A blog of posts about Camera Equipment, Printing Gear, Lighting Setups and the use of all the above.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Printing and Color Management

I've recently acquired a rather large upgrade to my printing setup.


Equipment:

Canon iPF8100: Large Format 44" 12-Pigment Printer.
X-Rite i1 Xtreme: Calibration and Profiling Suite.
NEC 2690Wuxi^2: Wide Gamut Color-Accurate Display.


Setup:

NEC 2690: Calibrated to D55, 135cd/m^2, 400:1 Contrast Ratio. Results as follows:





This is a little bit bright for print matching, but as this is a very new monitor (note the 15.5 hours usage), it still has trouble calibrating properly to lower brightness levels.


Update: Increasing usage does indeed reduce Delta E for a new monitor.



iPF8100:
Setup went mostly smoothly after getting it through the door. At 312 pounds without any accessories, ink or stand and over 6 feet long, getting it up the stairs and around the corner was somewhat difficult. We did it with three people, though, and it is now permanently ensconced upon its stand.


Error Reports
:

Upon the initial install of the ink tanks, the iPF8100 produced a rather perplexing error: "Error E144-4048" and indicated that it required a service technician. This problem's only mention online was in the iPF wiki, indicating that it was some kind of problem with the ink lines initial fill. It was solved by resetting each ink cartridge and resetting the printer. It did, however, waste a fair amount of ink as this error results in the refilling of all lines - whether a technician is repairing it or not. It also filled the maintenance cartridge nearly completely. Canon Service is amazing, however, and took care of the wasted consumables.

The first time I attempted to make a custom profile using the i1 Pro, I received "Error 20310" upon attempting to read the white target. Having previously used the same device to calibrate several monitors, it was rather odd. I failed to find a solution on Google, but finally hit upon it when I realized that when calibrating monitors the device is reading an emissive target, while when profiling paper it is reading a reflective target. This means that it requires more power as it must activate its built-in light source as well. The final solution was very, very simple: I unplugged it from its USB extension cable and plugged it in directly. This solved the problem completely.

TL;DR: Error 20310 on the X-rite i1 Pro is caused by low power to the device, usually due to USB extension cords or low-power USB ports.

At this point, I ran into the problem of having too many read errors on each strip of the profiling target. This is due to the light not turning on immediately upon depressing the "scan" button on the i1 Pro. It takes approximately 1/3 second in order for the light to activate and seems rather sensitive to the scan speed. However, after getting the hang of it, scanning in Bill Atkinson's 1728 patch target takes only around 12-15 minutes.


Quick Summary of Techniques:

Custom Profiles are generated as per iPFwiki's listing using Bill Atkinson's custom targets. Currently I am using his 1728 patch target, as it uses significantly less paper and time than his 4096 patch target. With the neutral grays of this printer, there likely is not significant improvement using the larger target.


Results:

The print quality is excellent. Greys are neutral, tonal gradations are smooth. Print speed is amazing, although at faster settings it can lay ink down too quickly for some papers. Using my custom profiles, screen-to-print matching is nearly perfect.

In all, I am eminently pleased with this setup. There is every indication that it will work wonderfully for my print service.

I would like to thank Klyment for his assistance in selecting the NEC 2690 and in answering some questions regarding initial setup and hardware selection.

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