Photography and Art

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Terrific RIP Software

I've been experimenting with black and white prints. Here's an example of an image that seems to look more natural in black and white because the colour image detracts the eye away from the situation and the expression of the dancers.
It was taken in a small village in the Dordogne valley in France and captures the three men at their Gallic best. As you can see from the image, there is a pretty wide range in tone, going from the deep black of the first man's trousers to the highlights in the sunny background. There are some shadow areas that show a pretty good level of detail on my monitor, including the planter pot above the dancers and the stone column on the right hand side.

When I printed this image out on my Epson R800 using the profiles that came with the printer, the results were very disappointing. The shadow detail completely disappeared and the image looked much too contrasty. I started to read a little about black and white printing on the web and came across the Quad Tone RIP. This software is shareware ($50 voluntary payment if you like the software, no charge for a full-featured demo) and supports all reasonable EPSON photo printers, including my R800.

The software installed smoothly and comes with excellent documentation. After reading a couple of pages of the user manual, I was able to call up the program, load an image and print out a black and white photo that was much, much better than my previous effort with the EPSON default driver. The shadows had rich detail, the blacks were black and the highlights were right. In short, it now looked very much like the image on my monitor.

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