news, announcements and articles

Canon iPF Pro-4000 Review

Canon has taken a great leap forward creating a whole new generation of their aqueous pritners that have some exceptional features. Now that the Canon Pro-4000 has just started shipping, I thought I’d highlight a few features that I found significant.

Roll Feed Unit and Paper Handling
The optional roll feed unit can be used as a take up real as we’ve seen in printers before. But this roll feed unit can also act as a second roll feeder with it’s own unique paper path to the printing area. With this unit we essentially have double roll support that allows users to keep two different rolls installed simultaneously. What’s even more surprising is that the printer can quickly switch between these rolls automatically without user intervention. The leading edge of one roll is kept at the printing area while the leading edge of the unused roll is kept a few inches back in a holding area, ready for use. When a roll is loaded you specify which media it is and the printer keeps track. When you want to print, just select the media in the driver accordingly and the printer knows which roll to print to. Select ‘Luster’ as your media in the driver and it prints to the luster roll, or select ‘Matte’ as your media in the driver and it prints to the matte roll – there’s no need to specify roll 1 or 2. Since Canon printers don’t have the awkward photo and matte black ink switching that Epsons surprisingly still have, this means you can make prints to a matte roll, prints to the luster roll and back to matte extremely quickly without any user intervention (paper loading) at all.


The Pro-4000 has a similar cut sheet loading process that the previous Canon iPF printers had, along with the same curved paper path. While this makes the use of rigid materials impossible, I’ve been able to use large sheets of heavy papers (more…)

A quick introduction to Lightroom 6/CC

When you first install Lightroom 6/CC you may find yourself asking “Wait, how is this different from Lightroom 5?”, which is to say it’s an easy upgrade and familiar on all counts. But as you use it you’ll notice lots of meaningful new features everywhere – some small and some big. Here are five things in LR6/CC that I find significant:

Photo Merge

The “Merge to Panorama in Photoshop” and “Merge to HDR in Photoshop” features have both been brought natively to Lightroom. And let me tell you, the process of combining frames in LR6 is so fast, easy and friendly that it’ll make you want to do it more often. From the Library module, goto Photo>PhotoMerge to get started. When combining files with Panorama mode, LR6/CC generates a large TIFF, but when combining raw files with HDR, Lightroom generates a much smaller and more potent composite raw file (DNG) instead of a TIFF. These features are super simple, easy to use. They have developed a new architecture for these features that will allow them to do some great things moving forward, but because it’s different, your results may vary slightly from what you would get in Photoshop. For now, Lightroom has finally made these tedious tasks insanely easy and have simplified our workflow in the process. Love it.

Photo Merge brings native HDR and Panoramic stitching to LR6/CC

Photo Merge brings native HDR and Panoramic stitching to LR6/CC

Facial Recognition

You’ve likely used another app that uses facial recognition to automatically identify people’s faces that you’ve taken the time to label once. For those that work with portraits, it has the potential to greatly simply the tedious task of including names in metadata. Look for the new “People” view button to get started. It’s in the toolbar area of the Library module, next to the Grid, Loupe, Comparison and Survey buttons. (more…)

What my days look like as a consultant

I thought I’d show everyone what my days often look like as a consultant. For 20 years, I’ve traveled around working with people in their studios on issues like color management, workflow, and print quality. A lot of the time this means working on big printers like these.

HP Latex printers at New Era Publishing

HP Latex printers at New Era Portfolio

In addition to common aqueous inkjet printers, I spend a lot of my time working on UV Curable, Solvent, Latex and sublimation printers from companies like Vutek, HP, Epson, Gandhi, Mimaki, Mutoh, Roland, Inca and others. Last week I visited 3 clients in 3 cities including one of my favorite clients, HPI in Houston, where we worked on several of their printers including the Vutek HS100 Pro. To show you how it works, here’s a short video of it making a 30×40 print of my image Solitude on white aluminum dibond:

UV curable printing on the Vutek HS100Pro on white aluminum dibond

This monster UV Curable machine has 48 4” print heads that cost $3500 each and unusually accurate dot placement, for a UV printer. Even though it can print at incredibly high speeds, we have it in it’s slowest setting here that produces the highest quality. It uses an 8 color UV Curable inkset that can print on just about anything, including metal and glass. The LED Ultraviolet curing lamps you see positioned on each side of the carriage cures, frys and hardens the ink to the substrate before it has a chance to bleed or move. This type of printer was previously used exclusively for outdoor signage because of it’s extreme print durability and lightfastness. The print quality has recently become so good that people are using them to print artwork shown in galleries and museums. (more…)

Celebrating 20 Years of Color Management Consulting

20+ years ago I was splitting my time between a job where I was a Leaf45 scanner operator and an apprenticeship with a master printmaker. In the printmaking studio we were making large digital negatives on an imagesetter and using them to make hand-coated platinum/palladium prints in a wet darkroom. Back then everyone was using Photoshop 2 and had CRT monitors. While the color scans coming off the Leaf45 seemed pretty decent after a little color correction in curves, I was frustrated with how different the handmade B&W platinum palladium prints looked in comparison to the same images onscreen. We had developed curves to linearize the imagesetter that made the negatives but still, the prints on Arches Cold Press paper looked soo much different than they did onscreen. The paper had a warm tone that was darker and more yellow that what I saw onscreen. And the platinum palladium blacks were much lighter and warmer than the deep neutral blacks we saw onscreen.

