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soboyle

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HP Z9+
« on: August 03, 2020, 01:22:10 pm »

I'm in the market for a 24" printer and have been reading many of the posts here. To my surprise (I was thinking Epson or Canon only) the HP Z9+ has caught my attention for several reasons: the built in profiling, affordable user replaceable heads, quiet operation (my office is also my bedroom), ink longevity, size, and apparent user satisfaction with print quality.
I have a couple questions that users might be able to answer. In addition to some of the baryta papers, I intend to print on some of the light (75 -100 gsm) rice papers. The 75 gsm Hiromi Asuka paper, possibly the 100 gsm Hahnemühle Rice Paper. These will be roll papers. Anyone have experience with the roll feeding lightweight papers in the Z9+?
What about feeding sheets of these papers?
Where to purchase, is there any advantage to going with someone other than B&H or Adorama for a purchase like this? I'm in western MA, so not near any large cities, Albany NY and Springfield MA being the closest.
Any regrets going with HP over any other brand? This will be my first wide format printer, so this is new territory for me.
Thank you.

JeffSD

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Re: HP Z9+
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2020, 05:46:32 pm »

Hi, Shaun.

My experience, while not 100% on point, might help with a couple of your questions.

Last year, I used my HP Z3200ps to make prints for Awagami's miniature print exhibition. I used their 125 gsm Inbe paper (Kozo + Hemp with an inkjet coating) and it printed fine.

I have some other Awagami papers on hand and just ran an 80 gsm Kozo paper and it also printed without issues.

Since the 75 gsm Hiromi paper you mentioned is Kozo with an inkjet coating, it should be pretty close, in terms of handling, to what I used. I'm not sure what type of pulp the Hahnemühle "Rice" paper is made from (their data sheet just says "α-cellulose") but it has an inkjet coating and an ICC profile for the Z9+, so I would expect it to work.

I was printing on A4 sheets, which could be finicky in regards to positioning in the printer. While I don't have experience using these light papers in roll form, I would expect the rolls to be a bit easier to handle as compared to the small sheets.

Good luck!
Jeff


soboyle

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Re: HP Z9+
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2020, 08:20:44 pm »

Thanks Jeff,
This sounds encouraging, thanks for the feedback on the Kozo papers.
I believe the Hahnemühle "rice" paper is actually a cotton paper, I have some here to test once I get a printer up an running. I'm looking for a  paper that will work well in book form, glued back to back in a drum leaf binding. The Asuka 75 paper comes recommended.

soboyle

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Re: HP Z9+ questions
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2020, 10:26:57 am »

Do I need a network for the Z9+?
Currently I have a stand alone computer with no network, I've always used direct USB for my 17" printers. Is that possible with the Z9+? I see that there is a USB 2 port, but it reads like it's for downloading images directly to the printer.

I have always printed directly from Lightroom or Photoshop. What am I missing if I don't use a RIP, other than arranging multiple prints on a sheet?

I.T. Supplies

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Re: HP Z9+
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2020, 11:28:46 am »

There is no ability to print via USB to the Z9 unfortunately.  We have a demo of this printer and found out you can only connect via Ethernet while the USB feature by the screen is for thumb drives mainly.

Canon's has USB, WiFi, Ethernet as well as the thumb drive option and similar in printing functions (same head technology) while Epson's newest series is more updated with the added color and USB/Ethernet (no thumb drive option).

All of the brands can print on that paper.  You don't need a RIP to print on fine art paper unless you're doing nesting (tiling the image for lots of printing) or doing many images at the same time (like a print shop).  Most programs out there (PhotoShop, Corel Draw, Illustrator, etc) are easy to work with upfront and offers you most features to print how you need.  Otherwise, a RIP can get up to $3k based on the printing ability.  Photo/fine art RIP can be around $400+ based on printer size.

Canon's Professional Print & Layout is a standalone RIP that is free to use with their Pro series printers and allows you to arrange multiple images to print.  Epson's Print tool is also a helpful option for their printers and free, but doesn't offer as much functionality that Canon's does.  Both are still being updated along the way for better functionality.

Feel free to contact us if you have questions regarding printers and supplies as we do carry most printing items BH/Adorama have.

