Epson ABW Grey Curves
I prefer to use the Epson Advanced Black and White mode (ABW) mode when printing all my black and white photographs. There are a number of reasons for this such as the ABW driver in my opinion gives deeper blacks, is more linear, produces less bronzing and has excellent longevity.
In our editing software such as Photoshop, to use the Advanced Black and White driver, we have to instruct it to let the printer manage the colours. By doing this it automatically disables the option to choose a profile.
One advantage of this approach is that any values you see on screen are passed directly to the print driver will no alteration. This means that if we have a value on screen of RGB(23,23,23) then this is exactly what Photoshop will sent to the printer.
Well unfortunately, things can start to go down hill a bit from here because all papers have different characteristics such as the amount of ink it can absorb and reflect off the surface. Another thing to consider is what our working space is set to in Photoshop. ProPhoto RGB is Gamma 1.8, AdobeRGB is Gonna 2.2 and will print different values.
Take the two images below for example. One is in AdobeRGB 1998 Colour Space and the other is in the ProPhotoRGB Colour Space. Both images were filled with 50% Grey and on screen they both look identical.
However, if we look at the numbers more closely, we see that they are different. The AdobeRGB 1998 colour space shows us a value of 118 and the ProPhotoRGB colour space shows us a value of 100.
If we were to print them both, the one in ProPhotoRGB would print darker because the value of 100 is lower than the value of 118 from the AdobeRGB 1998.
Adding a custom curve to the image just before we print can eliminate these discrepencies between what value we see on screen and what value the printer actually prints on specific paper stocks.
Paper Grey Curves Photoshop Extension
Paper Grey Curves program is a lightweight application that is run from within Photoshop and the Full version can automatically generate the paper correction curve for us.
This curve is then applied to to the image just before we print and it will ensure that the vales we see on screen are mapped to the values the printer actually prints.
The Lite version still generates the output numbers but you will need to enter them manually into the Curve Output options.
How Do We Create The Calculations
Fortunately all the calculations for producing the mapped output values are automatically worked out for you by the use of the included Excel and Apple Numbers Spreadsheet.
The included spreadsheets are extremely easy to use with only a few required steps for the user to take. Also included in the spreadsheet is an “Online Help” button which allows you to watch a series of online Video Tutorials.
A typical workflow for making a custom grey curve goes something like this.
- Print out the un-tagged step wedge generated by the program
- Measure the step wedge patches with your measuring device
- Paste the values into the spreadsheet
- Paste the values into the paper Grey Curves Program
- Press the generate curve button
Excel & Apple Numbers Spreadsheet Included
Paper Grey Curves
- Excel Spreadsheet Included
- Apple Numbers Spreadsheet Included
- Main Photoshop Script
- Automatically Create Curve
- Manually Create Curve
- Online Video Tutorials
Microsoft Excel or Apple Numbers
Adobe Photoshop CC or above or
Adobe Photoshop CS6
Device for measuring print values
Paper Grey Curves Introduction
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