Paper DMAX

What is Paper DMAX
Paper DMAX is the maximum deepest black a paper and ink combination can produce. In general, the higher the DMAX value the better. Glossy and satin inkjet papers have the best DMAX potential. However, display conditions can affect the perceived depth of blacks in your image.

A print made on glossy paper under glass can be more reflective than a matte print. This might cause a perceived loss of black density. It is important to take this into account when choosing a paper. Your goal should be to to aim for a DMAX value of 1.6 for matte papers and 2.0 for glossy/satin papers to achieve best all-around quality under different display conditions.

A DMAX value of 2.0 or higher is considered excellent and approaches that of traditional photo processing materials.
Many of the newer inkjet printers can achieve DMAX of 2.5 or higher using glossy and satin papers, which makes for a truly remarkable black & white print.

This small lightweight Photoshop plugin calculates the paper DMAX for you based on the value you enter into the Black L* box.
We can get the Black L* value from a print by either measuring a printed black patch with an optical device (which is the most accurate) or we could scan the printed black patch and take the values produced by the scanner.

digital zone system plugin video and updates

The flyout menu offers more options including

  • any video tutorials attached to the plugin
  • Checking for any plugin updates
  • Direct access to product support from within the About section.

Reproducing the black and white parts of an image is easy compared to reproducing the many shades of grey in between. Some papers handle these fine transitions between black and white better than others.

Also supplied with the plugin is a copy of my print transition test chart which allows you to see how your paper choice reproduces the many shades of grey between black & white.

black and white print target

Photoshop Version 24 and newer

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