IT Supplies
www.itsupplies.com
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kers

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Re: HP Z9+
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2020, 12:44:15 pm »

i am confident you can directly connect your printer with an ethernet cable to your computer. Without a network.
I do so with the Z3100 .
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Gerd_Peters

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Re: HP Z9+
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2020, 01:35:59 am »

The HPZ9 + can be safely connected directly via Ethernet. The HZ9 + can do Auto MDX as well as most network cards in computers. That means he recognizes a straight network cable and crosses RX and TX. Alternatively, you can use a crossed cable - that's not a problem at all.

Currently I would not buy an HPZ9 +. We have one and it can only be used to a very limited extent due to the firmware / software. HP says - through COVID19 they don't know when firmware / software updates come out. Absolutely understandable, but a disaster on business.

Greetings Gerd
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MHMG

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Re: HP Z9+
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2020, 09:03:26 am »


Currently I would not buy an HPZ9 +. We have one and it can only be used to a very limited extent due to the firmware / software.

Greetings Gerd

Gerd, can you elaborate on your issues with the Z9+. I have the Z9 dual roll unit, and while it prints beautifully with absolutely no banding or other image defects, its thick roll handling (fine art media) is highly problematic. It keeps accidentally unloading the roll.  Apparently the dual roll model has a necessary roll "parking" mode that the single roll model doesn't have, and this park mode position is where the trouble I'm having seems to be occurring.

Also, I had no luck with my Z9dr and newer HP Designjet utility hooking the ethernet cable directly to my Mac Pro (2013 model), but my older Z3200PS and its older HP Color utility work fine that way. HP support gave me a reasonable work around, namely to place a wifi booster near my Z9 and connect the ethernet cable directly to the booster. This places the printer directly on the wifi network, and then everything works fine including easy access from all computers on my wifi network, albeit a little slower on spooling times. An alternative, of course, is to connect directly to the router, but that approach wasn't a viable option for me because my router Is in another room and  stringing ethernet cable through my old historic home isn't easy.

thanks in advance for any additional info you can give us.

kind regards,
Mark
« Last Edit: August 05, 2020, 09:14:48 am by MHMG »
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Gerd_Peters

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Re: HP Z9+
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2020, 09:18:43 am »

Hello Mark,

yes, I can do that. I had already started a post here in which I described the priority problems.

LINK CLICK:

HP Support has confirmed my listed items. I have a little more time tomorrow and can then add a few additions to the article linked above if you are interested.

Greetings Gerd
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soboyle

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Re: HP Z9+
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2020, 11:42:18 am »

Also interested in hearing more about the problem Gerd is having. Others are not experiencing the same issues with the printer, head strikes on thicker paper, not being able to make setting stick, etc. I wonder about comparing firmware/software versions with other users, perhaps rolling back the firmware to an earlier version that is working.

MHMG

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Re: HP Z9+
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2020, 01:53:17 pm »

Also interested in hearing more about the problem Gerd is having. Others are not experiencing the same issues with the printer, head strikes on thicker paper, not being able to make setting stick, etc. I wonder about comparing firmware/software versions with other users, perhaps rolling back the firmware to an earlier version that is working.

I've been meaning to answer Gerd's earlier post, but I guess I can follow up on that earlier post here. Anyway, my Z9+dr is running latest firmware/software on Mac OS 10.5 (Mojave). In the properties dialogue box where one sets "normal" or "thick" paper when creating a new preset, my setting is persistent. I'm not losing this setting like Gerd has been experiencing. Perhaps this is a Win versus Mac OS or a USA versus Europe firmware/software issue. There are apparently regional differences between HP printers sold in Europe and USA.  As such, I use the thick setting for thicker media, it stays "sticky" for the chosen media preset, and I've had no head strikes. I also perform the advanced media calibration with new media, and again, I've had stellar image quality output at all times over the last several months of ownership.

