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Squeeze it 'till it squeaks! - part 3 of 1 2 3

by Mike McNamee Published

Overall

At the end of the trials we were pleased with the results we had acheived and satisified that the 7880 was tuned as close as we could reasonably expect to get it. The residual errors are now almost exclusively due to variations in scanner metamerism interacting with the artist's pigments, something that the person reproducing the image can do little about. As for Lukman, he is delighted with the new machine as well he should be, close as it is to colour perfection!

Preparatory Work

We were reminded of some problems that we had to solve back in October 2004 with the Windows Spooler. This is worthy of a mention as it occurs when you step up to larger prints, possibly the reason you have gone for a 7880 or 9880 in the first place. The symptoms are the ejection of a print just before it is completed, leaving the uses with a very expensive partial test print - it usually involves A2 size prints or larger so the wastage-aggravation is high! The recommended solution is to do the following:

1. Uncheck the 'Enable Advanced Printing Features' in the dialogue box found by clicking Printer>Properties>Advanced.

2. If the problem has been persistent for some time before you read this, go to your TEMP folder and empty it, it is likely to hold the remnants of your failed printing and can itself cause problems.

This procedure is claimed to solve 99% of spooler issues on the larger printers. Our own experience shows that it has been an issue with the 24" machines but we have never had a failure of the spooler using the Epson 3800 or 4800 even though the Enable Advanced Printing Features has always been checked.

To judge from the comments on the web forums, Microsoft have learned very little in the intervening period between October 2004 and today. Vista forums are also liberally scattered with bitching about spooler issues.

For further information start at http://www.steves-digicams.com/techcorner/ february_2006.html or the original article in Professional Imagemaker may be found at http://www.swpp.co.uk/professional_ imagemaker/print/index.htm


The Tools

We used Monaco Profiler Platinum to fine tune the profiles. This is a specialised procedure for the software itself provides very specialised tools! You have to be able to audit and measure the output, sit and analyse the data, and then make educated guesses as to how to tweak the various colours and curves - it is not for the faint-hearted and takes the best part of an afternoon for each round of corrections. It is an iterative process sometimes taking three rounds, although you sometimes get lucky and do it in one round!

The program enables the user to set up their basic profile and then edit it either globally for Lightness, saturation and RGB curves or using the more selective colour options. With selective colour tuning you may pick a target colour either numerically or with a colour dropper and then choose how to shift that colour within the gamut. It is possible to surround the chosen colour with a protective bubble so that other parts of the gamut remain unaffected. The shape of the bubble may be varied in both the lightness and colour co-ordinates.

The entire process requires tight control, consistent methodology and a clear head; this is not a job you should do at the end of a long day or after a socially strenuous weekend!


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