Unsure how to tell your printer which media type you’re working with? Professional printmaker Renée Besta is on the show this week to talk through Canon media type settings, setting up great side-by-side soft proofs in Lightroom, and defeating the dreaded paper curl on fine art prints.
- Letting Photoshop control colors on Canon printers
- Making sure your media type matches your desired output
- Decoding Canon special media types
- Taming paper curl – Causes, prevention
- Tools to fix paper curl (low and high cost options)
- The easiest way to keep colors in gamut (and the hard/inefficient way)
- Side-by-side soft-proofing – don’t just trust your memory of color
- Much more!
Listen in to learn about Canon media settings and defeating paper curl
- Check out Renée’s photography on her website, and get our PDF of all of her blog posts and podcast appearances by texting “RBESTA” to 33444.
- Listeners featured in this episode include Jim, Howard, and Otis from Lightscap3s.com.
- Resources to help remove paper curl:
- Use a commercial device such as the BIENFANG D-Roller.
- Create a homemade device with metal or PVC pipe, a window shade (awesome low-cost solution), or the one described in a past blog post.
- Love the show? Have some feedback for us? Leave us a review on iTunes.
Prefer to read over listen? Want to save this conversation for reference later? We transcribe all of our shows for these reasons! Download this episode’s transcription below:
Or, to view a web version of the transcript:
Announcer 1: You are listening to the AskBC podcast – your printmaking questions, answered by the experts!
Justin: Hey guys, this is your host Justin. Welcome to Episode 22 of the AskBC podcast. Today we have back with us, resident expert Renee Besta, and we are going to talk about Canon media type settings, soft proofing in Lightroom, and resolving paper curl. Let’s go ahead and jump right into the questions!
Announcer 2: Jim asks, “I’m having a hard time understanding a particular issue regarding printing when using PhotoShop’s plug-in with my Canon iPF6450 printer. When I select ‘Let Photoshop Control Color,’ how does the printer know which media I am using? It would seem that I have to set the media type. If that is the case, what setting would I use for Silverada Canvas?”
Renee: Okay, great question. And of course, yes you always need to choose the media type when you’re printing. It doesn’t matter what brand or type of paper you’re using, and that controls how much ink is laid down and in what matter it’s laid down. What he needs to do, there are very detailed instructions on Breathing Color’s website suppport pages that’ll walk you through all the steps for your specific printer. And that’s accessed through the support tab on the main homepage.
And it’ll also give you instructions for the printer plug-ins as well as the normal driver. And I’ll give you some links in the shownotes. One advantage of using that Photoshop plug-in is supposedly, according to Canon, in independent testing, is that the color gamut is going to be slightly larger. So what he would do, is, first of all, you have to download the profiles for the 6450, and I did an article a couple months ago on third party paper settings, and I’ll refer to that in the shownotes so he can read it, but it’s basically trying to understand the anatomy of reading the abbreviations for the profiles, which can be confusing. And in that, you need to refer to the file name of the profile, and in this case, for Silverada Canvas, it says to use photo black ink and, at the end, it will tell you the media type, and it says SP1, and I know this is very bizarre, but that means “Special 1.”
To me, it sounds like a blue plate diner special, I don’t know why they would use something so darn obscure, but that means “Photo paper plus glossy” with a quality setting of one, which is Canon’s highest quality. So that’s what that answer is on how to set it.
So in Photoshop, here’s where you put the media setting, you go to “File,” “Export,” and then you select the ImageProGraf 6450 plug-in, that will get you to the main plug-in dialogue window, and if you just, you’re on that main page, right at the top where the printers are already selected, it will have a media type drop down menu. And that’s where you would select this “Special 1,” which is actually “Photo paper plus glossy,” you’d think they would just call it that instead of giving it a second name.
So that’s where it gets selected. You want the input resolution at the highest accuracy – 600 pixels per inch. And then you select your output profile, which is named “BC_Silverada_X400” which means the Canon 400 series printer – the 6450 just has a 250GB harddrive, and that’s the only difference between that and the 6400. You choose, you know, a photo black ink. The other thing on the instructions, and I’ll put this in the show notes, should download, Breathing Color recommends reducing the saturation to minus 15, and that is included in parenthesis in the file name of the ICC profile.
So you do need to reduce that – the ink density. And tha’ts done under the “Color settings” tab. So again, if you just go to the support page, and go to “Support,” “ICC Profiles,” and select your printer. Download the profiles. You can also then select your operating system, and whether you’re using Photoshop, Lightroom, whatever, and it will give you a PDF with complete and total instructions. And I’ll include some of that in the shownotes.