That said, notwithstanding my Z9+dr roll feed issues,  I also have some disappointment with the Z9 because its driver is functionally stripped down compared to the features I'm accustomed to on my HP Z3200PS. As Gerd noted, the Z9 supplied software performs a 464 patch count profiling sequence only, whereas the Z3200 can handle any reference chart one gives it. Mark Linquist and I have collaborated, printed, and measured 10,000+ patch targets on our Z3200 printers. Our collaboration yielded superior results because the Z3200's 464 patch profile wasn't very good, and a 1728 patch count which was also available without knowledge of the Z3200's advanced profiling features was very good but could be noticeably improved using higher patch counts. In contrast, the Z9's 464 patch profile is really quite good to begin with, surprisingly so, such that most users, IMO, won't feel a need to pursue other options. Nevertheless it's a shame that HP removed all the extra spectrophotometer capability from the Z9. The spectrophotometer capability in the Z3200 is so fully featured that one can even generate targets in tiff format, print the target on other printers, read the target back on the Z3200, and then use the data set with any profiling software of my choice. Thus, the Z3200 gives the user a fully featured spectrophotometer for the price of the printer. The Z9 cripples it so that it's a closed loop system with little user control.

I have not tried to add a custom made profile using other profiling software directly into the Z9 utility, so I can't confirm what Gerd was saying about not being able to do that. It is definitely possible on the Z3200. My workaround, well, not really a workaround for me as an individual user but it would be for a lab with multiple users sending images to the Z9, is simply to let Photoshop manage colors with a custom made profile I build for my Z9 with i1profiler or BascColor DropRGB. In so doing, the printer color management is successfully turned off and the printer does continue to use the selected media setting and underlying calibration, thus roll-your-own profiles are possible with this workflow. However, because I'm not trying to add my custom profiles into the Designjet cue, nesting software like the HP click supplied with the Z9, won't have access to them, but for the individual users like myself, I'm sending my files directly from PSCC to the Z9 driver, so it's not a problem for me.  In this regard, the Z9 printer driver functionality is really no different than other printer drivers like those for Canon or Epson printers. The profile gets enabled from the image editing application or by the OS using a "printer manages color" workflow.

Lastly, the advanced media calibration which fine tunes the paper feeding to eliminate banding can only be performed on a 24 inch or wider roll. Thus, more expensive paper gets wasted compared to my older Z3200PS. Ditto for the color calibration. The Z3200 can do it on a letter-size sheet. Neither situation is a deal breaker, but the Z9 requires a bigger cut sheet or a roll to perform the color calibration step, and it seems to recommend color calibrations more frequently than my Z3200 for whatever reasons. But again, both image quality and repeatability has been outstanding. Additionally, the properties dialogue box on the Z3200 has options for ink limits including the ability to increase ink load, and also options to change the amount of Gloss enhancer laid down. There again, extra GE is very useful with certain fineart glossy/luster non RC media.  Those features have also been removed on the Z9.  In particular, the inability to adjust the Z9 ink limits means at times potential color gamut is being left behind due to the lack of ink limiting choices offered by the various media settings. Although there are a ton of different media choices, as I worked my way through all the PK choices with careful testing, it looks like there are really only two underlying ink channel ramps for PK ink. So, for example, one might decide to use the "Photo Baryte" setting for a baryta type fine art paper, but you'd be giving up color gamut on high quality media because it uses the lower ink limit ramp which often isn't enough for high quality fineart media. The Fineart Photo Pearl (more ink) setting can produce a better color gamut volume because it is one of the media choices which uses the higher ink loading ramp. All the other media choices use one of these two ink ramps, and I have found no chart or table in HP literature that discusses this or says which media setting uses which ink ramp configuration.  I haven't checked the MK settings yet, but it looks like ink limits will be equally constrained, perhaps only having just one ink ramp but not more than two for papers which call for MK ink.

At this time, I'm sorely tempted to buy a RIP in order to explore custom ink channel ramps in more detail, and I'd be interested in hearing more about the ColorGate RIP in this regard from Gerd.  HP's Z9 driver leaves me wondering if a good RIP wouldn't squeeze more color gamut out of the Z9.  I'm also fascinated that the ColorGate RIP can open up the Z9's spectrophotometer capabilities, but a RIP is an expensive and typically unnecessary proposition for individual users like myself, and it's disappointing that HP management decided to dumb down the Z9 functionality so much compared to what individual users have with the Z3200. That said, I also wonder if a third party RIP can invoke HP's incredible "pixel control technology" or whether the RIP designers have to develop their own screening pattern. I don't see how it can get any better than what the Z9 offers with respect to dot placement and smoothness, and I worry it could be worse with a RIP.

cheers,
Mark
« Last Edit: August 05, 2020, 02:56:34 pm by MHMG »
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Gerd_Peters

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Re: HP Z9+
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2020, 07:57:08 am »

Hello Soboyle hello Mark,

I have detailed my contribution with a few examples.

