I happen to be Richard's student and friend, and have had some
chances to print on his hextone system.
Basically all my works are landscapes in color (check out my web
site at http://www.lepingzha.com)
, but I worked in darkrooms doing
B&W when I was young. The prints made out of Richard's system
had really shocked me with such great quality in tonal seperation,
black depth, and visual impact, that I am forced to re-thinking
serioiusly what direction should I go the next.
Reading the posts I really wanted to set the record straight about
Richard's techniques. The hextone prints have better image
structure than prints made with the Epson's Advanced Black and
White Mode, because the Epson's are essentially tri-tones formed
with only three shades of gray.
The Epson's lightest gray ink is much darker than a hextone's
lightest ink. Where the highlight dots are visible with the Epson
system, the hextone print's are not. The lack of dots makes the
hexton prints look much sharper.
But the biggest benefit of Hextone is that you can control the
image color at six points along the scale, by mixing each ink to
very specific density and color. Thus you get better apparent
contrast using color modulation - warm or cool shifts within the
image can be used to create a feeling of great depth in the print.
For example, the density (D-value) spacings that Richard is
crrently us are:
and the availability of the six control points makes the hextone
print's tonality smoother, as there are six stops of dynamic range,
and six inks mixed about a stop appart. The way the ton
transitions from ink to ink - light to dark, is very different from
a Tritone or Quadtone print. This needs really to be seen in person.
Also, Epson's Advanced Black and White Mode uses yellow,
magenta and cyan dots on white paper - and those colors will fade,
causing differential fading of the image tonality. In time the yellow
dots will fade and the print will look bluish-cyan, for example.
In short, the Epson's Advanced Black and White Mode is good, but
hextone was designed for the needs of exhibiting fine art
photographers who need the very best quality, and is still a step
ahead the Epson's.
Leping Zha, Ph.D.
San Mateo, Californiahttp://www.lepingzha.com