Worthy of 16-bit Printing

Is there really any difference between printing with 8-bits per channel and printing with 16-bits per channel? I’m not sure yet, but I’ve been dealing with a photo that could reveal the difference. It has some very fine, continuous gradations–exactly the sort of thing that Epson says is worthy of 16-bit printing on the 9900.

Evening light

Evening light (Alma de la Serra, 2009)

I’ve been printing this on Hahnemühle Photo Rag (HPR), an exquisitely unforgiving paper. I reveals every glitch–which is to say, it’s a fantastic paper, capable of recording the finest nuances. I’ve been printing this 16-bit/channel image in 16-bit/channel resolution, and have been very gratified with the results.

Dust has been the only problem. Ink on HPR will not bleed into the gaps left by tiny particles, nor does it have a texture that will hide specks. This particular image really shows such flaws. I throw out about a third of the prints, looking for perfection. Nothing else will do. I haven’t had this problem with other papers–but maybe I’ve just been lucky, or there’s more static charge on HPR. In going digital, photography has not left dust behind.

Incidentally, this is a high dynamic range image, a composite of 5 images. I used qtpfsgui to composite and tonemap the image and finished the processing in Photoshop CS4. Qtpfsgui/ Luminance HDR is an open source application for HDR workflow. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of Photomatix or Photoshop, but it gets the job done, once you grok the interface.

This print and a few others by Alma de la Serra will be on view at Transistor over the coming weeks.

ColorMunki Quirks

The ColorMunki color profiling device from XRite is one of the core technologies of my color workflow, but it has its oddities. Fortunately, there are some workarounds–and where there are none, patience is a virtue. Profiling a second monitor presented some difficulties, and the device has some ergonomic design shortcomings. You also have to learn to deal with a few good features.

Continue reading ‘ColorMunki Quirks’

Curl before feeding

Rather not hear the sound of paper popping and crumpling as it jams a printer? Curling the corners of cut sheet paper back makes them less likely to get mangled in the paper slot or worse yet in the platen gap or the printhead.

Cut sheet paper often seems to curl up at the corners on the print side. This may be a result of its treatment with image enhancers and paper brighteners that make it respond to humidity differently from the back side. In any case, the remedy is as simple as curling the corners back just enough to keep them from sticking up and getting caught in your printer. Setting the platen gap to accommodate heavy or light weight paper is also important, but won’t prevent jams caused by curled up corners. Thanks to Larry Danque for this tip.

IgnoFactory Arrives

IgnoFactory, a blog at paulhertz.net, covers technical topics in digital art, including printing and image processing techniques, code, design, etc. It includes pages on Ignotus Editions, a fine art printing service, and on the artists of the ignoStudio.

For the curious, there are other blogs at ignotus.com. Mnemonic Spumoni deals with the lives, times, memories, work and opinions of the four artists represented at paulhertz.net (Paul Hertz, J.T. Pescador, Alma de la Serra and Darrell Luce). It\’s our social blog. Intermedia Patterns is a scholarly research project Paul Hertz and Jack Ox have been working on, pooling their ideas about intermedia art. There a various projects linked to our home page, too.