LINK

Greetings Gerd
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Gerd_Peters

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Re: HP Z9+
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2020, 09:00:44 am »


......At this time, I'm sorely tempted to buy a RIP in order to explore custom ink channel ramps in more detail, and I'd be interested in hearing more about the ColorGate RIP in this regard from Gerd.  HP's Z9 driver leaves me wondering if a good RIP wouldn't squeeze more color gamut out of the Z9.  I'm also fascinated that the ColorGate RIP can open up the Z9's spectrophotometer capabilities, but a RIP is an expensive and typically unnecessary proposition for individual users like myself, and it's disappointing that HP management decided to dumb down the Z9 functionality so much compared to what individual users have with the Z3200. That said, I also wonder if a third party RIP can invoke HP's incredible "pixel control technology" or whether the RIP designers have to develop their own screening pattern. I don't see how it can get any better than what the Z9 offers with respect to dot placement and smoothness, and I worry it could be worse with a RIP.

cheers,
Mark

Colorgate does not change HP's pixel control technology. And does not use its own screening pattern for printers that work in RGB mode. With pure CMYK + spot color printers, the printing grid can then be determined depending on the printer type.

You query the respective device directly from Colorgate and get the performance features.



Cologate stores everything together in a MIM (Media-Ink-Metamode) file. So a file that describes the combination of properties of the printer and the paper.

Then you can profile.


Build custom targets, display deltas, identify measurement errors etc. etc. The measurement values ​​are saved as a CGAT text file. You can continue to use them.

Measurement is automated in M0 Spot Mode (each patch is approached individually).

For example
Patch fields standard


Patch fields scrambled


Colorgate queries the HPZ9 + via SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol). That means Colorgate knows the firmware, the paper, the profiling etc. etc..... all these varibals can be individually printed as small text with the test image. This makes it easier to differentiate between test prints.

You can also use all common measuring heads such as e.g. X-Rite & Co. with Colorgate.

The profiling / color engine reminds me a lot of Colorlogic. I'm not sure if they are using Colorlogic technology, but it looks very similar.

The software can be tested free of charge - without any restrictions. They will send you a dongle with a test period of 14 or 30 days.

Greetings Gerd
« Last Edit: August 06, 2020, 09:16:56 am by Gerd_Peters »
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MHMG

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Re: HP Z9+
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2020, 10:49:44 am »

Colorgate does not change HP's pixel control technology. And does not use its own screening pattern for printers that work in RGB mode. With pure CMYK + spot color printers, the printing grid can then be determined depending on the printer type.


That's good to know about Colorgate's retention of the HP pixel control screening pattern. And rea;;u good to know that the Colorgate RIP restores the advanced profiling capabilities which HP took out of the Designjet Utility when driving a Z9 (they are still there in the newer Designjet utility if you use it to drive a Z3200). Yet, I'm still wondering, does the Colorgate RIP simply use the HP Designjet Utility's media presets to set the ink ramps or does it offer some additional ink channel control? Even a global ink density slider like what Epson offers in its OEM drivers, or like what is still available with the Z3200 printer driver, would be very useful.

Gerd, thanks again for all of your information on the Z9.

cheers,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
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Lessbones

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Re: HP Z9+
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2020, 01:05:15 pm »

If ever you use a RIP having an RGB output mode, then yes, it uses the same preset types for ink limiting, since it's only sending RGB data and letting the printer separate out the channels.  I'm not sure if colorgate has or has plans to produce a halftone module for the Z9+, this would allow independent control of the ink channels and custom limiting etc.  Essentially full control over the printer.

