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Author Topic: Paper Profile vs Media Settings in EPSON Printers  (Read 539 times)

nirpat89

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Paper Profile vs Media Settings in EPSON Printers
« on: October 03, 2017, 09:56:58 AM »

I know there is a thread going on about Epson Legacy Platine about the appropriate media setting, but my question is more general as I would like to understand what exactly do the media settings do, apart from setting the Color, Quality, Mode (whether or nor color management is used in the driver or the application and various adjustments if the latter.) 

Specifically what I want to know is if one is using Photoshop managed color, i.e. Mode is OFF (no color management,) the only thing as far as colors are concerned is for the Media Type to tell the printer which black ink to use (PK or MK) not the amount (which presumably is inherent in the paper profile itself.)  At least that is how I believe was the case in my HP B9180 where one could actually define new media simply as Photo Paper for PK or Rag Paper for MK.  I don't see such a generic capability in my Epson P400 driver. I suspect the higher models are no different in this regard.  So if I have to make my own profile, I must pick one of the myriad of EPSON defined media.  Is that correct?  If that is so, when and why should I choose "Ultra Premium" as opposed to just the regular "Premium." (Who knew they were going to better the Premium?)
 
To understand this better on my part, I did do a small experiment where I printed a (0,0,0) block on a glossy paper with the same paper profile from Photoshop: Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Glossy, but varied the Media Settings - one Ultra Premium Photo Paper Gloss and the other Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster.  I measured the printed blocks then on the ColorMunki Photo in the spot mode, averaging three readings.  From what I could tell based on these limited LAB measurements, the two patches seemed close: 

Glossy - (5.2, 0.1, 1.5) and Luster - (5.1, 0.2, 1.2)

Obviously this is not a fully statistical/scientific dE measurements (I don't have means either.)

It would be good to know how EPSON driver functions in this regards.  (If EPSON people want to chime in, they are welcome.)

:Niranjan.

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Wayne Fox

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Re: Paper Profile vs Media Settings in EPSON Printers
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2017, 11:23:59 AM »

I think each media type has a base ink load designed into it that might vary slightly.  So maybe a little less ink laid down for some types of paper that might not handle the ink and result in colors bleeding into each other. How much variation there is I don't know, maybe it's so slight it's insignificant. I've always assumed this doesn't really vary between basic similar papers (such as the two you tested), but might vary based on other factors, such as MK ink papers vs PK ink papers.

When profiling a paper, using a different media setting should result in slight differences in the target densities if this is the case.  Printing your test via the APCU utility would eliminate all variations other than the media settings and might give you a more accurate picture.  You might want to test papers that are considerably different however, the two you tested very likely have the same base ink load setting.

I can use the same profile I made for the RC based papers Glossy, Semi-gloss, semi-matte and luster and get no real visual differences.  Unless the printer ink load setting for the paper changes between media types I'm not aware of any factors that would alter the color output of the prints.

I think the media type also stores and sets some of the physical characteristics of the printer such as paper thickness etc.

Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Paper Profile vs Media Settings in EPSON Printers
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2017, 01:27:54 PM »

I posted this link on the Epson Plantine thread:  http://www.on-sight.com/how-to-determine-the-optimal-media-selection-for-any-paper/   It tells you what the driver does (pretty much what Wayne says in his comment just above).  Of course you can modify the driver's default settings if you think you need more of an ink load.  Mark Dubavoy covered this in an article from about 10 years ago (you can search for it from the home page as it was not a Forum post) and his comment was that the driver doesn't lay down enough ink for his purposes.  I've used the chart from Scott Martin's site to determine the optimal driver setting for papers I use on my Epson 3880.
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nirpat89

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Re: Paper Profile vs Media Settings in EPSON Printers
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2017, 01:29:22 PM »

I think each media type has a base ink load designed into it that might vary slightly.  So maybe a little less ink laid down for some types of paper that might not handle the ink and result in colors bleeding into each other. How much variation there is I don't know, maybe it's so slight it's insignificant. I've always assumed this doesn't really vary between basic similar papers (such as the two you tested), but might vary based on other factors, such as MK ink papers vs PK ink papers.

When profiling a paper, using a different media setting should result in slight differences in the target densities if this is the case.  Printing your test via the APCU utility would eliminate all variations other than the media settings and might give you a more accurate picture.  You might want to test papers that are considerably different however, the two you tested very likely have the same base ink load setting.

I can use the same profile I made for the RC based papers Glossy, Semi-gloss, semi-matte and luster and get no real visual differences.  Unless the printer ink load setting for the paper changes between media types I'm not aware of any factors that would alter the color output of the prints.