So I hope that answers that. It’s just a very obscure name. [laughs]
And I think there’s “Special 4,” and I don’t know what the hey that is, but anyway, this is “photo paper plus glossy,” with the highest quality settings, and hope that answers the question.
Justin: Yeah, the special media tabs are kind of interesting with Canon. The way they work is it ranges from 1 to 10, right? And 1 through 4 kind of uses all photo black, and apparently, they change the ink limits on each one to raise, you know, as you go closer to 4. So 4 is the highest amount of ink being used, and 1 is the lowest. And the same thing applies from 5 to 10 using matte black instead, so, it’s kind of interesting. Kind of useful from a third party paper manufacturer standpoint, because you can kind of, you know, through the driver you can tweak those ink limits.
It’s also worth mentioning on the Silverada, and any papers on the Canons, that there’s another option for the media setting – you can actually use Canon’s media configuration tool to import an AM1 file, which kind of houses all of the ink limits and paper feed adjustments and stuff like that. We have those available on the website as well.
Renee: Right, that’s another option and an advantage of Canon being able to import third party paper settings, which Epson doesn’t have that tool to my knowledge.
Justin: Yeah, Epson doesn’t have that.
Renee: So if you’re using a RIP, yes, you can do that. But we’re just addressing the plug-in, but yeah.
Justin: Yeah, it reduces some confusion – especially for people that are kind of new to printing. It’s like, “I’m printing on Lyve canvas, why do I select like ‘watercolor paper radiant white’ in the driver of Epson, why can’t I select Lyve?” Well, Epson doesn’t have that option.
Renee: Right, that’s again, refer to – that’s what I addressed in my article on using third party papers. It goes through all of that and the abbreviations and the nomenclature, and it is confusing. So, I think color has the most clear nomenclature, really, for the profiles
Justin: Yeah, yeah, it’s tough. I mean, they’re super long, you know? Because there’s so much stuff you have to include in there. Even we could improve upon it if we had so many characters.
Alright, cool, so, I think that wraps up Jim’s question, let’s jump in to the next one.
Announcer 2: Howard asks, “I struggle with very dehydrated papers that curl too much, making trimming and packing prints very difficult. Any tips?”
Renee: Yes, lots of tips. Now first of all, I presume he may be using roll papers, this primarily affects roll paper, although this problem can affect sheets as well over time depending on your environment, and, you know, if you’re in a very dry environment like where I live, when the roll paper is near the end of a roll, it’s going to start to curl, and the closer you are to the end of the roll, the tighter that curls going to be.
And the curling can also happen when that roll is out of the factory provided so-called “plastic protective bag,” so, first of all, it’s best to work in an environment that’s either not too dry or too humid, we’ve discussed this before, so if he needs a humidifier, I have to use one. That might be important.
So here’s an option, a commercial option is a device called a D-roller. It works fantastically, it’s just very expensive. It’s a heavy curl metal tube, and around that tube is wound a very large sheet of special plastic material. And what’s supposedly special about it, is it has no quote “Memories,” so it’s always going to lie perfectly flat when it’s unrolled. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been rolled up on that tube. It comes in various widths, and it’s very quick and effective to take the curl from your prints.
But of course the larger the size, the more expensive it gets, we’re talking, you know, it can go 2, 3, 4 hundred dollars. So a lot of people, you know, make their own home-made device, and Breathing Color did a post on this at one time on how to make your own similar device, so I’ll provide you links to that in the shownotes.
There’s even a YouTube video I saw, with a guy that’s using a window shade that he went and bought at Home Depot and sawed off the end, and evidently that works extremely well. And so I’ll give you the link to that.
Renee: But, you know, a lot of people, what they do is they just save the core tubes from their last roll of paper and you can take foam packing material and tape and sort of fashion your own and there’s all sorts of videos on the web of people using these. So that’s a definite solution, so you can either spring for the money for the D-Roller, or make a homemade device.
Justin: Nice, start with the controlled environment, and then a couple of tools that can help you out if that doesn’t solve the issue. I really want to see that video with the sun shade to be honest with you.
Renee: Yeah, the window shade, I was blown away when I saw that. And evidently it works, I mean, you’re even gonna get it in photo papers, it’s easier to take the curl out of a watercolor paper or cotton paper, and you don’t have to have it rolled up as long to get it to flatten, so if you’re using the D-Roller or a device, it takes a little longer with the photo papers, but it works. Maybe it doesn’t work as well as the D-Roller, and again the advantage is supposed to be, you know, that it’s not going to harm the print or put kinks or whatever in the wrong position on the paper. I guess you have to be careful of the type of material you’re using, but people just don’t want to — I do think, you know, I’ve seen many, many reviews on it, it works marvelously. If you have the money, obviously that would optimal. But it’s going to be up to him.