Knoll Gamma

One day in the early 1990s I decided there had to be a way to fix this problem. I launched the Knoll Gamma Control Panel and made radical adjustments to the black and white points to match our wet darkroom platinum palladium printing process. I had been using Knoll gamma for a while but had never attempted to make such radical adjustments like matching the paper color and gentle blacks of a 19th century printing process. With just a minute’s worth of work I was able to get an astonishingly excellent match! All of the sudden, everything on screen looked like platinum palladium prints – even email! I saved these settings for platinum palladium and made another set of settings for the 4 color press work I was doing at my other job.

I was so excited about ‘monitor matching’ that I started going around to everyone I knew adjusting their monitors to match whatever printing process they were working with. I learned to adjust the RGB gain, brighness and and contrast settings on their CRT monitors before doing the final tweaking (more…)

Commentary: Monitors are bad and noise (can be) good

We’d like to think that todays $1000+ LED LCD displays are great but I’m going to say they’re not. They suck actually. We just don’t know better because we haven’t seen anything better – yet. Today’s displays are like cars from the 1970s – much better transportation than a decade prior but still horribly polluting, underpowered and unsafe in comparison to what’s coming in the next few decades. Today’s desktop computer monitors are fairly low resolution ranging from 72-150ppi. While this works fine for 95% of the people out there communicating via email and browsing the web, its having some negative consequences when it comes to photographic image development. People are over sharpening their images and including too much localized contrast. Most importantly, we’re taking out noise that can be beautiful and make prints look incredible.

The original digital capture [left and above right] is so typicially clean that it can lead to bland, boring prints. With grain added in LR/ACR the image prints beutifully with a luscious, precision fine texture. We’ve come to the incorrect assumption that becuase noise and grain looks terrible onscreen it will be equally terrible in print. That’s a false assumption. (more…)

Tips for upgrading to Lightroom 4

Lightroom 4 logoEvery time we upgrade Lightroom we have a great chance to get a fresh start, shed bad habits, and tweak our workflow. Customizing one’s process in Lightroom and reducing dependency upon Photoshop is the key to having a smart, efficient workflow that minimizes our time at the computer and maximizes time spent making images. I’ve been spending the last few months visiting with pros in their studios, auditing their workflows and getting them started on the right foot with Lightroom 4. Here’s are some of the common suggestions that I’m encouraging people to do: (more…)

i1Pro 2 “Raven” Review

the new i1Pro2 systemI have been testing the new i1Pro 2 (codenamed “Raven”) since May of last year. Xrite’s spectrophotometers have evolved considerably since the original i1Pro, so with this next generation device they’ve completely redesigned it from the inside out, and all of the accessories that go with it. It’s a versatile, handheld device that has a lot of advantages over it’s predecessor. With dual light-sources, the i1Pro2 is capable of taking measurements with or without UV information. i1Pro People will particularly love using the new LCD display adapter with it’s comfy beanbag counterweight. The projector stand is surprisingly solid and well made. There’s a new spot measuring adapter who’s swinging nature makes it easy to take a variety of spot measurements quickly in the same way that offset press devices do. In addition to the usual audio feedback, when measuring strips the i1Pro2 has colored lights that indicate successful or unsuccessful measurements. The colored lights also indicate the direction for your next scan. It’s these small tweaks that make the new device really nice to use. The Raven has a different shape than the previous i1Pro so the old accessories (more…)

Using i1Profiler for QTR grayscale measurement and profiling

Recently I wrote an article on “Using ColorPort for QTR grayscale measurement and profiling.” Today I’d like to talk about using i1Profiler v1.3 for QTR grayscale measurement and profiling. I’ve been using i1Profiler’s new “Measure Reference Chart” feature and the new i1Pro2 “Raven” device for a year and now that it’s officially released I can tell you about it.

i1Profiler is XRite’s new professional level application that anyone can download for free at While some of the features require a purchase or dongle, the “Measure Reference Chart” feature that we will use for this doesn’t require a purchase. Measure Reference Chart are new features in i1Profiler version 1.3.

Visit to download the 21 and 51 step grayscale workflow files that I’ve made for i1Profiler.  These i1P workflow files can be installed at (more…)