silver print, salt print, cyanotype, palladium print...
The Piezography PiezoDN system makes perfectly matched screen-to-print digital negatives for any alternative process. Utilizing shades 1-6 of monochrome Piezography ink (+ Gloss Optimizer when the printer supports it), PiezoDN increases the defined resolution of the negative over other inking systems attaining a true contact-sheet-level resolving power. Because the ink is monochrome, PiezoDN acts like silver-based film and has predictable, stable ultraviolet and panchromatic exposure properties that follow in lockstep with 120 years of traditional photography. There is no guessing-in-the-dark with this system. There is no need to build custom Photoshop calibration curves or to even invert the image before printing. You do still have to flip the image horizontally howeverWhat is PiezoDN?
PiezoDN is a collection of expert inks, tools, and techniques that have come together to create a digital “WORKFLOW.” The “PiezoDN Workflow” enables you to print in the analogue darkroom at a level of quality far-surpassing anything that has come before in digital negative printing and in many cases surpassing what has been possible in the entire history of darkroom printing. Like all workflows, the devil is in the detail. While this process is certainly capable of producing the best negative ever created, if it is improperly followed, that won’t happen.What ISN’T PiezoDN?
To define what PiezoDN is we must explain what it isn’t. PiezoDN is not a how-to guide for alt-process printing. In this documentation we don’t tell you how to print in the darkroom. PiezoDN is not all packaged in a neat bow but is a set of tools and files that come together with a set of required software and ink to make one whole family. PiezoDN is not meant for total darkroom beginners! PiezoDN is also not a Photoshop tutorial or guide for adjusting images. We don’t cover these things but many other people do with much more detail.Why PiezoDN?
Up to this point, darkroom printing has always been limited by the chemical constraints of the medium. This is a blessing and a curse. Contrast has been controlled by an intricate dance of zone-system work and choices of developer and paper. Artists will master only a few ways of printing over their entire careers. When inkjet printers arrived and Piezography was launched, monochrome printing became vastly more controllable. This heralded a disruption in artistic practice for millions of people. Suddenly an artist could get exactly the tones they wanted in their print and they could reprint those exact tones time and time again. Inkjet material choices have expanded exponentially over the years and this new way of working has become the default.
There are weaknesses to inkjet printing however. Inkjet papers must be coated with a receptive layer and this adds real complexity and fragility to the process not to mention a problem with archival storage. Many of these inkjet papers are so susceptible to pollution that they can yellow when improperly mounted or stored near sulfure! Real care must be taken to ensure these prints stick around for hundreds of years. When emulsion is embedded in an analogue darkroom paper, visual clarity, durability, and archival qualities are enhanced ten-fold.
The problem with other leading digital negative solutions is they have never really lived up to the “Piezography” name. Piezography is a method for making prints with full tonal separation, extremely fine detail greater than the printer can produce with its own OEM ink, and limitless flexibility with different papers and substrates. To date, other negative systems have not really lived up to that high bar, so we decided to make PiezoDN ourselves.
PiezoDN combines the best of both worlds. It has the flexibility, resolution, and tonal range of Piezography with the archival, embedded, subtle, luxurious qualities of analogue printing. It is truly the pinnacle of monochrome printmaking made real.How is PiezoDN different than Precision Digital Negative?
PiezoDN is built only for Piezography poly-encapsulated monochrome ink printing. Using truly monochrome ink that is gloss-compatible simplifies the process of creating and calibrating digital negatives for any process and also enables truly fine-tuned linearization that has way more data-points than what a Photoshop ACV curve allows. The goal of PiezoDN is to liberate the image and embed the entire calibration into the print-system itself instead of the Photoshop file. That said, PDN is 100% compatible with the underlying PiezoDN system. If you are familiar with PDN and want to simply use the stock PiezoDN curves and Piezography ink, go for it! We aren’t stopping anyone from using PDN, we just think that the PiezoDN calibration is slightly more refined at this point because it is able to utilize true 16bit workflows without limiting image data in Photoshop.Some initial requirements . . .
The workflow and its documentation assume that the practitioner has some background in darkroom printing and analogue process control. There is a certain investment required to fully appreciate the vast tonal range and fidelity PiezoDN allows. One must have a darkroom and attendant chemicals and paper they are happy with. They must have a computer and a compatible Epson professional inkjet printer. They must have OHP Ultra Premium Pictorico inkjet film. They must have the time set aside to truly learn the workflow and terminology and ethos found in our new PiezoDN manual.
Alongside general darkroom knowledge requirements, it’s important that a person using PiezoDN be familiar with QuadtoneRIP and the general Piezography workflow. The best way to learn this is to fully read and learn The Piezography Manual included with this PiezoDN distribution and found in /Applications/Piezography/Documentation/! Support questions that are general and basic QuadtoneRIP related questions like “How do I install a .quad curve?” are totally not going to be answered in the PiezoDN private group. Those questions are already answered on the QuadtoneRIP forum and at our forum at http://inkjetmall.com/tech!The PiezoDN Calibration Process
At first glance, the PiezoDN workflow can seem very complicated. However, after the first few go-arounds it becomes just like riding a bicycle. Once you’ve calibrated for a given process (say silver printing on Multigrade IV in Dektol developer) you never have to repeat the calibration process. Creating tonally-controlled darkroom prints becomes easy and predictable and fast.
Once the darkroom and printer and inks are all set up, the PiezoDN Calibration Process has six straight-forward steps.
- A darkroom process (silver, platinum, cyanotype, etc) is chosen and the appropriate .quad “curve” is chosen or limited to begin the calibration process.
- A 129 step target negative is inkjet printed and then darkroom printed.
- This 129 step darkroom print is read in with a spectrophotometer and used to “linearize” the chosen .quad
- Another 129 step negative is inkjet printed with the linearized .quad & then darkroom printed.
- This second 129 step print is read in with a spectrophotometer and used to create an ICC.
- The linearized .quad and ICC are used together to print perfectly calibrated digital negatives for the chosen darkroom process.