But, get a humidifier in your environment to try to prevent that as much as possible. And again, I don’t know if he’s talking about roll paper problems or sheets. I’ve had sheets do that as well over time because I live in – I’m in California and we’re in a drought. But it’s dry here anyways, where I live. So just have to up that. But I’ll provide some links to the videos.
Justin: Awesome, let’s jump into the next question.
Announcer 2: Otis from www.Lightscap3s.com asks, “As a Photoshop and Lightroom CC user who works in tiff 16 Bit ProPhotoRGB and prints through Lightroom using Epson 3880 or Epson 9890, I’ve been wondering if there’s really any gain in final print output when using Lightroom’s soft proofing option to bring out of gamut colors back into gamut according to the particular paper(s) ICC profile that’s used in the soft proofing option.”
Renee: Yeah, a lot of thoughts on that. The short answer is that the out of gamut colors are supposed to be handled via your choice of rendering intents, not by attempting to use that option in Lightroom or Photoshop and try to bring them back into gamut by making all these multiple adjustments.
Justin: Yeah, sounds messy.
Renee: So let’s just talk about soft-proofing. First of all, in the Lightroom histogram, there are two different gamut warnings. So you want to be sure you’re selecting the correct button above the histogram. The one in the upper right hand corner is the printer gamut warning, and the one in the upper left is the monitor gamut warning.
Now, the printer out of gamut warning is best used as a guide to assess various papers in order to help you select which one may be optimal to print on for your particular image. It may be possible, that in making adjustments for print, the incorrect gamut button has been selected, so you need to be careful with that.
But after selecting the best rendering intent for the paper you are printing on, it is best to do your soft proofing for print output with the gamut warnings turned off and instead compare the original edited image side-by-side against the soft-proof copy as you make the necessary adjustments in order to achieve the best match.
So, you know, first of all I’m presuming that he’s using a high quality display with a wide gamut that’s both calibrated and profiled so he’s looking at color properly. And we’ve talked a lot about this recently on a podcast. And that the display luminance is properly set for the viewing environment, because of all these things will affect editing decisions. So, getting that out of the way, the first thing you really want to do is have your original image open and side-by-side with a virtual copy of your soft-proofed image that’s going to be used to make adjustments.
And this is one of the advantages of Lightroom, that you can have these side-by-side and you can do that by clicking on the button that’s below the image and it’s to the left of a checkbox that enables soft-proofing in the develop module. So Lightroom, another cool thing, it will show the white of the paper via your choice of profile. So, you select, obviously, the correct ICC profile combination. So start with that, and then the first thing you want to do is play with either perceptual or relative colorimetric rendering intents, and by comparing these side-by-side, and he may not even be doing that.
A lot of times, people just have the image, and they enable soft-proofing and they’re just looking at that and not comparing it to how they edit it or completed the editing on the original, and so then you’re kind of off into, maybe, I mean unless you have some photographic memory, trying to remember exactly what the color looked like on the original, it’s best to do the side-by-side comparison.
So select either perceptual or relative and see which one looks best compared to the original. And then what you’re going to want to do is adjust the tone curve and the hue saturation limits. So one thing to keep in mind, first of all, is that papers have much lower contrast than your display. Your display could be at 500:1, 1000:1, or even higher depending on, you know, what type of display you have.
You know, a glossy print may only be 200:1 or so, and matte papers have even a lower contrast. So one of the major issues that you need to do is adjust that contrast, and one way to do that is to bump up the clarity slider, because the mid-tone areas are going to be the most affected with tonal compression, due to the contrast being lower on the output with the paper.
So, the clarity mostly affects the contrast in the mid-tone areas, and since those are the most affected, that’s one way to help that. And you also may need to open up the shadow areas with certain images as the printing can tend to cause loss of shadow details.
So after you pick, number one, the rendering intent that’s best, make some contrast adjustments using clarity or, you know, whichever method you prefer, you want to adjust the hue and saturation to get the best match from the color in the image that you want to print compare – you know, obviously you want to save a virtual copy of any adjustments you make for a particular paper and printer, so do that to get the best match.
