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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…)


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

i1Profiler
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 XRite.com. 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 www.on-sight.com/download/ 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…)