I don't have much experience with HP, but in my time with Epson and Canon printers I've never really been able to get a whole lot more gamut out of the machines by doing all the limiting and crossovers myself-- generally the engineers don't leave a lot of untouched potential in their machines from what I can gather.
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deanwork

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Re: HP Z9+
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2020, 01:44:41 pm »

I think that’s right. ErgoSoft’s  Studio Print supported the Z3200 and Z3100. That workflow does allow you to do precision ink limits and partitioning on a per channel basis. I never tried it on a Z because I never had the need for it. You can test it for free if they are still doing that.

But I agree I don’t think you are going to see much gamut change. More precision, in terms of tonal range and resolution, but probably not a gamut increase.  It may help with the gloss enhancer not functioning correctly on the fiber gloss media like Platine though. But that’s a very steep price for that capability. It looks to me like all their time was spent  setting up the profiling ink limits and gloss enhancer coverage to function with rc media. If so that’s a huge mistake ( if they are thinking of this machine as a “fine art” device.) About  80% of the so called fine art prints I do now are on fiber gloss cotton media. I was very impressed with the black and white capability and neutrality but again the gloss enhancer coverage was sloppy. These Vivera inks, which are very durable, absolutely require a good varnish coverage.

But of course if HP is at all serious about this printer they are going to have to resolve this gloss overcoat quick.

On the test prints that Mark L. was so nice to provide to me of the On-site  color print target, the gamut was not up to the level of even my older Epson, Canon, and Z3200 prints. Now I don’t know if that was the result of the limits of patch set, the removal of the light channels, the poor gloss enhancer performance or what. The new Epsons have increased their gamut while also increasing longevity. That seems to me to be the realm in which HP and Canon will have to compete. All of the printers are fast now and very similar price range.

John


If ever you use a RIP having an RGB output mode, then yes, it uses the same preset types for ink limiting, since it's only sending RGB data and letting the printer separate out the channels.  I'm not sure if colorgate has or has plans to produce a halftone module for the Z9+, this would allow independent control of the ink channels and custom limiting etc.  Essentially full control over the printer.

I don't have much experience with HP, but in my time with Epson and Canon printers I've never really been able to get a whole lot more gamut out of the machines by doing all the limiting and crossovers myself-- generally the engineers don't leave a lot of untouched potential in their machines from what I can gather.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2020, 04:47:36 pm by deanwork »
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Lessbones

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Re: HP Z9+
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2020, 04:17:48 pm »

Light channels by definition can't affect the size of the gamut-- they are simply diluted versions of the "full" channels, and are meant to be a smooth continuation of those when fading to white-- the only thing that could have changed is the saturation of the pigments in the colors themselves, or the lack of more "hi-fi" colors, like orange, green, violet, etc.

I used a z6800 for a bit, and while the Chromatic Red was a nice addition, it still had a considerably smaller gamut than the 12 color canons or 10 color epsons (which, in truth are 7 and 6 color respectively, plus dilutes)
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MHMG

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Re: HP Z9+
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2020, 05:17:24 pm »

Light channels by definition can't affect the size of the gamut-- they are simply diluted versions of the "full" channels, and are meant to be a smooth continuation of those when fading to white-- the only thing that could have changed is the saturation of the pigments in the colors themselves, or the lack of more "hi-fi" colors, like orange, green, violet, etc.


Perhaps true in theory, but not necessarily in practice. I've done a fair amount of Z3200 versus Z9 color gamut volume testing using various media. Theory also says that for printers with comparable dot size, use of light color ink channels should slightly increase the color gamut in the highlight values (its an inked area coverage physical phenomenon affecting how light is absorbed and rescattered in the ink receptor coating). HP traded the light C, M, and LG channels found on the Z3200 for a smaller dual droplet dot placement strategy, and still managed to improve the color gamut in the image highlight regions. Better ink purity/chroma with the Z9 Photo Vivid inks compared two the older HP Vivera inks used on the Z3200? Well, maybe, but even though the Z9 also matches or even exceeds my Z3200 in Dmax on the media I've tested, it still ends up with less color gamut in the shadows areas, the overall gamut volume winner being the Z3200 most of the time.

