by Mike McNamee Published 01/02/2011
We have written on many occasions, lamenting the tortuous route for printing from Photoshop to Epson printers. The problem is that setting up a printer with sophisticated control at high output quality demands a large set of options and many discrete settings aimed at maximising quality. With this sophistication comes complexity and the parameters fall into two camps: those that control the colour and those that control the printed image size and placement. Photoshop then compounds the problem by offering some settings that are sticky and some that are not depending upon the operating system and driver type.
In terms of placement on a page there is an additional complication when the user wishes to output a number of files at once and include a mixture of images and sizes. This is normally the province of a RIP, often with a high cost burden because the RIP performs all sorts of additional tasks. Qimage solved some of these problems at relatively low cost but suffered from maximum size restraints (for panorama printing) and no version for the Mac users. The length limitation is typified by the Epson 3800 which has a limit of 37.4 inches, just short of the 'standard' 40"x13" Museo panorama paper, for example.
Mirage, developed by Dinax, (with Epson's blessing), was launched in January 2009 and featured quite prominently on the Epson stand at Photokina, hence we decided to give it a try out! It provides a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator which has no limits on size, uses the standard profiles and colour management but does not print through the Adobe interface. It provides comprehensive sizing and nesting, extensions for canvas wrap and icc profilebuilding facilities (if required). The main feature of the software is its simplicity, it is difficult to imagine you would go back to anything else once you had got used to it and it intelligently saves paper as well!
The software interfaces via the relevant Adobe product and is accessed via the Automate drop-down menu. As well as the image placement interface there is also a progress meter and the ability to stack and schedule the print run should you wish or need to. For multiple prints onto the same media it even arranges the cutting and trimming for you.
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