all Mac OSX 10.6.8+. You can print from Lightroom with no problems using QTR. You can also edit in CS6, save the file, and drag into the QTR Print Tool. When you download the QTR Print Tool, your computer will probably save it into your applications folder. Prepare the photo in CS6 but save, exit, and print in the QTR Print Tool.
  4. The workflow in CS6 is first, grayscale it (Image–>Mode–>Grayscale–>Discard info), second, remember to work in 16 bit, third, go to color settings (Edit–>color settings), and customize your “gray” setting to gamma 2.2 (color settings–>gray–>type: gamma 2.2). Piezography is set up for gamma 2.2 Adobe RGB 1998 also uses gamma 2.2.
  5. Remember that Piezography will most likely print more detail than you can see on your screen, so ALWAYS do a test print.
  6. Printing with QTR is the easiest thing. Remember that QTR Print Tool is an ALTERNATIVE to your existing print systems. QTR will find your Printer set up for Piezography, then you must select “no color management”. You have total control over the size of your image, single or multiple, canvas sizes, positioning of photo for print, et cetera. Select the correct curve in the QTR menu (Layout–>QuadToneRip–>Curve 1–>choose the appropriate paper curve). In the same QuadToneRip print dialog choose a “2880 dpi resolution, and “Uni-directional”.
  7. Remember to scan your paper with a bright light BEFORE you press the print button.

Shoot with passion. Print with excellence

Loys - 2nd April 2013

Dedicated: to Craig Samuel, S1 Group

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(The conclusions, or opinions expressed within this article are entirely those of the author of this article. It is not our intention to suggest either that the authors/writers quoted, in any way agree with what we have written, or that we are expressing their full view on any of the subjects covered)