And finally, you want to make a small hard proof to test the results before you make a final, large proof. So, he’s actually right, you should not use that color gamut option. That’s actually, like I said, it’s pretty much full of bugs, and that’s what rendering intents do. I mean, they’re there to decide how to handle out of gamut colors. If you sit there, and I don’t know exactly what he’s doing, to try to bring them back into gamut, but that’s the reason why, you know, it’s gonna look flat on final output.
So don’t bother with them, I mean if you want to turn them on and off to see what they do on your monitor, depends on, you know, what percent of RGB the monitor covers, what colors, maybe out of gamut, that’s really not gonna be helpful. So, again, pick the proper rendering intent and, you know, adjust the contrast and then hue [unintelligible] adjustments in Lightroom and make a small hard proof.
So, make sense?
Justin: Yeah, yeah definitely. What a time saver, I mean, I’m not sure how long this guy Otis was taking to adjust these images back into gamut, but man, just let the rendering intent do it and you’ll be good to go.
Renee: Right, that’s what they’re there for. And a lot of times, like I’ve said before on prior podcasts, I think the first one that I did – I was always told, “use perceptual,” always, always, always. Well, not always the best choice. So you could easily end up with relative. It at least pulls in gamut to the closest reproducible hue.
Justin: Yeah, if he hasn’t already listened to that episode, that would definitely be one to check out and just familiarize yourself with the rendering intents.
I don’t know how many times I’ve linked to that article already when somebody’s like, “What was a rendering intent do? Why should I choose this one over this one?” Check this article out – this literally talks about everything you could possibly want to know about a rendering intent.
Renee: Exactly, and more probably. [laughs]
Justin: [laughs] Yeah, yeah, probably so.
Awesome, anything else to add to Otis’s question?
Renee: No, that’s it. Just don’t try to bring things back into gamut, I mean it’s absolutely correct – don’t do it. You’re supposed to do these other adjustments. Pick whatever is the best, like I said, I already said, pick the best rendering intent that matches, but make sure you got your original side-by-side. You can do top-to-bottom, left-to-right, you know, you’ve got a choice in Lightroom how you want to display them. And that’s more difficult to do in Photoshop, I don’t want to get into that. But one nice thing is you can see the paper white also.
Justin: Yeah, that’s handy.
Renee: It’s very handy. But the contrast is always going to be lower. The print will come out looking flatter unless you make a tonal curve adjustment.
Justin: Right. Well awesome details, I hope that helps Otis out a bit.
Alright guys, those are all the questions we have for today’s episode, so that wraps up episode 22 of the AskBC podcast. thank you so much for hanging around to listen. if you want to grab the shownotes for today’s episode, visit ask-bc.com/episode22.
I’m actually pretty pumped to say that we have a new feature being released this week for our podcast. You can actually text in to the show now. Oh yeah! So that makes it extremely convenient for you guys. If you’re anything like me, you like to listen to these podcasts on the go – you know, whether you’re running, or hiking, or at the gym. And it’s pretty difficult to remember, you know, to go to the website later on and remember the link that I gave you.
So now, pretty simple, I just give you a number and a keyword for a given episode, and all you have to do is text in that keyword to the number, and our system will automatically send you whatever resource we happen to be offering that week.
So for this week we actually have a really cool take-away, and I’m excited for you guys to get hands on this. No doubt you’ve heard other podcasts with Renee, and you can tell that she has a massive amount of knowledge and insight and printing, so we’re honored to have her here on the show, and to have her as a contributor to the BC podcasts and to the BC blogs.
A lot of you guys are writing questions to her almost on a daily basis, so what we’ve done is we’ve taken everything that Renee has ever contributed to both the blog and to the podcast, and we’ve taken all that content, combined it all into one PDF with a table of contents, the summary on all of her pieces, and also links to all of the posts that she’s ever given us.
Some of these posts date back to about five years ago, and they’re still extremely relevant, extremely valuable, I’d recommend you taking a look at everything she’s given us.
So we’ve made this easy for you guys, put it all in one PDF. So to get this awesome resource, pretty simple, like I said you just text in the word “RBESTA” to 33444 – again that’s “RBESTA” to 33444 – and follow the prompts and you’ll get that massive PDF. Like I said, super, super, super helpful, so I recommend you take the couple seconds to grab it. So again, thank you guys for listening, if you want to ask a question for today’s show, as always it’s pretty simple – just visit ask-bc.com and fill out the form there. And if we choose your question to be featured on the show, we’ll send you a free Breathing Color t-shirt and we’ll feature your business name on that episode, as always.
Take care, and we will see you guys next time![Music] [End audio]
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