I think the media type also stores and sets some of the physical characteristics of the printer such as paper thickness etc.

Thanks Wayne for the insights.  So the ink loading is a variable that Epson uses to optimize the output on their paper.  But we do not know the exact extent to which this happens.  The third party paper manufacturers probably do not have direct access to that knob so they do so only indirectly by finding the already EPSON-defined Media Type that best suits their particular papers.   

My interest in this topic partly arose from the need to use my newly acquired P400 to print digital negatives for alternative processes.  To my disappointment, I found that in P400 there is no independent capability of changing the ink loading, unlike the P600 and P800 that I had read about (I erroneously assumed the drivers were identical.)  So to maximize the DMAX and the opacity of the negative, I am having to resort to finding the particular Media Type that will give me highest ink loading. 

In addition to the above comparison of same profile and different Media Type, I also looked at the difference between a typical rag paper profile and a typical glossy paper profile, while keeping the Media Type the same.  The paper I printed on was Canson Rag Photographique.  Using Photoshop color management, I printed two (0, 0, 0) blocks - one with the correct icc profile for the rag paper and the other with that recommended instead for the Canson Baryta paper.  The same recommended Media Type: UltraSmooth Fine Art selected for both prints.  I was hoping that the rag icc profile will give me denser black than the baryta.  Well, the difference was nothing to write home about:

LAB Measurements:  Rag Profile - 17.4, 0.8, 1.9  Baryta Profile -  17.8, 0.6, 2.3

If anything the Baryta measured slightly darker, opposite of what I was hoping for.  May be P400, the "consumer" printer as it is called, just does not have the capability to fine tune ink loading. 

I didn't try printing from ACPU though, may be next set of experiments..


:Niranjan.

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nirpat89

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Re: Paper Profile vs Media Settings in EPSON Printers
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2017, 01:33:13 PM »

I posted this link on the Epson Plantine thread:  http://www.on-sight.com/how-to-determine-the-optimal-media-selection-for-any-paper/   It tells you what the driver does (pretty much what Wayne says in his comment just above).  Of course you can modify the driver's default settings if you think you need more of an ink load.  Mark Dubavoy covered this in an article from about 10 years ago (you can search for it from the home page as it was not a Forum post) and his comment was that the driver doesn't lay down enough ink for his purposes.  I've used the chart from Scott Martin's site to determine the optimal driver setting for papers I use on my Epson 3880.

Thanks, Alan.  I will follow up on both suggestions...
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Paper Profile vs Media Settings in EPSON Printers
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2017, 02:21:07 PM »

I posted this link on the Epson Plantine thread:  http://www.on-sight.com/how-to-determine-the-optimal-media-selection-for-any-paper/   It tells you what the driver does (pretty much what Wayne says in his comment just above).  Of course you can modify the driver's default settings if you think you need more of an ink load.  Mark Dubavoy covered this in an article from about 10 years ago (you can search for it from the home page as it was not a Forum post) and his comment was that the driver doesn't lay down enough ink for his purposes.  I've used the chart from Scott Martin's site to determine the optimal driver setting for papers I use on my Epson 3880.

And in that same Epson Platine thread I commented as follows:

<<Yes Alan, that reference has a specific context, quote: "If you have a 3rd party paper and you arenít quite sure which media selection to use in the printer driver,....".

<<However, when you are certain which Media Type was used to make the profile because the manufacturer/provider tells you as much, then you simply use it, because it's the technically coherent approach and therefore most likely the best fit. Occasionally one can do a bit more *to taste* by selecting a "nearest neighbour" Media Type, so no harm trying a couple, but I think the generic approach most often holds its own.
>>

I'll add that Mark Dubovoy's experience from ten years ago with then prevalent printers and papers (whatever he was using for whatever were *his purposes*) doesn't cohere with my contemporary experience. I cannot identify for any of the work I've done over the past several years at least that there is any systematic problem with the amount of ink lay-down. I think I've published ample enough evidence that if there were such issues, at least with the machinery and numerous materials I've been testing, I do hope I would have noticed and said something about it.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Paper Profile vs Media Settings in EPSON Printers
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2017, 02:28:23 PM »

I think each media type has a base ink load designed into it that might vary slightly.  So maybe a little less ink laid down for some types of paper that might not handle the ink and result in colors bleeding into each other. How much variation there is I don't know, maybe it's so slight it's insignificant. I've always assumed this doesn't really vary between basic similar papers (such as the two you tested), but might vary based on other factors, such as MK ink papers vs PK ink papers.