This result. IMO, is likely an ink density issue, not so much an ink color chroma issue, and the reason I got interested in seeing if slightly higher ink densities can restore some of that gamut volume in the shadow tones. But the Z9 gives no user control of the ink density other than choosing a media setting which uses the higher ramp or the lower ramp. The Z3200 offers the enduser a global ink density slider in the media properties menu, and increasing that slider for media that can handle the higher ink load is how I manage to get superior gamut volume out of the Z3200 compared to the Z9. That feature was taken away on the Z9, thus begging the question, what if the enduser could get the Z9 to lay down a little higher ink load on media that can accommodate it?  All that said, It is clear to me that HP tuned RC media output really well on the Z9, and that the Z9 matches the older Z3200 as well as the competition quite well with RC media. A RIP with individual channel control probably wouldn't do any better with RC media, but I still wonder about fine art PK and MK media.

cheers,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com
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Gerd_Peters

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Re: HP Z9+
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2020, 09:46:59 am »

To answer Mark's question regarding Color Rate RIP - Tone Value/Density.

The HP paper profiles are used by Colorgate for media description/control only. So star wheel position, feed, paper thickness. These are things that Colorgate cannot control. As far as I know, the amount of ink is overwritten by Colorgate's own profiles/linearizations. It makes no difference at all whether you use Pearl more ink or Pearl less ink, the Colorgate profile determines the amount. They also have a technology called "save ink" that can save up to 30% ink with supposedly the same visual results. I haven't licensed it, but it is offered for the HPz9 +  -  but the point is, that only works if you can control the amount of ink. Colorgate works internally completely in CMYK + other inks, but if you operate a supported printer in RGB mode they implement the changes internally. The standard max. value for the amount of ink is 400% (C=100%, Y=100%, M=100%, K=100%).

There are a few possibilities to control the amount of ink indirectly/directly, both when profiling and when printing in RGB mode.

When profiling:


Pure Black:
The Pure Black option e.g. avoids the creation of a four color black (CMYK) for pure black RGB text and uses only pure black for printing. This option converts an RGB input value of 0/0/0 to a pure printing black, i.e. 98%.

Pure Gray:
Using the Pure Gray option, the gray balance in a CMYK printer profile is composed by black ink only. However, this only makes sense if your printing system has a very neutral black, from the highlights to the shadows.
In RGB printer profiles, the effect of Pure Gray is that the gray balance is composed of equal amounts of RGB values. This proves to be a very useful option in the case of RGB-controlled ink systems, for example.

GCR
(Gray Component Replacement), proportions of CMY in all image areas are replaced by black color. The reduced ink laydown and the shorter drying time are particularly useful for uncoated papers. Unlike reprography, modern color management always preserves a little magenta at max. GCR. (Gray Component Replacement): Portions of CMY in the any image areas are replaced with black color. GCR replaces the primary colors cyan, magenta and yellow in the colored and neutral parts, until one of the primary colors disappears, with black ink. It improves the saturated, dark colors more than UCR. The neutral, gray parts are almost completely created with black ink, so the gray balance will become more stable.

GCRSmooth: Same as GCR but with optimizations to get smoother gradients.


You can look at the profile's Tone Value Index.



The gray balance




While printing:
With Colorgate, the profile and the linearization can be managed separately. This has the advantage that you can make several live derivations from one profile. Of course, you can also classically create several different profiles for one paper.



You can influence the tone value index. For all channels or individually.


The grayscale conversion and tint


You can influence the gradation. For all channels or individually.


The Tone Value Index Print module should come closest to the slide rule for the amount of ink. You can only fully influence it with a real CMYK printer or various Epson/Canon printers that have an HTM / NON-HTM module (half-tone-mode). In addition to CMYK, you can also define all other inks such as Lg (light gray), lc (light cyan) orange etc .. and fully control. Unfortunately the HPZ9 cannot use the HP Contone mode.

But you can definitely overcome one hurdle with Colorgate. If you are profiling a paper from HP that has the "only low ink mode" permanently set, but you want more ink. Colorgate overwrites this and controls it using the profile created in Colorgate or the other options listed above. This works in any case, even if you cannot control it as granularly as you might want.

Greetings Gerd
« Last Edit: August 08, 2020, 12:03:18 pm by Gerd_Peters »
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