When profiling a paper, using a different media setting should result in slight differences in the target densities if this is the case.  Printing your test via the APCU utility would eliminate all variations other than the media settings and might give you a more accurate picture.  You might want to test papers that are considerably different however, the two you tested very likely have the same base ink load setting.

I can use the same profile I made for the RC based papers Glossy, Semi-gloss, semi-matte and luster and get no real visual differences.  Unless the printer ink load setting for the paper changes between media types I'm not aware of any factors that would alter the color output of the prints.

I think the media type also stores and sets some of the physical characteristics of the printer such as paper thickness etc.

Hi Wayne - I think likewise - this all makes sense to me. Re the variation you mention in your first paragraph - using the wrong Media Type for "nearest neighbour" papers really doesn't make much difference to anything as you suggest, but if one were to inadvertently use a matte Media Type for a Luster paper the prints would obviously and definitely not look right.

Good suggestion on using ACPU as a test vehicle. It does prevent certain inadvertent mistakes from happening in a test procedure.

As far as I know, ink load does vary according the Media Type, and as such it could affect at least saturation, if not hue, in unwanted ways in the event of a dramatically wrong selection.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Paper Profile vs Media Settings in EPSON Printers
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2017, 02:35:29 PM »

And in that same Epson Platine thread I commented as follows:

<<Yes Alan, that reference has a specific context, quote: "If you have a 3rd party paper and you arenít quite sure which media selection to use in the printer driver,....".

<<However, when you are certain which Media Type was used to make the profile because the manufacturer/provider tells you as much, then you simply use it, because it's the technically coherent approach and therefore most likely the best fit. Occasionally one can do a bit more *to taste* by selecting a "nearest neighbour" Media Type, so no harm trying a couple, but I think the generic approach most often holds its own.
>>

I'll add that Mark Dubovoy's experience from ten years ago with then prevalent printers and papers (whatever he was using for whatever were *his purposes*) doesn't cohere with my contemporary experience. I cannot identify for any of the work I've done over the past several years at least that there is any systematic problem with the amount of ink lay-down. I think I've published ample enough evidence that if there were such issues, at least with the machinery and numerous materials I've been testing, I do hope I would have noticed and said something about it.
Here is the link to Mark Dubavoy's article (the LuLa search function is so cumbersome and I had to scroll through about four pages of unrelated articles):   https://luminous-landscape.com/in-search-of-the-ultimate-inkjet-print/  My experience has been with subtle differences in ink laydown on 3rd party matte papers.  I do not print on any Epson papers so I have to look to see whether the manufacturer's proposed paper setting is optimal for my printer.  In most cases it is but if you don't do the testing you won't know that answer for certain.  There are bigger differences with PK papers.
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Paper Profile vs Media Settings in EPSON Printers
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2017, 02:37:50 PM »

As far as I know, ink load does vary according the Media Type, and as such it could affect at least saturation, if not hue, in unwanted ways in the event of a dramatically wrong selection.
Hue would be corrected during the profiling process if one were using a new media setting.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Paper Profile vs Media Settings in EPSON Printers
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2017, 02:44:43 PM »

Hue would be corrected during the profiling process if one were using a new media setting.

Sure if you were using the same Media Type for creating the profile and using the profile, but in case it wasn't clear, the context of my comment is where there is a mismatch.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Paper Profile vs Media Settings in EPSON Printers
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2017, 02:47:37 PM »

Here is the link to Mark Dubavoy's article (the LuLa search function is so cumbersome and I had to scroll through about four pages of unrelated articles):   https://luminous-landscape.com/in-search-of-the-ultimate-inkjet-print/  My experience has been with subtle differences in ink laydown on 3rd party matte papers.  I do not print on any Epson papers so I have to look to see whether the manufacturer's proposed paper setting is optimal for my printer.  In most cases it is but if you don't do the testing you won't know that answer for certain.  There are bigger differences with PK papers.

Not sure I see what you are getting at. What "differences", especially for PK papers, are you alluding to Alan?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Alan Goldhammer

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Re: Paper Profile vs Media Settings in EPSON Printers
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2017, 03:07:11 PM »

Not sure I see what you are getting at. What "differences", especially for PK papers, are you alluding to Alan?
I would have to go back and look at my notes.  I pretty much only print on Museo Silver Rag these days and if I recall correctly there was one third party paper whose manufacturer recommendations didn't work as well as the one I ended up with after using Scott Martin's chart.  There was also a Red River matte paper that I looked at several years ago where Velvet Fine Art was a better setting than the one they recommended.  I would say that overwhelmingly the manufacturers recommendations are good.  What I worry more about with "older" yet servicable printers such as the 3880 is we won't get settings and profiles as the user base declines.
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